Your computer’s power supply is the most important component and perhaps the most overlooked. It is simply taken for granted that it is always present and functioning properly. A top-of-the-line processor and an extremely powerful video card are useless if the system is not provided with sufficient and stable power. Quality components that power and regulate your computer are very important, and this brief review looks at some areas to look at. Check this site to see more 12v power supplies.
Computer power supplies take the high (110V or 220V) DC voltage from a wall outlet and convert it to the various lower AC voltages needed to run the system. Typical voltages needed in a computer are 3.3V, 5V, and 12V, with the 3.3V and 5V lines usually used to power circuits and the 12V line providing power to run devices such as hard drives, optical drives, and fans.
Power supplies are sold by their total output power in watts. Choosing the right power supply is not only about finding one that provides enough power for all the components connected to your system, but also about finding the right size power supply, with enough slots for common drives and fans, and, if necessary, with special slots for things like Serial ATA drives and advanced graphics cards.
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Choosing a power supply with enough power shouldn’t be a big problem, because it’s never a bad thing to have more power than you need. Just because a power supply has 400 or perhaps 600 watts does not mean that it will actually put out that much power at any given time. It just indicates the total power available for the various lines of your computer. Anyone who wants to get an idea of their minimum power requirements will find this power calculator a handy reference. Not only should you check the total power of your power supply, but you should also look for strong currents on the 3.3V, 5V, and 12V lines since power supplies with the same total current can distribute current to different lines to different degrees.
Power supplies come in a variety of sizes, but the most common are designed for standard ATX and micro-ATX (mATX) cases. A typical ATX power supply, like this Echo Star 680W power supply, measures 3.25″ x 6″ x 5.5″ and has two fans that not only cool the power supply but also remove hot air from the computer. A typical mATX power supply, such as this 320W power supply from A-Power, measures 2.5″ x 5″ x 4″ and has only one fan because of its smaller size. mATX cases are usually much smaller than ATX cases, so they have smaller power supplies, which usually have less power and fewer connections.
The power supply connections are also noteworthy. Most power supplies come with a tangle of cables that looks like an electric octopus, and you need to make sure that all the connections you need are in that tangle. The power supply should have at least as many connections as the drives, fans, and other components in the case. Until recently, power supplies had a fixed number of connections, and if you needed more, you had to use splitters to distribute power to all the components.
Now there are modular power supplies, such as the Ultra X-Connect 500W, that completely eliminate this “electrical octopus” and allow the end-user to connect only the cables they need. Not only does the flexibility of a modular power supply allow you to customize the connections to your needs, but it also provides an easy and clean installation since there are no extra cables hanging around inside the case.
Choosing a high-quality power supply may cost more at first but in the long run. It can pay off in cost savings. Many manufacturers now offer power supplies that draw fewer power thanks to high-quality internal components, advanced designs, and active power factor correction. These devices are now able to provide the same power to computer components. And draw less power from the outlet due to higher efficiency.
Surge Protection Devices
Surge protectors are design to protect electronics from transient surges caused by phenomena. Such as lightning strikes, power outages, and heavy electrical equipment. A surge protector diverts excess electricity to the ground, protecting expensive computer equipment from damage. An overvoltage is any power surge that lasts for three nanoseconds or longer, so a surge protector must respond quickly. Most surge protectors also include a fuse (or breaker). If the power surge is too great to withstand without interruption, the fuse blows. Even if the fuse blows, it’s a small loss compared to what it could have saved.
Surge protectors come in many shapes and kinds. Some simple models can found in supermarkets. But they offer no more than a couple of outlets connected to a switch. They don’t offer serious protection, but many people just need more outlets, not protection.
More serious surge protectors are likely to cost a little more than a dollar. But they provide reassurance by actually protecting your appliances. Some devices not only provide protection from power surges. But also have additional features such as conditioning to filter out line noise. And outlets to protect other lines such as cable TV, phones, and networks.
The Fellowes Smart Surge Power Strip protects up to 10 devices from power surges. And also provides line conditioning and connections to protect the phone line. A very attractive feature of this surge protector is that the 4 jacks are design for bulky power adapters. For those who don’t have a surge protector, there is hope for Power Strip Saver Cables. These extension cables are only 7 inches long and will come in handy. When you need to connect multiple power supplies to a traditional surge protector.
Uninterruptible Power Supplies
Many people familiar with uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) know that they can keep a computer running during a total power outage. But don’t know what else they can do. Most UPSs also provide protection against power surges and brownouts (when the voltage drops below normal). As well as protection against possible power frequency shifts.
UPSs come in two varieties – standby and continuous, with standby versions being much more common and less expensive. With a standby UPS, connected devices can operate through a normal mains connection until a power failure is detected. After which they quickly (within milliseconds) switch over to the UPS backup battery. With an uninterruptible UPS, the connected equipment always runs on batteries. While the batteries recharge through a normal mains connection.
UPS units sold according to their capacity in VA (voltage times amperage). This means that the devices connected to the UPS. Can draw a maximum of that much current at a certain voltage. The operating time after a power failure is also usually specified for a UPS based on the full load of the device. Visit also: APC authorized partner in Pakistan
When selecting a UPS, the intended use must be considered… A smaller unit, such as Fenton’s 600VA, is sufficient to power a typical desktop computer, monitor, and small peripheral devices. Such as a printer and lighting for 15-23 minutes at full load. If multiple systems need to be powered, or perhaps future expansion is planned. Resulting in increased power requirements, a more powerful unit, such as the Tripp Lite 1500VA, may be more appropriate. The first two devices should be placed in close proximity to the equipment you are powering, such as on the floor behind your desk. However, if you want to add a UPS to your server. There are also rack-mount solutions such as the Opti-UPS 1100VA.
Regardless of the application, sizing a UPS can seem like a daunting task. One manufacturer, APC, has developed a handy UPS selection app. That eliminates the need to guess which UPS is right for a particular application.
A computer system is only as strong as its weakest component. And in many cases that is the power supply and related components. By choosing a quality power supply, surge protector, and possibly a UPS, you can ensure that your system has powerful. And stable enough power supply to operate now and in the future when upgrades increase the demands on your system.