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Power supplies (PSU) are often neglected when building a computer system. The power supply distributes the power to all the individual components within the PC, without it your PC would not run. The quality of components and technologies used to manufacture PSUs varies greatly. A poor quality power supply can greatly reduce the lifespan of your components, cause instability and even fail when overloaded. A high quality PSU will provide a more stable, more reliable system that will also produce less noise and heat. The higher quality power supplies will also operate more efficiently reducing your electricity bill and helping the environment. Remember not all power supplies are made equal.

Beginners Guide to Power Supplies

What is a Power Supply and why do I need one?

Power supplies (PSU) are often neglected when building a computer system.  The power supply distributes the power to all the individual components within the PC, without it your PC would not run.

Why is there a price difference between models with the same output?

The quality of components and technologies used to manufacture PSUs varies greatly. A poor quality power supply can greatly reduce the lifespan of your components, cause instability and even fail when overloaded. A high quality PSU will provide a more stable, more reliable system that will also produce less noise and heat. The higher quality power supplies will also operate more efficiently reducing your electricity bill and helping the environment. Remember not all power supplies are made equal.

What do the wattage ratings mean?

The wattage rating on a power supply can be deceptive as it shows the combined wattage across all the rails (basically all the connectors on the PSU are added up for the total power output). With the increased demands by components, the total required output for the +12V line has become increasingly important. A power supply should ideally have at least 18A available on the +12V line. The actual load you will need to get the most out of your components will vary depending on your system specifications.

What do power supply efficiency ratings and certifications mean?

If a supply loses less than 20% of the total power consumed, then it is considered ‘efficient’.  Look for the ‘80Plus’ sticker on modern PSUs. The benefits of more efficient power supplies are lower electricity bills, less harm to the environment and also due to less energy being wasted as heat a cooler and quieter operating PC. There are four 80Plus levels:-

- 80 PLUS Bronze: 81%+ efficient
- 80 PLUS Silver: 85%+ efficient
- 80 PLUS Gold: 88%+ efficient
- 80 PLUS Platinum: 90%+ efficient

What most people do not realise is the added benefit to a higher efficiency power supply is lower heat output. With less heat the fan on the PSU can keep temperature down  allowing for a cooler and quieter system overall.

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Cooler Master G650M 650W Modular 80+ Bronze PSU
  • 6x Molex Connectors
  • 8x SATA Connectors
  • 4x PCIe Connectors (6+2-Pin)
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CCL Code: PSU0717
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Part Number: RS650-AMAAB1-UK
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Manufacturer: Cooler Master
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Corsair TX650M 650W Modular 80+ Gold PSU
  • 4x Molex Connectors
  • 6x SATA Connectors
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CCL Code: PSU1418
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Part Number: CP-9020132-UK
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Manufacturer: Corsair
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Corsair TX750M 750W Modular 80+ Gold PSU
  • 4x Molex Connectors
  • 8x SATA Connectors
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CCL Code: PSU1419
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Part Number: CP-9020131-UK
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Manufacturer: Corsair
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Cooler Master G550M 550W Modular 80+ Bronze PSU
  • 3x Molex Connectors
  • 6x SATA Connectors
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CCL Code: PSU0716
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Part Number: RS550-AMAAB1-UK
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Manufacturer: Cooler Master
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Corsair HX1200i 1200W Modular 80+ Platinum PSU
  • 12x Molex Connectors
  • 12x SATA Connectors
  • 4x PCIe Connectors (6+2-Pin)
  • Modular Cable System
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CCL Code: PSU0877
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Part Number: CP-9020070-UK
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Manufacturer: Corsair
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Powercool High Efficiency 850W Modular 80+ PSU
  • 4x Molex Connectors
  • 4x SATA Connectors
  • 1x PCIe Connectors (6+2-Pin)
  • 4 + 4-Pin CPU Power Connector
  • ATX Form Factor
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CCL Code: PSU1190
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Part Number: PC-850AUBA-M
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Manufacturer: Powercool
EVGA 500BQ 500W Modular 80+ Bronze PSU
  • 3x Molex Connectors
  • 6x SATA Connectors
  • 2x PCIe Connectors (6+2-Pin)
  • 4 + 4-Pin CPU Power Connector
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CCL Code: PSU1373
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Part Number: 110-BQ-0500-K3
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Manufacturer: EVGA
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Powercool High Efficiency 650W Modular 80+ PSU
  • 4x Molex Connectors
  • 4x SATA Connectors
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CCL Code: PSU1188
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Part Number: PC-650AUBA-M
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Manufacturer: Powercool
Corsair RM750x White 750W Modular 80+ Gold PSU
  • 7x Molex Connectors
  • 8x SATA Connectors
  • 4x PCIe Connectors (6+2-Pin)
  • 4 + 4-Pin CPU Power Connector
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£129.00 inc VAT

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CCL Code: PSU1461
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Part Number: CP-9020155-UK
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Manufacturer: Corsair
Game Max RGB 550W Modular 80+ Gold PSU
  • 3x Molex Connectors
  • 6x SATA Connectors
  • 1x PCIe Connectors (6+2-Pin)
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CCL Code: PSU1495
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Part Number: RGB-550
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Manufacturer: Game Max