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The PC Power Supply Guide for the Masses

  1. Introduction
  2. PSU Abbreviations and Glossary
  3. Connectors used in a PC Power Supply
  4. PSU cables: Non-Modular, Modular and the middle-ground!
  5. Power Supply Labels
  6. Power Supply Form-Factor- ATX12V
  7. Power Supply Form-Factor- SFX12V
  8. Basic requirements of a power supply
  9. Facts about 80 Plus Certification
  10. Protection Circuits and Features
  11. List of Power Supplies, OEM and Review Links
  12. Common PC Power Supply Myths
  13. Resource Links and References
  14. View All


Now that we’re on the same page about power supply form factors, we can move on and understand the rest. Before we talk about nifty features and everything, first you should know that in a power supply, you will need safety and stability. If these are not covered, no matter how good a power supply is.

Safety is self-explanatory, but safety is an end result of a combination of quality and features put in a power supply together. Good quality components, adequate cooling, proper soldering job on the PCB, quality of the wires and connectors and protection circuits. Remember, a bad power supply can also even catch on fire- and at the very least damage the component, including your hard drives that carry a lot of data.

Output stability is just as important. As said before, there are certain voltage rails, and stability ensures it does not over-deliver that voltage output. Different power supplies react differently during idle/load and the number of devices connected to the power supply.

As per Intel ATX PSU specs, the following are the ideal output voltage specs a power supply that it should be irrespective of the load and the amount of devices used.

Output Range Min Nom Max Unit
12V1DC ±5% 11.40 12.00 12.60 V
+12V2DC ±5% 11.40 12.00 12.60 V
+5VDC ±5% 4.75 5.00 5.25 V
+3.3VDC ±5% 3.14 3.30 3.47 V
-12VDC ±10% -10.80 -12.00 -13.20 V
+5VSB ±5% 4.75 5.00 5.25 V

Stability is important, especially when the power supply needs to work within the nominal and max value. Power Supplies should shut themselves off if it crosses the maximum output as pointed out by the ATX spec above.

2 comments

  1. Koolest ripper guide to What is and what is not on SMPS!
    Thanks for adding those SMPS suggestions! 🙂

  2. Much appreciated!

    I plan on putting more guides per component so that many people from newbies to regular users can understand “what is” and “what is not” for many components to help them make better purchase decisions! This way, we can guide even the newest of end users to understand whenever they read our reviews!

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