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SilverStone SG12 case
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Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact RGB Black Tempered Glass Light Tint Case
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How to choose a power supply unit for a PC

Stability and quality of the PSU are critical

Some might view the power supply unit as the most boring component of the lot. But with no power...! Anyway, the most important attribute needed after sufficient wattage is stability. Which really means choosing a manufacturer with a reputation for quality.

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Get reserve power and spare connectors for upgrades

Sparkle Power Action 600 power supply unit

It's clearly important to have enough wattage and matching connectors for what's currently installed, but a PSU should have reserve power and spare connectors for components you might add in the future. We think the PSU should allow for upgrading to the next level of technology without having to change the PSU. For example, while a PSU with 350 watts is fine for most PCs without a video card, the PSU should have have enough reserve power and a spare PCI Express connector to add a separate powerful video card in the future. That would be a 450W to 500W PSU with a spare 6 pin or 8 pin PCI Express connector.

For a gaming PC that currently sports a mid-level video card, the PSU should have reserve power and a second PCI Express connector for upgrading to a high-end video card in the future. That would be a 500W PSU with two 6 pin or 8 pin PCI Express connectors. There is good news here, some new high end video cards are dropping their power needs substantially like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 which requires only a 500W PSU!

You would only need a 600W PSU or higher wattage with two 6 pin, or one 6 pin and one 8 pin, or two 8 pin PCI Express connectors for progressively higher end video cards that cost $300 and higher for the video cards. The wattage requirement information for a video card is published on the website of the video card manufacturer.

Keep in mind that under utilized power capacity doesn't help performance in any way and PSUs with high wattage are expensive. Money saved by selecting a wattage with sufficient head room for expansion but no more, will be better spent on a more powerful CPU, graphics or memory. Also a PC needs balance, for example upgrading the video card to an extreme card that needs a lot of power while keeping the CPU the same will create bottle necks, and you might not want to upgrade all parts or you're talking almost the cost of a new PC. So you don't need to plan the PSU for the most extreme upgrades either.

Sparkle Power 450W power supply unit

A single +12V rail PSU or a multi +12V rails PSU

Skip this para if you don't want too much techno talk! A rail is a group of PSU wires and connectors that are monitored for the total current drawn from them collectively. The PSU shuts down (OCP protection) if the total current drawn for that group or rail exceeds a fixed limit. This shut down limit is typically higher on a single +12V rail PSU compared to each +12V rail on a multi +12V rail PSU. So you can connect more components to a single +12V rail PSU compared to what you can connect to one +12V rail on a multi +12V rail PSU. Obviously you can connect more components in total to a multi +12V rail PSU using all the rails. The benefit of a multi +12V rail PSU is that it offers you more protection.

Thoroughly confused by that convoluted last para, here's the actionable part! Get a single +12V rail PSU up to a 500W PSU. This allows you to use or upgrade to a single powerful video card in that PC without the PSU shutting down, as long as the total wattage of the PSU meets or exceeds the minimum requirements for the video card. For example a single +12V rail 500W PSU can handle a GTX 970 video card!

Get two +12V rails or more above a 500W PSU for an extreme gaming PC. This allows you to use or upgrade to dual or more video cards so each card can draw sufficient current from it's own +12V rail. Of course again the total wattage of the PSU must meet or exceed the minimum requirements for all the video cards, and the PSU should have sufficient connectors on each +12V rail for the video card it supplies current to.

Quiet PSU fan for cooling

Cooling is a factor and a large 12cm exhaust fan included in the PSU moves a lot of air keeping the PSU and the computer cooler. However the noise of the PSU fan is a critical issue. You don't want to hear the whirring or whining of the fan. It'll ruin your whole PC experience. Here again, a quality PSU manufacturer will pay attention to this important detail and give you a quiet almost silent fan. That's another reason to pay up for a quality PSU manufacturer.

PSU Connectors

Make sure your PSU has spare connectors for future upgrades. For a mainstream PC for its SATA hard drives and DVD drives you would want at least 4 SATA connectors, for potentially a DVD drive , a Blu-ray DVD drive, a hard drive and a solid state drive (SSD). For a higher end PC, 5 or 6 SATA connectors should be fine. For video card connectors that's been covered above.

You also might want for a power or gaming PC a PSU with a 4+4 pin CPU power connector and not just a 4 pin CPU power connector in case you want to upgrade the motherboard at a future date.

Modular connectors are nice, you only use the wires you want and that reduces clutter and potentially increases air flow, but they're not necessary and are more expensive PSUs.

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Linux interest and tech freedom articles!

Read the letter: Twitter accuses Microsoft of using its data in unauthorized ways - CNBC, May 18, 2023

Exclusive: Google says Microsoft cloud practices are anti-competitive - Reuters, March 31, 2023

Microsoft's implementation of Bing Chat AI on Windows 11 is complete trash - Windows Central, Mar. 1, 2023

I wanted to try the new Bing with ChatGPT. Then, Microsoft went all Microsoft - ZDNET, Feb. 12, 2023

Microsoft to cut thousands of jobs across divisions - reports - Reuters, January 17, 2023

Elon Musk says he'd consider 'alternative phone' if Twitter is booted from Apple and Google app stores - Fox Business, November 25, 2022
CurrentBuild Computer and other Linux PC manufacturers have already done that with computers, provided an alternative to Windows and Apple computers. Kamil

Microsoft lays off hundreds of employees - Engadget, October 18, 2022

Microsoft: 'Software is ultimately the biggest deflationary force' for businesses - Yahoo Finance, October 17, 2022:
Open source free software like Linux yes is deflationary, others not really. Kamil

Microsoft’s greed is killing Windows 11 for me - TechRadar, April 21st, 2022:

March 21st, 2022: Windows 11 will add a watermark if you use unsupported hardware - Engadget

Dec 2, 2021: Microsoft’s new Windows prompts try to stop people downloading Chrome - The Verge

Oct 8, 2021: Amazon Delivery Partners Rage Against the Machines: ‘We Were Treated Like Robots’ - Yahoo Finance

Sep 10, 2021: Epic v. Apple ruling: Judge finds Apple's App Store restrictions violate antitrust law - Yahoo Finance

Aug 28, 2021: Why You Suddenly Need To Delete Google Chrome - Forbes

FTC says Facebook has been a monopoly ‘since at least 2011’ in amended antitrust complaint - The Verge

Windows 11 Is Making It Absurdly Difficult to Change Browsers - GIZMODO

What the Linux Mint developers have pulled off is nothing short of astounding - TechRepublic

Fired by Bot at Amazon: ‘It’s You Against the Machine’ - Bloomberg News

PC users are furious about the new Windows 11 design - Creative Bloq

Epic v. Apple fight: Billions at stake as judge determines fate of App Store - Yahoo!

Google reportedly made it difficult for smartphone users to find privacy settings - The Verge

I looked at all the ways Microsoft Teams tracks users and my head is spinning - ZDNet

Microsoft just force restarted my Windows PC again to install more unwanted apps - The Verge

Disastrous Windows 10 update is reportedly breaking some PCs - TechRadar

With Edge, Microsoft’s forced Windows updates just sank to a new low - The Verge

A million students and counting have learned Linux - ZDNet

Linux Mint 20: Still the best Linux desktop despite one quirk - ZDNet

What Operating System Is the Best Choice for Software Engineers? - Interesting Engineering
From the article "GNU/Linux is, hands down, the most highly acclaimed operating system for software engineering."

Microsoft: we were wrong about open source - The Verge


How to choose PC parts

CPU Video card Memory
Motherboard SSD/HDD DVD CD
Power supply Case OS
Speakers Monitor Linux

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PC assembly guide
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Save with Linux on a PC
How to choose PC parts
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