How to build a computer Bonus Round! Power Supply.
I am adding power supplies in with the case review for 2 simple reasons. There isn’t much to say about them and in a lot of cases they are sold pre assembled in the case. Power supplies are used for supplying power (incredible right?). Computers use DC or direct current electricity but the electricity out of the wall outlet is AC, alternating current. Power supplies act as converters with different ratings based on what the manufacturers say. There is no standard used between companies and it's based on what they want to say. Being as such, I like to go with numbers a little higher than what is absolutely needed just to be on the safe side. My recommendations reflect that.
For a gaming power supply you are going to want something big enough to push your video card (or cards). They drain a lot of juice so your power supply needs to be beefy enough to handle the demand. I would generally recommend something in the 800+ watt variety with modular cables. That should give you enough uumph to power anything you could throw at it. The modular cable design is extremely handy when trying to hide all those wires for a clean looking case. Personally, I have a 1350 watt power supply but that is just plain overkill to a ridiculous level.
Anything standard should do as far as power is concerned in a Home theater computer (HTPC). Look for something around the 600 watt area so it can push a video card strong enough to play a game or two if the mood strikes.
Servers are more concerned with stability rather than video systems. Still the power supply needs to be big enough to push several hard drives. Most dedicated server cases have room for 2 power supplies for redundancy which is pretty useful. The size of the power supply you need for a server is really dependant on the amount of drives you have in it. Anything under 8 can safely be run in a 500 watt unit, bump it up to 700 if you have more.
Studio computers can go with a power supply in the ballpark of 500 watt since they don’t have anything special or too power draining to work on.
For a generic computer, 500 watts will do everything you want it to, 600 watts will be a bit of overkill but not without precedent.
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