The Power Supply and its problems

What is the Power Supply?

  • It is the metal box located inside the PC case that provides the power to the whole computer so it can operate, also called the PSU.
  • It has a fan inside of it to cool down its electrical components in order to function normally.
  • When you connect the power cord to the PC back side you are basically connecting it to the input power socket of the Power Supply.

How does the Power Supply work?

  • The power supply converts the national AC power (110v or 240 v) into several DC outputs that the computer components require to operate.
  • It’s providing the Motherboard with the 3.3 v, the Hard diskCD/DVD room drive and other devices like fans with 12 v, and also it provides the computer case with 5 v so that you can start booting up the PC when you press the on/off button or restarting it by pressing the small restart button or it can handle the standby mode when its required.
  • The Power supply also deals with the operating system, as it receives and sends signals for different purposes like controlling the stand-by mode, recieving trigger signals to shutdown or restart the computer …etc.
  • Some Power Supplies provide AC output socket to connect the monitor power cable instead of connecting it to the wall power outlet.

How many types of Power Supply are there?

In terms of technology, there are two types of them:

  1. AT Power Supply: It represents the old type of Power Supplies were the power cables connectivity that connects the On/Off switch on the front side of the PC case to the Power Supply directly, I believe that no one is using this type anymore because it is working with old types of computer cases.
  2. ATX Power Supply: Represents the newer technology which connects the power cords from the Power supply to the On/Off switch through the Main-board, this technology provides more reliability and functionality to the power system as a whole.

What should I know before buying a new Power Supply?

You have to put in mind the below points:

  • Power value (The biggest watt value the better PC performance): The Power Suppliers measured in Watts (W), there are several types of them in terms of Power value like 200 w,250 w, 300 w, 350 w, 400 w, 450 w, 500 w, 550 w, 600 w, 650 w, 700 w, 750 w, 800 w  and 850 w, hence this might be increased in the future.

Note: The power value in Watt (W) is the result of multiplying the Voltage (V) value by the Current value in Amperes (A)

  • Brand name (The better brand Tier the better life time and reliability): There  are many Power Supply brands out there which is valued as Tier such as Tier 1, Tier Z, Tier 2, Tier T, Tier 3, Tier 4 and Tier 5; Tier 1 is the most powerful and stable components on the market hence Tier 5 is the lease valued ones and are not recommended.


Note: Tiers consists of scores given to each Power Supply’s performance in terms of rail stabilityrippleefficiency, and silence.

Here are some good brands to chose from:

  • Enermax Galaxy
  • PCP&C TurboCool
  • PCP&C Silencer
  • Zippy/Emacs SSL
  • Zippy/Emacs GSM
  • Zippy/Emacs PSL
  • Silverstone ZF (Etasis 85/75/56)
  • Seventeam ST
  • Silverstone OP/DA
  • Zippy/Emacs HG2
  • Zippy/Emacs HP2

But you should remember that there are many others out there in the market.


  • Type of power cord jacks: Knowing what types of power jacks your internal components are using is one of the main points that you should take in confederation to purchase the correct Power Supply for your computer, as there are a couple of types like SATAPCI …etc also the mother-board power socket type.

Note: Newer Power Suppliers provide many different types of power jacks.

  • Condition of Rails: Ensure that the smaller branch circuit wires are well manufactured, bad manufactured rails increase the overheat as current is passing through them.
  • The Warranty: Compare each manufacturer’s (guarantee, return policy, and customer service) history. There are some PSU manufacturers that release great products with horrible support, and vice versa.
  • Type of AC Power cables: Ensure that the Power Supply has the power plug of three pins instead and/or in addition to the two pins one because its better to earth the power supply to the wall face plate.

What are the common Power Supply problems and their symptoms?

There are many problems that the Power Supply might cause to your computer such as:

  • The Power Supply is not functioning for no reason.
  • The Power Supply fan has weakness in performance or stopped working.
  • The computer is making restarts for no reason several times during the day.
  • The computer is being powered off when using the CD/DVD drive or an external device that connected to a USB port.
  • The Power Supply is providing more heat to the PC case.
  • Buzzing sounds coming from the Power Supply.

When one of more of the above mentioned symptoms is hapening with you:

  • You may try to blow the power supply by an air blower after opening the computer case (in case of dusty components are inside which sometimes cause the in-functionality)
  • Otherwise if the blowing did not solve the problem you should purchase a new PSU and replace it with the current one.

Note: Do not open the Power Supply Unit box to see its electrical circuits as it contain capacitors that store the voltage charges even if the computer is turned off or the power cord is not connected to it and exposing to this charge might cause a real injury to the user.

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You might also like to read:

How to Upgrade my PC?

How to buy the Best PC?

How to deal with my CPU overheating?

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8 Thoughts to “The Power Supply and its problems”

  1. Thanks so much firas. that was informative.

  2. John

    Dear Firas,
    I Just wanted to ask you a question about the difference between AT & ATX?

    Does At Has A 230 to 260 V Switch for e.g and why when i adjust the 260 to 230 The PS burns?
    & Thank you in advance!

  3. There are several differences between AT and ATX power supplies, generally speaking the AT is working with the old type of motherboards that using the old AT pc cases, it has 20 pin connectors and also it is functioning primitively like when you shutdown your windows it tells you that “the computer is ready to turn off now” so you have to turn it off manually because the power cables that control the power supply connected directly to the main PC case switch.

    On the other hand, the ATX (Advanced technology extended)has more features than the AT one, like it is working with the new motherboards type that provides 3.3 DC voltage output that the higher speed processors require to work with low temperature consumption, as well as it can be controlled by the operating system or other software, (that was in general as if you require more info you may ask specifically cause there are much to talk about).

    Regarding the input voltage range you’ve enquired, basically a power supply is connected to the main AC national power that you have it at your home, so because there are two main AC national power voltage values (110v and 220v) that all countries are using either one (except Japan) so the power supply manufacturers had to put the two options of 110 V and 220V just in case if the power supply would be used in different countries.

    So when you are in a 220V country, you have to put the selector into 220, 230 or 240v which is written on the PS in order to function normally, if you put the selector into 110v you are in this case providing the input circuit of the PS that requires 110v a 220v, so its input electrical circuits will not be able to handle the doubled value of the correct input AC voltage, resulting the blowing or burning of the protection fuse that suppose to protect the PS from a huge input voltage variation.

    I hope this answer would fulfill your enquiry, please don’t hesitate to ask anything else, hence we have a forum in dealingwithwindows website that you may register and post questions or answer others.


  4. Laman

    thanks Firas, I need this kind of information.I know very little about computer but I like to use it.thanks….

  5. Janise Besner

    very good submit, i certainly love this website, carry on it

  6. faith

    usb cord running wont properly.

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