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   >  Introduction to PC Components
   >  The Central Processing Unit
   >  The Motherboard
   >  Memory (RAM)
   >  Drives
   >  Power Supply Unit
   >  Computer Cases
   >  PCI and Graphics Cards

 

Power Supply Units

What is a Power Supply Unit?

The job of the Power Supply Unit is simply to take the raw (A/C) power coming out of a household power socket and deliver a reliable DC current in the following voltages to the various components on the Motherboard:

  • 0V: [Mandatory]
  • -12V: [Mandatory]
  • -5V: [Optional]
  • +3.3V: [Mandatory]
  • +5V: [Mandatory]
  • +12V: [Mandatory]

The job of the Power Supply Unit is .. to take the raw (A/C) power coming out of a household power socket and deliver a reliable DC current ..

All PSUs will come with a range of connectors for supplying power to different PC components. Below is a typical PC power supply, showing the spaghetti of leads and connectors attached to it:

A Typical Power Supply

The PSU will include an integral cooling fan and the whole unit screws into the top/rear of the Computer Case.

PSUs are rated in Watts based on the maximum electrical power output they can sustain.


Connectors

Each PSU comes with a number of different power connectors, suitable to power different devices. These normally include most or all of the following:

  • A single 20 or 24 pin Motherboard Connector: main power to the Motherboard
  • One or more Molex connectors: these supply power to IDE drives
  • One or more SATA connectors: these supply power to SATA drives
  • One or more PCI connectors: these power add on PCI cards, such as graphics cards

Be sure to check that your chosen PSU provides enough connectors for all your devices before you part with any cash!


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