PC Hardware Help

Upgrade Power Supply Guide

Why would you need to upgrade your PC's power supply? After upgrades are made to a PC or new components are added, your power supply may not provide enough wattage or amps to effectively power all the components in your computer. To test your power supply, simply load up a CPU/GPU intensive program while powering on as many devices as possible in your PC at the same time. If everything works correctly and no errors occur, your current power supply is likely fine for your current power draw needs.

If you encounter any problems under high load with multiple devices running, this means it might be time for a power supply upgrade. If you would like to be precise, you can add up the total wattage the components of your PC require and compare that to the wattage rating of your power supply. If the wattage your power supply provides is not enough or barely enough it would be safe to purchase and install a new power supply that can handle the wattage required with plenty of headroom to spare.

Also, if you encounter any technical problems with a power supply the easiest fix is to simply replace it with a brand new unit. Power supplies can carry a high charge long after being unplugged. It would be very dangerous to try and service a problemed power supply on your own. They are relatively inexpensive so don't risk it.

Recommended Power Supplies
Corsair 650w TXv2 Corsair 650w TXv2
Up to 85% energy efficiency at real world load conditions
Cooler Master Upgrade PSU Cooler Master Silent Pro 1000w
Single +12V rail for up to 80A for high demanding SLI, Modular
Antec PSU Antec HCG-900 900w
NVIDIA SLI ready and ATI crossFire certify, heavy-duty High Current connectors

Remove Old Power Supply

First, before you do anything else, turn of the power to the PC and remove the power cord. After the power has been cut, remove the PC case side panel to gain access to the PC interior.

Once the power supply has been located, remove all PSU power cables and connections from the components of your PC. You may need to first remove other devices before the power supply can safely be removed. For example, you may need to remove hard drives, expansion cards, or other hardware within the general area around the power supply.

Once you have access to the power supply and all connections have severed with other components out of the way, procede to remove the screws on the back of the PC that attach the power supply to the case and remove the entire power supply unit.

Do NOT attempt to remove the casing from the power supply. This is unnecessary and very dangerous.

Install New Power Supply

After the old power supply has been disposed of, place the new power supply in position and slide it into place. Screw the power supply in securely and replace any other devices that were removed. Connect the motherboard power connector and all other power connections to the appropriate devices just as they were with the old unit. Power on the PC to verify the new power supply is working properly. Lastly, turn off the PC and replace the case side panels. You now have a power supply installed to meet your wattage and amperage requirements.

Tips for Choosing a Power Supply

When purchasing a new power supply, focus more on getting a quality PSU with enough wattage to meet your power consumption needs. Many cheap power supplies offer a high wattage rating, but this can be misleading as they are often measured for peak output and could be of lower quality than another power supply with a lesser wattage rating. If you plan on overclocking, a high quality power supply that provides more wattage than your individual PC components specify will be necessary, as the hardware will draw more power with higher clock cycles.

For more information, see our page on power supplies.