On the Modularity of CPU Power Supply Options

September 7, 2021

Do you know what your computer power supply is? Many people don’t. A power supply unit (PSU) converts AC to DC electricity for use in a PC, and its wattage is the measure of how much total electrical power it can continuously produce.

At Xidax, we’re proud to offer a wide range of computing products, from desktops and laptops to custom gaming computers, workstations and many other options. Along with these services, we’re happy to assist our clients with all their power and PSU needs, ensuring their devices will be optimally-powered for all their potential needs.

There are three types of computer power – modular, semi-modular, and non-modular – and they each have their own benefits and downfalls. Let’s take a look at them now to help you understand how each of them works.

Non Modular Power Supply

Non-modular power supplies do not have any cables that can be detached and swapped for other cables. This means that all cables are permanently attached, which is the most restrictive of all three options. One of the benefits to this is that it can be smaller than modular or semi-modular power supplies, which saves valuable space in your case or area.

The main downside to this type of PSU is how inflexible they are in terms of customizing your build. Non modular supplies are often used for those who have a limited budget for their power, but they’re not ideal for higher-value operations because their cables can gather dust and negatively impact airflow inside the unit.

Semi-Modular Power Supply

Semi-modular power supplies are a step up from non-modular as they offer a more modular experience. However, they still requires you to purchase cables separately and can be expensive for people on a tight budget. They’re also not as compact as the non-modular option and are often slightly bulkier than they need to be.

The benefit of a semi-modular power source is that, as the name suggests, you can remove and replace cables on your own. This allows you to customize many aspects of your build more easily. You won’t be stuck with extra wires taking up space inside your computer case or other areas throughout it, and this in turn allows you to save money in certain cable and setup areas.

However, these power supplies are still restrictive in other areas. This is why they’re not the best option for high-performance builds. Since you can’t upgrade certain internal components like graphics cards and motherboards, you’ll need to buy new cables if your build changes at all throughout its lifespan.

Fully Modular Power Supply

The final option in the list of computer power supply types is the fully modular power supply. These are a great option for new builders, as they allow you to optimize your build on an individual level. This includes adding or changing cables to fit your needs.

These power supplies also provide excellent performance, which means they’re a good option for high-performance builds that need some extra juice. They have the best airflow of any of the choices we’ve gone over here, largely due to improved cable management flexibility and extra sockets. Because of this, there will be less risk of dust buildup within the case, plus lower temperatures and components that work optimally.

With these options, you have the freedom to change many aspects of your build and customize it in many ways without worrying about whether it’ll be restricted by any limitations that come with non-modular or semi-modular options.

There are downsides to this type of PSU though: It’s expensive and can’t always be easily installed in smaller cases. This doesn’t mean that the semi-modular or non-modular options will fit in every case, but fully modular PSUs are often larger than they need to be, which means you can get into trouble when trying to install them in smaller cases.

Making Your Selection

The key thing to keep in mind with your PSU selection is how much you’re willing to spend on it. While a fully modular power supply will offer you more in terms of customizing your build, it’ll cost you much more money than the other options.

Here are a couple of the other factors that should play a role here:

  • Many people like to focus only on the wattage of the power supply, and not the airflow it provides. But the latter is an important aspect in determining what types of builds are best suited for different power supplies. All three types of power supply have different levels of airflow (semi-pulled, non-pulled, or fully-pulled). Semi-pulled and fully pulled will give you the best air flow, as they remove cables from the unit that are not needed at that time, which can reduce dust buildup. The downside to this is that they may be bulky or too expensive for some people who need a high level of performance. Non-pulled has reduced airflow since all cables stay in place. This type of power supply is good for standard builds but isn’t the best option for high performance due to lack of airflow.
  • The operating temperatures for the power supply typically range between 10-50 degrees Celsius. The cooling system, however, can make it function better in certain situations. If you’re looking into buying a semi-modular or non-modular power supply, be sure to check out how well the cooling system works in these types of cases.
  • Finally, consider the aesthetics and appearance of the PSU you’re purchasing. This is an area where non-modular power supplies tend to do much worse, as they contain bulky masses of cables that aren’t found in modular and semi-modular builds.

For more on choosing the right type of power supply unit for your computer, or to learn about any of our custom gaming computers or other services, speak to the staff at Xidax today.

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