My fellow PC Master Race members, lend my your headphones! @Madmick has given me the go ahead to start version 6 of this thread. Previous version: Sherdog PC Build/Buy Thread, V5: Stop Thinking of Your Router as a Peripheral So to start, here is a FAQ I wrote regarding power supplies...more to come later! 1 - How do I choose the right power supply? There are four major considerations when buying a power supply for your PC build. The first is form factor. Most builds are going to utilize that is the standard ATX power supply. Smaller form factor builds may use SFX supplies. Most of the time form factor of PSU you will need is dictated by your case. The second consideration what wattage rating you need in a PSU. For this you must determine the total wattage of your build. If you used PCPartpicker.com to plan your build it has a pretty good estimate of the power usage. If not, you can use one of the many utilities online such as, http://outervision.com/power-supply-calculator or http://www.coolermaster.com/power-supply-calculator/. Once you know how much wattage you build could use it is best to give yourself some head room. A good general rule is to give yourself around 100W above what you calculate. More if you are planning to get aggressive with GPU and CPU overclocks. Keep in mind that getting a higher wattage then you need will not hurt anything, just cost you a bit more. On the other hand, not having enough power can cause your system to lock up, shut down or simply not work at all. So when in doubt, more is better. Once you figure out how much wattage you need, and what factor it the next step is picking the actual unit for your build. Here, quality matters. RealHardTechX, http://www.realhardtechx.com/index_archivos/PSUReviewDatabase.html has a huge list of power supplies, by company, and links to good reviews of each unit, if available. These are in depth reviews that include testing of the supply and disassembling the unit to look at the internal components. Looking at customers reviews is simply not enough. You should simply never buy a PSU without looking a review from the likes of http://www.jonnyguru.com/, https://www.hardocp.com/ or one of the other reviews listed on the RealHardTechX site. Also, don’t expect to get a decent power supply for $20. Finally, you need to make sure the unit you have selected has the connectors you need and enough of them. All power supplies are going to have a 24-pin main power connector and an 8-pin EPS connector. However not all will have multiple 8 or 6 pin PCIE connections, or SATA connections. Again, the PCPartPicker site does a good job of warring you if this could be an issue, however it is not infallible. 2 – If I get a gold rated PSU that will be better quality than bronze rated one, right? No. The efficiency ratings for power supplies does not tell you anything about the overall quality of the unit. The efficiency rating only tells you how much of the power the unit pulls from the wall will be lost as heat. Higher rated units lose less power as heat then lower rated units. This means that a bronze rated unit must pull more power from the wall to deliver the same power as a gold rated unit. However, the difference in terms of electricity and the cost is negligible. If anything, higher rated units will stay a bit cooler, and with the variable fans on most units, be a bit quieter. So, in the end the efficiency rating should be a secondary concern. 3 – I saw that X site has a PSU tier list should I just go with what they say. No. Most the of the tier lists out there are okay but they have some issues. Many consider PSU brand far more than they should. Others make it seem like anything other than their top tier as nearly worthless. Most try hard but simply can’t keep up with the changes in the market. If you go with a “top tier” supply you are likely to get a good PSU, and may miss out on a equal or better one for less money. 4 – My friend told me that bad power supplies can destroy my PC, it this true? Yes, but today most brand name units are safe. Since Intel rolled out the ATX standard in the mid 90’s and government regulations have come in to put safety standards on power supplies it is unlikely you will find units that will set your house on fire or destroy your PC. They are still out there, so always look at reviews and remember that super cheap normally means super crappy. 5 – I’m upgrading my Dell (or other pre-built) PC, should I get a new power supply. Maybe, if you need it for the extra wattage of a video card you are adding, or other upgrade. If not, you should be okay. While pre-built PCs often don’t have top of the line power supplies they are not going to set your house on fire or kick your dog. Large companies are smart enough to understand that a rash of destroyed PCs is bad for business. 6 –Should get a power supply with all Japanese capacitors? Not necessarily. Japanese capacitors (caps) are superior to Taiwanese caps and much better then Chinese caps. The focus on cap quality goes back to what was known as the capacitor plague of the early 2000’s in which many caps would start to leak and fail in many electronics. Since then many Taiwanese and Chinese capacitor have been improving their products. Also, quality caps are important in certain parts of a power supply, were others make little difference. It is best to look at quality reviews and judge the power supple as a whole. 7 – Is there and easy way to pick a power without looking through a ton of reviews. Yes, ask someone here. Most posters here have a good idea of the quality PSUs on the market, and know where to look for reviews quick to back up what they suggest. Still, always look any suggested unit up for yourself. Trust, but verify.