The power supply of your PC is perhaps the most overlooked component of your system. When it’s behaving as it should, you don’t notice it’s even there, but when it starts to fail, your desktop PC can exhibit any number of strange behaviors. If your PC is suffering from seemingly random reboots or doesn’t start at all, the power supply unit (PSU) might be the culprit. In this Tech Tip, I’ll tell you how you can install or replace an ATX power supply in your PC.
TIP: I recommend buying slightly over the minimum requirements when you can afford it, generally a power supply unit will perform more efficiently when it’s not being pushed to its maximum capacity, and you may want to leave some headroom for future expansion.To install your power supply you will need a Phillips-head screwdriver and a flat workspace. You will also need four screws, but those will either be provided along with your power supply or you can reuse the ones that are in your current power supply. Disconnect all of your peripherals and unplug your system. Start with it laying on its side with its side panel removed, and the motherboard facing up. Disperse any static charge that may have built up on your body by touching your skin to the metal portion of your case.
You may just want to just take your PSU out to clean it up. Blasting it with a few shots of compressed air (take it outdoors first!) can alleviate some noise issues that can occur as dust builds up over time.
With your old unit out of the picture, you should be ready to install your new PSU. Gently place the new unit inside the case so that its screw holes line up with the holes in the case. The connection for the AC power cord should be facing to the outside of the case. Plug in each of the required connectors.
Here is a checklist of connections:
- One (1) 20/24-pin main connector
- One (1) 4/8-pin ATX12V connector
- Any required hard drives or optical drive connector(s)
- 6/8-pin PCI Express video card power connector(s)
Following these steps, you should be able to install and remove a power supply from most standard cases, a handy skill for anyone to have.