So your old faithful power supply unit (PSU) (some geeky people also like to call it SMPS which is acronym for switch mode power supply) stopped working after working non-stop for many many years. Now you need a replacement, so what you do – you go online, go through a couple of online shopping sites, find some super cheap PSU and order it right away. You could be thinking that you just found a great deal, but you have made the biggest mistake in your PC assembling life. Cheap PSUs might save money at first, but they can cause serious damage later.
Here are some reasons why you should stay away from cheaper power supply units:
- No protection provided – Almost all the cheap quality PSU advertise themselves having all kinds of protections and current or voltage ratings. But not all of this information is correct. For example, I had bought one PSU that boasted of having under voltage protection but the output from the unit constantly reached way below the expected value. This resulted in the hard disk drive failing multiple times.
- Cheap quality material used – To reduce the cost of manufacturing these PSUs are made with non-standard material and it can pose a threat to the overall safety of the computer user. For example, the copper connector pins that go into the sockets of motherboard are often made of aluminum. The plastic insulation that keeps pins separate is also made of non-standard non-fire-resident plastic. This material can easily melt and cause damage to the motherboard.
- Multiple rails outside but single rail inside – Another PSU that my friend bought online promised to supply 12V over three different rails. But when a desktop PC was powered with it, the PC won’t boot if two hard disks were connected. So we opened it up and found out that there was just one 12V rail inside it. Such power supplies cannot provide enough power to all the components through a single rail. Consequently the 12V output drops suddenly and it almost always damages something.
- Slip bearing cooling fan makes noise – In high end PSU, you will see a larger cooling fan (120mm) having double-ball bearings which make it quiet, efficient and noiseless. But cheaper PSU have a smaller cooling fan (60mm) with slip bearing. Slip bearing doesn’t make that much noise in the beginning, but as soon as the oil dries up it starts to make horrible noise.
- It won’t last long – Perhaps you already know this, but if you buy a cheap no-name PSU then you will have to keep buying new units every year. One year is the usual time duration after which such cheap PSUs start to act up. Instead of piling up non-working cheap PSUs, you should invest in one good quality PSU.
So because of these different reasons you can clearly see why those cheap PSU might work for first 4-5 months, but after that they will only be causing damage to your PC’s hardware.