One of the big questions we get asked around here is, how do I tell what power supply I have? For many, trying to figure out the make, model, and wattage of their PSU is hugely problematic. Fortunately, we get asked this question a bunch around here and now the quickest and easiest ways to check what PSU your system is utilizing.
In the following guide, we’ll be explaining exactly how to check what power supply you have. Methods will include how to check your power with (and without) taking off your side panel, alongside a bunch of useful tips that may make your next hardware purchase a little more informed.
So, with much to get through, let’s waste no further time and dive straight into it!
Method 1: Take Your Panel Off
The first, and arguably easiest, way to check what power supply you have is to simply take the panel off your chassis and have a look. Whilst this may scare some of the less technically-minded individuals out there, there’s no doubting this is the easiest way to check what PSU you have. Most side panels are held on with a few simple thumb screws, so taking it off is incredibly simple. Once you’re inside the case, all you really have to do is look at the PSU – which, in most cases, will showcase the manufacturer, make, and wattage of the PSU.
If the PSU in your PC is awkwardly positioned, you may have to take it out to see the manufacturer’s label. This may require removing cables or unscrewing the PSU from the rear of the case. Luckily, this is extremely rare, and nines times out of ten, your PSU label will be on display.
Method 2: Refer To The Manufacturer Website
This second method only really works if your PC was purchased as a prebuilt. In this scenario, the website you bought the PC from should have a full parts list that you can use to find out exactly what PSU you have. Alternatively, prebuilt PCs normally come with a parts list included with the documentation. Simply browsing that should allow you to determine which PSU and wattage your PC has.
Why Do You Need To Check Your Power Supply?
The most important time to check what PSU you have is right before an upgrade. New generations of hardware (or just a same-gen upgrade) usually require a decent amount of additional power to run efficiently. For example, moving from a 2080Ti to a 3080Ti will naturally require around 50-100 additional wattage of power. This is usually the case with any hardware upgrade, so understanding what you have to play with (in terms of wattage) is hugely important.
Why not check out our PSU calculator where you can calculate exactly how much wattage your new hardware will require.
Understanding Your Power Supply
If truth be told, PSUs can be some of the most difficult components to properly understand. You can categorize them by wattage, efficiency, and modularity – to name the most common. For that reason, choosing the next power supply for your build can be a tricky little prospect.
Fortunately, we’re here to lend a helping hand – and have summarized each for your peace of mind.
The first and most important factor you should consider before purchasing a PSU is the wattage. The wattage of your PSU refers to how much power it can deliver to your system. If you don’t have enough wattage for your PC parts, your system simply won’t load. Worse yet, you could potentially damage some of the hardware by not providing adequate wattage.
Everything affects wattage, including RGB, overclocking, and even water cooling.
Luckily, you can calculate how much power you require using our simple PSU calculator.
Next up we have efficiency. If you have a little bit of experience with PSUs, you may have noticed its efficiency ‘rating’ – often labelled 80+ bronze, silver, gold, and so on. This refers to how efficient the PSU is at delivering the wattage from the wall to the PC. Often, many lower-quality PSUs will struggle to provide decent efficiency at the higher end of the ‘curve’.
That’s not all though, alongside efficiency, the rating also helps us understand how safe the PSU is. Whilst the chances of a PSU bursting into flames is incredibly slim, it still does happen – even more so when your PSU has no efficiency rating whatsoever.
Finally, we have modularity. Modularity is more in reference to the physical design of your PSU. Whilst it won’t affect physical dimensions, it definitely affects the cables that go to and from your power supply.
For modularity, PSUs can be divided into three clear categories – Fully modular, semi-modular, and non-modular.
Non-modular is the least desirable of the bunch, coming equipped with cables that can not be removed – at all. Semi-modular, by comparison, offers a design where some of the cables can be removed. And fully modular – that’s right, you guessed it – boast the ability to have all their cables removed.
So, there you have it, another quick guide on how to check what power supply your computer has. Ultimately, the easiest way to find out is by simply taking the panel off your chassis. However, I understand not everyone has that luxury, so alternative methods are reuqired.
Remember, if you’re looking to upgrade, overclock, or just making sure your PSU offers sufficient power, remember to always check your PSU. It could save you time, money, and a lot of stress.