What is the difference between Operating Temperature vs. System Reliability?

At elevated temperatures a silicon device can fail catastrophically, but even if it doesn’t, its electrical characteristics frequently undergo intermittent or permanent changes.Manufacturers of processors and other computer components specify a maximum operating temperature for their products. Most devices are not certified to function properly beyond 50°C-80°C (122°F-176°F). However, in a loaded PC with standard cooling, operating temperatures can easily exceed the limits. The result can be memory errors, hard disk read-write errors, faulty video, and other problems not commonly recognized as heat related.

The life of an electronic device is directly related to its operating temperature. Each 10°C (18°F) temperature rise reduces component life by 50%*. Conversely, each 10°C (18°F) temperature reduction increases component life by 100%. Therefore, it is recommended that computer components be kept as cool as possible (within an acceptable noise level) for maximum reliability, longevity, and return on investment.

* Based on the Arrhenius equation, which says that time to failure is a function of e-Ea/kT where Ea = activation energy of the failure mechanism being accelerated, k = Boltzmann’s constant, and T = absolute temperature.

How do I significantly reduce computer downtime with very little expense?

When you consider the amount of downtime caused by faulty power supplies and cooling fans-and the minimal expense for these vital components-why settle for less than the best? Insist on “bullet proof” upgrades from PC Power & Cooling.
Source: Strategic Research Corporation.

My computer is dead. Is there a way to check my power supply?

Go to our ATX Power Supply Troubleshooting Guide..

What power supply do I need for my computer?

Go to our Power Supply Selector.

If I were to upgrade to a higher-wattage power supply, will it hurt my system?

Absolutely not. Your computer will only draw the amount of power it needs. The extra capacity of a higher-wattage unit will improve the power supply’s operating range, regulation, hold time, ripple, cooling, and MTBF.

How can a user compare wattage ratings among PSU manufacturers?

In order to compare wattage ratings, a consumer needs to know if the manufacturer’s rating is for continuous power or peak power. If “continuous” is not clearly stated on the label or in the specs, assume the rating is peak and deduct 20% for an estimate of the true wattage.

A consumer also needs to know if the wattage rating is at room temperature (25° C) or at operating temperature (40° C). If the wattage rating in the specs does not clearly state the full-load temperature, assume the rating is at 25° C and deduct 20% for an estimate of the true wattage.

If the wattage rating is for peak power at 25° C (both de-rating conditions exist), deduct 40% for an estimate of the true wattage.

What are the components that draw the most power and force users to upgrade their PSUs? (e.g. dual-core chips, top graphics cards, drives)

Video cards draw the most power and are the primary reason for PSU upgrades. All three components draw from the 12 volt output, so the 12V rating is by far the most important spec today.

My computer will turn on, but will not boot. Could it be my power supply?

Check the output voltages with a voltmeter or a power supply tester. If they’re all within 5% of nominal (5.0V, 12.0V, etc), the problem is probably motherboard or software related. To confirm, swap-in a spare power supply (known to be good). You can also purchase one of our Power Supply Testers from our website or one of the big retailers (Amazon, NewEgg, MicroCenter, TigerDirect.com, etc.)

My computer locks up. Could it be my power supply?

This is most likely a motherboard, video, or software problem. After ruling out these causes, try a higher-wattage power supply (known to be good).

My computer intermittently shuts off. Could it be my power supply?

Power supplies have a circuit called Over Current Protection. If a component in the computer malfunctions intermittently (make sure cards are seated properly), it will draw excessive current, trip the OCP circuit, and shut off the computer. Our ATX Troubleshooting Guide will help you determine if the problem is in your supply or elsewhere in your computer. For a more complete test, order our ATX Power Supply Tester. Contact our sales team at 760-931-5700.

My computer is noisy. Is my power supply bad?

First, determine the primary source of the noise. The CPU fan, video fan, case fans, and hard drives may be producing far more noise than the power supply itself. Next, isolate the noise from the power supply from the other sources. If the noise is the sound of rushing air, it’s normal. And, in a heavily loaded system, the noise can be quite noticeable. If the noise is a grinding mechanical noise or a high pitch electrical whine, call for further assistance (760) 931-5700 or complete a Support/RMA ticket.

Are the voltages indicated by my motherboard monitoring software accurate?

Usually not. To check the accuracy, use a high-quality voltmeter to measure the +5V (red) and +12V (yellow) on an unused drive connector while the computer is running. Note: the GND lead from the voltmeter goes to a black lead on the drive connector. You can also purchase one of our Power Supply Testers from our website or one of the big retailers (Amazon, NewEgg, MicroCenter, etc.).

How do I test my power supply before installing it?

Follow steps 4-7 of our ATX Troubleshooting Guide. For a more complete test, order our ATX Power Supply Tester.

Can I mount my power supply upside down?

The orientation doesn’t matter as long as the power supply’s fan is blowing air out the back of the computer case and there is sufficient free space for the supply’s air intake. Most supplies now have the fan on the top of the supply and this fan blows air into the supply and out the back of the case.

Can my power supply be used in Europe (230V input)?

Yes. All our power supplies have PFC, which enables the supply to run on any input voltage between 90VAC and 264VAC (no switch required).

What exactly is PFC? What are the advantages?

Power factor (PF) is the ratio of true power (watts) divided by apparent power (volts x amps or VA). A standard power supply has a power factor of .7, while a supply with active power factor correction (PFC) has a PF of .95-.99. A power supply with PFC is better able to convert current into power. This results in lower peak current and lower harmonic current, putting less stress on wiring, breakers, and transformers.

Can I customize my power supply?

Go to our Custom Options page.

What is 80 Plus Certification?

80 Plus certification is a testing and certification program intended to promote efficient energy use in computer power supplies. Power supplies are tested at 20%, 50% & 100% load and then efficiency readings must meet set standards for the different approval levels.

What is SLI ready and Crossfire ready?

SLI ready and Crossfire ready means the power supply has sufficient power and connectors to power multiple video cards at the same time.

What are each of the connectors used for?

Our Connector Description and Illustration page will show you what each connector is used for and what voltage is on each wire for troubleshooting purposes.

Which models are Haswell compatible?

All of our power supplies will work with Haswell systems.

How can I request an RMA?

To request an RMA please complete our Support/RMA Ticket . We will then respond with an RMA number and further instructions.