Home » Computers

Linear Power VS Switching Power Supplies

Aug 15, 2008
Choosing a power supply is one of the most important steps when building a customized computer. Since the building of customized computers have risen in popularity due largely to the gaming community as well as computer enthusiasts, it is important to understand how to choose a power supply for the ensuing stroke of genius that is created as a portal to the Internet. Without the heartbeat of electricity, and a steady stream that can handle the power built into a custom computer, even the best designed customized computers fall into the land of permanent rest.

Linear and switching power supplies are options as well as the uninterrupted power supply variety. The choice comes down to what you need for your particular computer and the amount of voltage necessary to run your new source of pride and joy.

Linear power supply is seldom the answer for customized computer. These types of energy supply require very large transformers and are extremely heavy. Unless you are a body building champion with a need to prove yourself, linear power is probably not what you want at approximately one pound per ampere. Add to that the necessity of large heat sinks to dissipate energy loss and an efficiency of about 50%, linear power options are simply too cumbersome and inefficient to meet the needs of most home computer building purposes.

Most enthusiasts choose something in the switching power supplies category since they want a computer-not a weight lifting championship. There is higher production costs involved, but these options are lighter weight and smaller-meaning they will fit in your house. Another advantage is that these power supplies are about 70-90% efficient. Since the efficient running of your computer is generally the goal, this increase in efficiency has a big pull for power supply choice.

While this sounds confusing, it really isn't. Switching power supplies use AC voltage-120V or 220V-which is generally what a house is equipped to handle anyway. There isn't any sophisticated equipment that you have to have wired into your house for its use. The main difference in the power supply needed comes in choosing the power factor correction and not in changing your plugs and house wiring to be able to use a switching power supply.

You may, however, have to increase your breaker capacity if you already have too much depending upon them when you plug your newest creation in, but that is to be expected with anything you add that uses the electrical circuits available in the average home. Another necessity is protecting your computer from power surges with a properly designed surge protector. Otherwise, there isn't much you have to do to prepare for your power supply choice.

If you are still confused, simply call up your local computer store and ask. Many of the employees in the stores can help you decide and find what you need. Always consider asking a professional computer tech who has experiencing in networking and other hardware areas of computers for the added security of getting the correct information and helpful recommendations that can make your experience with powering your computer an enjoyable one.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for computer memory, PC supplies, and computer games. When shopping, we recommend the best online stores for Linear or Switching Supply choices, computer memory, RAM, and used computer games.
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