What Is A Modular Power Supply

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In the computing world, the power supply is one of the most important components when building a PC. This is what allows your system to function and if for some reason you have a faulty power supply and it fails, everything will stop working properly.

For most users, the power supply is also probably the most confusing component. There are many types and they all have their advantages and disadvantages.

In this article What Is A Modular Power Supply, I will focus on modular power supplies. I will discuss in detail what a modular power supply is, how it works, and what are the main types, so without further ado, let’s get started.

What is Modular Power Supply?

Modular power supply units, or PSUs, allow you to connect only the power cables that your PC will need. It differs from a normal power supply in that all its power cords are permanently connected and are not removable.

This minimizes cable nesting in your case, ensuring that you’re only managing those that your PC uses.

Traditional power supplies come with non-removable cables, so if you don’t need that extra PCI-E power connector, you have no choice but to look for it elsewhere.

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Modular power supplies: are they always as good or better than the rest?

From a purely probabilistic standpoint, yes, a modular PSU is likely to be of better quality than a regular PSU, as they are among the more “premium” products offered by manufacturers.

However, this does not mean that wonderful modular power supplies do not exist. Definitely don’t take modularity as a sure sign of quality.

Modular power supply type

There are a few different types of power supply units available in the market, namely; Modular, semi-modular, and non-modular. What this means can be a bit confusing, so hopefully this helps you better understand the three different types of power supplies when shopping for a new power supply.

Non-modular PSUs

Non-modular power supplies already have all cables connected to the power supply. They generally feel less premium than their modular counterparts feel, have color-coded cables that are generally uncluttered, and have an overall vintage look. It makes sense to invest in such a product if aesthetics are not a good selling point for you and you are on a tight budget.

Still, don’t let it get to you. The low-end power supply continues to function in the same way as the high-end power supply. If you are buying from a reputable manufacturer and consider the total energy consumption of your components before buying, you have to be sure. Make sure you receive at least 80+ Bronze certifications, as this is an investment in both energy efficiency and reliability.

Semi-modular

When it comes to semi-modular PSUs, the PSU only has the most essential cables pre-installed for your PC. This ensures that there is very little clutter in terms of cabling, making cable management much easier and slightly cheaper than fully modular power supplies.

The cables that need to be pre-installed are shown below

  • 8-pin CPU
  • Single PCI
  • SATA / Molex
  • a 24-pin ATX

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A fully modular power supply

Lastly, we have a fully modular PSU and surprisingly all cables are routed separately.

If your budget allows, there is no shortage of fully modular power supplies and you may be wondering why to bother going completely modular if you are going to connect those important cables independently.

While this may be a good point, fully modular PSUs are still highly recommended and compatible with a variety of colored power cords, with their construction adding an extra design touch.

The main advantages of fully modular power supplies are similar to those of semi-modular power supply units:

Airflow is greatly increased due to greater flexibility in cable management and a few extra plugs to route cables to the power supply. You also won’t have a “nest” in the middle of your case, as only the cables you need will be used.

Thanks to the fewer cables placed inside the case, less dust will accumulate. The lack of cables and extra space in the case equals lower temperatures and happier components.

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Advantages of a Modular Power Supply

Cost-effectiveness

Thanks to capitalism, falling prices, improvements in technology, and the sustainability of your designs over the decades, you can get a truly stellar non-modular power supply for much less than its modular counterparts. If you have a fixed budget and you have to choose between a really good but not modular or mediocre but not modular power supply, which option is best for you?

Easy for new builders

Semi-modular power supplies are by far the easiest for new builders, as most of the necessary cables come pre-installed. “Most” because some models may come with only one of the following cables already installed and others with all of them:

Cold temperature

The biggest advantage of modular power supplies is that you can remove any cables you don’t need. Most users only need four or five cables. This leads to better cable management, better cooling, and lower temperatures, which translates to better performance for the rest of your hardware.

Space classification

A modular power supply is a boon for those facing the problem of small form factors. Apart from the obvious lack of space, miniature boxes also have very limited cable-handling facilities.

Since everything is so packed into a small form factor enclosure, you can replace your standard length (~60cm) power cord with a smaller one. This frees up even more space in your computer case.

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Disadvantages of Modular Power Supply

Connectors may fail after repeated use

The first modular power supplies did not have the most reliable connectors. Because of the problems with some of them, people used to think that all modular PSUs are less reliable than their non-modular counterparts.

While this is no longer a problem, it doesn’t mean that new power supplies have better connectors that are designed to be plugged in and unplugged every day. As Murphy’s law says, anything that can fail will fail. Don’t overdo it.

Incorrect wiring is dangerous

Although they may appear similar, the cables may be incompatible on modular and semi-modular PSUs. When working with a removable power cord, always refer to the manual for the device. Recheck each cable and connector. Never mix or swap them. And when shopping for a replacement cable, make sure it’s specifically compatible with the power source you’re buying it for.

Fixed cable length

If the cable is too short, it may not easily reach a component. Too long and it can add loops to the wiring chaos. With a modular power supply, you can fix that. With non-modular cables pre-installed in semi-modules, you’re stuck with what you have.

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Conclusion

Finally, what is a modular power supply? For each type of power supply. Depending on the context, any of the three PSU types above may be the best or the worst option.

Generally speaking, most PC users will want to use semi-modular or non-modular power supplies; The latter appeals to the average gamer who wants to prioritize profitability and doesn’t really care about aesthetics, while the former will appeal to them. . More experienced PC manufacturers who pay special attention to the aesthetics of their structure and cable management.

They clearly have unique advantages when it comes to fully modular units, but in most cases, semi-modular units will be the best option for most people. They are cheap and have no major drawbacks due to the inability to customize the length and color of each wire. However, the market for fully modular power supplies is and will remain, albeit relatively small.

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