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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide ]

Power

Power is supplied to your computer in two stages. First, power is conveyed to the case from your electrical utility to your wall, and through the black power cord to the PC. Then, the internal power supply transforms this standard household electricity into the forms that your computer needs. Most people take electrical power for granted and don't think too much about it. This is also true of the internal power supply, which is usually just considered part of the case and given little attention. (The power supply is not part of the case!)  The power from the utility itself is taken for granted and rarely given a second thought--that is, until disaster strikes. It is my hope that by taking the time to explain in more detail how electricity works and how it powers your PC, this subject will be given more attention in the future.

How important is the quality of power you supply to your PC? This graph, which
shows the leading causes of data loss by category, gives you a pretty good idea.
(Source: Contingency Planning, via American Power Conversion)

If you are going to use your PC lightly, it is fine not to pay too much attention to power. However, as the old computer saying goes, "garbage in, garbage out". If your motherboard and components are being supplied poor-quality power, you will have problems that you wouldn't have if they received proper, high-quality power. If you plan on using your PC heavily, or if your data is important, or if you are looking for upgradeability in the future, you must pay attention to power! Power issues are responsible for more PC problems than probably any other single source, even though most people don't realize that the power is responsible. This chapter takes a look at power, both internal and external to the PC.

Next: External Power


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