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Saturday, 7 February 2015

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Different Connectors on PSU Explained

You know what is the required wattage that you want on your Power Supply Unit (PSU), you got the right brand and now you came home happily just to find out that the PSU doesn't have all the required connectors for you high end gaming rig! Hurts by just imagining right? Don't worry I'll not let such a nightmare happen with you guys as long as you read my blog obviously.
Today I'll explain the various connectors and cables available on a PSU and their usage so that you don't buy yourself a unit that doesn't match up with the rest of your parts.
The following is the list of all the connectors available on a Power Supply Unit:
  • 20 + 4 Pin ATX or Motherboard Connector
  • ATX 12V or the 4-pin CPU Connector
  • EPS 12V or the 8-pin CPU Connector
  • PCI-e 6-pin or PCI-e 8-pin power connector
  • SATA Power connector
  • Peripheral Connector
  • Floppy Drive Power Connector


20 + 4 Pin ATX or Motherboard Connector

This is the most common cable and is universally found  on all the power Supply Units available. It is the largest of the lot and has 24-pins which goes in the motherboard socket to power it. Some motherboards require all the 24-pins and are called ATX12V 2.x motherboards whereas some use only 20-pins and are called ATX12V 1.x motherboards.
The latter is made by removing the extra 4-pins off the connector and is used by only old models which I'm sure you'll not get if you are building a new rig.

ATX 12V or the 4-pin CPU Connector

This is the 4-pin connector which supplies electrical current to your CPU and is mandatory to connect in the motherboard provided you are not using the EPS12V connector which is explained below. The ATX12V 4-pin connector is used by a majority of processors be it Intel or AMD. 
Even the power hungry FX series by AMD requires only a 4-pin CPU connector uptil the hexa-core series. So this is more important to have in a general picture best if you have a pair of these on the PSU.

EPS 12V or the 8-pin CPU Connector

This is the same as above just that it has double the pins that is 8-pins and can provide more current to the processor, hence is required by heavy duty processors like the AMD FX 8350 or Intel i7 5960X. 
This connector is not available on all PSU nor is available on all the motherboards. Some Power Supply Unit come with a pair of ATX12V 4-pin connectors to be used as a single EPS12V 8-pin connector just in case but it is always recommended that you buy a PSU with a EPS12V 8-pin connector in-case your motherboard and processor require it.

PCI-e 6-pin or PCI-e 8-pin power connector

If you are a gamer, a graphic designer or anyone who needs high graphic power mustered through big graphics card then this is the section you must read. These connectors are used to power the mid range to high end graphics card used in a desktop PC. Budget and low-end graphics card do not need them as they draw their power from the motherboard PCI-Express x16 slot only.
The 6-pin variant is used by all the graphic cards that require extra power whereas the 8-pin is required by high end graphics card. All power supply units come with at-least one 6-pin PCI-e connector whereas the higher wattage or newer ones come with multiple cables of having the same connector head. The new PCI Express 8 Pin cable can provide maximum of 150 Watts power which is the double that of the PCI Express 6 Pin cable i.e. 75 Watts. This is the reason why its used by only high end graphics card and rarely by mid range cards.
Also if you have only one 6-pin PCI-e connector and are in a need of two, you can convert any of the peripheral cables to a 6-pin connector with an adapter and save yourself the expense of a new PSU.

SATA Power connector  

Its generally a flat 15-pin connector used to power your Hard Disk Drives (HDD), Solid State Drives (SDD) or your DVD drives. A PSU should ideally have the same number of SATA connectors as the number of HDD/SSD you'll use. Just in case you need an extra SATA cable just convert any of the peripheral cables into one with an adapter.

Peripheral Connector

Peripheral 4 Pin Molex Connector is used to provide power to IDE devices and other peripherals like Fans, case lights etc. You can also use this Molex 4 pin connector to power other devices like SATA devices, Graphics cards etc. by the use of converters or adapters e.g. Molex to SATA power connector etc. 

Floppy Drive Power Connector

This 4 pin power connector is used to power floppy drives. Floppy Drives are not being used commonly, but in some cases they can prove very useful.

Well that are all the connectors that exist so far and their availability varies with respect to brands and wattage. Cheap PSU have less of these whereas a expensive PSU of the same wattage may have more. So choose accordingly and if you are not short on budget just follow one line, more wattage is always better!
Feel free to leave a comment or a query if you have one.

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