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Is 500 Watts Enough for a Gaming PC?

If you have ever even considered building your own gaming PC, you know how comprehensive things can get. Not only that, the costs become apparent quickly. Still, those building their own PC are not going to skimp out on every part for something cheaper.

One area that is of the utmost importance to your gaming experience is the power supply. The power supply is crucial in that it provides the proper wattage to each of the components so that they can function properly. For most gaming PC setups, a unit between 500 and 550 watts is more than enough. Still, it depends on what you are using the gaming PC for in the long run.

How Much Wattage Should Your Gaming PC Have?

This is something of a subjective answer because it really all depends on your individual setup and what you are trying to accomplish. That said, there are a wide array of factors that go into determining what kind of wattage you will need.

The type of game, the type of setup, the time spent playing, the hardware (motherboard, CPU, hard drive, and graphics processor, and the number of users that will be playing simultaneously all matter. Generally speaking, 500 to 550 watts are sufficient for most gaming setups.

Some my do fine dropping to 450 while others feel the need to get up into the 600 to 650 range. You should not need to get above 650 for almost any reason, though some of the more heavy-duty setups out there can top out at 850 watts.

How Much Electricity is Used While Gaming?

The real question that bears answering is just how much juice gets used while gaming. The unfortunate truth is that there is no baseline for power used while gaming. It comes down to the PC setup itself, the time the user spends using it, and what kind of games are being played, among other things.

The good news is that there are more than a few different ways to monitor your energy usage and get a better scope of what kind of energy output you need to have to accommodate your gaming setup accordingly.

Investing in an Energy Monitor

The best tool for finding out what kind of energy usage you have is a home energy monitor. A home energy monitor is a small device that simply tells users how much energy they are using in a room or home (depending on the monitor).

The monitor can hook right up to the fuse box, working to monitor how much power is consumed through that specific fuse. There are others that hook right onto your outlet. They have outlets on their face, allowing users to plug their PC or electrical device in while it monitors the energy output all the while.

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Having an energy monitor is a simple, yet effective means of finding out what your power consumption levels are. This helps to ensure that you have the ample levels of power needed to keep your PC running smoothly.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Power Supply

If you aren’t quite sure what direction to go in when buying a power supply, the good news is that there are a few helpful tips. There are a couple of factors in particular that can guide you along in finding the right option for your gaming PC.

Physical Size

It should come as little surprise to find out that power supplies come in different sizes and shapes. An important factor in choosing a power supply is ensuring that you have one that can fit inside your gaming PC case.

Keep in mind that it is more than the unit that must fit; the cables have to go in there as well. If you go with a unit that doesn’t comfortably go into the case, then it could cause performance issues.

Cable Type

When it comes to power supplies, there are three cable types: modular, semi-modular, and non-modular. Knowing which type of cable you need can help you make the determination as to which type of power supply you need.

There are videos that explain the differences in modularity. Make sure you check those out first before making your choice.

Number of Connectors

While there are certainly a lot more factors to consider, this is one of the other major ones. A power supply connects to more than the CPU. It also has to hook up to the motherboard, the graphics processor, and more.

Without the right number of connectors, you may be depriving one of those vital components of the power supply that it needs. Check out how many connectors you need before starting your search.

When Your PC Doesn’t Get Enough Power

There are a plethora of issues that can arise when you don’t have the proper power supply for your gaming PC. Remember that your PC can still run even without enough power to run all the components. It just means that your PC will start cutting out non-essential components first.

There are a few different things that can and will happen when your gaming PC doesn’t have the ample power to run your setup.

Blue Screen of Death

Whether you are a hardcore gamer or just someone who has used a computer a lot, there is one thing that we all fear: the blue screen of death. The blue screen of death happens when there is something fatally wrong with the computer.

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Forced shutdowns and the blue screen of death are some of the most common systems of a lack of steady power. When a PC has enough power to turn on and even function for a short while, it will eventually shut itself own or force the screen into the blue screen because it doesn’t have the power to do much of anything else.

PC Won’t Start

A clear indicator that your computer isn’t getting the requisite level of power is that it won’t start. That said, there are more than a few issues that could be at hand if your PC isn’t starting up when the power button is pressed.

It could be that the cooling fan has fried and the system overheated. It could be a loose connector somewhere along the line. Or it could be that your PC isn’t getting the level of power that it needs to properly function.

There is one hint that proves it is the power supply, however. When you go to boot the machine up, sometimes you will see the boot screen first, which can hint that the power supply may be the problem at hand. Also, if you have had a recent upgrade and the power won’t come on, it could be that you don’t have enough battery power to accommodate the upgrade.

Lots of Freezing

One of the things that any gamer wants to avoid is lagging and freezing. The former is typically a symptom of a bad internet connection. But when there is insufficient power supply, it can cause your gaming PC to freeze.

There are many who believe that gaming PCs shut down or fail when lacking power, but won’t freeze. That isn’t true, however. When there is the incorrect amount of wattage, there are voltage spikes. When the spikes are extreme enough in nature, they can cause all sorts of issues.

Bad Graphics

When your PC isn’t getting the requisite level of power, it will begin reducing any non-essential processes. When the PC starts reducing those non-essential processes, it means leaving them without the power they need to function and perform at peak capacity.

When your PC isn’t getting enough energy, one of the first places that it will go is for the graphics card. Your graphics card uses a tremendous amount of power to display all of those high-resolution graphics. But when the power supply is lacking, it won’t be able to display those graphics properly. Generally speaking, you will get some kind of error message when there is low power to the graphics card.

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