Understanding exactly which model you have is essential if you’re looking to upgrade your computer, optimize your system’s performance, or troubleshoot various reliability issues. With this comprehensive yet easy-to-follow guide, you’ll be able to find out the information that you need in no time.
Why Should You Check What Power Supply You Have?
If you’re reading this guide, you probably already have a specific reason in mind as to why you should check what power supply you have in your PC. But you may not be aware of other compelling reasons why this knowledge can be useful.
Here are a few key reasons why knowing your power supply is essential:
Planning PC Upgrades: Knowing your power supply’s wattage is vital when planning to add new components or upgrade the existing ones. Your PSU needs to have enough capacity to support your system’s increased power demand.
Lowering Your Energy Bill: Understanding your PSU’s efficiency rating can help you save on your energy bill. The more efficient the power supply is, the less energy is wasted as heat, and the more money is saved in the long run.
Improving System Stability: An underpowered or failing power supply can cause the system instability including random restarts or crashes. Knowing your PSU can help in identifying if it’s the source of such issues.
CPU & GPU Overclocking: For those who are looking to squeeze out extra performance by overclocking your CPU or GPU, having a reliable and sufficiently powerful PSU is crucial to avoid damaging your components.
PC Troubleshooting: Unusual PC behavior can sometimes be traced back to power supply issues. Being familiar with your PSU is a significant step in diagnosing and resolving these potential problems.
Clearly, it’s not just tech geeks who can benefit from checking their power supply. Anyone who’s serious about their computer’s performance and health should familiarize themselves with the steps that are described in the next section of this guide.
Method 1: Read the Label on Your PSU
Most power supplies come with an information label that provides all the information that you may possibly need to know about your PSU, including the following:
Brand and Model: The make and model of your power supply are typically prominent features on the label which makes them easy to identify.
Serial Number: Every PSU comes with a unique serial number which is useful for warranty claims and authenticity checks.
Maximum Power Output: This rating, usually given in watts, tells you the maximum amount of power that the PSU can supply to your PC’s components.
Efficiency Rating: The power supply’s efficiency at converting the AC power into the DC power is represented by this rating which is assigned by the 80 Plus voluntary certification program.
AC Input and DC Output Ratings: These figures show the range of AC power that the PSU can accept from the outlet and the DC power that it can distribute to different parts of your PC.
However, it’s important to note that the information label is usually not readable unless you physically access the inside of your PC and, in some situations, remove the PSU from the case.
Needless to say, opening your PC case and handling the internal components should always be done with care because it comes with certain risks such as potential electrical hazards and damage to sensitive parts. Here are some precautions that you should take:
Unplug your PC: First and foremost, disconnect your PC from the wall outlet (flipping the switch on the PSU isn’t safe enough).
Ground yourself: Prevent static electricity build up by touching a metal pipe or using an anti-static wrist strap.
Be extra careful: If something isn’t coming out easily, don’t force it.
With these precautions in mind, here’s what you need to do to read the informational label on your PSU:
Open your PC case: All cases are different, but most can be opened by removing two rear screws and sliding open one of the sides.
Locate the PSU: Your PSU should be located at the top or bottom rear of the case. If it’s not visible, it’s possible that it’s hidden by a shroud. In such cases, it’s necessary to remove the PSU to read the label. If both the PSU and the label are visible, you can skip to the last step.
Disconnect all PSU cables: Modular PSUs make this easy because you can disconnect the cables from the PSU itself. For non-modular PSUs, take a moment to follow each cable to its connection point and carefully unplug it.
Remove the PSU: Remove the screws that attach your PSU to the case. Once those are out, carefully lift the PSU out of the case and be mindful not to bump or scrape other components.
Read the informational label: Now that the PSU is out and you have full access, you should easily locate the label. We recommend you to take a picture of the label with your phone so that you don’t ever have to go through these steps again.
By following these steps, you’ll be able to identify your power supply’s make, model, and other specifications to help you make informed decisions about your PC.
Method 2: Check the Website of Your PC Manufacturer or Seller
If you’re an owner of a prebuilt PC, the detailed information about your PSU should be readily available on the website of your PC manufacturer or seller. To locate it, you need to:
Identify the make and model of your PC: This information is often located on a sticker or badge on the outside of your machine. If it isn’t, check the original packaging or user manual that came with your PC. Furthermore, it should also be mentioned on the invoice or receipt that you received when purchasing the computer.
Visit the manufacturer’s or seller’s website: Navigate to the website of your PC’s manufacturer or seller such as Dell, HP, Lenovo, Best Buy, Amazon, or Newegg.
Search for your PC model: Look for a search bar on the website which is usually located at the top of the page. Enter your PC’s model name and/or number there. Once you find your specific model, navigate to the “Specifications” or “Product Details” section and look for information about your PSU.
Note: If the specifications don’t explicitly mention the power supply unit (PSU), or if you’re simply having difficulty in finding the information, don’t hesitate to contact the customer service. After all, they’re there to help.
Method 3: Search Your Email for a Receipt
Have you purchased your PSU online? Then, there’s a good chance that you received an electronic receipt via email. This receipt should include the specific model of your PSU. Here’s what you need to do to find it:
Locate the purchase receipt: Start by searching your email for the receipt. Use the search bar in your email client, and enter the relevant keywords like the name of the store where you bought your power supply from, the date of purchase, or simply “power supply” or “PSU.”
Check for relevant information: Once you find the email, look for a detailed summary of your order. If you bought a prebuilt PC, the power supply might be listed with the other components. If you bought a PSU separately, the model should be clearly stated in the email receipt.
Find more information about the PSU online: If the email contains a model name or number but with no specifications, you can use this information to look up the PSU’s specifications on the manufacturer’s website or other online sources.
Tip: Can’t find the purchase receipt in your inbox? Don’t despair! The website where you made the purchase probably keeps a history of your transactions. Simply log in to your account, go to your order history or past purchases, and look for the relevant order.
Understanding the specific power supply unit (PSU) in your PC can greatly assist with potential upgrades, troubleshooting, and overall system optimization. You can easily find this information by examining the label on the PSU itself, checking your PC manufacturer’s website, or reviewing your purchase receipt as explained in detail in this guide.
Is it possible to check my PSU’s power rating in BIOS?
No, it’s not possible to check your PSU’s power rating through BIOS. While BIOS can provide information on many different aspects of your system, it doesn’t have the ability to read the power rating from your PSU.
Can I use a software application to check what power supply I have?
Most PSUs don’t communicate directly with the software layer of your PC which makes it impossible for software solutions to extract this kind of information. However, there is one notable exception to this general rule: Corsair’s HXi Series of power supplies which is compatible with the Corsair iCUE Software.
Can I use a PSU with a higher wattage than my system needs?
Yes, having a PSU with a higher wattage than your system needs won’t harm your PC. In fact, it can provide a headroom for future upgrades.