The power supply is the part of the PC that allows your PC to turn on so that you can use it. Having a good power supply will allow you to keep your computer safe and prevent it from shutting down.
Your power supply lifespan is very important to the lifespan of your computer.
So, how long does a power supply last?
A power supply should last around 5-10 years under normal use. However, if your power supply is constantly under a high load that is over the recommended wattage, then this can reduce the PSU’s lifespan.
It is important to compare the wattage of your power supply to the wattage of your PC so, that you can buy a power supply that supports the amount of power your PC uses. This will extend the life of your power supply and keep it running for longer.
How Does a Power Supply Work?
A power supply works by plugging into the wall and converting the AC electricity that comes out of the wall into DC electricity, which powers your whole computer.
The power supply is what allows your whole computer to work and function. It brings power to the CPU, GPU, motherboard, case, computer case, hard drives, and any other components your computer has installed in it. Without the power supply, your computer would not function.
What is The Lifespan of The Power Supply?
There are many different components inside the power supply that allow it to function. These components work together so that the power supply can power the rest of your computer.
The power supply is full of moving parts and electrical currents that all have their own lifespan so it is important to know how long each of these last to get a general idea of how long your power supply will be working for.
1. Power Supplies Cooling Fan
The cooling fan attached to the power supply prevents the power supply from overheating.
Most cooling fans can last for years around 5-10 years to be exact, but the lower quality the power supply the lower quality the cooling fan probably is.
Which means the lifespan can be shorter.
Here is an article that talks about How Long a Computer Fan Will Last.
Once the power supplies cooling fan gets older it will start to slow down and need to draw more power from the power supply.
This can cause the power supply to use more than its recommended power output and cause the lifespan of the power supply to decrease, and it might even cause the power supply to overheat.
If the power supply overheats it can lead to further damage to other computer parts.
2. The Power Supplies Capacitors
The power supplies capacitors allow for the electric currents to pass through and power the computer. These capacitors are usually made up of aluminum foil.
The conductors in a power supply are electrolytic capacitors, which means that the heat makes them evaporate.
This can be bad especially if you are constantly running your computer at very high speeds and need to perform very demanding tasks 24/7.
Once the electrolytes in the capacitor evaporate it can be very hard to keep the capacitor cool, which means that the heat will transfer to other parts of the power supply causing the power supply to overheat.
However, it should still be a long time before any of this happens. It should take around 10-15 years before the capacitor’s electrolytes fully evaporate.
3. The Power Supplies Coils
The power supply coils are some of the most durable pieces of the power supply.
The reason for this is that they just conduct heat and don’t have any functions to perform.
Similar to the CPU heatsink these can last hundreds of years without any problem.
Check out How Long Does a CPU Cooler Last to learn about that.
4. The Power Supplies Resistors
Just like capacitors the power supplies resistors can start to overheat. Usually, this issue isn’t as bad as the PSU capacitors, but it is still something to take note of.
These resistors are very common and are made up of carbon.
If the resistor isn’t able to handle the wattage given to it then the decrease of its lifespan can become accelerated which is not good for the power supply’s health.
5. The Cables
It is very important to take care of the PSU cables. If a cable gets broken then you won’t then you might have to replace your whole power supply.
There are different types of power supply cables. Non-modular, semi-modular, and modular.
Non-Modular power supply cables are when all of the power supply cables are fully connected to the power supply. This means that after building your computer you will probably have some extra cables that aren’t attached to anything.
You need to make sure that you don’t bend are damage the important cables on this power supply too much because if you do you will have to purchase a new power supply.
The reason for this is that you will not be able to replace the cables on a non-modular power supply.
With a modular or semi-modular power supply. You might be able to replace the cable if it is damaged so it is not that big of a deal.
Another thing to remember is to plug the cables in the right spots. If you don’t plug the cables in the right spot then you might accidentally fry your computer. Mixing up certain cables can be pretty easy to do, so make sure you read the manual first before plugging anything in.
The Brand Of Your Power Supply
Yes, the brand of the power supply matters. You don’t want to purchase an off-brand third-party power supply just because it is a bit cheaper.
The power supply is not something to cheap out on because if it fails then your whole system fails.
Cheap non-name branded power supplies usually have a really short lifespan and yes you might be able to find one that actually works well, but most of the time you will not.
If you have one of these power supplies I would suggest looking for another one that is more reliable.
The reason for this is because these power supplies have a higher chance to explode or fry your computer which is something that you really don’t want.
You should be looking for power supplies that are manufactured by Corsair, EVGA, or CoolerMaster. There are a few more reliable brands out there, but those I found were very reliable from personal experience.
The Quality of The Power Supply
Now that you know it is important to pick a reliable brand, you should also know that each power supply is rated differently, and you should try to purchase the highest quality power supply possible.
You often see power supplies with different ratings on them which are determined by how valuable the metal is on the rating.
This rating is shown by either having Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, or Titanium on it.
If your power supply doesn’t have any of these on it, then you should try to avoid it because the power supply is inefficient and will actually cost you more money in the long run.
You want to look for a power supply that is 80 Plus Bronze rated or higher. The reason for this is that these PSUs will convert 80% or more of the AC consumed by the wall into DC, which is the type of current that powers your computer.
The higher the power supplies rating the higher the conversion rate. This means that the lifespan of your power supply will be longer and your electricity bill will be more affordable.
The Power Supplies Wattage
The power supply wattage is something that is also very important to your PC and power supply. If your PC uses over the power supplies rated wattage then your PC won’t get enough power and it can damage both your PC and power supply.
It is very important to overestimate your computer’s wattage usage so you can give your power supply a little breathing room.
However, you shouldn’t buy a power supply that is rated hundreds of watts higher than your actually computer wattage because this will cause your computer to underperform.
You want your power supply to be working at around 70-80% most of the time, so you want to look for a power supply that has a wattage rated around 100 watts higher than what you think your computer wattage actually is.