a power supply fails, it often sends random jolts through the rest of the system,
killing (and sometimes burning) your valuable computer components.
Unfortunately, many power supplies are manufactured by no name companies with
little quality control and packaged in cheap 'white box' systems. The
result is a steady stream of computers dieing before their time.
"...when I switched on my computer at night, suddenly
there was a loud firecracker sound and lots of blue sparks came flying out from
the back of my computer. It was from the PSU..."
It's worth mentioning that of all the problems we list
here, this is also the one most likely to cause damage to your home and/or yourself. A third
of the responses we received claimed that the defective PSU in question had burst
into firely flames or belched out clouds of blue smoke or sparks. Needless to say
this can present a very real fire hazard to more than just the expensive
bits and bobs inside your computer!
This readers story sums
up the dangers with a hilarious twist;
"...my friend was over and we decided to have a small
1 on 1 LAN game of half-life. I grabbed a rocket launcher and fired it at him as
he was jumping. as the rocket hit him he froze in mid air. lag I thought. so I
yelled downstairs "It'll fix itself in a few seconds" and he yelled "I'm fairly
certain it won't", "whys that?" "come downstairs for a second." so I walked
downstairs and into the office. smoke was pouring out the back of my New PC! The
virtual rocket had made my very real power supply literally explode. I unplugged
it and brought it out to the shop, opened it and some blue sparks shot
How Not to Kill Your System This Way
It seems simple, but just two words are necessary. Brand
name. The best way (not a sure way, but the best way) to avoid a power supply
incident is to buy a power supply from a reputable company that specializes in
manufacturing them. Here at PCstats we've reviewed
several high quality
power supplies, so you can use us as a guide, or ask your computer guru friends
what they use and recommend.
You will pay more for a brand name
supply, but it's worth it. From our experiences; PC Power & Cooling, Seasonic, Antec, Aopen, Vantec
and Sparkle are reliable manufacturers.
Another good tip is to keep your PC off the floor and away from dusty environments (and family pets) to minimize the amount of
dust and debris that build up inside the power supply. This accumulation of stuff often
contributes to an eventual failure, and most commonly a seized cooling
Low quality power supplies may also be set off by poor AC power conditions in your area. Consider
purchasing some sort of UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) or power
conditioner. This advice is actually echoed in some of the later entries
in this article also.