How to Boost PC Power Supply

By Norm Dickinson

Modern computer power supply
i power supply image by robert mobley from

With modern components requiring more power than ever, you might find that you need to increase your computer's power supply before installing upgrades. This applies to new motherboards, video cards, additional hard drives or optical drives, as well as certain external devices that rely on the PC power supply to operate. You can upgrade the power supply with minimal tools; matching the new power supply to the needs of the new equipment is the biggest challenge.

Determine the Power Requirements

Check the product packaging to find out whether the new hardware you are installing requires special connectors to work, as in the case of a SATA hard drive or certain video cards.

Determine how much power each new component will require and add this amount to the wattage of the existing power supply. The result will be your new power-supply size.

Check the physical form of the existing power supply to find an exact replacement with a higher-level output. For instance, the existing supply might be a standard ATX design, a compact size or a proprietary design.

Installing the New Power Supply

Back up all important files. Shut down the computer and remove the power cord.

Remove the case cover to expose the power supply. Make careful note of where each power cable is connected, or take a digital photo to refer to later.

Disconnect each of the power leads from the system.

Remove the screws that hold the power supply in place. Check for brackets or screws inside the case as well as the obvious ones on the outside of the case.

Install the new power supply using the same screws and brackets, if any, that held the old power supply in place.

Reconnect the cabling, using your notes or photo as a reference, and add any other cables that your new hardware may require.