How to check the power supply on your PC, a crucial step before upgrading it

Emma Witman
·3 min read
computer pc tower wires
Your computer's power supply connects to its main power cord. AngiePhotos/Getty Images
  • You can check the power supply on your PC by removing the side panel of its case.

  • If you bought a prebuilt PC, you can also likely check the power supply in the computer's manual or by contacting the manufacturer.

  • Knowing your PC's power supply can help you upgrade other parts of the computer, like your graphics card.

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Whether it's for work or play, everyone wants their PC optimized, and your PC's power supply plays a pivotal role in how the computer functions. If you don't have enough power to run all the parts of your computer, then you could see some catastrophic system failures and crashes.

So if you want to upgrade your computer - for instance, putting in a cutting-edge graphics card that needs more power but can boost your frames per second - you need to make sure that your computer's power supply is up to the task.

Unfortunately, checking your power supply isn't as easy as other tasks. You can't check it with an app - instead, you'll need to open your PC's case and look at the power supply directly.

Quick tip: If you bought a prebuilt PC, you might be able to find your power supply in the manual that came with the computer, or by contacting the manufacturer directly.

If you have a laptop, just look up what type of battery it has.

How to check the power supply on your PC

Before you begin, you'll need to grab a Phillips head screwdriver. The No. 2 midrange size is likely to work. You also want to find a flat, dry, dust-free surface to work on.

  1. Power your PC all the way down. You can hit "Start," "Power," and then "Shut Down." Once it's off, unplug it.

  2. Carefully remove the computer's side panel, which is part of the case. Some cases can be unclipped, while others will need you to grab the screwdriver and remove around two to eight screws, depending on the model and size.

    3    How to check power supply on PC
    The number of screws you need to take out - if at all - will depend on your PC's model and size. Emma Witman/Business Insider
  3. Locate the power supply. It will be near the port for the computer's power cord, which you previously unplugged.

    7   How to check power supply on PC
    The PC's power port will be close to the power supply. Emma Witman/Business Insider

Once you've found the power supply, you can inspect it to grab any pertinent information, like the max output, measured in watts, and its efficiency rating.

6    How to check power supply on PC
"Gold" is a great efficiency rating for your power supply. Emma Witman/Business Insider

If you can't find the exact information you want, at least try to find the power supply's model name, which you can then search on Google.

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