What a Modular Power Supply is, and Should You Get One

What a Modular Power Supply is, and Should You Get One
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We can probably all agree, that the number one thing most dreaded by PC builders is none other than cable management. No matter how much wire routing features your PC case has, it is undoubtedly still a time-consuming challenge for anyone to undertake.

Thankfully, sometime during the normalcy of PC building as we know it today, a miraculous product emerged in the consumer tech market. This product, is none other than a modular power supply, perhaps the best upgrade to power supplies since the days of 386 and 486.

Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need (Too Many) Cables

As the name suggests, a modular power supply is a PSU that has a configurable cable setting. By configurable, we mean that you can select which type of cables you want to use and attach as it is plugged to your PC components. The optional cables are detached by default, and you only get to use what you really need. There are two major types of modular power supplies, which are:

  • Fully-Modular – all cables on fully modular power supplies are completely detachable. Of course, this means you can route and configure the cables you want in the way you need them to be. This is what most enthusiasts think of when the term “modular” is used.
  • Semi-Modular – of course, even if we take into account the optional cables that can be omitted from your build, there will still be that minimum number of cables required for a PC. Most semi-modular power supplies usually have its 24-pin motherboard connector and its 8-pin (4+4) CPU connector attached by default. After all, these two connectors are almost always required, thus the option to detach them won’t be as technically beneficial.

The immediate advantages of modular power supplies are quite obvious. They significantly improve cable management by well, just letting the cables not exist. Since you can choose which cable you need, the number can be easily controlled, and the clutter that you have to deal with at the back of the PC case would be much less of a hassle.

Furthermore, certain components might no longer be necessary for your PC later down the line. For example, when switching from double PCI connectors to a single PCI connector when swapping GPUs. In that case, you can simply detach the unused cables after the component update, to tidy up the system as a whole.

The Wonders of Using Custom PSU Cables

One important perk that modular PSU users can enjoy is the option to use customized power supply cables for their build. Sure, custom cables can also be simply attached as extension wires for regular PSUs. But you are simply adding yet another hassle in cable management by extending the already long and winding power wires of your system.

With a modular power supply, just take off the original cabling, and use any custom cables as you see fit. Again, the benefits are quite obvious, but when listed more technically:

  • Cable length flexibility – you can choose a custom cable length for each type of connector you have, potentially making cable management even cleaner.
  • Color variety becomes a choice – you can perfectly match the colors of your cables to support a certain theme that you are aiming for your PC build.
  • Cable replacement is a breeze – In case there are damaged or even missing connectors, you may simply use an extra from your custom cable set as an instant replacement.
  • Adding bulk to the wire – You can also choose custom cables specifically built for reinforced protection. Still dependent on the type of protection that you need, of course.
  • RGB is also an option – finally, if you are into even snazzier PC designs, you may upgrade from just choosing colors to outright using RGB lighting cables.

Recommended Modular Power Supplies

Modular power supplies are quite more expensive than standard PSUs. This should be taken into consideration when trying to build a PC. You need to judge whether you actually require the extra convenience or need that extra expense to be diverted on other component budgets. In addition, there are, of course, other specifications that still you need to balance when choosing a power supply. So, cable modularity should always be treated as a priority of convenience rather than necessity.

That being said, we do have several easy recommendations that we can provide. Do take note that you don’t have to buy these specific products; just use them as your basic purchasing reference:

Corsair RM550x

Corsair RM550x

The RM550x is hands down one of the best reference modular power supplies in terms of performance and design. For its specs, it provides great ripple suppression, very accurate load regulation, and handles varying degrees of loads without breaking a sweat. This is all thanks to the high quality of its internal components. As a modular PSU though, you might be just a tiny bit bothered by the very close distance of its 4-pin (Molex) connectors.

EVGA 650 B5

EVGA 650 B5

Now, let’s head over to mid-range systems. Our staple pick for this category is none other than this (relatively) budget-friendly 80-Plus bronze modular PSU. While it kind of struggles under maximum load for extended periods, it does have a plethora of protection features. They are designed to maintain the function of the PSU and protect your entire system from any power overload. Recommended GPUs for this power supply are the Nvidia Gefore 16 series, and the AMD Radeon 5000 series.

Seasonic Focus Plus Platinum (650w)

Seasonic Focus Plus Platinum (650w)

So you want something more premium? The ever trusty Seasonic’s got you covered. This one is also designed mainly for mid-range systems, but it can deliver what it draws almost directly due to its power efficiency. It can also supply that power consistently to GPUS like the GTX 2080 Ti, without random throttling to usage spikes. Again, you’re going to have to invest a very hefty amount for this beast of a PSU. But with a 10-year warranty, the investment is definitely well worth it.


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