If you know me at all, or if you happen across my website once every 6 months or so, you know that I go through a lot of pc’s around my place. At any given moment there are always a minimum of three pc’s up and operating in the room I am sitting in now, additionally I have a laptop connected to the TV in my living room right now to use for instant video through Netflix. Normally I think of the PC’s as disposable, however since I have been doing a lot more tinkering with them lately, I have started to become a little more attached to them. The one you see in the picture here was the first one that I really started customizing. In a previous post, I detailed the time and effort spent sawing through the top of this case when I made it my mission to get 4 case fans installed in it. And I really loved how it looked when I finished it. So after I put all the time and effort into it, I was a little too attached to it to just give up on it when it quit working last week.
Oddly the power supply is the one thing that I have never replaced in a pc. I say oddly because I have replaced pretty much everything else, even the cpu, but the power supply is the one part that I have never actually pulled out of the case and changed. Well, I have never changed a motherboard either, but IMO the motherboard and case are the PC, so if you plan on changing one of them you may as well just move to a new box/motherboard combo and call it a new pc.
I bought a new Rosewill power supply unit. This one is 500 watts, so only a very slight upgrade from the previous one, but being a better name, I expected the quality of this to be far superior to the one that had been in the tower in the first place. There was also a less important concern with aesthetics; this one has two blue LED fans to match the case as well as the wrapped cables you see in the picture here. The lines wrapped around the ribbons glow under the lights in the case also. So with the wrapped cables eliminating most of the wire clutter in the tower and the additional glow of the striped cables the whole setup looks far better than it did before. If I were to base the relative quality of the product on weight alone (certainly not the best measure of quality) this one is far superior to the supply it was replacing. The listed weight on this is 5.2 lbs and it certainly feels like it. The old psu, while 480 watts, so only nominally smaller in output, barely weighed 1.5lbs.
My only real concern with the new power supply was with the cables. There were so many different letters in the descriptions -SATA, MOLEX, ATS, EPX,- it had me a bit frightened. Most concerning though was whether a 24pin connector was the same as a 20+4pin connector. I mean, if its the same thing then why are there separate listings for 24pin and 20+4 pin? Is the 20+4pin an older version that was later incorporated as standard into motherboards until eventually they dropped the confusing +4pin descriptor? Thankfully I never had to learn since it all worked when I hooked it up.
In addition to cleaning up the inside of the case by wrapping all the power cables, the inside was further reduced of clutter by being able to directly plug in the hard drive and dvd drives, which had been run through a 4-pin converter on the old power supply but could be directly hooked up with the (SATA?) cables the new psu came with. I only took one picture of it after I got it put back together and then stuck it back beside and behind my wife’s desk (this is our third pc right now, so for backup and occasional internet use only) before I found that the picture didn’t turn out, so until I feel the urge to slide it back out you’ll just have to take my word that it looks considerably better.
But the reason for this post is that I began to wonder -after seeing how easy it was to replace the power supply- if the industry intentionally uses so many acronyms and abbreviations for the cables and plugs on the inside of pcs to try to intimidate the average Joe into thinking that they are difficult to work on. Or perhaps the enthusiasts that build their own machines perpetuate the use of the jargon to make themselves sound more knowledgeable than they really are? At any rate, each new project I work on with regards to pcs makes me realize that they are extremely simple to work on and I’m not sure why I find that surprising anymore.