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If you need a new power supply but do not have much money right now, you should start comparing some of the lower priced power supplies on the market. While you cannot expect to get the same benefits from a cheap power supply as you would from an expensive one, you can likely still get one that works reliably. Prior to purchasing a new power supply on a limited budget, think about the wattage you will need, the connectors that are available, and whether you should go with a generic or name brand product.
When trying to save money, one detail to keep in mind is that most computers do not need very high wattage. If you mainly use your computer for browsing the Internet and word processing, about 300 to 500 watts should be fine. If you usually play the latest computer games or run very large spreadsheets and databases, you should opt for closer to 1000 watts. Getting a cheap power supply that has much more wattage than you need can be a waste of money, and may also cause your computer to run louder than it has to. Check the wattages listed on your motherboard, processor, and video card to ensure you are getting the appropriate amount of watts you need in your cheap power supply.
Some types of power supplies are inexpensive because they have few connectors, so you should make sure that the one you choose has the right number. You will need enough for your motherboard, hard drive, and at least one video card. You should also consider the other peripherals that you will need connectors for, such as fans, lights, and CD-ROM drives, to name a few. Finally, determine whether you need a 24 pin power supply, which has become more common, or an older 20 pin power supply. This will depend on your motherboard.
Before you make a decision on a cheap power supply, you will probably wonder whether brand factors in to the quality. In many cases, generic power supplies are cheaper than the name brand units, and sometimes they are of similar quality; beware, though, that the very cheapest models will often not last as long. Reading reviews before you make your purchase can help you make a decision. One tip to be aware of when choosing a cheap power supply is that many generic models have a much lower power supply output than what is advertised on the box. This means that if you go with a generic brand, you should purchase one with a higher wattage than is necessary to run your computer so that you get the wattage you need.