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What is a Micro Power Supply?

By Alexis W.
Updated May 16, 2024
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A micro power supply is a smaller format power supply used to power a desktop computer, usually providing the same amount of power although it has a smaller wattage. Micro power supplies are made to be compatible with any type of computer motherboard, and have an array of power plugs that allow them to power all types of motherboard accessories. With most newer desktop computers, the tower comes equipped with a micro power supply as a means of making room inside the desktop tower for other desktop accessories that have become widely popular.

The introduction of micro power supplies was a direct result of the introduction of Intel’s ATX motherboard design, which changed the parameters of almost every personal computer design in existence. Advanced Technology Extended (ATX) motherboards were introduced in 1995 as a means of improving the standards to which computers were designed and functioned. This required the redesign of almost all other elements in personal computer design.

As a result, the micro power supply was created as a means of allowing the motherboard to become more accessible for home computer builders, or “do-it-yourselfers.” The micro supply, because it provides the same power in less room, created more room inside the computer casing. The ATX motherboard and subsequent micro power supply also allowed for the universal mounting of add-ons and other elements; the motherboard itself allowed for a numerous array of expansion parts to be implemented into the computer’s design as well, thanks to the universal power plugs provided by the micro power supply that was made to accompany it.

The reason that micro power supplies are able to effectively and safely power virtually any powered component to a computer’s motherboard is because the micro power supply is required to carry three different powered output plugs; 12-volt, 5-volt, and 3.3-volt power plugs are all utilized by ATX-style motherboards, and as such, the power supply provided must be able to power every usable component of the personal computer design. Furthermore, to be considered an ATX micro power supply, the micro power supply has to be able to power each of these components through the use of the three different voltages the motherboard requires. An array of technological advances in computer motherboards have since become commonplace in many new desktop computers; peripherals are thus installed straight from the manufacturer, reducing the need for aftermarket computer accessories.

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