How to Choose a Power Supply Unit for Your Trading Computer

How to Choose a Power Supply Unit for Your Trading Computer

Today’s traders demand extreme performance and reliability from their trading computers. We share how to choose a power supply unit to make sure your trading computer will be getting the power it needs to perform at peak levels.

When purchasing a new computer, most traders concentrate on specifications like CPU, memory, and graphics cards. However, if you want to get the most out of your device, you also need to pay attention to the Power Supply Unit (PSU).

PSUs supply power to every component of your trading computer. An inefficient power supply can make your system run slower or even make it shut down. Also, PSU quality varies widely from manufacturer to manufacturer.

You have a lot riding on your trading computer. It makes sense to take a closer look at your PSU to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck.

What Does a Power Supply Unit Do?

PSUs take Alternating Current (AC) from your power outlet and convert it to Direct Current (DC). A desktop computer has an internal power supply that’s compatible with the motherboard. A laptop uses an external power supply.

Besides supplying power, PSUs also protect your computer from power surges. And they have fans and other heat dissipation mechanisms to optimize efficiency.

Warning: Never open your power supply unit.

Basics of PSU Purchase

Whether you are buying a whole new trading computer or an individual PSU to upgrade your current system, check the manufacturer’s online reputation. Reputable manufacturers have better-quality products. You can also check out reviews to see the long-term performance of a particular PSU.

PSU sizes can tell a lot. Higher-quality units tend to have larger capacitors and more components.

Also, consider pin compatibility with your current motherboard. Check user guides to ensure full compatibility.

PSU Output Considerations

Currently, available PSU output specs can start from 200 watts and go to 1800 watts. The higher output units are more expensive. So try to match the wattage to the needs of your power-consuming components.

PSU performance is not consistent. Peak efficiency is generally achieved at around 40 to 80 percent of the workload. So purchase a PSU that provides higher output than the total need of your motherboard, graphics card, and other components. Otherwise, your power supply will run at non-optimal workloads and waste energy.

Another consideration is future expansion. You’ll need more power to add new components. So extra wattage will provide wiggle room for the future. For example, if your current maximum need is 700 watts, it’s a good idea to purchase a 1200-watt PSU to have enough available wattage to add new components.

PSU Efficiency Considerations

Power specifications come with certification ratings like those designated 80 Plus. An “80 Plus” unit is confirmed to be at least 80% efficient. This means 80 percent of the power reaches your components, while 20 percent gets dissipated as heat.

There are more advanced and expensive certification tiers like Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. For a trading computer, a power supply unit with 80 Plus or 80 Plus Bronze certification is probably enough. If you live in a state that needs to comply with the California Energy Commission rules on power efficiency then you will need at least Gold certification.

PSU Cabling Considerations

PSUs have non-modular, semi-modular, and full modular flavors. Non-modular PSUs come with all the cables hardwired. Semi-modular PSUs have some wires pre-attached. In a modular design, you have to attach all wires yourself into the provided slots.

With a non-modular design, you don’t have to worry about finding the right cable, but the unused cables make the insides of your computer messy. In semi-modular and modular, you have less cabling to worry about.

Semi-modular and modular models are more expensive.


You don’t need to be an expert on PSUs to buy or use a trading computer. The important thing to remember is that a good quality PSU will improve the performance of your system. Also, you should get a PSU that lets you expand your capabilities in the future.

Next time you’re ready to replace or upgrade your system, take a little time to be sure your trading computer will be getting the power it needs to perform at peak levels.

There are more trading computer tips like this in our EZ Trading Computers buyer’s guide. Check out our “How To Buy a Trading Computer” e-book.

Remember, we are here to help with all your technology-related questions. If you have additional questions about computer hardware or other questions, give me a call. My team and I are here to help. We’re happy to answer any of your questions about trading computers via phone: 800-387-5250.