A power boost for the computer? Chose power supplies carefully
By Michael Thieroff Jul 9, 2006, 14:10 GMT
Berlin/Hamburg Computers age quickly meaning users are constantly buying new models or updating their old ones. But these updates often lead to more hardware problems as the new components are often too powerful for the old battery pack.
Ernst Ahlers, of the Hanover-based c't computer magazine, advises against any battery pack costing less than 30 euros (38 dollars). Cheap battery packs can lead to unpleasant surprises, he warns.
'Those models often fail under heavy usage. Additionally, their ventilation units often work at maximum speed.' That means a noisier computer.
Before making a purchase, users should check whether they actually need a new battery. Newer, more powerful graphic cards often require more power.
Users can tell whether their old power source is overtaxed, if the vent is unusually hot. The lack of power will also disrupt operations.
'In many cases, there will be lots of crashes and restarts. In rare cases, the computer will shut itself down,' explains Daniel Schuhmann of the internet site www.tomshardware.de.
When purchasing a battery pack, do not assume 'the more the merrier.'
Peter Knaak of the Foundation for Product Testing (Stiftung Warentest) warns against buying a battery with too much power.
'A 600 watt battery pack is too much for a normal computer. It doesn't just break the bank, it's also too loud.'
Enno Bruns, of the Hamburg-based Computerbild points out that not every power source is suited to every main board. Old circuit boards are equipped with 20-pin adapters, but new power packs come with 24- pin adapters.
Yet, putting in a new power source should not generally be a problem, if the adapters go together easily.
'Never open up battery pack,' warns Bruns. Even if the main plug is unplugged and the adapter has long since been taken apart, there could still be high currents flowing through some parts of the device.
People looking for a quiet power source should first consider how they plan to use the computer.
'Consider carefully whether you want to install a non-ventilated power source in a home computer as they generally put out less power,' says Schuhmann. The low-power devices are intended for office settings, where quiet is needed, but high-speed processors and powerful 3-D graphic cards are less important. A good compromise might be a hybrid power supply.
'This kind of power supply has a ventilator, but it only switches on for heavy workloads.'© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur