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How To Check Insufficient Power Supply

Learn about how to tell if your power supply is enough for your system or not.

If your power supply is insufficient, your components are not provided with the minimum power required to operate. In that case, those components are at risk of hardware failure. Therefore, it is important to learn how to check insufficient power supply to prevent your components from getting damaged

Also Read:  EVGA vs Corsair PSU: Which Brand Is Better?

Key Takeaways

  • A weak or insufficient PSU will cause various problems and irregularities to your PC.
  • Not supplying enough power to your components can cause them to malfunction or lead to hardware failure.
  • If your system frequently crashes, freezes, or gives out performance issues in games, it means your power supply is insufficient

How To Check Insufficient Power Supply

A power supply is used to convert the AC input you get from your wall into a direct current and supply it individually to all the components in the case. If the components inside your case are not getting the minimum power they need to operate, then there will be obvious signs that you need to look for. Mentioned below are the signs you can look for and ways to check if you have an insufficient power supply. 

Cooler Master MWE Gold Modular Power Supply
Cooler Master MWE Gold Modular Power Supply – Image Credits [Tech4Gamers]

The System Will Not Even Start

If the power supply you are using is not sufficient enough to supply the minimum power required by your components, chances are your system will not even boot in the first place. Your system does not utilize all the power its spec sheet says it needs. Therefore, it is able to run on less power as well.

However, there is a certain threshold to how much power is required to even turn it on. If you have a slightly smaller power supply than the one required by your system, then chances are you will lose some of its functionality.

However, if your power supply is way off the minimum power requirement of your total system, then chances are your PC will not even start in the first place. Therefore, it is essential to calculate the power draw of all your components individually, add them up and get a slightly bigger power supply than your requirement to not only future-proof your build but also account for any power fluctuations your system might experience.

Random Restarts And Crashes

If your system turns on and boots fine but experiences random restarts and crashes, chances are you have an insufficient power supply. This goes to show that your power supply is just enough to turn your PC on, but that’s about it. As soon as you load up anything that puts a tad bit of load on your components, your system crashes or restarts unexpectedly. This is your sign to get a bigger power supply.

Your current supply can provide enough power to all your components to turn them on. However, for anything slightly intensive, your components will require more juice to crunch those processes, and this is where your power supply fails to deliver, and your system ends up restarting. In a case like this, it is recommended to either spec up your power supply or replace your components with the ones that consume less power. 

If your computer is turning on and off repeatedly, you might wanna check out our guide on Fixed: Computer Turns On And Off Repeatedly.

Graphics Downgrade

The graphics card is usually the single most power-hungry component of any gaming PC. Most of the power supplied by your PSU is fed directly to it. If you happen to have an insufficient power supply, chances are, the graphics of your PC will take a significant hit.

If the GPU inside your system is not getting enough power, not only can it cause display problems, but you will also see that it is not performing up to the mark in games. Since it is being underfed, this means you will be losing a lot of its performance on the table, and you are likely to experience low-quality graphics.

Planning to upgrade your GPU? Check out our guide on Do You Need A New PSU For RTX 4090?

FPS Drops In Games

As discussed earlier, in a gaming PC, the graphics card takes up most of the power supplied by the PSU. GPUs are getting more and more power-hungry with every passing generation. So, if your power supply is not capable enough to feed your GPU, you will notice a serious hit in its performance.

This can be observed in the form of FPS drops in games and increased latency. Your GPU will be much underpowered, and as a result, it will struggle to render those high-resolution frames on time. All in all, it will not perform how it should, and you will see much more degraded performance from it. 

Blue Screen Of Death

A BSOD, or blue screen of death, is windows’ way of informing you about a fatal system error. Many software or hardware-based errors can cause the blue screen of death. However, each blue screen has a specific code to inform you about the nature of the problem. If you have an insufficient power supply, you are more than likely to experience various blue screens of death throughout your day.

Since your PC is not getting enough power it requires to operate correctly, the OS will take over and bombard you with these splash screens until you either spec your power supply up or replace your components with the ones that require less power to operate. 

Blue Screen Of Death due to power suply failure
Blue Screen Of Death due to power supply failure

Power Fluctuation

Power fluctuations are one of the most obvious signs that the power requirement of your components is not being met, whether it be the components in your household or inside your PC case. When the power supplied to your household gets disrupted, you observe power fluctuations, and your household electronics project apparent signs of power fluctuation.

The same phenomenon applies to the components inside your PC case. When their power requirements will not be met by an insufficient power supply, you will notice signs of power fluctuation like flickering or dimming of LED and RGB components. 

Freezing

Your PC may occasionally freeze for a few moments and then go back to behaving normally if the power supply you have is insufficient to power up your components. The random freezing may get more frequent if the power supplied by your PSU is much smaller than the power required by your components to work.

This issue is mainly associated with a weaker or smaller PSU. Your CPU is not getting enough wattage to complete those tasks and run under load, so it starts to freeze randomly during tasks. This is another sign that your PSU is insufficient for the load you are putting on your system. 

Power Supply Calculators

Power supply calculators are a neat and efficient way of calculating if the current power supply you are using is enough to power up your components or not. There are multiple power supply calculators available online. Some of them require you to put in all the components attached to your PC, and they will calculate the total power draw and add that to tell you how much power your components will need to run adequately.

You can also do these calculations on your own and see if your system’s total power draw exceeds the power supplied by your PSU. If that is the case, then you are using an insufficient power supply, and an upgrade is recommended. 

Online Power Supply Calculator
Online Power Supply Calculator

We also did a guide on How much power a gaming PC requires. Do not forget to check that out.

Crackling, Static, And Other Weird Noises

With the exception of cooling components like fans, every other component in your PC casing is designed to run as quietly as possible. So, if you hear noises from a component that is not supposed to make any noise, it is a matter of concern. This includes power supplies as well. If you use a smaller power supply to power up the components beyond its design capacity, you are running your power supply to its limits.

This is more than likely to cause a lot of issues, and you will likely notice some obvious signs. One of those signs is weird noises from your power supply, such as crackling and static sounds. Try to disconnect your PSU and physically inspect it for some visible damage and put it back in. If it continues to make the same sounds, then chances are you will have to upgrade. 

Physical Damage

The last and perhaps the most obvious sign that you are going to require a PSU upgrade is signs of physical damage to your power supply. Anything from burnt marks on the PSU casing to the power supply fan not spinning points in the same direction that your power supply has been running to its limit for far too long, and now it is time for you to start looking for an upgrade.

Disconnect all your components from your power supply and take the PSU out. Look for any signs of physical damage, like scorched marks or a burning smell. These signs indicate that your power supply is burning from the inside, and it can end up damaging your other components as well. 

Burnt Power Supply
Burnt Power Supply

Before getting a new power supply, make sure to read our guide on How long do power supplies last?

Is It Dangerous To Use An Insufficient Power Supply?

It is dangerous to use an insufficient and cheap power supply. Power supplies can literally kill an electric component. The current we get from our sockets is not stable all the time. It can fluctuate at any given time. Therefore, for a situation like this, you need a solid adequate power supply that can stabilize those power fluctuations and irregularities and spikes in the received voltage. This will ensure safety and extend the lifespan of some of your major components like graphics card, motherboard, and CPU.

Also Read: Single-Rail Vs. Multi-Rail PSU; Which Suits Your Needs?

Conclusion

So there we have it. This was everything you needed to know to check if you have an insufficient power supply. Hopefully, by the end of this guide, you will be able to point out insufficient and inadequate power supplies in more than a few ways so you can upgrade them timely. Power supplies are an essential component of any gaming rig, and cheapening out on it is not recommended in any way. This is because a cheap power supply will put your entire system at risk of hardware failure. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I replace my power supply?

If you put a high load on a power supply after it has beyond its warranty term, you should usually replace it as soon as you can. However, if your PC usage is moderate, you should retain it till you observe any symptoms of breakdown.

Can an insufficient power supply cause damage to other PC components?

Yes, a faulty power supply can cause harm to other computer components if it gets an unstable voltage. It can also create other problems, such as power outages, abrupt shutdowns, and blue screens of death.

How long do most power supplies last?

Power supplies have a lifespan of five to ten years. However, putting your power supply under constant stress can reduce its longevity.


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