What is the Most Important Component in a Computer?

Not many people would stop and think about the most important component that is currently in their computer. If they had to stop and think about it, some would say the processor (CPU), memory, the video card, or even the hard drive. Depending on what they use their computer for, everyone would have a different idea of what is the most important component.

Most people, probably wouldn’t say that the power supply unit (PSU) is the most important component. To me, it is the most important component, and is one that you shouldn’t go cheap on purchasing. I outline my reasons for thinking this way in this post.

Why the Power Supply Unit is So Important.

Modular Power Supply

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I recently read a post on Info Carnivor titled Computer Terms Glossary: Advice for Computer Shoppers where the author mentions that the processor is most important part of a computer. I do disagree with him on that point (it’s great that he allows people to disagree with him in the comments on his blog). While we each are entitled to our opinion, I provide my reasoning of why the power supply unit is more important.

Every component in the computer needs power to run. The video card, hard drive, processor, motherboard, and fans all require power or your computer is just one expensive paper weight.

Now if there was a sudden power surge, or drop in power, there is a chance that any one, or all, of the components in your computer could be damaged. You could potentially lose all your data on your hard drive if it crashed and became damaged.

A good power supply, such as those made by Corsair for example, will usually provide good power to all of your components. A cheaper PSU could have the potential of power spikes or drops, which could lead to damaging your computer components.

Many PSUs are also modular, which means that the power cables can be connected and disconnected from the unit. This helps reduce the clutter in the case as you only need to connect the cables that you will be using. Less clutter helps with keeping the inside of your case cool (more airflow).

If you experience your computer freezing when performing graphics intensive operations, such as games, then chances are your PSU isn’t providing enough power to your computer because of the extra drain from your video card. You should upgrade your PSU or you may eventually cause damage to some of your components.

Also, if you are into gaming, you should pay attention to the the number of amps supplied by the 12V rail as that number can determine if the PSU has enough power to run your graphics card. You would obviously need to know the amount of amps required by your card.

While the processor, memory, and hard drive space are usually the most common features listed on an advertisement for a computer, you may also want to look at the PSU to ensure it is a fairly decent brand to avoid any issues in the future.

PG

About Paul Salmon

Paul Salmon is the founder of Technically Easy. He is a an experienced PC user, and enjoys solving computer-related problems that he encounters on a regular basis.

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9 Comments

  1. Terrell Cina
    Posted November 23, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    I think there’s nothing really specific.. all of them are of course importance because they have different usage.

  2. Marie Nugent
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    I have lost a computer with a lot of important data in the past because of the little value I placed on the power supply. Yes, I backup but when the crash occurred I have been putting in a whole day’s work and of course I usually wait until I am finished for the day to backup. For me, that was a lot to do over and purchasing a new computer was not in my immediate plans.

    I highly recommend everyone who values their computer and its data to invest in one. The cost of replacing a computer far outweighs the cost of a good UPS. Power supply unit – vital!

    “If we all treat each other like we treat ourselves – what a wonderful place earth would be.”

    • Posted March 22, 2011 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      A good UPS protecting your computer is essential, especially if you don’t want to replace the computer.

  3. Posted December 8, 2010 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Hey Paul! Nice post here. Now in addition I always tell computer shoppers to not skip a UPS. A weak Power Supply can be protected by a rock solid UPS right at the wall.

    • Posted December 8, 2010 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      I also have a UPS, which is probably the best preventative measure someone can invest in for their computer. The last thing that you need to happen is the power go out when data is being written to your hard drive and causes physical damage to the disk.

  4. Posted December 3, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Power Supply is crucial though you can get buy with many different ones depending on power needs and number of components.

    • Posted December 3, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. For the average desktop the power needs aren’t huge, but investing in a good power supply can still help.

  5. Posted December 3, 2010 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    You know when I first read the title on blogengage I seriously thought it was going to be the computer fans. I didn’t expect to see the power supply here.

    • Posted December 3, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      I like to keep a few surprises. The fans are also important, but they still need the PSU to work.

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