How to Choose a Power Supply

If the basic components for our HTPC are already selected, we still have to choose the right power supply. As usual, this choice depends on our needs. We have a choice from ordinary ATX power supplies, through silent, smaller SFX and quite small because two-part nano power supplies.

If we have a large housing, and in addition we have installed a powerful processor, e.g. Core i7 and a desktop graphics card, e.g. GTX 1080, we do not have much choice and we focus on a standard ATX power supply. The choice of ATX power supplies is huge, you can recommend SilverStone, Seasonic, BeQuiet, Corsair, Thermaltake. ATX power supplies will also include passive and semi-passive models for lovers of silence.

Passive PSU Seasonic Prime

Smaller cases, e.g. SSF (Small Form Factor) are adapted to support smaller SFX power supplies. These power supplies are less popular, but you can find many interesting models from reputable companies such as Silverstone or Corsair. Especially recommended on the forums is the semi-passive Corsair SF450 power supply.

Corsair SF450

Another type of power supplies are flex power supplies. They have a characteristic longitudinal structure and are mainly used in servers. Nevertheless, I’ve seen HTPC enclosures supporting this type of power supplies, hence their obedience in this article.

Flex type PSU

The last type of power supplies I will mention are nano / pico power supplies. This is an interesting group of power supplies. The power supply consists of two parts. The internal part is a nano / pico power supply, i.e. an ATX board with a 5.5 / 2.5 mm socket. An external power adapter, similar to a laptop, must be connected to the socket.

Streacom Nano 160W PSU

The advantage of such power supplies is that they take up little space in the case and are noiseless. They are perfect for small HTPC cases. Personally, I use the Nano 160 power supply from Streacom, a known manufacturer of HTPC cases. I would recommend it with a clear conscience. You can also buy such a power supply from China, e.g. on the Chinese Aliexpress website, however, as with products from China, their quality varies, with an indication of poor. Many people do not recommend buying power supplies from unknown companies. The disadvantage of nano / pico power supplies is the low power, usually up to 160W, but let’s agree HTPC doesn’t need that much power. HTPC with a core i3 4130T processor without an discrete graphics card consumes 20W at rest and a maximum of 60W, so a not too busy computer can be safely powered by such a power supply.