There are three types of power supply units you should consider when building a PC, Fully Modular, Semi Modular, and Non-Modular. As a beginner, you may have been unaware of the different power supplies on the market. In this blog post, I’d like to inform you about the differences & the benefits of each type.
You’ve probably heard this a lot, but the power supply is the most important component of a PC build. You definitely don’t want to cheap out on one, or at least buy a crappy PSU. You will definitely know which type of power supply is best for you after reading this post.
What Are Non-Modular Power Supplies
Typically, these power supplies come with all the necessary cables attached. As soon as it’s taken out of the box, it is ready to use. One thing to keep in mind is that you’re going to suffer from cable management a lot. You simply cannot add or remove cables.
Experienced PC builders usually shy away from Non-Modular power supplies for many reasons. Mainly because customization plays a big role when they’re building a PC. Non-modular power supplies simply do not have that to offer.
This doesn’t mean Non-Modular power supplies don’t have their place in the PC building industry. Many modest PC builders will go for a Non-Modular power supply because of the simplicity when putting together a PC.
A lot of people just want something that works out of the box, they don’t really care about the aesthetic side of things.
What Are Semi-Modular Power Supplies
Semi-Modular power supplies come with all the essential cables pre-attached. These cables being:1x24Pin ATX, 1xPCIe, 1x8Pin CPU, although keep in mind that these cables are irremovable.
Semi-Modular power supplies are like a hybrid between a Non and Fully modular power supply. As the name suggests, some of the cables are able to be removed, therefore offering some sort of customization to your cabling.
Semi-Modular power supplies are sought after by experienced PC builders that value customization and simplicity. By keeping the main cables irremovable on the power supply, it reduces confusion which can happen a lot when building a desktop.
This is the most balanced option out of the three. Semi-Modular power supplies are cheaper than Fully-Modular power supplies, and they give you decent cable management, you can still remove the useless cables.
What Are Fully-Modular Power Supplies
You have complete control over what cables are attached to the power supply. The most versatile power supply. This power supply variant is superior in every single way, aesthetically and thermally.
Fully-Modular power supplies mean you can remove every single cable even the vital 24Pin ATX cable for your motherboard.
You may be wondering, Why would you remove the vital cables for your system? This is mainly for aesthetic purposes. PC builders that want to take their system to the next level will 9 times out of 10 go for a fully modular power supply.
As the importance of aesthetics rises, many PC builders will wish to customize everything, even the cables. This is why you’re able to remove the vital cables on your power supply. One may dislike the color of the cables, so they will go for a customized sleeved cable that will match the theme of their build.
It goes beyond aesthetics, cable management is also superior compared to even Semi-Modular power supplies.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Non, Semi & Modular PSUs
Non-Modular Power Supplies Pros & Cons
Non-modular power supplies are usually the cheapest option. Compare a Non-modular power supply with its fully-modular counterpart, the non-modular power supply will be cheaper.
They’re very beginner-friendly. All the necessary cables come pre-attached, and they usually give extra cables in case you want to install extra components such as PCI-E cards.
Casual builds are better paired with a Non-Modular power supply. You don’t need over the top cable management if you’re going for a modest build.
However, thermals are poor due to inferior cable management. You’re not able to remove unnecessary cables causing clutter, therefore air will be restricted more.
They’re also poor aesthetically. If you are going for a tempered glass side panel, it can be unpleasant to look at cable clutter.
Semi-Modular Power Supplies Pros & Cons
Semi-Modular power supplies are best suited for slightly experienced builders. Maybe you’re getting a taste of what it’s like to customize and clean up cable clutter.
They’re slightly more expensive meaning that if you have a few more bucks to spare, you can definitely pick up a semi-modular power supply.
You can build professional builds with semi-modular power supplies.
Serious builds require attention to detail. You cannot customize every single cable with a semi-modular power supply.
Fully-Modular Power Supplies Pros & Cons
Fully-Modular power supplies can be superior thermally compared to semi-modular power supplies if utilized correctly. This is due to the ability to remove every single cable for the power supply.
Aesthetically, it is also superior because you can use custom sleeved cabling, even on the vital cables. Cable clutter can be reduced or completely eliminated if done correctly.
If you seriously want to take your build to the next level, then fully modular power supplies are your best bet. There is no reason to go for less, especially when you’re building a serious system.
Fully modular power supplies are expensive compared to other units.
If you’re going for a fully modular power supply, it’s only worth it if you use all of its uses. The removal of vital cables exist only for aesthetic purposes, not many beginners will be installing custom cables.
What Is Best For Me: Non, Semi Or Fully Modular
Now that you understand the difference between the individual power supplies, let’s figure out which is best for your needs.
Price-wise, non-modular power supplies obviously win. They’re cheaper than their Semi and Full modular counter parts.
Semi-Modular power supplies are only marginally more expensive than non-modular power supplies, and they offer better cooling, & aesthetics.
Fully Modular power supplies are expensive, some cost nearly double their non-modular counterparts.
Non-Modular power supplies suffer from cable clutter since you cannot remove cables that you’re not using. It also makes cable management difficult as there isn’t a lot of room to hide cables.
Semi-Modular power supplies are far more superior at cable management compared to their Non-Modular counterparts. However, you cannot remove the necessary cables therefore you cannot use custom sleeves for the 24pin ATX cable for example.
Fully Modular Power supplies win in the aesthetics category because every single cable is customizable. You can remove the 24pin ATX cable and replace it with custom sleeved ones.
Overclocking, Air Flow & Thermals
Non-Modular power supplies definitely suffer in this category. Cable clutter has a massive impact on airflow, sometimes completely restricting air from flowing to a specific place.
You will thermally worse off using a non-modular power supply. If you’re thinking about overclocking, id suggests going for a semi-modular power supply at least as cables can trap heat generated from your components.
Semi-Modular power supplies are a massive upgrade from non-modular PSUs. Airflow won’t be restricted as much as long as you correctly manage your cables. Just make sure to not forget to remove unnecessary cables and you should be fine.
Overclocking will be significantly easier going for the semi-modular route. Since cable clutter is reduced to a near minimum, you’re safe overclocking your components.
Fully Modular power supplies have the means to offer superior airflow compared to semi-modular power supplies if done correctly. Sometimes the manufactures supply you with thick cables which can be replaced with slimmer cables.
Thermally, you probably won’t experience a massive difference going from semi to fully modular. This is because fully modular power supplies aren’t made to increase airflow, they’re made mainly for aesthetics.