ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Understanding pc motherboard Power supplies

Updated on October 20, 2011

The power supply is an important part of your pc. But there is a bit more to it than just taking the current from your wall socket to your PC. The purpose of the power supply is to actually convert the 110-volt or 220-volt AC voltage into DC voltage for the different components parts of the pc. The reason the power supply unit has its own case, is becuase there are electrical power conversions taking place inside the power supply. The DC voltages include 3.3 volts, +5 volts, –5 volts, +12 volts, and –12 volts. The rating of the power supply unit is given in watts, which is a measure of the power.

The higher the power rating, the more power the supply can give to different parts of the computer. Most of the power supplies you will find inside a pc come in the range of a 250- to 500-watt rating. The +3.3 volts and +5 volts DC supply was first used in ATX motherboards that supported soft power off functions.

Its a good idea if you plan to take apart your pc, and change or fix any components. Plus you shouldn't be intimidated, its actually very easy once you understand what all the wires do. Its also extremely difficult to plug the power parts into the wrong place or the wrong way around. They have all been designed with the noob in mind.

Different power supply connectors

There are several different types of power supply connectors used on computer motherboards and peripherals.

Floppy drive power connector

This is a small flat connector that has four pins. The floppy connector has 4 wires and supplies 5 volts via the (red wire) and 12 volts (yellow wire) DC to the floppy drive. The connector is polarized and can only be connected in the right orientation. There is a little plastic lip normally that stops you from connecting it upside down.

Molex connectors for peripherals

The larger components inside your PC such as the hard drive and CD/DVD/Bluray drive use a 4-pin Molex connector for the power supply. The connector is bigger than the floppy drive power connector, and there is normally at least 3 or 4 that are on the testicles of your power supply. You could try and fit it in the wrong way, but it is made with a certain circular curve on two corners that means you can't go wrong.

AT motherboard power connector

This is the connector that actually gives power to the motherboard. It is normally made up from a pair of two connectors with six pins each. The connectors have small tabs on them so that they can be securely attached with a strong push to the motherboard connector. If you are removing the connector to change motherboard, you will have to lift back this little plastic clip. Its mostly found on older motherboards that don't have new up to date power saving settings.

ATX power connector

The ATX power connector is for supplying power to ATX motherboards. It is also known as the ATX System Connector. This is a single 20-pin connector that supplies six different types of voltages to the ATX motherboard. The shape of the connector is rectangular in and has a small plastic clip that secures the connector on the motherboard.

SATA power connector

One of the newest additions to everyday pc's are the sata drives for hard disks. The Serial ATA device use a 15-pin power supply connector. This connector supplies three sets of DC power, for +3.3 volts, +5 volts, and +12 volts. They have a distinctive black L shape connector, and normally a tough red plastic wire covering. You couldn't plug this in wrong if your life depended on it.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)