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Case And Power Supply

Building Your Own PC, Part 1: Know-How for Do-It-Yourselfers
Power Supply

The advent of processors breaking the gigahertz barrier has made one thing clear: their thirst for power is hard to rein in. When buying a case, take a very close look at the built-in power supply. In addition to the classic ATX power supply, it should also feature an auxiliary power connector. More and more motherboards require this plug to cover the power needs of a Pentium 4 or an Athlon XP. The only time you won't need it is if you're operating a CPU at 1400 MHz or less.

Classic ATX power supply plug.

Extra current for power-hungry CPUs: ATX12 (left) and P6 connector. (right)

An increasingly familiar sight on motherboards: on the left, the P6 (AUX); and on the right, the classic ATX plug.

An ATX12 socket on the motherboard.

Power Connectors For Drives

Your power supply will depend on how many drives you plan to install. Small cases only offer three or four connectors. Once you've used up all the available connectors, you'll have to use a Y junction to turn one plug into two.

One into two: a typical Y junction with large plugs.

This cable also comes with small plugs for connecting floppy drives and the like to a power supply.

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