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Often abbreviated as just ‘PSU’, the power supply unit is a piece of hardware in a computer that gives the energy various electronic components in the machine need in order to run.
This supply runs from the unit to the components via cables. If you’ve purchased and set up a desktop out of the box, it will already have standard cables that do this job. However, you can change these up via PSU cable extensions to achieve different effects.
What Is a PSU Cable Extension and How Do They Work?
A PSU cable extension is somewhat similar in function to the more standard extension cords you might be familiar with. An extension cord makes it possible for a device to be used further away from its power source.
As you might expect, a PSU cable extension is designed to achieve a similar result. Users can add different or longer cables to connect the computer power sources to the components inside.
While a typical extension cord has a practical effect of providing longer reach, a PSU cable extension is mostly about improving or otherwise changing the look of your computer. As you will see when we get into things below, the cables are designed not to have any adverse effect on performance.
Therefore, changing the lengths of the cables is mostly for aesthetic appeal. It is worth noting here that some cable extensions might also use custom sleeves or other enhancements to add to the looks of the cables.
Are Cable Extensions Compatible With Any PSU?
The answer to this question might be slightly more complex than it seems at first. In short, yes, cable extensions are fully compatible with any PSU. However, there are some important things to keep in mind if you are new to this subject.
- Extensions are fully compatible, but replacement cables are not. This can be tricky if you’re diving in, and it is important to remember not to mix and match the actual power supply cables of your PSU with those from different brands or models. Cable extensions are built to be universal, however.
- It can be confusing at first, but it is easy to tell which is which once you get started. If you are removing the cables from the PSU directly, these are the power cables themselves, and they are not universal.
- If you are plugging new cables into the existing ones that are connected to the housing of your PSU, these are extensions, and they are intended to be universal.
Is It Safe To Use PSU Cable Extensions?
The cables in your motherboard or GPU are what make the connections inside the computer that help it run efficiently. It is natural for some users to worry about safety if they start messing about with these cables. Not to worry, under normal use, PSU cable extensions should be perfectly safe to use.
One of the main reasons to add cable extensions is to make your rig more appealing visually. Much of this comes from making the wire longer, or allowing you to tuck it away somewhere. Other users may install specially sleeved cable extensions for aesthetics as well.
These are just as safe as the stock cords that come with your computer, provided you install them correctly. The only thing to keep in mind here is something that will come up often when you look into PSU cable extensions anywhere. Namely, purchase them from a reputable company to ensure quality.
It is almost impossible to check for yourself if a particular cable extension is of good quality just by looking at it. Unless there are very obvious surface defects, you won’t know there is a safety issue until something happens to your computer.
However, you can mitigate this almost entirely just by purchasing from sites or businesses that are known for quality cable extensions for PSUs.
Do PSU Extensions Affect Performance?
Whether you’re a regular PC user or someone who likes to mod machines to get every last bit of power out of them, performance is going to be an important consideration. Changing or replacing different parts of a computer can always come with some unexpected drawbacks if done improperly.
You may wonder about possible dips in the performance of your devices once you add PSU extensions into the mix. The good news is most power extensions of good quality should not affect performance negatively. You should be able to add or swap out PSU extensions without needing to worry about performance issues.
However, we recommend you make sure that the diameter of the wires should match the measurements in the original cables in order to ensure best results. If you are unsure of the proper diameter or other measurements you might need, you can take these readings yourself.
Instead of trying to take physical measurements, however, it might be a good idea to check out the manufacturer’s site of your choice in order to find the numbers you need.
The maker of your PSU should have the relevant numbers on hand, or you can check PSU review sites to find your model and check out the numbers there. If neither of these options is available to you, you can still take physical measurements. Making sure the sizes match is key to ensuring that you won’t experience a loss of performance once you add the extensions you like.
This is because appropriate wire gauge for the length you want is crucial to maintaining voltage. Proper voltage will always help to ensure adequate performance. In such cases, you should be able to extend the PSU cables by quite a bit and still maintain good power.
A drop in voltage under whatever load you are running could cause performance issues. Thus, you can avoid this by taking proper wire measurements and sticking to them.
Can PSU Cable Extensions Cause Problems?
Performance itself is one thing, but what about other possible issues with PSU cable extensions? Can using them at all cause any other problems to crop up? In general, you shouldn’t really experience any problems using PSU cable extensions normally.
They are made to ensure a problem-free extension that gives you the same performance you’re used to without any hassles.
As with many things in life, however, there are several things to keep in mind. We’ll go over some possible caveats below.
- There should be no issues in using PSU cables normally. That said, a few users have reported problems with their computers not working after installing cable extensions.
- It’s hard to pinpoint the exact issues some users might have had without a full analysis. The problem is likely caused by incorrect matching for the PSU model or using an inferior brand.
- Any PSU should be compatible with several cable extensions, but you’ll need to check the specs on yours in order to determine which brands make extensions that can work with yours. That said, you should always have several options from which you can choose. As long as they are compatible, there is little risk of any problems with your cables.
- Some brands make excellent PSU cable extensions. Unfortunately, not all brands or models are created equal. You might run into inferior cable extensions out there, and these could cause as many problems as a model that doesn’t match up. The performance issues or lack of starting at all will be there, but bad cable extensions could also present an electrical or fire hazard if they’re made improperly. The last thing you want to worry about is added safety issues in the home besides those of your computer itself.
If you’re new to cable extensions but still want to install them for aesthetics right away, dedicated tech forums and similar places can direct you to brands and manufacturers that are reputable and put out good products.
PSU cable extensions are a great way to add to the length of your existing PSU cables.
Besides giving you more length to set things up differently, you can find many extensions that are made with colors and designs that might help you spice up or customize your rig.
Most extension cables are made to be both safe and effective, although it is best to purchase from a reputable dealer or manufacturer to ensure quality. With so many options and universal compatibility, you can try out several kinds of extensions to find the ones that appeal to you.