You just finished today’s intense gaming session and now you are noticing that your PSU is getting a little too hot.
You must be feeling worried, right?
Why is my PSU overheating?
As a PC expert who has experienced this issue many times, I’m here to tell you there’s nothing to worry about. It took me a long time to understand this issue at first so I have written this simplified article for you.
So, put on your thinking cap and follow me till the end. Also, don’t skip any part if you want to be free of any confusion.
Can a Bad PSU Cause Overheating?
Well, in most cases, it is highly unlikely that a bad power supply will cause overheating. In few rare scenarios, when the computer or another component is trying to pull more current for itself, it starts to overheat. Improper airflow could also be the culprit.
So, you should test your PSU using a power supply testing unit or by doing the paperclip test to see whether your power supply is at fault.
You should also check out what power supply do you have on your PC.
It is also possible that your power supply does not have the minimum rating required which means that all the components in your PC are not getting sufficient power.
In this case, your PSU is unlikely to cause overheating since there is not enough power, to begin with.
How Do I Know If My Power Supply Is Overheating?
The simplest way to find out whether your PSU is getting too hot is to simply touch it with your hands. If it’s getting unbearable to touch the power supply for too long, you’ve got yourself a PSU that is overheating. Have some time to spare? Quickly check out our epic guide on do modular PSUs come with cables.
So, why is the heat reaching such dangerous levels? There are many reasons for it. The most likely one is that you are putting too much strain on your PSU and it just cannot handle it.
Another reason that I already mentioned above is the lack of proper airflow. A power supply needs proper airflow in order to cool itself when it is reaching higher temperatures.
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This issue is mostly caused when the fan is blocked or it was not installed properly.
Another point to consider is that you need to make sure that your PSU is not getting too clogged up with dirt and dust since these also contribute to overheating.
How Do I Stop My Power Supply From Overheating?
The fastest method to cool down a power supply that is currently heating up is to open up the case and use external fans to cool it down quickly. Another effective solution is to clean out the dust in the internal fans using something like canned air.
You will need to identify what is the main reason that is causing your power supply to gather so much heat.
I have already mentioned all the possible causes for this issue and it’s your job to identify which one relates to you the most.
If your PSU is connected to certain components that draw more power than what the PSU can supply, it leads to overloading.
One way to check this is to pull out your calculator take the sum of all the wattage readings for every component that uses the power supply which includes your motherboard, processor, memory cards, drives, and bus-powered USB devices.
If the sum is higher than what the PSU can provide, you need to get a PSU with a higher watt rating.
Some power supplies come with a feature called power factor correction or PFC which makes more wattage available to the system when comparing with another power supply without PFC.
Fan failure is another major issue that can put your entire setup at risk if not fixed immediately. Also, check out our separate post on why to use PSU shroud.
There could be an incorrect input voltage or a short circuit if you notice that the fan stops as soon as the power is turned on. In this scenario, you should also notice that the computer is unusable.
You can find out if your fan is failing by listening closely to the unit and observing if it is making less noise than usual which indicates fan failure. Also, you should observe that the fan blades aren’t turning anymore if there is fan failure.
Moreover, if a fan stops turning later, and the system starts normally, then there is true fan failure and it’s not a power issue.
Improper airflow can also be a headache and you can minimize this by securing cable ties to make sure they are a safe distance away from the fans and power supply.
Moreover, replacing slot covers that are missing and double-checking that both the auxiliary case fans and CPU fans are working perfectly can be pretty useful, too.
Additionally, most power supplies use a cooling mechanism known as a negative pressure which basically works like a very weak vacuum cleaner, which pulls air through the vents in the case, past the components, and out through the fan.
Most of the dirt will accumulate either in the case vents and fans or in the motherboard and expansion slots.
How to get rid of all this junk? You can use a vacuum cleaner that’s specially made for computers or you can use compressed air.
Also, check out our separate PSU Tier List.
Question: Can a bad PSU cause a CPU to overheat?
Answer: No, there is no possible scenario where a CPU would face heating issues from a faulty PSU. In the worst possible situation, the PSU simply cannot provide enough power to the CPU so overheating is out of the question.
Question: What happens if your PSU gets too hot?
Answer: Typically, there is a limit to how hot a PSU can get before powering off completely. If the temperature exceeds the threshold, usually 65 degrees, then the power supply will automatically turn itself off.
Question: What happens if PSU fan fails?
Answer: A failed fan could cause a power supply to reach high temperatures and if the power supply is an inexpensive one, it might not have over-temperature protection so there will be permanent damage.
Question: What happens if a PSU dies?
Answer: If the power supply is completely dead, then your computer will be in a similar situation until you get a replacement. A dead PSU has the potential to even damage the circuit breaker present in your house.
Question: What is a good PSU temperature?
Answer: Generally, it is best if the temperature is somewhere between 40 or 45 degrees when gaming. If your PSU gets hotter than this, you should definitely try to cool it down by pausing your gameplay or just putting less strain in general.
Your overheating power supply will probably get damaged if the situation is left unresolved. On the other hand, this will not happen if you’ve got a PSU that comes with safeguards.
Regardless, I hope you found what you were looking for in this article.
With a little patience, you can definitely prevent your PSU from overheating again.