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Choosing the Power Supply

One final important choice is the power supply. If you thought you would be able to recycle your old Win95 HP Pavilion power supply, you're sadly mistaken. The old power supplies of 200–300 watts are going to be useless in a modern, high-end system. The P4s are very power-hungry, as are the other high-performance components such as graphics card, hard drive, burners, and numerous peripherals—not to mention lighting, cooling, and other custom modifications.

If you're not careful, however, your lust for power will be your undoing when it comes to noise control. Remember that we're not merely building a fast, attractive system, but also a quiet one. Thus, for this rig I chose a Vantec 470W Stealth Power Supply. This high-quality supply will provide more than enough conditioned power to meet all your needs. More importantly, it does so quietly. The Vantec uses three double-ball-bearing fans inside with a three-speed temperature control switch to balance the cooling while it generates the power. It has all three fans mounted in a unique, lightweight aluminum (rather than steel) casing. It also conveniently provides its own spare outlet for you to attach another peripheral on the fly without having to scramble to find another power strip. Features include the following:

  • Serial ATA ready

  • Three-speed thermal fan control switch

  • Three temperature-controlled dual ball-bearing fans

  • Universal connector fits most branded mainboards

  • Additional AC output for peripherals

  • Lightweight black aluminum casing

  • Electric-shock–free protection

  • Over voltage and current protection

  • Short circuit protection

  • ATX 12 V

  • Very low noise level!!

The ATX 12 volt connector is a new feature of P4 mainboards. If you haven't built a system in a while, you might be confused at first about the new four-pin connector for the CPU. This provides a discrete 12 V just for the P4 CPU.

Vantec 470W Stealth Power Supply cost: $89.

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