Modular vs. Non-Modular PSU: Who Wins the PSU Brawl?

Modular vs. Non-modular PSU

There’s a saying that a chain is as strong as its weakest link, and if you ask me, this couldn’t be any truer when it comes to building a PC. Because if you don’t have a balanced build, sooner or later, you’ll face performance issues. And, that’s not something you can solve just by clicking on the ‘diagnose’ button!

That being said, a well-functioning and efficient PSU is as important as any other component in your computer. If you’re planning on building a high-end PC but willing to compromise with a trashy PSU, you can say ‘goodbye’ to ‘efficient performance. As a matter of fact, your PC won’t even turn on without a PSU!

There are basically three types of PSUs, Non-modular, Semi-modular, and Full modular/modular ones. However, in this article, we’ll discuss modular vs. non-modular PSU only. Hopefully, at the very end, we’ll be able to draw a conclusion to which one is the better one based on the basic facts.

So, let’s get on to it.

The Basic Difference Between a Modular and a Non-Modular PSU

The only thing that makes a modular and a non-modular PSU different is their cable connection. Other than that, their function and work process isn’t really that different. Before getting to the part of choosing which one is the best one, let’s dig into this a little deeper.

Non-Modular PSU

Non-Modular PSU

In a non-modular PSU, you’ll see that all the cables you’ll possibly need for your build are already attached to it permanently. I want you to focus on the words ‘possibly’ and ‘permanently’ once again. That’s basically the summary of a non-modular PSU. Let me make this a little clear for you.

All the cables that are attached to the non-modular power supply aren’t absolutely necessary to run your PC. But, given that they’re permanently attached, you’ll have no choice but to make space for those extra cables even though you don’t need them.

If you ask me, that’s like having a permanent cleaner at your house to clean your swimming pool (once in every three months) when you have the opportunity to get a one-time cleaning service whenever you need it. Then again, possibility is you don’t even need to clean the pool because you don’t even have it!

Modular PSU

Modular PSU

That’s where the modular PSU comes in. A modular PSU allows you to attach or detach each and every necessary cable according to your need. You can simply choose not to have some unoccupied cables huddled inside your case. This saves a lot of space inside your computer.

Speaking of unoccupied cables, there can be a few SATA cables for storage, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 front panel headers, HD audio front panel header, and 6/8-pin cable (used to power up video cards) that you may not need all the time. To be precise, that’s like half of the cables that you see in a messy desktop!

Modular vs. Non-Modular, Which One is The Best and Why?

Now that we have a basic idea of the modular and non-modular PSUs, it’s time to decide which one will be most efficient for your build. We’re going to do that based on a few things and from the perspective of what happens as a result of having too many cables inside a computer case. Here is what you need to know –

  • Cable Management

Let’s start with the most common concern. Cable management issue is one of the major problematic issues in a desktop case. So, it goes without saying that it’s quite an impact on which way the result is going to turn.

The modular PSU offers you the opportunity to attach and detach cables as per your convenience. This means you can sort the cables one after another, and you won’t be facing the ‘twisted cable’ issues. On the other hand, a non-modular PSU comes as a pack which is the reason for ‘twisted cables’.

  • Air Flow & Temperature

Let’s say it this way, the temperature of your case interior is proportionate to the cables inside it. Not having proper airflow isn’t really the major reason behind overwhelming temperature, but it surely plays a significant role. So, having proper airflow is quite necessary.

Now, guess what the one and only external catalyst that causes a hindrance to airflow is? That’s right; it’s the cables. It’s not like we can get rid of the cables inside a PC case; those are essential. However, we should try to make space in between the components as much as possible.

It goes without saying that the modular PSU has a significant upper hand in this scenario.

  • Cable Connection

It’s not a major point, but it’s definitely not something that should be looked over. There’re a lot of people who aren’t familiar with the functions inside a computer. For them, attaching or detaching cables without proper care could be a little bit tricky.

In this scenario, I’m willing to give the upper hand to the non-modular PSUs. Because if you’re using a non-modular PSU, you don’t have to worry about messing up the connection. BTW, here’s a basic idea about the Essential Connections and Optional Connections in Your PSU.

  • Efficiency

All 3 of the topics that mentioned above are more than enough to guess the winning side in the efficiency issue. Still, let’s have another look at this. The basic definition of efficiency is less input and more output.

The non-modular PSUs can’t get rid of extra cables; too many cables cause less airflow, and less airflow means increased temperature. On the other hand, with a modular PSU, you’ll have fewer cables, free space for airflow, and a lower temperature. We clearly have a winner here, the modular PSU, of course.

  • Looks of Your Setup

These days, desktops aren’t just for keeping all the components and circuits together. People are also concerned about how the setup looks. A good-looking setup creates an environment for everything (gaming, freelancing, or other stuff), and having a transparent PC case is the way to do it!

Speaking of a transparent case, can you be the judge of which one can get a plus point for adding something to the aesthetic; a non-modular PSU with unnecessary cables or a modular PSU with less cables?

  • Price

A non-modular PSU isn’t for nothing if that’s what you’re thinking at this point. It literally comes at half the price of a modular PSU. I mean, if someone wants to get a better GPU, processor, or RAM by cutting some corners with the PSU price, then that’s completely a wise choice.

So, how about we make a chart, mark the winners from different perspectives, and hit the gavel in this thing once and for all?

FactorsNon-Modular PSUModular PSU
Cable Management
Air Flow & Temperature
Cable Connection

Bottom Line

A PSU isn’t just another part inside your PC case; it’s an essential one. You can’t run the PC without having a compatible and efficient power supply. I know people aren’t that choosy about PSUs like they’re with the other parts (such as GPU, processor, RAM). All I’m saying is, don’t be ignorant about this.

If you’re not tight on budget, always go with the modular PSU because it’ll only increase the performance of your build. An efficient PSU can increase the efficiency of other important parts of your build, such as the GPU.

If you choose to go with a non-modular power supply, there will be many issues such as overheating, dust, and instability in the power supply. As a result, saving the pennies with PSU may haunt you back by causing you bucks with GPUs, processors, and other parts that come a bit pricey.

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