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Say I put a cheap power supply into a PC, could I save electricity costs by replacing it with some kind of fancy PSU (that's "more efficient" or has some kind of intelligent power management)?

I know some (more expensive) desktop PC power supply units can be more reliable, quieter, or have more max watts than others.

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Yes, a better PSU can increase efficiency and reduce cost of operation. High quality PSUs have more sophisticated electronics for greater efficiency. See the Wikipedia article on 80 PLUS, a certification program for high-efficiency PSUs.

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Yes, as previously answered. Also, never put a cheap power supply in a PC - it will die in a year or so. Pay about ~ $100 for 500W and look for statements like "high quality Japanese capacitors".

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Very true - quality Japanese capacitors have greater reliability as well as higher temperature limits. – bwDraco Apr 27 '11 at 4:21

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