Server & Storage Power Supplies
Whereas a conventional design has numerous cables permanently connected to the power supply, a modular power supply provides connectors at the power supply end, allowing unused cables to be detached from the power supply, producing less clutter, a neater appearance and less interference with airflow.
The use cases for redundant power supplies in servers generally involve:
1. Business applications where downtime impacts either user or customer access to information and applications.
2. Co-located servers where a technician may be hours or a day away from servicing an equipment failure. Usually this scenario involves some sort of business application described in 1.
3. Mission-critical applications where nodes cannot fail. For example, scientific application infrastructures that are not fault tolerant need to have the ability to be serviced mid-run.
Unlike disk failure, power failure causes an entire system to be knocked completely offline. That is why modern datacenters spend so much time and money with building redundant power supplies, investing in power feeds from different grids, backup generators, and large uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units. Redundant power supplies are built to work into the redundant power systems in datacenters and ensure that power gets delivered to all functional server components.
On the other hand, we also stock the non-redundant power supplies (aka non-hot plug) power supplies for servers. These are generally for the entry level offerings, HP ML1XX, for example and other equipment that you might be utilizing in the data center.
A basic description of their individual connectors is worth knowing and also how the individual connections look like. The exact cables you’ll use will vary depending on the specifics of your build, but you’ll most likely be dealing with the following:
- :: 24-pin Motherboard: The way power is allocated varies from motherboard to motherboard, but the 24-pin connector/cable is frequently used to power important features such as the chipset and PCIe*
- :: 4/8-pin CPU: This connector provides power to your CPU. Modern CPUs draw more power than the 24-pin motherboard configuration can provide, which is why the additional 4/8 pin cable came into use. Though it can vary depending on the manufacturer, the CPU cable usually plugs into the top left side of the motherboard, near the I/O on a standard layout
- :: 6/8 pin (PCIe*/GPU): Some GPUs draw enough power from the PCIe* slot, while others require a specific power cable configuration to operate properly. Most PSUs address this required flexibility by providing cables that can be used in a variety of combinations, some of which include 6, 8, 6+6, 8+6, and 8+8, and even 8+8+8 pin connectors. PSUs will often provide multiple connections on a single cable to avoid having to run additional wires, and for the vast majority of users, this will function the same as running multiple cables. Be sure to double-check that your power supply has the connections you need for your GPU before purchasing
- :: SATA Power: This connector is used to provide power to SATA storage devices. Other devices have since adopted the standard as well, such as RGB hubs and fan controllers. Many PSUs have multiple SATA connections on one cable to reduce the amount of cables required
- :: 4-pin Molex: This is an increasingly rare legacy connector that has mostly been replaced by SATA. Molex connectors are usually found on less common accessories.