As with most people, I’ve traditionally bought the non-modular power supplies over modular for one reason: because they’re cheaper.
However, at this point in my life, I realize more and more of these “fancy” things can often come with their own drawbacks, cleverly hidden behind the guise of ‘newer is better’. Modular power supplies are no exception, and this article is all about why.
Do you really need it?
Even PC cases that were utter garbage back in 2010 tend to have cable management holes. Back then, nobody really cared as much about cable management as much as we do now. So, why are cables coming from the power supply a problem? You’re going to be hiding them anyway.
Furthermore, any good PC case made in the last several years has a power supply shroud, which hides the power supply and its whole mess of cables entirely. An ingenious idea! My first case with one of these was the NZXT H440, which I in early 2015 or so. With a power supply shroud, modular power supplies become unnecessary, and in my eyes, completely and totally obsolete.
But we’re not done yet!
Another reason why these power supplies are such a terrible idea is because their connectors that go into the actual power supply itself aren’t all the same. This means that not only do you have to scrutinize at the supply and the cables to see where to plug them into, but they aren’t the same across power supplies.
How is this a good design!? It’s all too common that someone gets a second-hand modular power supply that doesn’t have all the cables, and if they don’t know what they’re doing, they’re gonna be in for a hell of a time! Something critical like a power supply should not be using this type of thing.
It’s bad enough having different voltages and different tip sizes to no consistent degree for common electronic devices – hence, more and more are switching to USB. But unlike those, the infrastructure of computers and how they’re put together is controlled by lots of standardization. There’s no reason that a power supply should be so nonstandard!
The only excuse
Quite sadly, however, most power supplies are modular these days, particularly higher-end units. The reason is because the people who buy modular power supplies are suckers for it, thus they sell, thus the companies make more. Worse yet, higher-wattage ones tend to be modular-only. That’s too bad, but I’ll say that there becomes lesser and lesser of a need for high-wattage as we progress further: multi-GPU never really made that much sense, CPUs are becoming more efficient, and SSDs + RAM barely take any energy to start with – not to mention M.2. Even with HDDs, we have such big ones that there’s no need for four 1TB drives when you could use one 4TB drive, and pull way less energy and use less connections.
So basically, I can’t see any reason other than if you somehow need something like an 850W or over for an HEDT system, in which most (if not all) are only modular. Essentially, they’re forcing modular on us, and this is the only reason why it’s sometimes okay to buy a modular power supply.
P.S.: Real men desolder the wires from a non-modular power supply if they don’t want them on there anymore. (I’m obviously joking!)