Wondering what exactly PSU shrouds are for, if they’re worth it, and which ones work best? We can help!
Generally, PSU shrouds are just aesthetic covers for a PC’s potentially unsightly power supply. The shrouds don’t offer any performance or mechanical benefit, but instead create a cleaner look by hiding cables, connections, and the PSU itself.
Even though your PC isn’t going to run better or cooler with a PSU shroud, there’s still plenty of reason to want one, especially if your PC case is windowed.
This quick guide will cover everything you need to know about PSU shrouds. We get into all the details about what they do, how they work, and which products make the most sense.
What PSU Shrouds Are For
Computer enthusiasts were excited when the first computer cases with built-in viewing windows or fully clear sides hit the market. After all, what’s the point of spending all that money on the latest processors and graphics cards if you can’t show them off to anyone (other than, you know, all the benefits of having a state-of-the-art rig?
Manufacturers took notice of the sudden rise of transparent cases, and they quickly started factoring aesthetics into their designs. Components became sleeker and more futuristic. RGB LEDs started appearing all over alongside promises of custom and reactive lighting. Everything that went inside a computer case started looking cooler with each successive iteration.
Everything, that is, except for power supplies.
Aesthetically minded users were the first to recognize the PSU problem. These users didn’t take kindly to the unattractive lumps that threw off the appearance of the stylish machines they’d spent so much time and money on, so they did what any self-respecting adult would do in that situation: Cover it up and pretend it didn’t exist. And thus the PSU shroud was born.
The original PSU shrouds were all DIY affairs. Users fashioned them out of whatever looked good and earned them bragging rights. Craftier users made them out of fiberglass or aluminum, makers 3D printed covers made of colored polymer, and less talented users spray-painted some cardboard and called it a day.
Manufacturers noticed this new trend, too, and before long they started including PSU shrouds with almost every windowed computer case they sold.
Are PSU Shrouds Worth It?
PSU shrouds are definitely worth it for making a PC look a lot cleaner. PSU shrouds are also easy to install and don’t interfere with airflow. They are purely aesthetic, however, so you absolutely don’t have to use one if you don’t want to. Your system won’t run any better or worse.
PSU Shroud Design
PSU shrouds are very simple. They’re really just pieces of shaped plastic or metal that fit inside of a computer case to cover up the PSU, its cables, and anything else at the bottom of the case.
The whole point is to make a computer with a windowed case look better, so a good PSU shroud should have a stylish design that matches the rest of the case, completely cover up the power supply and its cords, and accomplish all this without drawing any attention to itself.
Properly designed PSU shrouds should cover up the PSU and its cables without affecting airflow or making it difficult to access the power supply, if necessary, which means they should be easy to install and remove.
Some PSU shrouds may click right into place, while others may require a screwdriver or a pair of pliers.
Proper PSU shrouds should also leave some room for air to flow around the PSU. No one likes a hot power supply, for one, and nothing good can come from restricting airflow to the PSU.
Best PC Cases with Built-In PSU Shrouds
This case won Best Case by Techspot.com, this versatile, easily customizable case has a large side viewing window that lets you show off your computer’s components and a PSU shroud that blends in perfectly with the rest of the case.
This portable case comes with a built-in handle, a tough but lightweight aluminum and tempered glass construction, and a window with a tinted bottom that conceals the PSU. That’s right, the PSU shroud is built right into the window itself. How’s that for convenience?
This full-sized offering from Lian Li gives you everything you want in case: It’s roomy, it has two tempered glass panels that swing open for easy access to your computer’s components, and it has built-in RGB lighting. This case also comes with built-in PSU shrouds that swing open like its side panels, giving you the best in both concealment and convenience.
Another compact case with a built-in PSU shroud, this case differentiates itself with its clean, modern design, advanced RGB lighting system, and unique cable routing kit with channels and straps that make cable management fast and easy. The PSU shroud is built across the bottom of the case, but the case’s open back offers easy access to your computer’s PSU.
This case has two built-in fans, a three-step fan controller, and noise dampening vents that cut down the decibels without restricting airflow. This case is a bit simpler than the others, but its understated style, wide viewing window, and included PSU shroud and HDD slot covers give it a clean, respectable look that stands out without being ostentatious.
Best PSU Shrouds for PCs
The best PSU shrouds are typically the ones that come bundled with new computer cases. You can make your own or commission one from some crafty denizen of the internet, of course, but either one will take a good deal of time and more money than you should spend on a simple piece of shaped material.
And while there are some PSU shrouds available on sites like Etsy and Amazon, the chances of finding one that fits both your computer case and your PSU are very slim.
The chances of finding a PSU shroud that fits your system are slim, but not zero. There are a few different sites out there that sell PSU shrouds designed for a range of different cases and PSUs.
Take coldzero.eu, for instance, or the smattering of proprietary PSU shrouds on corsair.com. Finding a PSU shroud on its own is pretty tough though, so you might want to start somewhere else.
PC Build Aesthetics
Buying a pre-built PC is fine and all, but there’s nothing quite like building your own PC. Planning your build, picking the perfect parts, feeling the components click into place, watching your creation come to life; it’s almost a spiritual experience to some particularly enthusiastic enthusiasts.
If you can’t relate, try thinking of it this way: We can’t build our own cars or design our own smartphones, we can’t customize the layout of our apartments or the décor in our workplaces, and we have no control over the way our towns and cities are designed.
The closest you’ll get to the freedom of choice that comes with building a PC is designing and building your own house, and that’s something that fewer and fewer people will ever be able to do.
Building a PC is a wonderful experience, and at the end of it you get to play awesome games and tear through tasks and processes that would make your old PC burst into flame. Making the perfect PC goes a bit beyond buying the right components, however. Fashion, or at least aesthetics, is becoming a bigger and bigger factor for PC builders.
You may be thinking that building computers and having fashion sense are mutually exclusive, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Custom computers aren’t just big black boxes anymore, they’ve evolved into sleek, stylish beasts with intricately angular designs, RGB lighting, and built-in viewing windows that show off the components inside.
A properly built computer with a modern case can look more like a work of art than a machine, and you’d better believe there are swarms of computer geeks ready to drool over a nice new rig.
There’s just one problem with the custom computer industry’s newfound sense of style: the unsightly and completely necessary mess of wires and cables that come with every computer.
Cable management is kind of a pain. It takes a lot of tedious work to properly bind all a computer’s cables together in an aesthetically pleasing way, but it’s hard to avoid if you want the inside of your computer to look good on and off-camera.
And even after you painstakingly twist-tie all the cables together and pin them to the sides of the case like clusters of electric arteries you’re still left with another unsightly mess at the bottom of the case: The power supply.
You can’t exactly bind the power cords together with the other wires, and manufacturers have yet to design a power supply that doesn’t look like a brutalist black box (though we do probably like Seasonic and Corsair options the best) squatting by the back of the case.
PSU shrouds are important to people who really want to show off their computers. They’re perfect for covering up unsightly components that don’t mesh with the rest of the computer, which is probably why most new computer cases either come with PSU shrouds or integrate them into their design.
There are very few PSU shrouds available by themselves, however, so you might need to invest in a new case if you really want to cover up your power supply without having to DIY it.