I have a computer I refer to as "The Dinosaur." It has an AMD Duron 750MHz processor, a 20GB primary hard drive (partitioned into two to cover for the 4.3GB original that gave up the good fight after about 10 years), 256MB RAM, and a 3dfx Voodoo3 2000 16MB PCI video card. Let's not forget the burly 24x CD-ROM (no R, no RW) and the Soundblaster AWE 64 ISA sound card. Behold the power… of 1997's finest.
Why do I even keep this thing alive? Well, it's a makeshift file server and still houses the video card that games like the original Unreal Tournament and Aliens vs. Predator were optimized for (ahh, 3dfx Glide). I was even able to get Ghost Recon to run on it, even after Ubisoft's specs reminded me time and time again that this card wasn't supported. Take that.
Given the age of the system, it shouldn't have been that much of a surprise when the power supply finally died in it recently. The odd thing was that it hadn't been used in at least a month, then I moved into a new place, plugged it in, hit the power button, and it just went click. Nothing else happened. It literally wasn't connected to anything between the last time I used it and when it stopped working. Maybe its age just caught up to it.
I priced several replacement power supplies online. The unit originally in it ran at a meager 250W, and about the smallest replacement I could find was well above that. I figured that, for an older machine, I might be able to buy a low-end 500W power supply and save some money. The machine has virtually no monetary value in today's market, and evidently uses very little power compared to modern behemoths, so why blow $100 on a part for a machine I barely use? As it turns out, there are some very good reasons to do so.
Went out shopping, browsed several makes and models, and was even shown a power supply tester that cost about twice as much as the cheapest power supply available (it was about $40, though you can find similar devices for half that price online). Again, thinking there was some certain level of quality that all these devices had to measure up to, I ended up choosing one based solely on price. It was the Eagle Tech Cool Power ET-PSCP 500W ATX power supply, which retails for about $20. I mention the model specifically so that you can avoid it.