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Superchargers, like turbochargers are basically air compressors. They are driven by the engine through a belt. They differ from turbos as turbos are exhaust driven.
Superchargers need power from the engine to be driven. The advantage is there is no (turbo) lag but the disadvantage is that engine power is used. When one considers the power gain from the supercharger, the power used is minimal.
The massive Superchargers such as the ones found in the SLR McLaren need 120bhp just to run it.

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