Creating a plan for and constructing your ideal personal computer is no simple task, but if you get the fundamentals right, you’ll be in good shape to finish the build.
The power supply unit (PSU) is the first component you should look at, and our buying guide will help you make the best decision possible.
If you’ve spent a small fortune on a high-end graphics processing unit or central processing unit, the power supply is one part of the system on which you should not skimp.
To begin, you’ll need a power supply unit (PSU) that is both robust enough to power everything and high-quality enough to prevent damage to your expensive components. However, there are additional considerations. When choosing a power supply, what characteristics should you prioritize? Okay, let’s start exploring this.
The Importance Of Wattage
If there’s one rule to follow when picking a PSU, it’s this: make sure it can handle the combined wattage of your video card, CPU, and other devices.
To put it simply, the power supply in a computer is responsible for supplying energy to all of the parts of the machine. A computer may malfunction or refuse to boot up if it is underpowered.
As the graphics processing unit (GPU) and the central processing unit (CPU) consume the most power, they are the primary considerations when deciding on a power supply unit (PSU).
Fortunately, graphic cards and processors always come with an estimated power draw from the manufacturer, which is listed as either thermal design power (TDP) or maximum power consumption.
Although the central processing unit and graphics processing unit will use the most electricity, the rest of the system will need some, too.
PC power consumption can be roughly estimated using a calculator like this one. Noting that a PSU must always have some breathing room is crucial.
Building a computer that uses 345 watts of power would lead you to believe that a 350-watt power supply unit would be ideal, but this is not the case. In practice, a PSU is most efficient between 50% and 80% of its rated output.
To increase the temperature of a power supply unit, keep it under heavy load for extended periods of time.
As such, we advise that, once the baseline wattage has been established, you look for a power supply unit (PSU) that can provide roughly twice that amount. That way, you’d have a power supply unit (PSU) that isn’t only more efficient, but also more quiet, safer, and long-lasting, and one that can accommodate future upgrades and overclocking.
The 80PLUS Rating System
Paying a little more for a power supply that has a better efficiency rating than a lower-priced competitor can help you save money in this age of impending climate disaster and rising energy costs. PSUs are evaluated in this way by the 80PLUS certification system.
While not required, this certification shows how well a PSU regulates the voltage it receives from a wall outlet and distributes it to the lower voltage required by internal components. The amount of heat the PSU generates is essentially equivalent to the amount of energy lost during the conversion process.
Thus, the name “80PLUS” certification is only given to PSUs that waste 20% of their power or less. Most PSUs have a rating that’s stamped on it using a sliding scale of common precious metals.
There are 80PLUS members, then silver, gold, platinum, and titanium, and so on. Gold represents a sweet spot for private users. Servers and workstations, which are constantly processing large amounts of data, are typical recipients of platinum and titanium components.
If you’ve been looking for a PSU, the term ” 12V rails” or something similar will sound familiar. This feature, whose name may be baffling, controls how many power rails are used to supply the various parts of a computer.
Rails are power lines on the circuit board that supply energy to the device. One rail describes the number of rails present in a single rail power supply. Power in multi-rail systems is shared between multiple conductors. The two configurations are complementary in their usefulness.
Single-rail power supply units distribute all of the available power from a single rail to all of the connected devices, ensuring that everything gets the juice it needs to function properly.
However, a PC is easily fried beyond repair in the event of a power surge or other malfunction, so this does put the hardware at risk.
A multi-rail unit, on the other hand, is equipped with a built-in overcurrent and short current protection system in every rail, making it capable of withstanding power surges. Multi-rail units, on the other hand, can’t distribute power uniformly between rails. Instead, the power going into each rail is capped at a certain level and cannot increase beyond that point.
As long as power-hungry components like the GPU are fed power from the correct rail, this isn’t a problem. The power supply’s rails are well-documented, either on the PSU case or in the user manual.
Make sure the model of power supply you buy has the appropriate plugs before you buy it. There are typically three different types of plugs included with power supplies.
First, there’s the 6-pin cable (75W), then there’s the 8-pin cable (150W), and finally, there’s the 6 2-pin cable, which can be plugged into an input with either six or eight pins.
As a rule, graphics cards require a 6-pin and an 8-pin power connector, or sometimes even both. It depends on the GPU’s power consumption and the cooler’s power consumption.
The next step is to figure out which CPU and component power connectors the motherboard requires. Connectors on motherboards typically come in one of four sizes: 24-pin, 20-pin, 8-pin, or 4-pin.
Like with video cards, the key is to use a supply that has the proper connector. The majority of today’s motherboards, including gaming-specific models, use either 20-pin or 24-pin connectors.
Modularity is a popular feature in PSUs, which allows the user to attach and detach connector cables from the back of the unit to meet the specific power needs of the PC’s components.
The primary benefit of a modular PSU is the ease with which cable clutter can be reduced due to the elimination of unused cables. As a bonus, this may increase airflow, which in turn leads to more efficient cooling and easier cable management.
In addition, the case’s interior will have a more refined appearance. Although modular PSUs are more expensive than their non-modular counterparts, we believe they are well worth the extra money.
Best Power Supply 2022
1. Corsair RMx Series RM750x
Best Power Supply
The Corsair RMx Series RM750x, available for only $140, is a powerful and reliable power supply that is suitable for most gaming PC builds. It has a 750-watt output, so it can reliably power even the most demanding gaming PCs. The 135mm magnetic levitation fan should do a fine job of keeping things cool, but the power is stored in high-quality Japanese capacitors rated for up to 105 degrees Celsius. An 80 Plus Gold certification indicates that the power supply is efficient.
The RM750x from Corsair’s RMx Series is fully modular, allowing you to keep your PC’s interior free of excess cables. Two EPS connectors for power-hungry CPUs, four PCIe expansion connectors, ten SATA connectors, and four peripheral connectors give you plenty of options for what you can plug in.
2. Corsair VS Series VS600
Best Budget Power Supply
You can get away with a lower-wattage power supply if you’re building a PC that doesn’t require as much processing power. It isn’t modular, but if your computer case doesn’t have see-through tempered glass sides or a cable management shroud, you won’t notice. The Corsair VS600 in the VS Series offers respectable performance for its low price of $60. Even though it has the lowest possible 80 Plus rating (White), you can rest assured that it will perform efficiently thanks to its certification.
It’s not an SFX model, but this power supply is still relatively small and has enough juice to run many mid-range PC builds with ease, including those with an AMD Ryzen 5 or Intel Core i5 processor and a graphics card like the RTX 3060. Given that only one 8-pin connector is provided for powering the CPU, you shouldn’t go for a particularly power-hungry CPU and serious overclocking motherboard.
3. Cooler Master V850
Best SFX Power Supply
Just because you want to install an in doesn’t mean you have to settle for a low-power system. The Cooler Master V850 is a high-capacity power supply that can still fit in a small form factor case, making it ideal for use in compact systems.
Since the Cooler Master V850’s power cables are modular, you can change them out whenever you like. Cooler Master includes cables in the package, but you are free to use your own if you prefer a different look or require custom cables to fit your chassis. The 80 Plus Gold power efficiency and fluid dynamic bearing fan make this power supply a great choice for any environment that requires low noise levels.
4. SilverStone Technology SX1000 Platinum
Best SFX-L Power Supply
Some components may be out of the question to use in a compact build. The SilverStone SX1000 is an excellent choice for a SFX-L power supply if your case and build allow for it. It’s been certified as 80 Plus Platinum for its exceptionally high efficiency and can output up to 1,000W of power. The dual ball bearing fan operates at a whisper-quiet 18dBA at its quietest and a maximum of just 38dBA, and it can be turned off entirely when power loads are less than 20% of their maximum.
Because of its modular design, the SilverStone SX1000 Platinum only requires the power cables you actually use during construction. This will assist you in maintaining a clean and well-ventilated small form factor build. However, if your rig is going to be fully loaded, the power supply comes with a slew of cables.
5. Corsair AXi Series AX1600i
Best High Capacity Power Supply
A few of us are putting together gaming PCs for regular people. We might use graphics cards that max out at around 200 watts and CPUs that only draw 65 watts. However, the Corsair AXi Series AX1600i is for you if you are constructing a HEDT computer and require a great deal of power for things like CPU overclocking, dual graphics cards, a variety of storage drives, powerful fans, and RGB lighting.
The fact that it has 1,600 watts implied by its name makes this a pretty good choice. With this PSU, you can confidently install a pair of RTX 3090 graphics cards in your rig. The AX1600i from Corsair’s AXi Series uses only Japanese capacitors and gallium nitride transistors to produce 80 Plus Titanium–certified efficiency. You can keep tabs on your system’s stats and tweak its configuration with the help of the Corsair Link software.
6. be quiet! Dark Power 12 750W
Best Silent Power Supply
Though you never want your power supply to get too hot, and fans are a great way to keep things cool, there are times when you wish they would just take a chill pill and stop spinning. So, shut up! Your computer will stay powered up with the Dark Power 12 750W power supply, and it won’t make a ton of noise while doing it. This is accomplished by its special mesh front and its ability to remain silent. a supporter of Silent Wings.
The Dark Power 12 750W power supply is capable of delivering its rated power with excellent efficiency, as indicated by its 80 Plus Titanium rating, and should easily meet the needs of most computers (with the exception of enthusiast and HEDT PCs). The Dark Power 12 750W is a fully modular power supply, which means you can customize the cable lengths and types to best suit your system.
7. Thermaltake Toughpower GF2 ARGB 850W
Best RGB Power Supply
You can attain authority without sacrificing personal flair. An already capable power supply, the Thermaltake Toughpower GF2 ARGB 850W adds a dash of flashiness with its RGB lighting. Thermaltake’s Riing Duo 140mm RGB fan is used to ventilate the power supply even when it’s under heavy load, and its 18 embedded ARGB LEDs provide a dazzling display. In addition to the front panel, Thermaltake outfitted both side panels of the PSU with ARGB LEDs. As a result, you’ll have a great deal of say over the brightness of the lights supplied by your electricity.
You can manage the power supply cables with the Thermaltake Toughpower GF2 ARGB 850W. Thanks to the unit’s modular design, you can customize it to your specific needs by swapping in different cables of varying lengths or removing cables you don’t use. After all, a mess of wires would render all that RGB lighting useless.
In conclusion, here are the factors to consider when deciding on a computer power supply:
The wattage and the PSU’s compatibility with your PC’s connectors are the most crucial aspects to consider, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also give some thought to the less crucial details.
Finally, stick with well-known, trustworthy PSU manufacturers like Corsair or Thermaltake and stay away from any that sound too good to be true.
As mentioned in the introduction, it is recommended to err on the side of caution when purchasing a power supply, as a faulty power supply can cause significant damage to other parts of the system.