While the power supply may not be the first thing on your mind when assembling your new gaming PC, don’t discount its significance.
One of the more noticeable (and more marketable) features in a PSU today would be its ability to be easily mounted to a wall. This is in addition to the overall wattage, the degree of modularity it offers, and the connectors that it comes with ranking of efficacy.
What Is A PSU Efficiency Rating?
The purpose of a PSU is obvious: it is the source of electricity for the computer’s various parts. Although wattage is a good indicator of the total amount of power a PSU can supply, the efficiency rating shows how much of the power it draws from the outlet is actually delivered to the components.
So, if a low-cost power supply with poor efficiency was required to supply 100 watts to a component, it would have to consume 200 watts of power, with the excess being dissipated as heat.
However, there is no need to worry about PSUs that are only 50% efficient because even the cheapest models available today from reputable manufacturers are in the 70-80% efficiency range, and the most efficient ones can easily go beyond 90% efficiency.
What’s the deal with the “80 Plus” logo that appears on the packaging of energy-efficient power supply units (PSUs)?
Since its inception in 2004, the 80 Plus certification program has ensured that power supplies are at least 80% efficient across a wide range of loads, meaning they consume less energy and produce less heat than their non-certified counterparts.
Over time, five more certifications were introduced in addition to the initial 80 Plus certification; these were given the names of various metals: bronze, silver, gold, platinum, and titanium. Each “tier” provides more efficiency than the one before it, but at a higher cost.
Power Supply Ratings
|% of Design Load||10%||20%||50%||100%|
|Also known as “80 White,” “80 PLUS”||—||80%||80%||80% / PFC .90|
|At Least 80, Bronze||—||82%||85% / PFC .90||82%|
|80 Silver Plus||—||85%||88% / PFC .90||85%|
|Eighty-Plus Gold Standard||—||87%||90% / PFC .90||87%|
|Platinum PLUS 80||—||90%||92% / PFC .95||89%|
|Titanium 80 Plus||90%||92% / PFC .95||94%||90%|
The preceding table clearly delineates six distinct power supply ratings. 80 Plus Standard (also called 80 white) is the lowest and 80 Plus Titanium is the highest. Because they no longer provide sufficient levels of reliability or efficiency, PSUs with the 80 Plus Standard rating are virtually nonexistent in today’s market. You can expect to pay a hefty premium for a high-end PSU because of its 80 Plus Gold certification.
Many companies have apparently abandoned the unpopular 80 Plus Silver rating because they see no need for it to exist between the 80 Plus Bronze and 80 Plus Gold ratings. Providing such a minor upgrade from 80 Plus Bronze seems unnecessary given the relatively small differences between the various certification levels, as shown in the preceding chart.
When Titanium power supplies became available, the price of 80 Plus Platinum models dropped dramatically. A platinum-rated power supply unit is now available, which is fantastic news. Titanium also introduced a new efficiency metric for power supplies: 10% of rated load. The following table demonstrates this:
|% of Design Load||10%||20%||50%||100%|
|Also known as “80 White,” “80 PLUS”||—||82%||85% / PFC .90||82%|
|Eighty-Plus Bronze||—||85%||88% / PFC .90||85%|
|Silver PLUS 80||—||87%||90% / PFC .90||87%|
|80 Gold Plus||—||90%||92% / PFC .90||89%|
|Platinum PLUS 80||—||92%||94% / PFC .90||90%|
|Titanium 80 Plus||90%||94% / PFC .95||96%||94%|
80 Plus Bronze
Despite receiving the second-worst possible rating, bronze power supplies remain among the most sought-after models on the market. The efficiency of 80 Plus Bronze power supplies is guaranteed to be at least 82% at 20% load, 85% at 50% load, and 82% at 100% load.
The popularity of bronze-rated power supplies can be attributed to their low price and high degree of reliability. What about the Silver level though?
80 Plus Silver
Surprisingly, Silver-rated power supplies are neither widely used nor widely recognized.
There’s no easy answer, but in general, Silver-rated power supplies have the same manufacturing costs as Gold-rated ones but generate less profit. This explains why there aren’t more of them for sale.
A Silver-level power supply has an efficiency rating of 85% at 20% load, 88% at 50% load, and 85% at 100% load.
80 Plus Gold
A power supply with an 80 Plus Gold rating is the standard for mid- to high-end computers because of its high reliability and low price. These power supplies could end up being as popular as Bronze-rated models.
The Fully-Modular classification for PSUs is also introduced at the Gold-rated level, giving you more room for personalization and flexibility in how you put your power supply to use. Fully-modular power supply units also simplify cable organization. A modular power supply is unnecessary, though.
At 20% and 100% load, 80 Plus Gold power supplies are rated at 87% efficiency, the same as Bronze and Silver, and at 50% load, they are rated at 90% efficiency.
80 Plus Platinum
Starting with the incredible technological achievement that is 80 Plus Platinum, we have reached the top tier of ratings.
You probably won’t need a Platinum-rated PSU any time soon, but they’re nice to have if you find yourself shopping for a new power supply. Unless you’re convinced the cost savings on electricity will justify the effort.
Servers typically reserve the most expensive Platinum and Titanium rated power supplies for themselves due to their superior efficiency and redundancy, but these supplies can easily cost over $200USD.
Inexplicably, platinum-rated power supplies are only 90% efficient at 20% load, 92% efficient at 50% load, and 89% efficient at 100% load.
80 Plus Titanium
The 80 Plus Titanium power supply reigns supreme at the pinnacle of this formidable mountain.
A Titanium-rated power supply is unnecessary and excessive in almost all circumstances, but it is extremely efficient.
Some Titanium-rated power supplies even come with 8- to 10-year warranties, which is a clear indication that the manufacturers have faith in the durability of their product. However, the price will be significantly more than $500 USD.
The efficiency of titanium-rated power supplies is 90% at 10% load, 92% at 20% load, 94% at 50% load, and 90% at 100% load.
Could we possibly reach even greater heights than that?
Now that you know what those 80 stickers on your power supply actually mean, you should check out this article for a few of our recommendations for excellent power supplies.
Do You Need An Efficient PSU And Is It Worth It?
If you’re a member of the environmentally conscious population, the idea of a more efficient power supply is probably appealing. Is it really justified to spend more on premium power supply units? How much, if any, cash will you actually save by using them?
As was previously mentioned, the cost of power supplies increases as the efficiency rating rises. Since there are so many different 80 Plus-certified PSUs on the market, it’s tough to make sweeping price statements. However, it’s obvious that the price premium becomes more pronounced as you move up the quality scale.
So, for instance, while the price of an 80 Plus or 80 Plus Bronze 600W PSU might be slightly higher than that of an uncertified PSU, a 600W Platinum or Titanium PSU might be more than twice as expensive.
Now, the value of a more efficient PSU in terms of the power it would save depends on the load it is expected to carry.
A regular gaming PC powered by an 80% efficient or a 90% efficient 600W PSU uses so little electricity that the savings may not even be enough to offset the cost of the more expensive PSU over the course of its lifetime.
Although an 80 Plus Platinum or Titanium power supply can save you a lot of money if you’re building a machine that will be running nonstop for long periods of time, it’s not worth the extra money for a standard gaming PC.
However, if you’re worried about your electricity bill, you can avoid using any power at all by letting your computer go to sleep or turning it off when you’re not actively working on it.
Are There Other Benefits To Getting An Efficient PSU?
With that in mind, if saving money on electricity isn’t a concern, would you still recommend an 80 Plus-certified PSU over a non-certified one?
Well, as was previously mentioned, an efficient PSU not only reduces power consumption but also lowers heat output. This, in turn, means the PSU won’t wear out as quickly as it would if it were a non-certified generic model.
Therefore, taking this into consideration, an ordinary 80 Plus or 80 Plus Bronze PSU would likely be worth the relatively minor price increase as opposed to the more expensive 80 Plus PSUs. After all, you don’t want to risk having a poor-quality power supply melt your electronics.
Finally, if you’re in the market for a new power supply, you may want to peruse our selection of the best PSU for gaming currently available, as you’ll likely find something that works well for you!
Advantages of a more efficient power supply
More efficient power supplies can help you save money on your electricity bill and are generally more durable and reliable, which can extend the life of your computer. You may recall that we had mentioned earlier that the wattage we lost during the AC to DC conversion was simply wasted as heat. The power supply’s inefficiency increases the amount of heat it produces. As temperatures rise, so does the rate of wear and breakdown. Depending on how important your work is and how much money you can afford to lose due to downtime, you should think carefully about which power supply unit (PSU) is the most efficient for your build.
We’ve covered power supplies and their importance in your PC build in previous articles.. However, the efficiency of the power supply was not discussed, despite being an equally important factor. In what ways does the efficiency of your power supply (PSU) affect your next computer build? Read on:.
What is Power Supply Efficiency?
As you may recall from our previous post, a power supply’s function is to transform the alternating current (AC) coming from your wall outlet into direct current (DC) that can be used by your other devices. The efficiency rating is calculated by dividing the power delivered to the components by the power consumed from the wall outlet. A Power Supply rated at 500W with a 50% efficiency rating would require a total of 1000W input to reach its maximum output. The remaining 500W in this example is lost as heat during the conversion process. Most PSUs operate at peak efficiency around 50% load, or 250W in this example, but this varies widely from one model to the next.
What does a power supply with 80 Plus rating mean?
The 80 Plus label guarantees that the power supply has been tested and proven to be efficient.at leastefficiency of 80% when loaded at 20%, 50%, and 100%. At full load, the maximum power consumption for a 500W 80 Plus PSU would be 625W. We highly recommend 80 Plus PSUs due to the low-cost premium and benefits (discussed further below) they provide, so keep an eye out for this logo when shopping for your next PSU. These days, it’s hard to find a power supply that isn’t at least 80 Plus certified.
What do Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Titanium ratings mean?
Over the past few years, efficiency ratings have grown to include not just 80 Plus, but also Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Titanium (from least efficient to most efficient). Platinum and Titanium ratings are typically reserved for very high capacity PSUs used in workstation PCs (where a few percentage points can make a big difference in power draw) or server PSUs, while Bronze, Silver, and Gold ratings are becoming relatively common in most consumer PC builds. Check the table down below foroverview of required efficiency levels across ratings and typical load conditions.
Will a more efficient PSU save money on my power bill?
The simple answer is “yes,” but how much you save and whether or not the premium is worth it depend on the average power draw of your PC and the current cost per kilowatt-hour in your area. Small changes in efficiency percentage will have a greater impact on overall cost with increasing power consumption. Similarly, the higher the cost per kilowatt-hour, the greater the financial impact of efficiency.The calculation is illustrated in the example below. comparison.
|Power Consumption (Watts) of a Typical System||Effectiveness of Power Supply Units, on Average||Normalized Power Consumption||Rates in terms of kilowatt-hours||Hourly Rates||Frequency of use per day||monthly price|
|In contrast to||500||80%||625||$0.12||$0.075||8||$18.00|
|In contrast 2||500||90%||555.6||$0.12||$0.067||8||$16.00|
|Potential Cost Avoidance Each Month||$2.00|
Hopefully, you found that straightforward, and you now have a better grasp of what your PSU’s rating actually means.
Which one is best suited to your requirements is a decision that can only be made by you. After reading this article, however, hopefully you will have a better idea of how to choose between them in the future.
Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions about power supplies.