Last updated: Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Hello hello hello and welcome to our featured article on the best power supply components for PC gaming. One of the key components we caution against cheaping out on is the power supply. Sure, they aren’t sexy like a powerful GPU, but these guys are the piece of the puzzle that prevents that powerful GPU from getting fried. Furthermore, a lot of the new quality power supplies available today have cool features like performance monitoring and different power modes to run at optimal efficiency (save energy costs) and help reduce nuances such as fan noise.
We’ve got a ton of info about power supplies but if you’re a grizzled vet and have already built a half dozen gaming PCs feel free to skip to the best of list using our navigation widget below.
- 1 Zoom Out: Comparison Table of the 15 Best Gaming Power Supply Units
- 2 Power Supply Guide Part I: General Thoughts on the Ideal Amount of Power for Gaming PCs
- 3 Power Supply Guide Part II: The Benefits of a Beefy Power Supply
- 4 Power Supply Guide Part III: The Factors You Should Consider Before Buying Power Supply
- 5 Power Supply Guide Part IV: The Total Power Consumption of Your Components
- 6 Zoom In: 15 Best Power Supply Units of 2018
Zoom Out: Comparison Table of the 15 Best Gaming Power Supply Units
Here is our comparison chart of the top picks for this year. For detailed information, check out our ‘Zoom In’ section for detailed information on each unit.
Most of the brands in our list offer each model in a full series of wattage choices, so you can get just the right amount of juice for your next build.
|Corsair CX450M Semi Modular||450W||80 PLUS Bronze|
|Corsair CX650M Semi Modular||650W||80 PLUS Bronze|
|Thermaltake SMART M Semi Modular||650W||80 PLUS Bronze|
|EVGA SuperNOVA 550 GS Fully Modular||550W||80 PLUS Gold|
|Corsair CX750M Semi Modular||750W||80 PLUS Bronze|
|EVGA 750 GQ Semi Modular||750W||80 PLUS Gold|
|EVGA SuperNOVA 650 G2 Fully Modular||650W||80 PLUS Gold|
|SilverStone Technology SFX-L Fully Modular||500W||80 PLUS Gold|
|EVGA SuperNOVA 850 G2 Fully Modular||850W||80 PLUS Gold|
|EVGA SuperNOVA 850 P2 Fully Modular||850W||80 PLUS Platinum|
|Seasonic Snow Silent Semi Modular||750W||80 PLUS Platinum|
|Thermaltake SMART M Semi Modular||1200W||80 PLUS Bronze|
|FSP Group PT FM Series Fully Modular||1200W||80 PLUS Platinum|
|Corsair AXi Series Fully Modular||1500W||80 PLUS Titanium|
|EVGA SuperNOVA 1600 P2 Fully Modular||1600W||80 PLUS Titanium|
Power Supply Guide Part I: General Thoughts on the Ideal Amount of Power for Gaming PCs
Many gaming PC owners don’t bother to acquire power supplies for their architectural systems and yet they risk losing every inch of their investment. A power supply unit (PSU) plays a great role in supplying a stable and regulated current to the different components in your PC. If for you own an advanced PC gaming system and have expensive graphic cards you better consider having a PSU on your shopping list.
You never know the value of some of these gadgets until a tragedy comes knocking at your door. In any case, a power surge or an electric fault occurs, you risk losing your entire system if you lack a reliable high-quality power supply unit. A power supply may not be such a necessity if you use your PC for home basics but the opposite is true if you have powerful gaming beasts. Buying a power supply is both a smart investment choice and a worthwhile precautionary step.
Since a power supply simply supplies power to your PC components, there are some factors you need to take into consideration when buying one. The most important aspect is to calculate your total power consumption before even thinking about the brand. I know how challenging it can be if you are a novice in this fields. Powering your computer can be mind blowing especially if you allergic to some physics terms. The good news is that the world of computer power supplies has advanced and TDP Calculators are readily available on various websites. You can use them to calculate the power consumption of your system and other components. You don’t have to push yourself so much budget-wise when acquiring a power supply. There are decent units in the market that are great performers yet budget-friendly.
Additionally, it is advisable to go for a brand that is above the 80 Plus Standard. Most PSUs have their maximum efficiency when operating at 50% of the rated capacity. To avoid degrading the performance of your PC chose a PSU whose wattage is above your system requirement so that nominal load range is between 20% and 100%. Avoid operating on the extreme lower or upper rated capacity of your PSU in order to maximize both performance and lifespan. With that said, let me take you through the factors you should have in mind before cashing out for any PSU out there.
Buying a high-quality PSU and especially one that will last for long unfortunately involves a due diligence process. Finding the best doesn’t necessary means that you have to break the bank unless your powering 8 GPUs or something freaky. Despite the fact that expensive is not always synonymous with quality, it is good to avoid opting for the lower end PSUs in a gaming PC build. Many of the PSUs at the lower end are designed for basic home or office computers. In a nutshell, you want to do some research and always keep in mind higher quality components necessitate a more beefy power supply.
Power Supply Guide Part II: The Benefits of a Beefy Power Supply
Here is the top benefits you reaping when paying a bit more for a high quality power supply unit.
- Optimal Gaming Experience. If you are a PC gaming enthusiast you obviously need a PSU to enjoy the service of all your components for long enough. That is one main advantage of having a high-quality PSU. It will always have a positive impact on your system by providing heavy duty protection and providing stable power.
- Prevents Damage to PC. A PSU both protects and prevents your PC architecture from damage. If for example, you are using high-end video cards, a PSU will prevent damage to the application and software in use by providing adequate and stable power.
- Reduces Power Bills. Any 80 Plus Rated PSU plays a very important role in reducing the percentage of power lost to heat. If you are kind that deal with advanced PC gaming SLI architecture and use other components, an efficient PSU will significantly reduce your power bills.
- For Future Upgrades. For those who invest in oversized PSUs upgrading to more advanced systems will be easy as you won’t need to buy another power supply. In addition, modern PSU has modular connectors that enable one to use other gadgets.
Power Supply Guide Part III: The Factors You Should Consider Before Buying Power Supply
A power supply is a very important component that shouldn’t be taken for granted. It determines the long-term reliability and stability of your system. In fact, if you are the kind of folk that just picks whatever meets the eye don’t risk doing so when it comes to buying a PSU, otherwise you risk everything you have been able to buy so far.
A PSU powers and guards your entire system architecture and thus requires much attention. A single mistake made in acquiring a PSU would mean that your system will be prone to crashes, performance problems and boot failures. The following are the factors you should have in mind before cashing out any bucks for a new PSU. Also, if you are building a compact gaming PC, be aware of the dimensions before making final purchases.
Power Supply Guide Part IV: The Total Power Consumption of Your Components
This is perhaps the most important consideration that should first hit your mind when you think of buying a PSU. The various components of your PC have different power needs. You, therefore, have to establish the total power needed to support your system without strains. It is always good to consider PSUs whose wattage is above 500, a requirement met by most brands.
However, note that not every PSU whose wattage is above 500 will meet the powering needs of your system. If for example, your SLI architecture uses more than two over-clocked graphics then you better consider a PSU whose wattage is above 1200W for an optimal gaming experience.
In addition, never load your PSU to 100% of its capacity as this may degrade its performance. To be on the safe side, always buy a power supply that is oversized in comparison to the power needs of your system. Having a good margin not only guards your PSU and other components but also allows for future upgrades. There are several calculators on the web that can help you calculate the total power consumption of your system. You, therefore, have to be careful because PC builds differ and the calculators are not 100% reliable.
Fully modular cabling systems not only make handling the cables easier but also enhance the flow of air. With the modular system in place, your entire architecture looks neater and organized. This, however, will depend on personal preference as it is not such a big deal. What is important is to have a PSU whose cabling system is manageable and reduces impedance. Another major advantage of modern modular cabling systems is the connectors that help in using graphic cards and other components.
Efficiency – 80 Plus Standard
PSUs just like any other electrical components are energy efficiency rated by a certification program developed by Ecos. It is what we refer to as the 80 Plus Standard. If a PSU is rated 80 Plus Titanium that simply means that is capable of providing 80% of its rated wattage while the remaining 20% is lost to heat and other energy forms. Well, why do you think you should consider this when buying a PSU? It is because the more efficient a PSU is the less heat it dissipates and thus less power is consumed. If you architecture uses hundreds of Kilowatts you better consider buying a highly-efficient PSU so as to reduce the power bill.
It would be very stressful and disgusting if you spend hundreds of dollars on a PSU only to realize that it is a non-match to your system. Whether you are buying a mid-tier PSU or one that would meet your entire PC gaming power needs, always ensure that it meets all systems’ connection requirements to avoid this mess. If you ignore this factor, you risk buying another PSU or incurring more replacement costs.
Rails and Current Regulations
The rail debate is very controversial in the PSU world. A PSU can either have a single rail or a multi-rail configuration. These are just the connections that deliver different power voltages. A single rail PSU will deliver 12V with the advantage of eliminating the need to balance the loads unlike the case with the multi-rail configuration. The major downside of a single rail PSU is the probability of surging power into the connected components. On the other hand, a multi-rail has the ability to supply power to graphic cards and other components but one has to be cautious when balancing the various power loads. It is advisable to check the current ratings on various PC connections in order to know your standing.
Even though this factor may be an afterthought for many builders, it deserves attention as it can help eliminate serious risks. Most modern PSU has inbuilt heavy duty protection such as Over Temperature Protection(OTP), Over Power protection(OPP) and Under Power Protection(UPP) just to mention a few. These features shut down the system to avoid further damage whenever power irregularities occur. It is good to ensure that your pick has at least one or more inbuilt protection(s).
Last but not list, ensure that you buy your PSU from legitimate retail service providers who provide warranty for their products. No matter how expensive a PSU is, failures can occur when you least expect.
Zoom In: 15 Best Power Supply Units of 2018
Without further to do, here is our closer look section at the best power supply components for the money.
If you are a PC gaming enthusiast that deals with basic system builds and computer upgrades, there is no better model than the CX450. It has it all to offer your components guaranteed protection with the lowest operating costs. It boasts of the stable power supply under high-efficiency operation.
The CX450 employs Thermal Control Technology in the fans providing a quiet environment under low and medium loads. With the flexible modular cabling system, you can always have your PCI-E cards and storage devices configuration at easy. The CX450 is 80 Plus Bronze Certified and thus produces less heat and lowers your power bills more than any other PSU.
For those obsessed with great high-tech looks, this PSU features a unique combination of matte black finish and the black-sleeved cables that set forth an amazing restrained tech-look. Despite having a low wattage, I must say that the CX450 is one of the most excellent PSU that guarantees a reliable operation in basic PC gaming operations. 5-year warranty and reliable customer support are also provided.
The Corsair CX Series, as you may have noticed, is one of the top rated and best selling PSUs out there. For around $60, for mid range builds it doesn’t get much better than this. Reliable efficiency, clean no frills matte black look, a quiet thermally controlled 120mm fan, and near universal compatibility contribute to its big sales numbers. This is backed up by Corsair’s unparalleled customer service and a 5 year warranty.
It comes with long cables so even if you have a full height tower and need to snake them around, you’re still in luck. Full voltage, temperature, and short circuit protection means your computer won’t turn into a ball of fire even if you have 50 tabs open and 3 of your favorite games on max settings. Pick from modular and non-modular styles.
The Smart Standard line from Thermaltake is available in 550, 650, or 750 watts. The 650W is great for mid range builds and provides plenty of power for say an Intel i5 and hungry GPU. The 80 PLUS Bronze certification means you won’t be adding another $200 bucks a month to your power bill. Those make for nasty little surprises, especially when other members of the household cannot grasp the full value of gaming marathons.
This are very similar to Corsair’s CX Series in build quality but not quite as popular. They are slightly more expensive at each wattage level. Another complaint we’ve come across is that the fan gets somewhat noisy when it heats up.
The 550 GS is another superior SuperNOVA model that can never miss on the list of any PSU enthusiast. It is 80 Plus Gold Rated with 90% or higher efficiency under typical loads. Apart from being NVIDIA SLI & AMD Crossfire ready, the 550 GS is the ultimate power supply for those who love a low noise environment and want to cut down the power bill.
The low noise fan mode is made possible by the ECO mode and the Teflon Nano-Steal bearing technology. The unparalleled customer support and the 5-year warranty prove that the GS performance is superior enough to offer an amazing gaming experience. Just like the other EVGA brands, heavy duty protections such as over voltage, under voltage, short circuit, over power and under power are offered. If you operate mid-tier systems, then the EVGA 550 GS is the perfect gaming PSU you should consider.
This is another good value option for those with systems that require above average wattage. It is 80 Plus Bronze Certified and does an excellent job in lowering your power bills. Once you grab the CX750, you can enjoy the equipment with three years warranty guaranteeing you peace of mind. It goes beyond the trouble-free installation standards and operates with low noise at all power load modes.
Even when you are pushing your system hard you can be sure that everything will be quiet because of the integrated Thermal Fan Control System and the large diameter of the fan. One amazing feature of the CX750 is the modular cabling system that not only lets you have the cable you want but also enhances smooth and free air circulation.
The entire system blends a great high tech look on your entire PC architecture with its matte black finish and the black-sleeved cable layout. The top-notch corsair engineering and the tight quality control measures give the end-user the confidence and reliability of using this enviable PSU. It is worth the price and will go further beyond meeting your PC powering needs.
The EVGA 750GQ is a bit smaller than the G1 and G2 versions, and the price comes in under those models too. It is an amazing value, especially considering is 80+ GOLD certification. Gold efficiency, Eco Mode, semi modular, 5 year warranty, 62.4A +12V rail rating, and Japanese Capacitors and the specs that round this one out nicely. It is hard to beat EVGA quality which is why these are among the top rated power supply units money can buy.
The 650 G2 is another honorable mention that has unbeatable performance. Even though it only churns out 650 watts, this PSU is 80 Plus Gold Rated when it comes to efficiency. Under typical loads, the EVGA G2 offers 90% and 92% efficiency for 115VAC and 220VAC~240AC, which is incredible. Featuring top-notch Japanese brand capacitors quality, the G2 offers a series of heavy duty protection for all your components.
These include short circuit, over power, under voltage, over voltage, and over current protections. Employing the ECO Control system, the noise of the fan is almost near to zero under low to medium loads. If you power consumption lies within this range, then the EVGA 650 G2 is the model you need to include in your list. You will enjoy the heavy duty protection plus the 7 years warranty.
The modern high-end SFX is a great choice that is uniquely incorporated with FSX-L form factor support and ATX. It is also 80 Plus Gold Certified and features a great combination of high efficiency and excellent performance. One amazing feature of this modern PSU is its silent running 120mm fan and the semi-fanless operation mode.
Just like other models it also has the modular flexible cabling system that has flexible flat arrays. In addition to the above is an ATZ adapter bracket that enables gamers to use this PSU with other cases that do not support SFX mounting. Having wattage of 500 this PSU will meet the most basic requirement. You should give it a try.
The EVGA 850 G2 is another fully modular beast from the renowned World’s Best PSU producers that is unleashing the next generation in power. Being 80 Plus Gold certified, this brand will offer continuous power to all components providing heavy duty protection from all forms of power irregularities.
The 850 G2 hits the 90% efficiency mark under typical loads. Featuring the New ECO Thermal Control System, this PSU offers zero fan noise under low loads. The 10 years warranty is a proof that the EVGA 850 G2 is the ultimate choice for those willing to enjoy a long-term gaming experience.
The EVGA 850 P2 beats several other PSUs in the 850W category. It boasts of tight load regulations and ripple suppression. It has stable outputs on +3.3V and +5V rails and features a silent fan mode. The 850 P2 is reliable with the Japanese Technology and offer heavy duty protections such as SCP, OVP, OCP, OPP, and UVP.
If you operate graphic cards on the SLI configuration, then I strongly advise that this PSU tops your list. Its efficiency is 80 Plus Platinum Rated and operates on a fully modular. It is one of the most preferred PSU because of its ability to withstand extreme conditions. The 10 years warranty is a proof that the 850 P2 is built to last and offer reliable power regulation.
The Snow Silent in one of the most efficient PSUs under the 750W category that registers top-notch performance. Even though its price tag is too way beyond 200 bucks, it has a solid construction and will meet your entire PC powering needs even when pushed to its upper limit. It employs the high-end Japanese electrolytic and polymer capacitor technology.
One of the major downsides of this model is the 120mm fan that is a bit of old school but the good part of it all is the semi-passive profile that keeps everything quiet. Featuring a white finish, this PSU will always make its presence felt especially under light loads. If you don’t mind spending more than 200 bucks, then the Snow Silent 750 should be at the top of your list.
The Thermaltake Smart M is another honorable mention that competes with the Corsair AX1500i. It is 80 Plus Bronze Certified and will guarantee any user efficient power supply in a quiet operation. Unlike other models, it is semi-modular giving you the opportunity to use other extensive cables.
You can, therefore, plan the entire architecture of your components when using longer cables unlike it is the case with the pre-attached cables. If you are the kind that deals with systems that require heightened power load, the Smart 1200W is the ultimate PSU that will give you a reliable and amazing gaming experience.
Due to its 1200 watt capacity, it is among the top brands that boast of excellent power regulation and ripple suppression. Whether your components include three to four graphic cards, SATA, and hard drives, the Thermaltake Smart M 1200W will always get the work done.
This ATX form factor fully modular power supply is worth a gander. If you’ve got a couple hungry GPUs chomping at the bit you need to feed them what they want: power and lots of it. A 1200 watt power supply should do the trick. This unit is manufactured by FSP Group. While not as well known as the likes of Corsair, EVGA, and Thermaltake, they’ve engineered a strong line of power supply units.
Certified at a highly respectable 80 PLUS Platinum, you’re looking at over 92% efficiency with this brick. Quality fan (quiet at maximum outputs), nice assortment of cables/compatibility, and stable.
The AX1500i is one of the top best PSU you can ever get in the market. This beast does not only boast of its higher power output of 1500 watts but also goes beyond the 90% efficiency mark with the 80 Plus Titanium Standard. It is also digital operating on a fully modular mode allowing the user to control all the rails from a laptop or desktop.
We can’t deny the fact that this AX1500i boasts of its top-notch load regulation and impeccable ripple suppression. One incredible feature of this PSU is that it has the Corsair Link Integration that allows full control and monitoring of the efficiency, performance and power usage. The DSP-based AX1500i offers superior electrical supply and regulation on even 15 amp circuits of 115 Volts or higher at zero RPM fan mode.
You can switch between the low, medium and full modes as you enjoy the quiet environment. Despite the fact that the price tag may be slightly higher, this is the brand to go for if you want a power supply that approaches perfect efficiency. It has it all to run any ultra-high performance gaming PC. The 10 years warranty is a simple proof that we couldn’t expect anything better than the AX1500i from the renowned Corsair Producers.
Do you have a gaming rig that is capable of hosting the entire matrix simulation? Are we living in that matrix? You’re going to want to swap out that power supply for the EVGA SuperNOVA 1600 P2 or you could risk the whole simulation crashing down due to a power failure. Not possible with the SuperNOVA 1600.
This beast is backed by a 10 year warranty and 80 PLUS Platinum certification (averaging 92-94% efficiency under typical loads). We like the ECO Mode feature on this one, this unit only turns on the fan when its necessary saving the planet and saving you $$$. It isn’t going to come cheap, as expected this unit comes in at over $400.