Guide Hardware PSU

Power Supply (PSU) Buying Guide and Tier List

Power supplies are mostly misunderstood and neglected PC component.

A lot of users opt for a power supply by looking on the total wattage alone, believing that higher is better. Others somewhat pay real no attention to their PSU brand or selection at all, just going to what the hell their sales person puts in their precious machine.

Considering how important is a good power supply to your system unit’s stability and reliability, in the long run, it’s a bit frustating that PSU’s get no to little attention compared to other popular parts like the GPU and motherboards with RGB.

With the plethora of power supply brands, these shameless manufacturers that use sub-standard components and overrides the PSU’s capabilities. Other people also spreading misinformation to consumers with their true rated crap and other lingos which bring harm instead of spreading knowledge. (Philippines, hello?)

Finding a solid and efficient power supply is not hard if you have the right knowledge, that’s why you’re still reading this. Yes?

Choosing the power supply

This will save your pc once or twice in your lifetime

There is not much of a rule of thumb when selecting a high-quality or reliable Power Supply. Just check the label.

Manufacturer and reputation-

Buying from a trusted manufacturer will save you time, invest also on reading or watching reviews of them. Never buy cheap and generic Power Supply which surely is a sub-standard. Always get to know the manufacturer’s warranty and support. Seasonic, FSP, Corsair are one of the best manufacturers that produce high-quality Power Supplies.

Weight matters-

Heavier ones are better than lightweight counterparts. High-quality Power Supplies has always used bigger and best capacitors and other internal components, which also driving larger heat sinks for heat dissipation.

You might need this for that Threadripper and SLI setup

Cables, cables and lots of cables-

Check the connectors as well if it’s compatible with your system. For example, the 20+4 pin refers to a cable that can function as a 20-pin or a 24-pin connector.

Majority of system units are using a  standard ATX Power Supplies, smaller and specially designed ones are also available (mining rigs). 

Features-

Always keep your eyes on these crucial features: Power Output, Rails and Efficiency. There are other features as well but the three mentioned directly affects the Power Supply’s performance.

Wattage and output

Manufacturers and brands usually put their Power Supply’s output in watts. Higher wattage Power Supply means it can supply more power. Desktops usually have a power output rating from 200 to a whopping 1,500 and more (The high end, enthusiast ones). The important part here is the sustained, not the peak power since most Power Supplies can only operate at peak power on a short amount of time.

Headroom-

Typically, the only power you need is from your components, leaving some headroom when you put additional parts later. Most Power Supplies hit their peak efficiency levels on 40% to 80%. Taking about 50% to 60% of your Power Supply’s capacity is advisable to reach maximum efficiency and leave some room for future upgrades.

inside of your PSU. (c)pcper.com

Example to this is if your system unit has a maximum power or combined TDP (Total Design Power) is 300 watts, a  620w Power Supply should be a perfect choice. On other high-end systems that peak at 700 watts, a 1200w PSU is the best.

If you think that you’re not going to upgrade in the future, go for lower capacity PSU, but if you can afford it, higher capacity PSU is the perfect path.

Myths-

One common Power Supply myth is the higher the wattage your PSU, the higher it consumes electricity. That’s untrue. A 420w PSU won’t consume any less power than a 1200w unit. It all drains down on your system unit’s components, not the PSU that dictate its power consumption. If your system unit has a 300 watts TDP, then it will only consume 300 watts under load regardless if you’re using a 520w or 1200w Power Supply.

Power Supply’s wattage rating only indicates the maximum power it can provide to your system, not how much power it will draw from the outlet.

Power Efficiency

Power efficiency is important since better PSU’s have better components, wastes less electricity and generates less heat. Some have fans that don’t start spinning unless reached on a certain load. A Power Supply with an efficiency rating of 80 provides 80 percent of its rated watt as a power to your system while the remaining becomes heat.

Always check the label, baby.

Look for the ones with “80 Plus” certification. Although the certification process is not always true with cheap knockoffs, 80 Plus Certified PSU’s are confirmed to be at least 80 percent efficient and also having their hierarchy.

Check the colors-

80 Plus Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Titanium PSU’s are more efficient. Power Supplies on the higher tier tends to be more expensive than the lower counterparts. Average users should go with 80 Plus Bronze unless they are particularly choosy on the efficiency and tier.

Rail

This might get a little confusing for the average consumer, manufacturers specify the number of +12V rails on their PSU. “Singe rail” Power Supply contains a single, high power +12V for feeding power hungry component while the “Multi-Rail” divides its power between two or more +12V rails.

Single rail-

In this design, all of the power is available to any component connected to the PSU, whichever the cable used. However, if it fails, it has more tendency to burst out dangerous currents to your components. (Yikes)

Multi-Rail-

Multi-rail PSU’s can’t share the power to its fellow rails and that’s a disadvantage. Example, if you connected a 25amp worth of components to a +12V rail with a 20amp maximum rating, it will just trigger a protection which they call OCP (Overcurrent Protection) and will shut down even if the other rails available have the power to give.

 

Explosion

 

Which is which-

That disadvantage can save your precious computer if there is a major failure. Since the OCP mechanisms monitor each rail and will shut the whole unit down if there’s a detection of overload in any of the rails. While the OCP on single-rail activates only ate higher amps, which could bring a major meltdown if the overload is serious.

Cable Management

Power Supplies usually offer hard-wired and semi modular cabling. Others have fully modular cables that ensure you won’t be cluttering your entire PC case.

 

Modular cables are much better and keep that cable management sleek and clean, but they cost a bit more over partially modular counterparts.

That’s one sleek cable management! (c) tumblr

Tiers

There are many tier list regarding Power Supplies, you can check the best list here

 

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