Power is the most important aspect for building a gaming PC. Why? Every computer needs power running through it; that’s why it’s essential to find the best power supply that will meet your needs for optimal performance.
Whether you’re searching for the best power supply for gaming that you won’t have to replace for a long time or you’re just wondering which of the power supplies are sufficient for your PC, this guide will assist you in buying the power supply to make your experience as excellent as possible.
400-600W Power Supplies
600-800W Power Supplies
800-1000W Power Supplies
1000W+ Power Supplies
What is a Power Supply?
A power supply unit, or PSU, is the most important part of a computer when it comes to function and usage. Just as the engine of a car gives the vehicle power, the PSU gives your computer power to run at its best.
If you’re searching for PSU for gaming, you’re going to need even more power than the average PC user. Gaming hardware often has higher specifications and requirements, which is why you want the best power supply that you can afford.
When shopping for the power supply, you’re going to need to look for the highest quality products with the best wattage and efficiency so you can avoid paying extra money for replacement parts in the long run.
What to consider when choosing a Power Supply?
Power Supply Form Factors
Power supply units can come in several shapes and sizes and they can only be put in certain areas or positions in your computer case.
All of the larger components of a computer need to have compatible form factors. The three components of a computer that have form factors include the case, power supply and motherboard.
There are a number of form factors; with ATX (Advanced Technology Extended) being the most common for current power supplies. Current ATX variations include micro-ATX, ATX12V v1.x, ATX12V v2.x.
Micro-ATX form factor (SFX power supplies) is only used for smaller PC types such as media center PCs. While getting micro-ATX components is a cost-effective way of building a PC, it is not ideal for a gaming PC as it does not have enough size or power to accommodate the larger components such as modern graphics cards and extra RAM module slots.
ATX, ATX12V and Other Versions
The difference between various versions of ATX form factors are the connectors that attach to the power supply.
Namely, the number of pins that are required to connect the power supply to the motherboard. The number of required pins has grown over time (from 20 to 24 in recent years). The increase in pins is due to the requirement of more power to support higher-powered motherboards, so the latest versions of ATX will be able to accommodate higher performance PCs.
Modular or Not?
Cables play a vital role in connecting the PSU with everything that needs power. There are two types of power supply units when it comes to cabling: Fixed and Modular.
The Benefits of Modular:
A modular PSU means that you only need to use the cables as you see fit based on what cables you need at a given time. While modular PSUs may cost more, there are a lot of advantages to running this setup, such as:
- The PSU isn’t running to the cables that aren’t plugged in, which is a more efficient use of power.
- There are fewer cables to play around with in terms of cable management. This would help people that want to show off their PC with a window case and don’t want to deal with more things that can accumulate dust.
The Benefits of Fixed:
A fixed PSU means that all or some of the cables attached are already linked to the power supply and cannot be taken off. Fixed cabling power supplies do have a few benefits, including:
- All the cables are already there and you cannot lose them in the subsequent time after installing your power supply into your computer.
- Fixed is generally more cost effective.
Which is Better?
Modular power supplies are generally considered more efficient based on their versatility. With modular, there is a risk of misaligned connections that can cause a slight voltage drop and an increase in the electrical current passing through the wires. However, if you are careful and make sure all the cables are secure, this is unlikely to happen.
Modular may not be needed and will cost more but the advantages of cable management and fewer cables blocking your cooling might outweigh the cost for more hardcore gamers; the choice is yours!
PSU Efficiency Explained
The power efficiency of the power supply is how much power it is pulling from the power source and how well the PSU converts it into direct current (DC).
A very simple equation to work out the efficiency of a power supply is as follows:
When examining the PSU efficiency specifications on a given PSU model, you will commonly see the term 80 PLUS or 80+.
This is a mark from a company that certifies all power supply units on how efficient they are. They do not give the certification to any power supplies that do not achieve at least 80% efficiency, hence 80 PLUS.
There are 6 levels of 80 PLUS efficiency. They are all based off how far above 80% efficiency that they can operate at 10%, 20%, 50% and 100% of their maximum wattage.
- Base Level: Between 80% and 82%.
- Bronze: Between 83% and 85%.
- Silver: Between 85% and 88%.
- Gold: Between 88% and 92%.
- Platinum: Between 92% and 94%.
- Titanium: The highest 80 PLUS rating; any power supply that operates at 95% or above efficiency.
Losing PSU Efficiency
There are two main factors that come into play when considering lost efficiency. The first and most obvious effect you may feel, physically, is heat. Because the power supply is drawing more power than it needs, it is producing an excess amount of heat (on a hot summer’s day, this can be very noticeable). You want your computer to run as cool as possible to help prolong its lifespan. For this reason, a higher efficiency rating is the better option when shopping for the best PSU.
The second factor (which may not be very important or noticeable initially) is cost. Specifically, the extra money you are spending on your electricity bill. If you your PC is on most of the time, then a lower efficiency PSU might be quite bad for your wallet.
If you are shopping for the best gaming power supply, then you will need to look for at least an 80 PLUS Gold. Many of the higher wattage power supplies already have this, although some cheaper options don’t. For hardcore PC gamers, it’s likely not worth having an efficiency under Gold.
How much power do you really need?
You might be thinking that you’d love to get the highest wattage and efficiency rating that you possibly can. While this comes with the benefit of higher power and performance, you may be spending more money than what you really need.
If you buy the best of the best, then it will likely stay quiet and not produce as much heat as a power supply with a lower wattage. The risk of buying a cheap, low-quality power supply is that the fan might be spinning louder, working harder and producing more heat. This, in turn, might shorten the life of your PSU. On the other hand, you may be able to spend less money on a PSU that still does its job for what you need.
There are many power supply calculators on the web, such as Outer Vision. This can help you determine the wattage needed for your gaming PC.
If you are planning to overclock your CPU and/or RAM or make upgrades in the future, you’ll want to get a higher wattage than what is recommended. However, if you have no plans to do this, then perhaps getting something much closer to what the calculator says is more acceptable (and cheaper).
If you want to truly futureproof your computer, it’s advised that you purchase a power supply unit that is at least 10% wattage over what the recommendation is. For gamers who require the highest performing PSUs, nothing below 600W is a good idea given the power needed for the high-end components.
The Best 400-600W Power Supplies
EVGA Supernova 550 GM
An Affordable SFX PSU Made for Big Deeds
For everyone looking for class and performance in one, there is no better choice than the EVGA Supernova 550 GM PSU. This fully modular 550W power supply comes with an 80 PLUS Gold certification and durable 92mm double ball bearing fans that maybe make a bit more noise than the fluid dynamic-bearings, but surely cope with the increased heat much better, which can prove to be very important, especially in such a cramped space as the SFX cases.
Other good aspects of the EVGA Supernova 550 GM are its 7-years warranty and the use of Japanese capacitors that, alongside the multiple protections included such as the OVP, UVP, OCP, OPP, and SCP, make this piece of hardware a long-lasting PSU solution for any SFX enthusiast.
When talking about the downsides, they are summed up in a high price and the existence of just a single EPS connector that prevents this PSU from being used with the high-end motherboards. Other than that, this PSU is just perfect.
- 7-year warranty
- 80 PLUS Gold certification
- ATX adapter
- Not compatible with the high-end motherboards
- A bit noisier fans
A PSU for Silence Lovers
There are not that many “middle class” PSUs that offer great performance, silent work, a great 7-year warranty and the full modularity at the same time, such as CORSAIR RM550x do. This PSU will deliver quality work for the long run and, which is even better, all that for a reasonable amount of money.
With 80 PLUS Gold certification, excellent voltage stability and plenty of features for enhancing silent work such as Zero RPM fan mode (almost no sound performance during low and medium loads), 140mm rifle bearing fan especially tuned for low noise work during heavy loads, etc., RM550x is a dream come true for any gamer or PC enthusiast looking for a noise-free (or the closest possible to that) power supply experience.
All in all, this PSU with its 550W is a great successor to the older CORSAIR RM550 that it is replacing, offering a great, almost dead silent performance, with just a few minor flaws such as the lack of a few more SATA connectors, but for a “middle class” PSU, this is more than great.
- Highly efficient
- Lack of few more connectors
- 1xEPS connector
Seasonic FOCUS Plus 550 Gold
A Middle-Class PSU That Gives You that Extra Edge
“Middle class” market competition is always tough and there are only tiny differences separating the competition. In the case of Seasonic FOCUS Plus 550 Gold, these differences are working on its behalf, such as the 10-year warranty, unique Hybrid Silent Fan Control function (with Fanless, Silent and Cooling Mode), amazing voltage regulation, etc. giving it the much-needed edge over the rest of the bunch.
When you also consider other aspects of this 550W PSU, such as 80 PLUS Gold certification, 120mm Fan Fluid Dynamic Bearing, full modularity, silent work, plenty of safety protections (OPP, OVP, UVP, OCP, OTP and SCP) and above everything else, its very competitive price, you realize Seasonic FOCUS Plus 550 Gold has a great value for the money.
If you add in the fact that its performance is above, or in the class with the DEEPCOOL DQ550ST, Thermaltake Toughpower Gold 550W, or Seasonic S12G-550, on top of everything, this PSU positions even better as a great option for any user profile, delivering so much for your money.
- 10-year warranty
- Good performance
- Great build quality
- Not great cable capacitors
- 1xEPS connector
The Best 600-800W Power Supplies
A Nice Performing PSU for Quiet Work
CORSAIR RM750x is another PSU in the very successful RMx family that delivers good performance, above the class build quality and silent work, for a sensible amount of money. Similar to its younger brother RM550x, CORSAIR RM750x offers many features for quiet performance such as the 135mm (RM550x has a 140mm fan) rifle bearing fan tuned for silent operations under heavy load and Zero RPM fan mode, but also shares the design and many of the characteristics, such as the 80 PLUS Gold certification, full modularity, tight voltage control, EPS connector, etc.
What makes the difference are the 750W size and a 10-year warranty, other than that, they are very much alike.
When compared to the direct competition, RM750x shows better performance than, for instance, its older version RM750 and Enermax Revolution X’t II 750W, while it is tied with Rosewill Capstone 750W and Riotoro Onyx 750W. Overall, RM750x surpasses its predecessor according to the quietness of work and performance, but at the same time, presents a very competitive option for a long-lasting PSU solution.
- 10-years warranty
- Peripheral connectors are too close
- Cable capacitors
- 1xEPS Connector
FSP Hydro PTM 750W
A Silent PSU Created for Serious Performance
FSP Hydro PTM 750W is a silent, solid performing, 80 PLUS Platinum certified PSU, made for serious gamers and computer devotees. This PSU delivers plenty of connectors (two EPS, six PCIe and 14 SATA) that will be enough even for the most demanding users and various types of protection such as the OVP, UVP, OCP, OPP, SCP and OTP. Alongside the 10-year warranty, this protection guarantees for long use.
This fully modular, 750W power supply has one +12V rail and one of the most efficient 5VSB rails in the class. Unfortunately, FSP Hydro PTM 750W’s EMI filter isn’t great and the PSU itself falls short of a semi-passive fan mode, which is unusual for this power supply class, but that can be somewhat explained with the fact that it uses 135mm fluid dynamic bearing that suffers from more stress during start than other types of fans.
All in all, FSP Hydro PTM 750W is a decent PSU that will serve you well, but it can just be better, especially considering its somewhat higher price for which you can get a better deal.
- 10-year warranty
- 2xEPS connectors
- A bit high price
Seasonic Prime Snow Silent 650 Platinum
A Power Supply Built for Perfection
Seasonic Prime Snow Silent 650 Platinum comes as a gift from heavens for everyone looking for excellence in both looks and performance from their PSU. Fully modular, with 650W in size and created for premium performance, this beautifully-designed white/silver themed PSU will leave everyone speechless.
Very silent, with a 135mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing Fan, Hybrid Fan Control, multiple protection features (OPP, OVP, UVP, OCP, OTP and SCP), plenty of connectors, and an amazing 12-year warranty, Seasonic Prime Snow Silent 650 Platinum is the closest to the perfection a PSU can be. No matter if you are a die-hard gamer or just a custom PC builder, this 80 PLUS Platinum certified power supply will perfectly fit into your rig, and more importantly, it will blow you away with its capabilities.
Unfortunately, premium experience usually has a higher price tag and the Seasonic Prime Snow Silent 650 Platinum is no exception. Luckily, in this case, it is worth it.
- 12-year warranty
- Great design
- Excellent performance
- High price
The Best 800-1000W Power Supplies
EVGA SuperNOVA 850 G1+
A Good Value for the Money PSU
If you are looking for a PSU with a nice balance of performance, features and a quality build, EVGA SuperNOVA 850 G1+ comes as a very reasonable option. This 850W PSU comes with a 135mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing that guarantees for quiet work, it is built to last and offers high voltage stability. Although it has an 80 PLUS Gold certification, it is good to know that its efficiency is actually pretty close to a platinum one.
Similar to other PSUs in the class, SuperNOVA 850 G1+ is fully modular, has many protection features (OVP, UVP, OCP, OPP, SCP, and OTP) and offers a fairly respectable 10-year warranty. What is not that good is the lack of a fanless mode, but that is something you can cope with.
The bigger problem is the price. Corsair RM850x, for instance, has pretty similar specifications but costs less, which puts SuperNOVA 850 G1+ in a not-that-great market position. If the price were the same, SuperNOVA 850 G1+ would be a better option. This way, a question mark stays.
- 10-year warranty
- Excellent performance
- Price a bit high
- No fan-less mode
Seasonic Prime 850 Titanium
The Best 850W PSU Money Can Buy
Seasonic Prime 850 Titanium is one hell of a product that delivers the most in the 850W Titanium efficiency class. For a long time, others took the highest spot, but Seasonic simply created something amazing.
Almost no sound (lower than 20 dB(A)), a top-notch performance combined with a quality build and good looks are the key points of this excellent power supply. Seasonic Prime 850 Titanium comes with a very nice 12-year warranty, full modularity, various protection features (OPP, OVP, UVP, OCP, OTP and SCP), 135mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing fan, but also the Premium Hybrid Fan Control that offers the mode changing with just a press of a button on the device.
This PSU comes in compact dimensions which make it suitable for almost any case, offers superb performance in ripple suppression and a very tight load regulation, which furthermore adds to its overall great impression. Seasonic Prime 850 Titanium is simply a great 850W PSU choice, of course, if you are willing to pay its high price. On the other hand, it really is worth it.
- 12-year warranty
- High efficiency
- Great ripple suppression
- High price
A Great Value for the Money PSU that Will Never Disappoint You
CORSAIR RM850x, alongside the whole RMx series, presents a great mixture of a silent quality performance, good build, long-lasting warranty and an affordable price. This recipe has been very successful and has brought the whole RMx series with the RM850x included as a great option for every user looking for a good value for the money – even the high-end consumers.
Properly built, fully modular, with 80 PLUS Gold certification and 135mm Rifle Bearing Fan that is tuned for quiet work, CORSAIR RM850x delivers everything that the majority of the users would need. There is also a quality 10-year warranty, dimensions 20mm shorter than the previous generation, two EPS connectors, all the needed protection features, excellent electrical performance, even the +12V rail that can deliver the whole PSU capacity by itself.
Designers have obviously been careful in order to create something that would be acceptable for most users. The result is in front of you, and that is a great performing device with which there is just no mistake.
- 2xEPS connectors
- Quality performance
- Too close peripheral cable connectors
Rosewill Capstone 850
An Affordable PSU that Offers an Older Design but Great Performance
If you are worried because you haven’t heard about the Rosewill Company, don’t be. Rosewill Capstone 850 is actually a Super Flower’s Golden Green PSU that offers great electrical performance, nice ripple suppression and high efficiency. Although it offers an older design, in order not to be competition to the Super Flower’s Leadex series, Rosewill Capstone 850 is a quality and affordable option for any system build.
With a strong +12V rail, 850W in size, two EPS connectors, a decent 5-year warranty, 80 PLUS Gold certification, Auto Fan Speed Control, 135mm Silent fan, and semi modularity, this PSU delivers everything that a mainstream user may need, and much more. Don’t expect miracles and fancy features from the Rosewill Capstone 850, because you won’t get them. This PSU is built to deliver solid, stable performance in the long run and that is something that it is doing amazingly.
- 2xEPS connectors
- Good value for the money
- Not the newest design
The Best 1000W+ Power Supplies
EVGA SuperNOVA 1600 P2 80+ PLATINUM
A “Beast” Among the PSUs
Unless you are into mining or want/have the gaming rig with multiple high-end graphics cards, there is no chance you will ever need such a PSU “beast” as EVGA SuperNOVA 1600 P2 80+ PLATINUM is. In every other situation other than the two previously mentioned, purchasing this PSU is a huge overkill.
When talking about the specifications, EVGA SuperNOVA 1600 P2 80+ PLATINUM has a 140mm Double Ball Bearing, offers full modularity, has the amazing 1600W in size, but lacks protection features, even the over-temperature protection which should be part of every PSU today.
Other than that, this power supply offers great performance, quiet work thanks to ECO mode, has excellent ripple suppression and comes with a fairly decent 10-year warranty. What isn’t good about it, are its huge dimensions and 5VSB rail efficiency that just should be better.
Nevertheless, EVGA SuperNOVA 1600 P2 80+ PLATINUM has one of the best performances of all the PSUs on the market and is worth any cent of its high price.
- 10-year warranty
- Good voltage stability
- Nice ripple suppression
- 5VSB rail isn’t that efficient
- Too few protection features
The Best of the Best is in Front of You
If your rig demands for a ton of power and you are looking for the best there is, get ready to be introduced to its “highness” CORSAIR AX1600i. This PSU is just something amazing, mostly because it is using a PFC circuit and is entirely digitally based. This combination results in its class-leading position and the highest possible efficiency that even surpasses its 80+ Titanium certification.
Silent performance is another field in which this PSU shines. Thanks to its 140mm fluid dynamic bearing, Zero RPM function and full compatibility with the Corsair’s Link software that allows for this PSU’s fine-tuning, CORSAIR AX1600i has earned a LAMBDA-A badge as a proof of its silent performance.
With noise and performance that have no real match, monstrous capacity of 12V rail, various protection features, excellent ripple suppression and exceptional load regulation and on top of that, a massive 10-year warranty, all that can be said about this PSU is that it is a masterpiece.
- Link software functionality
- Plenty of features
- Amazing power efficiency
- Superb voltage stability
- The distance between peripheral connectors
Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB 1200W
A PSU with an Attitude
Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB 1200W PSU comes as a great option for everyone looking for something different. Thanks to its 140mm hydraulic dynamic bearing fans with RGB lighting that supports five different color modes (RGB, white, red, blue and green), but also can be switched off, this power supply will perfectly fit into any build where users are looking for both unique looks and a great performance.
Fully modular, with 80 PLUS Platinum certification, selectable semi-passive mode, great rails (+12V can deliver PSU’s full power and minor rails up to 130W), great ripple suppression and quiet performance during light and medium loads, Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB has everything that the high-end users might need. When you also add its 10-year warranty, two EPS connectors and very affordable price into the calculation, you realize how this PSU is actually a great deal.
Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB 1200W delivers a near-the-top performance in most categories, giving a great value for the money for a large base of users.
- Fan with RGB lighting
- 2xESP connectors
- Inaccurate power signal
How to Find the Best Power Supply for Gaming: Features to Look For
For those looking to build a gaming PC, there are a number of categories to think about before you rush out and buy the best looking or best-performing power supply on the market. Some of the most important features to look for are:
- Wattage. To find out an estimate of how much wattage is required for your gaming PC, head over to Outer Vision. Keep in mind that a higher wattage can be more costly, but it may also help with heat and noise levels.
- Optimal Form Factors. If you want a higher powered computer, you’re going to need the most current form factors, such as ATX 12V v2.4.
- Modular. While modular or fixed is a matter of opinion, choosing modular can mean less clutter in your computer and improved air flow.
- Efficiency. For all your gaming needs, a Gold rating or more is highly recommended.
No matter what type of gamer you are, you’re always going to need an SSD, enough RAM, good gaming motherboard and the reliable power supply if you want to have the ultimate gaming experience without shortening the life of your computer. Consider your needs both now and in the future, so you can make the best possible choice for long-term gaming enjoyment.