The power supply makes the backbone of your system’s infrastructure; even a slight failure can bring the entire system to a halt. The reliability of your power source determines the performance of your system. Therefore, considerable caution should be exercised while purchasing a PSU (power supply unit) for your computer.
But what distinguishes a good power supply from a bad power supply?
The ideal power supply includes safeguards that protect the system from failure due to voltage fluctuations or overheating. The longevity of your system will be jeopardized if your power source lacks these qualities. Not only that, your power source should also be simple to set up and control.
Whether you need it for a hefty, always-on workstation, an intense gaming rig, or a basic, low-configuration PC, the specs should be decided by your demands. When purchasing a power supply, keep the following points in mind.
Your wattage requirements: You should never have more watts than you require. Calculate how much power your new or updated system will use and choose a capacity point that fits your requirements. Many manufacturers provide calculators to assist you in estimating the power consumption of your system.
For example, even an aggressive gaming PC may not require a 1kW power supply. There was a time when graphics cards used a lot of electricity. However, owing to Nvidia’s new designs, this is no longer the case with improvements in graphics cards. Therefore, purchasing a 1000-watt card for a pair of RTX 2080s may be unnecessary. An 800W model with adequate headroom for an overclocked CPU would suffice. Fans of AMD’s high-end Radeon VII or the newer Radeon RX 5700 XT should pair these cards with PSUs with higher maximum output to account for higher power consumption.
Form factor: An ATX power supply will most likely fit inside a standard ATX PC chassis. Many higher-wattage power supplies, on the other hand, are longer than the industry norm of 5.5 inches. As a result, you’ll want to double-check the PSU clearance on your case. If you have a very small or slender PC chassis, you may need a less-typical (and more compact) SFX power supply.
Design: The design of your unit also matters. You definitely don’t want to end up with a clutter of cables or obstructed airflow. A messy setup will interfere with your system’s performance.
You can surely tie the cables you don’t need and stash them within your system if your case has enough room behind the motherboard and your chassis doesn’t have a window or glass side. However, if your system doesn’t have enough room for this or there’s no simple way to hide your wire tangle, a modular power supply is worth the extra money.
The Best and Most Reliable Power Supplies You Can Own
- Corsair CX450
The CX450 Great Wall from Corsair is more efficient than the CWT version, especially under modest loads, and has a better 5VSB rail. However, because of its more aggressive fan profile, it generates more noise. Because it is made in Vietnam rather than China, only the CWT version is available in the United States, avoiding tariffs and keeping prices low. However, because you have no say in which manufacturer’s version you get when you shop online, we had to award this PSU the lower score of the two variants. Regardless, this is an excellent PSU for its price.
Corsair’s CX450 is unique in that it’s built by two distinct OEMs, Great Wall and Channel Well Technology (CWT), each of whom uses a different platform. RPS numbers, which are unique to each model, are the sole method to differentiate them. The primary fault of the CX450 is the fixed cables, which affect both configurations. They do, however, both use contemporary platforms with LLC resonant converters and voltage control modules, as well as high-performance fans.
Corsair has a tendency of discreetly upgrading its goods while keeping their names the same. As a result, distinguishing between earlier and contemporary designs might be difficult. Furthermore, if you buy the PSU online, there’s no way of knowing if you’re getting the Great Wall or CWT version. Fortunately, there isn’t much of a difference in their results. However, noise output is a different story.
Corsair VS650 could make another decent alternative in case you have a low budget. With 500 watts of power, it is not an award-winning unit, but makes a reasonable choice if you don’t mind the fan noise.
- Corsair RM550x (2021)
The RM550x, the smallest member of the new RMx family, has been updated with a high-quality magnetic levitation fan that has no influence on overall noise output, making it one of the quietest 550W PSUs on the market. Although it would be nice if Corsair added a second EPS connector in this device, most users will be satisfied with the connections that are provided.
Corsair’s RMx series, which has the lowest capacity, can produce up to 550W and is 80 PLUS Gold certified. It has entirely modular cabling, excellent performance, and is almost quiet over its entire working range.
Corsair first chose to update its RM line with the RMi series, which consists of high-performance power supplies with a digital interface for monitoring crucial information and fan control. Corsair then recognised that a less expensive RMi model without the digital interface circuit and the FDB fan would be even more competitive.
The RMx line was developed as a result of this. It now has five members, each with a capacity ranging from 550W to 1kW. For a powerful gaming system with a high-end graphics card, The RMx550W, the entry-level model, is sufficient. The RM550x is your only option if you want a high-end Corsair PSU with this capacity because the RMi family lacks a 550W member.
- Dark Power Pro 12 1500W
The Dark Power Pro 12 has a peak power of 1500W, making it suitable for people who want silent operation and a lot of power. Its semi-digital platform delivers outstanding performance and can tolerate high temperatures, and it has a very good build quality. The main downside is the high price. However, when compared to the installed CPUs and GPUs, the power supply is generally one of the less expensive components in systems that require this much power.
- Corsair SF750
Corsair SF750 is one of the best SFX-casing PSUs with a fully modular structure. If you want that much power from such a small PSU and can pay the exorbitant price, there is no other option. Because it has two EPS connectors, it can easily handle a strong gaming system and is compatible with high-end mainboards that demand more energy in the CPU’s area.
The top-of-the-line SF600 Platinum is a superior alternative and will save you money if you don’t need more than one graphics card port. Even SFX pioneer SilverStone doesn’t have a similar 750W SFX model in its range, at least for the time being, because Corsair has set the standard so high in the SFX market.
- Corsair AX1600i
Corsair AX1600i is the perfect choice for systems that require over1500 watts of power. We waited years for someone to unseat Corsair’s AX1500i, but it was yet another Corsair power supply that triumphed. At the moment, the Corsair AX1600i power supply is the best money can buy. It excels in every category and is based on a cutting-edge platform that demonstrates how future power supply architecture will progress.
- Corsair RM750x (2021)
Corsair decided to make some substantial changes to their RMx series, which is now one of the most popular on the market. Given that the present RMx units had just been in production for three years and delivered excellent performance while remaining silent, this was no easy task.
It wasn’t easy to outperform the current RM750x (2018), but Corsair managed it, and the new model performs considerably better. It’s quieter than the previous model, but with a total noise output of 28 dBA, it’s not quite as quiet as the previous model. Overall, this is an excellent power supply that is at the top of the 750W Gold category.
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