Best Power Supply for PCs – Buying Guide for 2017
Whether you’re a power gamer or use your PC for work, I can’t stress enough how important it is to have the best power supply unit. The PSU is often ignored and taken for granted since one comes shipped with the computer.
But having the right power source is essential for optimizing your computer’s performance.
Unfortunately, some of these PSUs are of low quality and could do more harm than good, so I’ve reviewed the best power supply units available today.
Best Power Supply Units for PCs - Reviews
1. CORSAIR CXM series CX750M 750W
The CXM was built for performance and maximum flexibility, and it delivers.
One of the best modular power supply units available.
It lets you use just the cables you require, and it adheres to the highest standards so operation is smooth and straightforward.
With its 80 Plus Bronze certification, the CXM is up to 85% more energy efficient than other PSUs.
Aside from lowering your power bill, the CXM comes with 0.99 Active Power Factor Correction, resulting in reliable and clean power. The AC input is 90 to 264V, and with its single +12V rail you are assured of full compatibility with the latest PC parts and devices.
With these specs you can run a regular desktop or gaming PC. It’s not only reliable but also has simple installation and runs quietly too.
With PSUs there are certain things you look for, and those are efficiency, low noise level, reliability and low power consumption. That is precisely what you get here.
The fan is large, and this helps keep the noise level down even if you’re using your computer at full blast. The CXM is a full featured PSU, and does what it’s supposed to do.
2. Sentey XPP725-HS Xplus Power Supply
The Sentey XPlus is easy to install and has Sandy Black scratch resistant coating for durability.
There are several connectors provided which makes this ideal for use on gaming systems that need a lot of power..
It is equipped with a 140mm sleeve bearing which adjusts the speed automatically so there is a suitable level of airflow. With other power supplies the problem is managing the noise level and airflow, but the XPlus gets it right.
The PSU has a single strong +12 rail for easy installation. Because the power is on one line, there is no need to do any manual component balancing as is the case with multiple rails.
This ensures the XPlus is fully compatible with PC components including graphics cards. Speaking of which, the PSU is compatible with CrossFire and SLI so you can hook up several graphics cards.
The XPlus has a full complement of safety features as well. There is a short circuit protection that activates to protect the PSU as well as overload protection. There are also safeguards for under voltage and over voltage.
If there is a problem with your system the unit will shut down automatically. This is a very important safety element that ensures your system and devices won’t get damaged.
3. Corsair CX Series CX750 Power Supply
The CX Series CX750 is one of the best 750W PSU, and it’s not just hyperbole.
This PSU is designed for optimum performance and even on powerful systems it doesn’t compromise when it comes to scalability and flexibility.
The unit is energy efficient too with up to 85% improvement in power usage. Like the other Corsair PSUs, it comes with a 0.99 Active Power Factor Correction for dependable power and 90-264V AC input, so it’s the complete package.
The CX750 has a long cable so you can use it on full tower PCs, and with the good cable design you can power several devices. It also comes with a thermally controlled fan, and with its diameter size will keep your system quiet. At 750W there is more than enough power here to meet most computing needs. In fact there is enough juice here for overclocking and upgrades.
The CX750 is a solid power supply unit and it has enough safety features to ensure that the PSU works as well as it should. There are plenty of connectors here so whether you’re using a mid tower or high tower it’s not going to be a problem.
If you want a PSU that is capable of handling your power needs without any complicated installation, the CX750 is a good bet. The CX series has a lot of good models but this is the best option.
4. Rosewill Stallion Series Power Supply ATX12V
The Stallion Series have a lot of good units, and this is one of the best yet. The first thing I noticed with this unit is the fan, as it is very quiet.
With other PSU you’re going to hear them even if you’re typing, playing or browsing the web.
Another reason why ii think this is one of the best 500W PSU is its cabling, as there is enough of them to support whatever build you are working on
In terms of quality and built the Stallion is as good as they come. The unit looks and feels solid and when it’s running you won’t hear any sound from it. The other thing I like about it is the size as the Stallion is compact enough for low profile builds.
Compared to other large ATX power supplies, there will be enough room in your hard drive and won’t clog up the case.
The PSU supports both AMD and Intel systems, and its dual 12V rails allow for dependable independent power. It has FCC, UL and CSA approval and there is a built in protection for the voltage, over temperature and inrush current.
In addition there is mesh sleeving for each cable for superior ventilation and cable routing. Last but not the least, the Stallion has a 20+4 pin connector so motherboard compatibility won’t be an issue.
5. Thermaltake TOUGHPOWER 1200W 80 PLUS
The Thermaltake ToughPower lives up to its name, and it is highly efficient too.
With an 80 Plus Gold certification, its efficiency is good for 90% under standard loads.
Its design is compatible with most ATX standards and at 1200W has enough power to satisfy the needs of PC gamers.
Throw in the 5 year warranty, the 135mmm quiet fan and it’s not hard to see why this is one of the best PSU you can buy. The ToughPower is a premium product and it shows in the quality of the components. As you might expect from Thermaltake, performance is solid and efficiency is at a very high level.
Sporting a semi-modular design, it also has a single 12V rail. This allows the unit to transmit the maximum power possible to the CPU, ensuring optimum system performance.
The fan is not just quiet but with its smart RPM you’re guaranteed smooth operation without affecting the cooling aspect. In addition to being power efficient, its low profile design leads to better airflow, improving the chassis performance.
The cables are flat too so it is more flexible compared to other PSUs. The capacitor is high quality too so expect low impedance along with high performance.
6. PC Power & Cooling Fatal1ty Gaming Series OCZ550FTY
If you’re looking for the best gaming power supply, why not try one that was developed with the help of Johnathan Fatal1ty Wendel, columnist of several tech magazines online (like this one) and one of the best gamers of all time.
With its modular setup and EZMod Technology, you get superior performance and the ability to add custom cabling.
As the name implies, this PSU is aimed at professional gamers who need an effective and reliable power source.
The Fatal1ty Professional has a powerful fan. Built with power and convenience in mind, this is the kind of PSU you will want to use on computers that are left running most of the time. With other PSUs, wear and tear quickly sets in when used on powerful gaming rigs, but the Fatal1ty Professional holds up very well.
One of the most common complaints with PSUs is the amount of noise they generate when you play games, but the Fatal1ty Professional was designed for this and as such runs without a hitch. Bottom line: if you’re looking for a unit that can match the needs of power gamers, this is a good option.
What to Look for in a Power Supply
While computer power supplies have the same purpose, there is no one rule that applies for buyers. The needs of computer users vary as do their systems, so the PSU for a hardcore gamer and someone who uses their PC for web surfing only differ.
That being said there are a few general guidelines. This applies whether you’re looking for the best 600W PSU or other types.
- Buy a PSU from a reputable brand. There are a lot of generic PSUs but they are best avoided: made from cheap materials, they’re apt to cause more trouble for your system. Well-known brands moreover, have guarantees and warranties.
- A larger, heavier PSU is preferable to smaller ones. There are exceptions to the rule of course, but generally speaking the larger PSUs have superior chokes, capacitors and other parts. Their heatsinks are larger which lead to better dissipation of heat. They also have bigger cooling fans that move air without making a lot of noise.
- Look at the pin connectors and make certain it’s compatible with your system. With popular brands this may not be an issue as they offer support for standard systems. A 20+4 pin is in reference to a connector that works with a 24 or 20 pin connector. The majority of PCs work with standard ATX PSUs. There are exceptions for some server applications but for the general user, the ATX power supply is the choice.
- When searching for a PSU, there are three factors you should keep an eye on: efficiency, rails and power output. There are other elements that matter, but these three are the most important.
- PSU output is expressed in watts: the higher the wattage the more power the unit can supply. Most desktop PSUs have a power supply rating of 200 watts to 1800 watts. Some PSUs emphasize the peak power, but the continuous or sustained power is more important since peak power cannot be sustained.
- An ideal PSU should provide all the power you need, and should offer more when the time comes you want to upgrade. The majority of PSUs are at their peak when the load is at 40 to 80%, but it’s better to build the capacity at 60% max so there is room to expand. To give you an example: if your computer needs 300 watts, a 600 watt PSU is preferable. A powerful gaming system that reaches up to 700 watts will require a 1200 watt unit. These are just general guidelines, but to be safe you should get a high capacity PSU.
- There is a myth going around that a higher watt PSU consumes more power than a lower wattage unit. However that is not true; it is the components in your system that determines how power is used. If your PC components use 600 watts, that is the power they will use up regardless if your PSU is 600W or 1200W.
In other words, the watts displayed on a PSU indicate the maximum power it can provide, not how much your system is going to use.
PCs are getting better all the time, but their performance is only as good as the power supply it uses. We often spend a lot of time going over the video card, motherboard etc.
that the PSU is ignored. If you want the most bang for your buck and your system to run optimally, get the best power supply now, and any of the ones I reviewed here will be up to the task.