The Power supply
Power supplies are often overlooked. Many users prefer to choose a power supply solely based on the total wattage, thinking that higher is always better. Some users pay absolutely no attention to their power supply selection since the power supply itself won’t give you any extra performance in games. This attitude is common among users who don’t have the knowledge of why the power supply is a vital component for a PC build.
The power supply is a crucial element for the system stability and longevity. A low-quality power supply not only has a shorter lifetime, it can also damage your entire system. The market is saturated with questionable manufacturers that use inferior components and exaggerate the real capabilities of their products. Finding a robust and reliable power supply is surely possible if you have the right knowledge. I will help you with that.
You should concentrate as much time to your power supply as you do to your PC processor. There isn’t a simple rule for choosing a quality power supply. However, there are differents indicators that provide you with proof of PSU quality.
The golden rule is: always to buy a power supply from a well-known manufacturer. Look at the reviews and avoid cheap power supplies (no name PSU).
Brands with decent warranties like Seasonic, EVGA, Super Flower are reputable for producing high-quality power supplies. However, not all model produced by these known brands are high-quality. So pay attention to the reviews before buying!
Usually, the bigger and heavier units have a higher quality than the light models. This is due to high-quality power supplies have larger and better capacitor chokes and other internal components. They also have larger cooling fans, which are more efficient and make less noise. All theses factor give more weight to a typical high-quality power supply.
You should also check the PSU connectors to verify if they are adapted to your particular system.
Power Supply Connectors
The current power supply is available with a 24-pin connector, an ATX 12V connector, 4 or 8 pins for powering the CPU and different connectors to power the disks, and the connectors: SATA, Molex, PCI-Express, etc.
The present graphics cards require the so-called PCI-Express connectors with 6 or 8 pins depending on their power requirements. A good quality power supply has cables each terminating in a 6 or 8-pin PCI-E connector, each capable of supplying up to 17A (200W).
The maximum power provided by the PCI-E x16 port is limited to 6A (75W). Very powerful graphics cards can consume up to 300W, or 25A on the 12V.
Although adapters are supplied with the cards, it is better to have the right connectors directly on the power supply, for compatibility reasons.
Some brands (to avoid) install 2 PCI-E connectors on the same cable, to save money:
This is a bad idea for the user, because if the two PCI-E connectors of the same cable are connected, the max current is around 20A, against only 10A per cable if it ends with a single PCI- E: there is a real risk of overheating of the cables.
Modular or non modular?
Often the power supplies models are available in two versions: modular and non-modular. With a modular power supply, you will be able to detach the additional cables you don’t need, which will allow a better circulation of the air flow while facilitating the cable management.
Beware of the difference between semi-modular and fully-modular power supplies: On the latter, all cables can be removed … including those vital to the operation of your PC such as the 24 pins or the CPU socket that you will be forced to use it in any way. The advantage of such a power supply lies in the fact that it is possible to make home-made cables so that the power supply and its cables integrate better aesthetically into the rest of the configuration.
Power supply efficiency
By opting for a power supply with a 80 Plus certification, you are sure to make energy savings over time compared with an uncertified PSU but not only.
It is also a guarantee of quality and durability, indeed to obtain good efficiency, manufacturers are forced to use components of good qualities, which ensures a longer lifetime compared to a non-certified model.
The efficiency rating of a PSU is a rating for how well the PSU convert the energy it receives from the outlet to power the components of the PC.
For example, if your computer components are drawing 200W of power and you have an efficiency of 80%. Your computer will actually draw 250W from the outlet. The other 50W your computer doesn’t need are wasted and given as heat. This doesn’t mean that if you have a 500W PSU, rated for 80% efficiency. Your computer will draw 400W. A 500W PSU will still be able to output the 500W!
There are six different efficiency level certifications:
Choosing the right power supply
To choose a PSU adapted to your consummation needs; there is a very simple and efficient method:
Just do this calculation: max consumption CPU + max consumption GPU x 2
A computer with a i5 6600 and a Gtx 1060. The i5 6600 max power consumption is 65W; Gtx 1060 max power is 120W.
(65 + 120) * 2
A power supply of 370W is the suggested for this configuration. To let a margin for overclocking I advise you to add around 80W to the total (370 + 80 = 450W).
I multiply the maximum consumption of the graphics card by two, to compensates the low consumption of other components, and also to leave a safety margin.
In what sense should I install it?
Around 95% of the computer cases designed for gamers, the power supply is positioned at the bottom of the box, fan down.
The fan of a power supply is designed to aspirate fresh air in order to cool the power supply. If you put your power supply with the fan up, it sucks up hot air from your graphics card.
This explains why your box has “feet” (to let your PSU breathe), and this also explains that many boxes put a dust filter at this location.
With all that said, here is the list of the best power supply for gaming of 2016. You can check the prices and reviews by clicking the button “BUY NOW”. This will bring you to the appropriate power supply Amazon page.
The Best Power Supply for Gaming List
For the low-end tier (budget) you have the 400W – 600W, these are the best choice for casual gamers with a decent GPU. These power supplies are the most used by users who are building a budget custom gaming machine. This doesn’t mean they are low quality; they are simply more adapted to a budget build.
The mid-end tier is located between the 600W and 800W. These are ideal for a serious gamer that needs the extra juice to power his overclocked high-end graphic card. It can also be utilized on a low-tier dual-GPU build.
The high-end power supplies are between the 800W and 1000W. These are the best power supplies for gaming and are usually overkill (more than what is needed) for a standard single GPU build. I would only consider them to be necessary for a high-end dual-GPU setup.
Best Power Supply for Gaming
Low-end tier choices
The low-end power supplies are between the 400W and 550W. As I stated before, these PSUs power are sufficient for the majority of the users. Although you will want to go for a high-quality power supply, for better stability and longevity of you PC. You should choose the one that adapts the most in your budget. The most suitable PSU for this situation is the low-end tier.
The first model in the list, is the Seasonic S12II 430, with a wattage of 430; you can use this PSU to power a modest GPU (mid-end). This power supply fea
tures a 80 PLUS Bronze certification with a quiet fan. It has a single +12V rail. With an impressive price/quality/wattage ratio, this low-end model is enough for low consummation build.
Slightly more expensive than the anterior PSU The best power supply for gaming at the low-end tier is another PSU from EVGA: EVGA SuperNOVA 550 G2 . This PSU delivers 550W and has a max efficiency of 92% which means less energy wasted and more important; a reduced electric bill. This model has an amazing price/quality and 7 years of warranty; it is totally worth the price. I frequently recommend this PSU, it can power a high-end GPU without any problem.
Best Power Supply for Gaming
Mid-end tier choices
For a high-end graphic card, like the newest GPU released from Nvidia; the Gtx 1080. You will want a more robust power supply that can deliver the necessary power to your build.
The first model in the list is the EVGA SuperNOVA 650 G2. It can deliver 650W and is rated as 80 Plus Gold; this certification proofs that the efficiency is more than 87% efficient at 100% load. The manufacturer knows that his product quality is superior by having an impressive warranty of 7 years. This PSU has four 12v rails, OVP, OLP and other safety measures. It has a 135m fan that is quite silent and long lasting cooling thanks to the ball bearings.
If you need an even more powerful PSU, you have the EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G2. This model delivers 750W and also comes with the 80 Plus Gold certification. One of the main advantages of this model is its massive warranty of 10 years.
These two models are non modular.
Best Power Supply for Gaming
High-end tier choices
For the high-end category, we have the power supplies between the 800W and 1000W. These power supplies are suitable for advanced gamers who need a PSU capable of powering a dual-GPU setup. However, you should be careful when buying a dual-GPU build; it requires a lot of power. Although, 850W is usually enough.
The first PSU on this list is the EVGA SuperNova 850 G2. This model is a high-end PSU made by two reputable brands: SuperFlower and SeaSonic. It delivers 850W and is rated 80 Plus Gold. It comes with ten years of warranty.
For even more power, we have a 1000 watts PSU from Corsair. The Corsair RM1000x comes with the necessary to power two GPU, a high-end CPU and lots of HDDs. It is rated 80 Plus Gold and has ten years of warranty.
These two are the best power supplies for gaming between the 800W and 1000W. They come from well-known brands and have the necessary cables and power for a dual-GPU setup. However, you should only consider them if you truly need. These power supplies are expensive but are worth. They are built to last forever and come with high-quality internal components and large, quiet and efficient fans.
There are multiple choices in each wattage range. Pick the one you feel that is more suited to your build.