Best Gaming PC Power Supplies

How to choose a good power supply for your gaming PC?

Tips for choosing your diet

When we choose to mount a new gaming configuration, we generally analyze very carefully which processor, graphics card or RAM will integrate our box. On the other hand, we often give less importance to the choice of the power supply unit, or PSU (Power Supply Unit) in the language of engineers, by simply ensuring that the power delivered corresponds to the needs of the configuration of your gaming PC. .

However, the power supply of a PC is essential for the stability and electrical safety of all the components of your machine and, we would like to emphasize this from the outset, it should not be subject to compromise. In other words: don’t try to save on your food purchases; If possible, opt for models known for their quality, energy efficiency and durability!

To make your choice with confidence, we have selected 6 models recognized for their quality, both entry-level and top-of-the-range. In addition, the few tips below can help you narrow down your search.

A question of power, but not only!

More or less energy-intensive depending on various parameters, the components of your PC as well as your peripherals draw their energy from a single source: the power supply of your machine.

Logically, the first question that comes to mind is none other than the power needed to properly power your machine, something that we will discuss without further delay in the next paragraph. However, we will see that power is not the only criterion for purchasing a PC power supply, far from it. Energy efficiency, modularity, voltage stability, noise pollution and other safety standards are all parameters to be integrated into the equation.

Define the consumption of your PC

First of all, it must be understood that we are talking about the maximum power consumption that a PC could require and that in reality, your office will only rarely need this value to function for the simple reason that your components are not all solicited at 100% permanently and simultaneously.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to choose a power supply that covers and exceeds (by around 20% minimum) the maximum requirements of your configuration. Care should be taken to ensure that your power supply is not continuously used at full load, as its potential lifespan and efficiency could then be strained and reduced.

It is therefore important to choose a power supply that is slightly more powerful than the overall maximum consumption of your PC. You can widen the gap a little more in case, in the near future, you plan to add or change some components of your PC.

For example: if you change your GPU for a more powerful model, if you plan an SLI/Crossfire configuration with several NVIDIA or AMD GPUs, or even the subsequent installation of water cooling, you will have to equip yourself with a more powerful power supply now because you don’t you won’t have to worry about having to change it when the time comes.

Finally, if it seems very logical not to choose a power supply that is too powerful, a power supply that is too powerful will simply be useless to you if the subsequent need is absent. The more powerful the power supply, the higher its price will be, and investing in a power supply that will be under-utilized will not bring you anything in terms of efficiency since generally the zone of best performance of a power supply is between 60 and 80%. of its operating power.

Gaming power supplies: cables and modularity

Connectors and cable lengths:

As a general rule, it is not particularly necessary to worry about the connection of the power supply, most power supplies are complete and versatile and have everything necessary to connect your components to them. However, you can check the presence of a 24-pin (or 20 + 4) ATX connector for your motherboard, 6 + 2-pin PCI-Express connectors for the graphics card(s), a connector ATX P4 (4 or 8 pin, sometimes declined in 2 x 4 pin), and finally SATA and Molex power cables for all your hard drives and SSDs, as well as for your cooling system or RGB lighting.

Finally, certain criteria such as the length and flexibility of the cables can be important for some. Some boxes are indeed less well optimized than others with regard to cable management, we will appreciate in this case to take advantage of relatively flexible cable to facilitate the task.

Finally, manufacturers often offer, in the case of modular power supplies, sheathed and colored cables. They are obviously not essential, but offer several advantages: that of benefiting from an aesthetic in line with the other elements of your configuration (for those who have a box with a view of its entrails), of optimizing cable management and therefore the circulation of the air flow in the box, or even as a visual cue to quickly identify which cable supplies what, which facilitates the maintenance of your machine.

Power supply modularity

  1. Non-modular power supplies are recommended for lightweight desktop setups, where the main requirement will be to contain the invoice. The cables of such a power supply are fixed, so you will probably end up with unused cables that you will have to “hide” somewhere so that they do not lie around in your case.

  2. Semi-modular power supplies give us the benefit of a few removable cables, good news since we can then remove the cables that are not necessary for us, such as certain SATA and Molex cables, or one or more PCIe cables. The price of a modular power supply is a little higher, but it allows for better cable management.

  3. Modular power supplies: you have to make the difference between modular and semi-modular, which is not always easy because stores often talk about modular power supplies for semi-modular models, when they use the term full modular to designate power supplies where absolutely all cables are removable. Modular power supplies have a much higher price for certain advantages that will not be useful to most of us since here, even the 24-pin ATX connector is removable, whereas it is essential. The interest here is therefore to be able to customize our configuration as much as possible, in particular by opting for colored cables.

Energy efficiency and certifications

The energy efficiency of a power supply is one of the first points to scrutinize carefully. It is neither more nor less than its capacity to convert the energy of the network into direct current (230 V here in Europe) according to the operating voltages of your machine.

The lower this efficiency, the less efficient the power supply is in converting the current. This results in a loss of heat with high heat dissipation, but also in an overconsumption of electricity compared to what your machine consumes, which can end up being felt on your bills, especially if you use your PC several hours a day. . daytime.

Fortunately there is a certification that allows you to know the energy efficiency of a power supply, and therefore the quality of its materials and its assembly. This certification, as you may have guessed, is the 80 MORE standard and we are sure that you have most certainly already encountered it. As its name suggests, this label signifies that the power supplies in question all have a minimum efficiency greater than 80%.

It should be known that the performances are different according to the use of the food. The optimal value is at 50% load, it is slightly reduced with only 20% load, but also with intensive use at 100% load.

Before detailing each label, we advise you to never choose a power supply that does not display at least the first level of this 80 PLUS label. The heat generated will be way too high and the goal is obviously not to add more heat to your setup, but rather to keep it cool.

Ideally, we recommend going with at least one 80 PLUS Gold Power Supply, for the simple reason that the price difference is not noticeable between Bronze, Silver and Gold. On the other hand, prices jump as soon as you look for a Platinum or Titanium certified power supply.

The 6 levels of 80 PLUS certifications of the Ecova label:

  1. 80 MORE: efficiency between 80 and 82%

  2. 80 PLUSBronze: efficiency between 83 and 85%

  3. Silver 80 PLUS: yield between 85 and 88%

  4. 80 PLUS Gold: yield between 88 and 92%

  5. 80 PLUS Platinum: yield between 92 and 94%

  6. Titanium 80 PLUS: efficiency greater than 95%

conclusion

To conclude, we advise you to pay particular attention to the certification of the power supply (80 PLUS) and, if possible, to choose a Platinum or Titanium certified model. The price difference with the Gold models is not very significant, while the gain in performance and heat dissipation is considerable. Finally, it should be noted that a semi-modular power supply is not a bad choice, provided you do not need all the cables it offers. In this case, it is always better to opt for a modular model.

We hope this article has helped you better understand the different types of power supplies and their respective performance. If you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comments!

Rosemary C. Kearney