August 14

PSU Tier List

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Table Of Contents

A PSU (Power Supply Unit) is a bit like that kid no one notices in the class. You don’t know where she’s from, where she lives, what she does in the class — nothin. A PSU, much like that kid, is ignored… always. But if you’re building a mean gaming rig for yourself and just search casually for PSUs online, you’ll see that there are literally thousands of models for sale and they’re made by hundreds of companies.

This begs a seemingly simple question: Which one should you buy? Are they all the same or is there actually any difference between these PSUs? What is the best PSU for gaming? (I know I said only one question, but… indulge me). So, we at Game Gavel have created a list. It’s a simple PSU tier list written in decreasing order of their performance. Prices have been taken into consideration, as well.

However, before we get into the nitty-gritty of PSUs and their hierarchy, let’s take a look at what exactly PSUs do and how they work.


PSU (Power Supply Unit)

Most people who’ve been around computers would have seen the PSU. It’s the unit at the back of the CPU to which you plug the power cable. But if you haven’t, just take a look at the top-right corner of your CPU (No, no… do it now).

Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB psu

The PSU, in essence, converts Alternating Current (AC) to Direct Current (DC). The electricity that flows from the socket of your home is AC. However, computer components need DC to function normally. Ergo PSU. In addition, the PSU also regulates overheating of components. It does this by controlling the voltage. A change in voltage might happen automatically or manually.

Most PSUs are housed within the CPU casing itself. However, some enthusiasts like to use an external PSU. The advantage is that they are smaller in size and more pretty to look at. However, the number of people who do this is quite small. Therefore, for the purposes of this article, we’ll be restricting ourselves to internal PSUs.

It is always recommended to plug your PSU to an uninterruptable power source (UPS). The reasoning is that PSUs are the most exposed components to power spikes, surges, and things like that. A UPS will keep your PSU safe.


Choosing a PSU: A Quick Buying Guide

Veteran builders know where to look and what to buy. They have experience on their side. However, if you’re new to building rigs, welcome to the PSU quagmire. There are literally hundreds of companies that make PSUs. What’s more, they all look more or less the same. So, which one do you buy?

FSP Hydro G psu

First off, know that there are many bad companies. So, a shot in the dark — more often than not — is going to be an expensive mistake. But all’s not lost. There are a few reputable, established players in the market. Seasonic, Antec, Corsair, CoolMax, and Ultra make excellent PSUs. However, choosing a PSU from a reputable brand doesn’t guarantee performance. There are a few factors to consider.

Factors to consider

If you’re set on buying a top-of-the-line gaming processor, you have two companies to choose from. Intel and AMD. Both make excellent gaming processors. However, not every product from their stables will suit your needs. It’s the same with PSUs too.

Cooler Master MasterWatt Maker 1200 MiJ psu

Tip: If you’re big on aesthetics for a powerful gaming PC that you’re building, we recommend going with a modular power supply over other alternatives.

Always Read Reviews

Between the six or so companies that I mentioned earlier, there are at least 100-150 PSUs on offer today. That being the case, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some of them aren’t really that great. So, always make sure that you read user reviews of the specific product that you’re looking to buy.

Heavier The Better

Lightweight smartphones and laptops are awesome, not lightweight PSUs. The reasoning is quite simple, actually. The PSU houses capacitors, heatsinks, fans, chokes, and much more. All these components work much more efficiently when they’re bigger.

For example, bigger heatsinks enable better heat dissipation. Bigger fans can turn at slower speeds and achieve the same cooling results. Lower speeds mean quieter functioning, and bigger fans can handle more load than smaller ones.

Three Seasonic PRIME Titanium PSUs

The Wattage Myth

The power, so to say, of a PSU, is rated in terms of watts. This rating in watts is actually the output of the PSU. As the output increases, so does the power of the PSU. Much like a car, you might think. Bigger the engine, the faster it is… except that’s not how it is, both, in cars and in PSUs.

Let’s say that your rig needs about 500W for ideal function. Irrespective of how powerful your PSU is, it only delivers 500W. Just because a PSU is rated at 2000W, it doesn’t mean that it’ll deliver that power. You already know the conclusion. Higher watt rating doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better. So, how do you pick the ideal one?

Well, most desktop PSUs are rated anywhere between 200 to 2000 Watts. To know the best one, you should first calculate how much power your CPU needs. This number is called the TDP (Total Design Power) of your system. TDP is simply the sum of the power requirements of all the components in your computer. There are plenty of free online calculators to arrive at this figure. Just punch in your components, and it’ll give you a TDP figure.

EVGA GS psu

For the purposes of this article, let’s say the TDP of your system is 500W. A 500W PSU is NOT what you should be looking for. A bit of business 101. Companies want to show off that their PSUs have a high wattage. So, instead of ‘ideal working wattage,’ they display ‘peak wattage.’

PSUs aren’t capable of performing at their peak levels continuously. Actually, they can only output about half their wattage number for extended periods. They have about 50% to 60% efficiency. From time to time, they can achieve 70% to 80% efficiency. For your system that has a 500 TDP score, what you really need is a PSU with a 1000W rating. So much for our laws on ‘fair and truthful advertising.’


Efficiency and 80 PLUS Ratings

Efficient PSUs have better components, don’t waste a whole lot of power, they don’t get very hot — things like this, basically. They’re good. But that’s not the important part. If you’ve ever looked at a PSU or even if you’ve seen a PSU listed online, you’ll see that some of them have something called 80 PLUS rating. This rating is important. There are five ratings overall.

Riotoro Enigma power supply unit

80 PLUS, 80 PLUS Bronze, 80 PLUS Silver, 80 PLUS Gold,  80 PLUS Platinum, and 80 PLUS Titanium. Titanium is the best rating that a PSU can get. The term 80 PLUS basically refers to the fact that the PSU is at least efficient to the tune of 80%. So, what rating should you go for?

Well, I’ll tell you this much. I was recently testing a few AMD gaming processors. I had a 16 core processor overclocked to almost 5GHz. I had a water cooler running at a good clip too. All that I needed was an 80 PLUS Silver PSU. Now, overclocking and a water cooler are not the most stressful things for a PSU, but you get the idea. For most people, including gamers, 80 PLUS, and 80 PLUS Bronze are more than enough. 

With all this information assimilated, let’s get to the table itself. As mentioned earlier, the list places the most powerful PSU at the top and the least powerful one at the bottom. For convenience, I’ve created a tier system, which is explained just below the table.


Enthusiast – Tier 1

These are the best PSUs on the market. They are made from high-quality components, have a boatload of features, and of course, are very expensive. Is this for you? Nah. Not really. This is for enthusiasts who overclock their i9s, use powerful water coolers, and run multiple top-of-the-line graphics cards simultaneously. If you’re a casual user or even a casual gamer, you have no reason to buy these beasts.

NAME80 PLUS RatingPOWER
Seasonic PRIME SeriesTitanium1300 W
be Quiet! Dark Power Pro 11Platinum1200 W
Cooler Master MasterWatt Maker 1200 MiJTitanium1200 W
Antec High CurrentBronze850 W
Corsair - AXi Series Titanium and Platinum850 - 1250 W
Enermax PlatimaxPlatinum1200 W
FSP Aurum PTPlatinum1200 W
Bitfenix WhisperGold850 W
Bitfenix Formula GoldGold750 W
Aerocool Project 7Platinum850 W
Corsair Rmi/Rmx SeriesGold1000 W
Corsair HX/HXi SeriesPlatinum1200 W
Gigabyte Aorus AP850 GMGold850 W
Sentey Platinum Platinum1000 W
Thermaltake 1250DPlatinum and Titanium1250 W
Superpower GoldGold/Platinum1000 W
Corsair VengeanceSilver 750 W
Riotoro Enigma SeriesGold850 W
XFX Pro GoldGold1000 W


Tier 2

Workstation coolers are what you’re looking at here. Not just normal workstations, but high-end ones. PSUs in this tier are still quite expensive and again, gamers, even professional ones, don’t have much use for these. However, if budget isn’t a concern for you, this tier offers some excellent PSUs. Using these will effectively future-proof your PSU. There’s plenty of overhead room if you later decide to add in more components.

NAME80 PLUS RatingPOWER
Antec EdgeGold750 W
Cooler Master MasterWatt Maker SeriesPlatinum1500 W
Seasonic Focus Plus PlatinumPlatinum850 W
Seasonic Focus Plus GoldGold1000 W
Seasonic Focus GoldGold750 W
be Quiet! Pure Power 11Gold700 W
Enermax Digifanless GXPlatinum550 W
Seasonic SnowSilentPlatinum1500 W
XFX XTS Platinum 1200 W
Silverstone Nightjar NJ600Titanium600 W
LEPA G1600Gold 1600 W
Riotoro EnigmaGold850 W
Sentey Solid Power SSGold850 W
Thermaltake Toughpower GrandPlatinum1200 W
EVGA GSGold 650 W
EVGA G3Gold1000 W
Seasonic S12GGold 750 W
Seasonic M12IIBronze850 W
FSP Hydro GGold 850 W


Tier 3

Prices decrease, obviously. But these are the PSUs that professional gamers are most likely to use. Veteran builders will vouch for these products. Most of the brands and models in this tier are known to be very good.

However, if you’re a new builder, don’t go for these. For one, they are still very, very expensive. You don’t really realize how expensive they can be until you actually go online and check the prices. If you’re new to this world, you don’t want to begin your experiments with these PSUs.

NAME80 PLUS RatingPOWER
be Quiet! Straight Power E10Gold1000 W
Antec Neo ECO IIBronze650 W
Bitfenix FuryGold650 W
Seasonic G SeriesGold750 W
Corsair CXBronze750 W
Kolink ContinuumPlatinum1500 W
Fractal Design Newton R3Platinum1000 W
Fractal Design EdisonGold750 W
Fractal Design Tesla R2Gold1000 W
Antec TruePower ClassicGold750 W
FSP Aurum ProPlatinum1200 W
Super Flower Platinum KingPlatinum650 W
Vivo 24KGold650 W
Silverstone Gold EvolutionGold800 W
Fractal Design Integra M SeriesBronze750 W
Cougar GX - SGold750 W
Riotoro OnyxBronze750 W
XFX ProSeries BronzeBronze800 W
Rosewill Silent NightPlatinum500 W
Zalman EBTGold1200 W


Tier 4

This tier is the most popular one for gamers. Prices are low enough for gamers to afford these, and they are super-reliable and long-lasting. The build quality is great, and basically, these PSUs do their job without creating much of a fuss.

NAME80 PLUS RatingPOWER
be Quiet! Power ZoneBronze1000 W
Cooler Master GM or GX StormBronze/Bronze750 W / 750 W
Lian TS Series BronzeBronze650 W
Deepcool DQSTGold750 W
Silverstone Strider Titanium SeriesTitanium1500 W
Silverstone SFXGold800 W
Silverstone Gold Evolution SeriesGold1200 W
SAMA Armor GoldGold750 W
PC Power & Cooling Turbo CoolGold860 W
Seasonic SSBronze660 W
XFX TS GoldBronze750 W
Enermax Revolution X’tGold750 W
Fractal Design Tesla R2Gold500 W
Cooler Master MasterWatt LiteWhite600 W
Thermaltake Smart SeriesBronze850 W
LEPA G SeriesGold1600 W
Cooler Master GMBronze750 W
Thermaltake Toughpower Gold SeriesGold550 - 1500 W
Rosewill Capstone GGold1200 W
Silverstone Strider GoldGold1500 W


Tier 5

If you’re a novice, this is the category that I’d personally recommend. These puppies have no extra features, they don’t look like they’re from the 2100s, but they do their job reasonably well.

The efficiency of these models aren’t as great as the ones mentioned above, but it’s not bad either. Prices, though, are significantly lower and for a novice builder, that’s important. You don’t want to invest too much into something that you’re still not very sure about.

NAME80 PLUS RatingPOWER
Thermaltake ParisGold650 W
Antec Basiq BPWhite500 W
EVGA 600White600 W
Seasonic M12IIBronze650 W
Seasonic ECOBronze620 W
be Quiet! Power ZoneBronze1000 W
Corsair Gaming SeriesBronze800 W
Enermax NaXnWhite450 W
XFX XTBronze600 W
OCZ ZT or ModXStreamBronze1000 W
Corsair CX Green UnitsBronze750 W


Tier 6

The PSUs in this category are budget PSUs, and unfortunately, that’s the only upside. Efficiency is quite bad, and so is the build quality and reliability. If you’re a gamer, this category just won’t cut it for you. Look further up. However, if you’re simply building a no-frills, basic PC, you might want to consider these. There are no promises made here.

NAME80 PLUS RatingPOWER
Antec Basiq BPWhite500 W
EVGA B1Bronze700 W
Rosewill GlacierBronze1200 W
OCZ FatalityBronze1000 W
Cooler Master B2 SeriesWhite700 W
LEPA MX-F1White650 W
Antec VP SeriesWhite630 W
Fractal Design Integra R2Bronze750 W
Thermaltake TR2 SeriesAvailable in White, Gold, and Bronze850 W
NZXT HALE 82 V2Bronze700 W


Tier 7

This is basically a compilation of “don’t buy” devices. They’re bad, and frankly, they shouldn’t be on the market. Avoid and survive.

NAME80 PLUS RatingPOWER
Cooler Master Elite SeriesUnrated600 W
EVGA N1Unrated750 W
FSP HexaWhite700 W


Conclusion

So, there you go. That’s the hierarchy list complete. Now, we haven’t even mentioned about 10% of the overall products currently in the market. But, as I mentioned earlier, there are way too many bad manufacturers out there.

The most important thing to look for when you’re buying a PSU is a well-known brand. Now, is that a bit judgemental? Yes, it is, but there are so many bad products out there that we, as customers, don’t really have any other choice. Better safe than sorry, as they say. If you’re not sure whether to replace your power supply, first you need to learn how to test a PSU. If it’s faulty, ditch it.

Let me know which one you eventually go with. It’s always great to hear from you people out there. Also, have I missed your favorite brand or model? Let me know why I should go ahead and include them!


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