You are an avid gamer or tech nerd keen on joining the league of accomplished nerds. You decide to perform a self-imposed rite of passage by building your PC yourself. You feel that, aside from the fact that it will be a cheaper option, it will also give you, among other things, bragging rights.
For your project, you start by choosing a CPU
, a graphics card, a hard drive, a computer monitor
, computer keyboard
, and the like. Maybe you are on a budget, so you choose some items with more precision and thought than others. However, when you finally put it all together and turn it on, it works fine. Everything is moving along smoothly, your games and programs run fine and without any problems, and there are zero hiccups. Proud, you brag to all your friends, and happily show off your new PC. You’ve successfully completed your rite of passage.
However, a few weeks in, you begin to notice some problems. It’s minor at first. Every once in a while, the PC flickers strangely. You ignore it, but it gets steadily worse. The metal parts zap you a bit when you touch them, then it turns off by itself, and then one day, during a particularly heavy round of gaming, you hear a boom and there’s a fire. Your whole project is destroyed.
When people consider components for a PC, they tend to neglect the importance of a good PSU (power supply unit). A PSU is responsible for supplying power to your computer and all of its components. Its impact is not always readily seen beyond making your PC come on, but it is a very essential part. A good PSU is often what is standing between your PC and disaster.
The best gaming PSUs will ensure that your gaming PC never has any power-related problems in its long life. With this in mind, we have written this guide to help you find the perfect one for you.
The price of a gaming PSU is another essential factor for consideration. During our research, we found that the price can vary based on such factors as its brand, maximum output, and efficiency rating. Our research also revealed that it’s possible to get a good gaming PSU between around $65 and $380. You can certainly find some that will cost way more than this and some that cost less. While we encourage you to get something more expensive if it has the features you want, we strongly advise against cheap gaming PSUs as these could endanger your system.
Gaming PSUs are essential components of any gaming system. It is always important to find one that best fits your computer. The best way to determine this is by examining its features, some of which we will highlight and explain. These are some important features to consider:
- Max Output
- Size and Weight
- Operating Temp
- Fan Modes
- Noise Control
Let us now look at these further:
Construction and Design
The max output of a Gaming PSU is the maximum amount of wattage the PSU is capable of. However, a higher wattage is not always the best choice for your computer. When choosing a PSU, especially for building a PC, it is important to first calculate the required amount of wattage based on the demands of the PC components and with some regard for efficiency. The appropriate PSU will have a maximum wattage higher than the required wattage of the PC.
The primary function of your PSU is to convert the AC power it gets from the power outlet to DC power for use by the computer components. During this process of conversion, some power is lost. The efficiency of a PSU refers to the amount of AC power it can convert to DC power in contrast to the amount that is lost. The most efficient PSUs will usually have the 80 Plus specification. What this simply means is that the PSU can convert up 80% of the AC power it gets from the outlet, wasting less than 20% in the conversion process. The 80 Plus rating has levels and, listing them from the highest to the lowest, they are 80 Plus Titanium, 80 Plus Platinum, 80 Plus Gold, 80 Plus Silver, 80 Plus Bronze, and 80 Plus.
PSUs can be fully modular, partially modular, and hard wired. Modular cabling gives you the freedom to add or remove cables from the PSU as you choose. Hard-wired cabling, on the other hand, means the cable is soldered into the PSU – this can be very convenient, as it requires no additional connection. Partially modular cabling means the cabling is connected, but not necessarily soldered in.
The size and weight of the gaming PSU is another important factor to be considered. A PSU should be just big enough to fit into your plan, whether it’s to place the PSU in the computer’s chassis or leave it out. For people who need a high-output PSU, a bigger and heavier PSU might be indicative of large capacitors, bigger chokes, and is usually better at dissipating heat.
Performance and Ease of Use
The operating temperature of the PSU is the maximum temperature it will reach during use. PSUs will normally generate heat during use, but this is usually offset by their cooling systems, which include fans, heatsinks, and the like. It is important to take note of the operating temp and these cooling systems as they ensure that the PSU never malfunctions as a result of overheating.
Fans are the most common form of temperature control in PSUs. They negate heat by constantly blowing wind over the PSU.
However, due to noise and system load, a PSU’s fan might not always need to blow at its optimal speed. This is why some PSUs have multiple fan modes, making it possible for you to choose your fan speed according to your requirements.
A PSU will make a certain amount of sound while it is being used. This sound is usually a result of the capacitors and other things within it. This sound is normal, but can sometimes be a nuisance if it is too loud. However, some products will have features that nullify this sound, like ripple suppression, smaller or more efficient fans, or fanless cooling systems. Your choice will depend on how much computer noise you can tolerate.
Are you a seasoned PC gamer or a PC building enthusiast? Whichever category you belong to, you will agree that a reliable PSU is essential for your computer’s enhancement. Having read our buying guide and with your requirements in mind, check out the products we have reviewed to determine which one best suits your needs.
Now that you have read our reviews, we hope you have enough information to decide which PSU is best for your PC needs. Now you can start gaming with confidence or bring your dream PC masterpiece to life. Now go buy the model you have chosen!