Buying Guide Part 5: PSU / Power Supply
If you’ve read my other article “Don’t Skimp on the PSU”, you’ll know that I consider the power supply a very important component.
I consider the PSU the “heart” of the computer. Just like your body, if you have a weak heart, you won’t be able to do strenuous activity. So if you have a weak PSU, get ready to have your gaming PC shut down on you while you’re gaming because it cannot produce enough power for your system.
As with all things, not all power supplies are built the same. There are cheap brands where you might think you found a great deal on a 300 watt power supply but when you actually use it, you’ll find out that it’s not a true 300 watt PSU.
I’ve tested many power supplies in my lab from many manufacturers and the watts rating on the rating labels have been used deceptively. They leave it up to the reviewers to figure out if it’s good or not, which is why the cheap manufacturers don’t send units to reviewers and just hope they don’t get too many returns from customers.
For example, there is a difference between “continuous” and “peak” wattages.
The wattage rating on good brands usually have it rated for continuous usage. Cheaper brands rate their power based on peak amounts, making it look like you’re getting a higher wattage PSU at a low cost.
Peak wattage ratings is basically that the power supply won’t shut down right away if the wattage required jumps up to that amount for a short amount of time. But when you’re gaming, that’s not a short amount of time so the strain on the power supply will cause it to overheat and shutdown, sometimes killing the PSU altogether.
Power Supply Brands
When it comes to computer components, the brand really does make a difference when it comes to the quality of the product.
My other post as referenced above should explain to you why I only go for the good brands when it comes to the PSU so I won’t write that whole thing again here.
To get to the point, my choice of PSU brand is Corsair. Corsair has been my go to brand for several years now. I’ve worked with them and all of the other companies in the computer industry for years and have found Corsair to always produce quality products.
In my lab, we would stress test a wide array of power supplies and we could never find fault with Corsair power supplies. We would do load testing with wattage and voltage meters. We would check to see if the 12V lines drop in voltage under heavy load and we would stress test for hours at a time. Never did we have a Corsair PSU fail on us.
Which PSU Model To Buy
For a mid-range gaming PC, I would go with the Corsair CX Series 550 Watt Power Supply. This PSU should last you a very long time and it’s actually one that I have used on some builds.
For a high-end gaming PC, I would go with the Corsair RMx Series RM1000x Fully Modular Power Supply. This is one rock solid power supply that we have tested in the lab and it performed admirably.
For those of you who overclock and have a crazy high-end system with a triple-SLI setup, you should get a PSU with at least 1200W from Corsair, preferably from the HX/HXi or AXi line of power supplies. They’re going to get pricey, of course, but you won’t be disappointed.