The power supply unit (PSU) is the heart of every PC. It takes AC power from the wall and converts it to low-voltage DC power, which then goes on to power all your components. So if you want reliable, steady power to your motherboard, CPU, RAM, graphics cards, drives, fans, (and of course!) RGB lights, you need to get a good power supply. From the affordable PSU to absolute powerhouses able to run two systems at the same time, we’ve picked out the best power supplies available today.
TL;DR – These are the Best Power Supplies:
1. Corsair RMx Series RM750x
Best Power Supply
For under $200, you can get an efficient and reliable power supply that will deliver more than enough juice for a modern gaming PC, even one with high-end components and a little modest overclocking. Only those who have multiple high-end graphics cards or extremely power-hungry (and overclocked) CPUs are likely to need more power than this one offers.
Corsair’s RMx series has all-Japanese capacitors rated up to 105 degrees celsius. It’s 80 Plus Gold certified, and even has a zero RPM fan mode to run completely silently when not under heavy load. The pricier RMi series adds a digital interface for monitoring software and fancy fluid dynamic bearings, but those are probably not worth the extra money for most people.
2. Corsair CX Series CX450M
Best Budget Power Supply
If you’re trying to power a modest, budget gaming PC, you don’t need to go with a crazy, high-wattage power supply. In fact, you shouldn’t. So, for a rig that’ll be running a low-to-mid-range processor and a modest graphics card, the Corsair CX Series CX450M’s 450 watts of juice should do the trick.
This power supply comes in at a reasonable price point well under $100 while delivering efficiency levels that meet the 80 Plus Bronze specification. You’ll even be getting a semi-modular design, so you can maintain cleaner cable management if you don’t need certain connections (such as SATA if you’ll only be using PCIe SSDs). This PSU is also capable of running with its fan turned off for silent operation when under lighter loads.
3. Cooler Master V850
Best SFX Power Supply
You don’t have to settle for a low-power system just because you want to build in a mini ITX case. The Cooler Master V850 power supply has all the juice you need to run a beefy rig, but it comes squeezed into an SFX form factor to fit into your mini builds.
The Cooler Master V850 is a fully-modular power supply, so you can swap out any of the cables. Cooler Master supplies cables with the package, but if you have a different style in mind or need different lengths and shapes to fit inside your case, you’ll have the option to change. The power supply features a fluid dynamic bearing fan for quieter operation and offers an 80 Plus Gold power efficiency.
4. SilverStone Technology SX1000 Platinum
Best SFX-L Power Supply
When you’ve got a small build, you can sometimes be pretty limited with what parts you’re able to fit inside. But, if your case and build provide that little bit of extra space for a SFX-L power supply, the SilverStone SX1000 will not disappoint. It can deliver 1000W of power to your PC while maintaining efficiency levels that earn it 80 Plus Platinum certification. When you’re running at lower loads, you’ll also be able to enjoy silent operation with a dual ball bearing fan that runs at just 18dBA at the quietest and maxes out at only 38dBA, though the fan can go quieted still by remaining off when power loads are below 20% of max.
The SilverStone SX1000 Platinum is fully modular, so you can build using only the power cables you need. This will help you keep your small form factor build tidy for better airflow and aesthetics. That said, the power supply includes a bunch of cables in case your rig is going to be fully loaded.
5. Corsair AXi Series AX1600i
Best High Capacity Power Supply
Some of us are building gaming computers for mere mortals. We may use 65W CPUs and graphics cards that barely top out over 200 watts. But, if you’re building a HEDT computer and need some serious wattage for everything from CPU overclocking, dual graphics cards, and a smattering of storage drives, powerful fans, and RGB lighting, then the Corsair AXi Series AX1600i is for you.
The name of this power supply is probably a good hint that this unit offers up 1,600 watts of power. You won’t have to shy away from that dual-RTX 3090 setup with this power supply in your rig. The Corsair AXi Series AX1600i delivers power with 80 Plus Titanium efficiency and uses all Japanese capacitors alongside gallium nitride transistors. With Corsair Link software, you can also monitor performance and adjust settings.
6. be quiet! Dark Power 12 750W
Best Silent Power Supply
Fans are great for cooling, and you definitely don’t want your power supply overheating, but sometimes you just wish those fans could take a chill pill. In that case, the be quiet! Dark Power 12 750W power supply can keep your system juiced up without cranking out a ton of noise in the process. It manages that with a special mesh front and be quiet!’s Silent Wings fan.
The Dark Power 12 750W power supply should meet the needs of most computers with ease (with enthusiast and HEDT PCs being an exception), and it can deliver that power with excellent efficiency, as indicated by its 80 Plus Titanium rating. As a fully modular power supply, the Dark Power 12 750W will help you handle your cable organization, so you can skip out on cables your system doesn’t need or opt for different length cables depending on the needs of your setup.
What to look for in a Power Supply
It’s tempting to simply think “more is better” and go for the highest wattage number you can find. This would be a big mistake. A 1200-watt power supply is not necessarily higher quality than a 650-watt one, and definitely not the right choice for a system that won’t use nearly that much power.
The wattage rating on a PSU describes how much power it can supply, but there are plenty of caveats. Some PSUs may supply a lot of peak power in total, but not enough to the critical components. Or, as temperatures rise, power delivery may become unreliable. There are dozens of PSU calculators out there, and using one can be a good place to start. Many of them recommend way more PSU than you really need out of an abundance of caution. If you’re not going crazy with overclocking or multiple top-end graphics cards, you probably don’t need a big ‘ol 850-watt power supply.
Of course, the efficiency by which the PSU converts AC to DC is very important. You’ll typically see one of three different “80 Plus” ratings on power supplies: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. There are Platinum and Titanium ratings too, but they are more rare. To be 80 Plus certified, a PSU must deliver at least 80% efficiency at 20%, 50%, and 100% of the maximum rated load. The higher the rating, the further above 80% the PSU’s efficiency. A more efficient power supply will generate less heat and draw less power from the wall, so it’s often worth the extra expense.
Mark Knapp is a regular contributor to IGN and an irregular Tweeter on Twitter @Techn0Mark
Latest Gaming News