How to Choose The Finest Gaming Power Supply

Martin Wilson

Jun 28, 2022


This is your first gaming PC build, and you want to ensure you acquire the correct power supply for it, so you've decided on a certain type of power supply. It's just that every proposal you've come across doesn't exactly work for you.


Don't be alarmed. You don't need anybody else's help figuring out a decent PSU match. Selecting the crucial characteristics for your construction is as simple as scouring the market for particular models that meet those requirements. In order of importance for gaming builds, we've listed and discussed them all below. Some of these are purely functional, like ensuring enough electricity, while others are just aesthetic.


Wattage


No matter what kind of computer you're creating, the most important duty of a power supply is to deliver enough power to run the various components. But it's not as simple as searching up the TDP (thermal design power) requirement for each component, totaling up those wattage values, and then purchasing a PSU near that total.


That's not enough power. Your power supply can operate at maximum efficiency when there is extra "headroom," frequently referred to. As a bonus, it allows you to expand or update your system, depending on the amount of headroom you opt for.


The Number Of Wires


Power supplies with lesser wattages typically have fewer wires. With a power supply of 400W or less, there aren't enough components to warrant a large number of power lines. The cost also influences the number of cables. Pricey versions frequently come with extra features.


When trying to squeeze a lot of components into a PC while also not spending a lot of money on a power supply, you must pay close attention to this topic. If you go too low, you won't be able to connect all of the components in your system.


It's possible that your wattage needs have been satisfied, but picture this: The distance between your graphics card and sound card on the motherboard necessitates extra electricity. A single PCIe cable will leave you in a predicament. It's possible to run across this problem even with a high-end setup, as demonstrated here.


Efficiency


How much real power you anticipate obtaining from a source is determined by its power efficiency. You may get an idea of how much power you can anticipate getting from the watts by looking at the power efficiency rating, which measures how much power is lost to heat and other factors.


Almost everything these days is at least 80 Plus or better. A minimum of 80% of the specified wattage can be achieved at 20%, 50%, and 100% load on these power supplies. (This is the metric used to calculate the rating; our explanation of power supply efficiency ratings explains how this method works.)


Efficiencies rise in tandem with ratings. For example, 80 Gold PSUs should deliver 87% of the specified wattage when loaded at 20%, 90% when loaded at 50%, and 87% when loaded at 100%.


Other Things To Consider




Non-Modular vs. Modular


There are two types of power supplies: modular and non-modular, based on how the wires connect. Non-modular power supplies do not have detachable cables. There are no moving parts to the latter's cables.


Compared to non-modular power supplies, modular ones are more expensive, but they also offer two advantages. As a first step, you don't have to connect all the cords so that you don't take up a lot of room. Suppose you'd want to give your PC a more stylish appearance.


In that case, you may buy nicer, individually sleeved power cables, either as part of a pre-made set provided by the manufacturer or from a third party specializing in custom-length cables.


Form Factor And Dimensions


Your power supply size is important for two reasons: first, it affects how long your battery lasts. For your instance, it has to be compatible. It also affects the amount of physical space needed to accommodate the wires connected to it.


You should get an ATX power supply if your case accepts ATX power supplies and SFX or SFX-L if your small form factor case requires an SFX power supply.


If you have an option, go with ATX to save money. However, SFX or SFX-L will give you extra desk space. SFX or SFX-L power supply may be adapted to fit into an ATX slot with an adapter bracket if you wish to reuse it in another design. In the end, it's not possible to go the other way.


Rails


The most power-hungry elements of your PC, such as your processor and graphics card, rely on 12V from these rails. Power sources with several 12V rails were more common in the past. This innovation allowed you to plug a power-hungry GPU (or multi-GPU system) into different rails. As a result, the PSU's durability and safety were both improved.


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