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Power supplies (often called power supply units or PSU) are one of the most underrated parts of a PC, and it’s rather ironic because they’re what essentially power your PC. Getting a powerful and reliable PSU for gaming is essential, as graphics cards and powerful processors draw a lot of juice from the power supply. The best PSUs for gaming are the ones that can run quietly, reliably, provide the necessary power, and give you good cable management options.
Choosing The Right PSU for Gaming
Before we get to the reviews of our preferred power supplies for gaming, it’s important to take a look at some of the essential considerations you should make when purchasing one. The two most important things to look at are the PSU efficiency rating and the modularity of the PSU.
Understanding PSU Efficiency Rating
There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding PSU efficiency, and it’s important to know what you’re getting into and clearing said misconceptions before purchasing one.
PSU efficiency is often depicted by a rating. The most common type of rating is 80 Plus. 80 Plus means that the PSU has an efficiency of around 80%. This does not mean that it only supplies 80% of its rated power though, as many people seem to believe.
Instead, it simply means that it draws more power from your AC outlet to generate the amount of power it is rated at. For example, if a 500-watt PSU is rated at 80 Plus, it will draw 625 watts of power from the AC outlet to generate the required 500 watts of power, provided it is well-made and uses reliable components.
What happens to the rest of the power? It is simply converted into heat, based on the second law of thermodynamics. These heat losses are a part of any system, so it’s reasonable to expect that you won’t get 100% efficiency in any PSU ever.
The 80 Plus rating indicates the efficiency of the PSU measured at 20% load, 50% load, and 100% load. The standards used in the industry are 80 Plus with some kind of suffix. These are 80 Plus Bronze/Gold/Platinum/Titanium.
- 80 Plus Bronze rating means that PSU is rated for at least 82% efficiency at 20% load, 85% at 50% load, and 82% at full load.
- 80 Plus Gold means PSU is rated for at least 87% efficiency at 20% load, 90% at 50% load, and 87% at full load.
- 80 Plus Platinum is rated for at least 90% efficiency at 20% load, 92% at 50% load, and 89% at full load.
- The rare and extremely expensive 80 Plus Titanium is rated for at least 92% efficiency at 20% load, 94% efficiency at 50% load, and 90% efficiency at full load.
Which One to Get?
Which efficiency rating you want will depend on how much you’re planning to save on electricity. 80 Plus Bronze is perfectly adequate for PSUs that are between 400-600 watts. Anything above that and you’ll be consuming a significant amount of excess electrical power to run your case with an 80 Plus Bronze. We recommend 80 Plus Gold for anything beyond 600 watts.
80 Plus Platinum power supplies are the most expensive, but they also are the most efficient. You should do some rough calculation on whether the increased immediate price you’ll have to pay for an 80 Plus Platinum will help bring a net positive saving on your electricity bill for the year.
Non Modular vs Semi Modular vs Full Modular PSU
The modularity of a PSU is a lot simpler to understand than its efficiency rating. Modularity simply means that the power supply in question has removable cables or not.
A non-modular PSU will have all the cables attached to it. This will include SATA cables, power cables for the motherboard, CPU, fans, and everything else.
A semi modular PSU will only have one or two cables permanently fixed, whereas the remaining cables will be removable. The permanently attached cables are usually the motherboard 24-pin power supply and the CPU power supply, though this varies from model to model.
Fully modular PSUs are ones with no cables permanently attached. All the cables come in the box, and it’s up to you to connect the cables you’ll need for your PC to the PSU.
Which One to Get?
We highly recommend getting semi-modular or full modular PSUs over non-modular ones. The reason is simple: you will not need all the connections a PSU can provide. In such a case, a non-modular PSU will result in massive cable clutter in your system, making cable management tedious and difficult and also indirectly affecting the airflow in your system.
A fully modular PSU is ideal as you can route all cables according to your case’s design to get a clean and efficient build. However, full modular PSUs tend to cost more than non-modular and semi-modular power supplies. For this reason, a semi-modular is a good compromise for a lower budget, as it will often only come with the most essential connectors permanently attached to it.
Best PSU for Gaming Reviewed
The Seasonic 750W Snow Silent is expensive, but it gives you tons of features that are important when you have a gaming PC to power.
When we look at how power-hungry GPU and CPU overclocking is, it becomes absolutely essential to give it a consistent supply of power. Otherwise, you might not only get frame drops in your games and not maximize the potential of your components, but also risk damaging them. The Seasonic 750W Snow Silent is the perfect PSU to pair with high-end GPUs and CPUs like the RTX 2080Ti and the newest model of the Tenth Generation i9.
The Seasonic 750W Snow Silent is platinum and Energy Star certified PSU which is completely modular. The Snow Silent gimmick is not just for shows, the white color looks super attractive, making the PSU a great combination for white casings, of course, it would stand out in a black casing, but then again, a PSU shroud would easily solve the color mismatch problem.
The Silent part in the name Seasonic 750W Snow Silent comes from a Seasonic Patented Hybrid Silent Fan control, which makes the PSU dead silent enough for you to not even feel the difference while you are putting the maximum load on the power supply.
Being modular means you can avoid the rat’s nest of a cable, but if you are a gamer who liquid cools his components and stuff, you will be needing most of the cables anyways, but regardless, it’s a great addition. With Fluid Dynamic Bearing fans, the Seasonic 750W Snow Silent has a super great life to it, it greatly complements the fan control, making it really silent.
So the PSU is 80PLUS Platinum Certified, so you can expect high power efficiency from this product. All in all the Seasonic 750W Snow Silent is bests our category for Best Overall PSU for gaming.
Make no mistake: the EVGA Supernova 750 G3 is simply a fantastic PSU as well. EVGA along with Corsair is the top brand for computer power supplies right now, and we highly recommend their Supernova PSU as a great alternative to our top pick. The only reason it comes as a runner-up is that its fan isn’t the quietest when on higher loads. Additionally, EVGA demands you to register the product within 30 days of purchase to get the full 10-year warranty coverage, otherwise, you only get the 3-years worth of it.
The Corsair RM series is one of the best ones that they have come up with, great features, excellent design, and power efficiency, undeniably a great product from the hardware giant.
Corsair being one of the top brands has a reputation to uphold, but they do not cut sideways, as the RM 750 by Corsair is one of the best PSUs even in 2021. The Gold Certified PSU would easily power up the most modern CPUs and Graphics Cards along with any others still to be released.
The PSU is as always sleek and beautiful to look at, it goes perfectly well with any black casing that you might have without popping out much, but then again a PSU shroud any problems regarding that. It has a 140mm Rifle Bearing Fan, to keep the PSU cool while making very low noise even at the highest loads.
The Corsair RM 750 has the modern standby compatibility with Windows 10, which enables it to wake up faster than normal PSUs when you put the OS on sleep mode. This allows you to have a stable power efficiency while helping you load the computer faster when waking it from sleep mode.
The Zero RPM fan mode is a great addition when your PC is idling or under very low loads. So if you do not like the constant fan noise while you are not even using the PC and for instance having a call on the phone, the PSU goes dead silent and lets you have a peaceful conversation.
The PSU is modular just like the Seasonic 750W Snow Silent, so again, no rat’s nest and use only the cables you need to avoid a mess.
Corsair RM 750 is a welcome addition to people who love their peaceful gaming experience that is not interrupted by a constant fan noise while getting the maximum power outputs to your overclocked components.
The EVGA 550 B3 power supply comes in around $15 cheaper than the Seasonic while delivering the same wattage, but it skimps on several things that make it worthwhile to invest the additional cash on the Seasonic model.
EVGA offers this power supply with an 80 Plus Bronze efficiency standard, and the warranty period of this power supply is also a modest 5 years. While you may save $15 on it right immediately, the additional electricity costs over time and the inferior warranty period prevent it from beating the Seasonic Focus+ Gold.
Bronze is not the best certification of PSU out there, but when you have to game on a budget, even that can be great and EVGA 600 BQ is one of the best affordable ones out there.
So from the name, it is apparent that it’s a 600W PSU, meaning good enough power to power up a Graphics Card along with your CPU and other components easily. Any less than that would not be suitable for a gaming PC. The EVGA 600 BQ is a semi-modular power supply, so you get your main power cable built-in, while the other cables are optional, so again, you will not end up with a huge rat’s nest of cables and cable management becomes very easy.
EVGA is a great brand when it comes to PC hardware, their PSU has a good enough life, while many of their PSUs have received numerous awards for their other models and the EVGA 600 BQ takes some pages from those award-winning models.
The Fluid Dynamic Bearing enables for a quiet, low noise operation while also giving the 120mm fan a good life. The fan also has an Intelligent Auto Fan operation that enables it for almost silent operations.
Now you will not be able to get maximum output at high loads from a Bronze certified PSU, but this PSU performs really well, the EVGA BQ 600 is your go-to PSU if you are building a gaming rig on a budget.
The EVGA 450 BR comes in at around $6 cheaper than the Corsair CX450M, but it is completely non-modular. It also has a louder fan than the Corsair CX450M. It’s a great choice if you can’t find the CX450M, but we’d always spend $6 extra and get a semi-modular PSU for gaming.