Discussion PSU recommendations and power supply discussion thread - Tom's hardware

Page 72 - Seeking answers? Join the Tom's Hardware community: where nearly two million members share solutions and discuss the latest tech.

NightHawkRMX

Polypheme
Ambassador
It seems a lot of companies get better after they nab engineers from other existing companies.

What came to mind was Kia/Hyundai/Genesis nabbing the previous head of BMWs M division to help tune some of their cars. They also ended up hiring the car designer that designed the Bentley bentaga to design a new luxury suv.
 

NightHawkRMX

Polypheme
Ambassador
It kind of sucks that companies like Corsair, EVGA, and others would partner with HEC to make some of their power supplies given how HEC is a scummy company that blatantly scams people.

Thinking back to my Orion (HEC/compucase) 585w PSU that was actually marked 300w on the PCB inside.
 
It kind of sucks that companies like Corsair, EVGA, and others would partner with HEC to make some of their power supplies given how HEC is a scummy company that blatantly scams people.

Thinking back to my Orion (HEC/compucase) 585w PSU that was actually marked 300w on the PCB inside.
Whoa... Wait.. What? I'm not aware of HEC "scamming" anyone.

You're talking about a PSU from 15 years ago. No PFC and heavy on the +3.3V and +5V. Same PCB was probably used for 300W and up.
 

NightHawkRMX

Polypheme
Ambassador
Okay, I regret the wording there, I was just mad at the moment thinking about some of HECs products. I am not saying Corsair or EVGA are doing anything bad.

But from what I see, HEC has done a lot of things I don't agree with, and I believe the HEC unit below is falsely advertised.

You're talking about a PSU from 15 years ago. No PFC and heavy on the +3.3V and +5V. Same PCB was probably used for 300W and up.
I know its old, but still.

Here is the PCB
View: https://imgur.com/AwN3jlu

View: https://imgur.com/Y7vcr1j

Claims to be 585w. Looking at the inside, highly doubt that. The label claims to have 2 12v rails. Considering all of the 12v wires come out of the same spot of the PCB, it appears to be a single 12v rail, not dual.

I might have been misreading the markings on the PCB, but there is definitely 300w with a marking next to it. Not sure if its for some other component, but that makes me think total output wattage given how other units are marked on the inside similarly.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Yeah, but just because some internal component has a specification stamped or printed on it doesn't mean that that specification is necessarily meant to be indicative of the capability of the unit as a whole. As Jon said, they could have used the same PCB for a variety of configurations simply because they had them on hand and they worked for what they needed. Doesn't mean necessarily that there's a limit imposed on any figures, or that it means even what we might tend to think it means.

And then again, maybe it is exactly like you say. I'm just saying, it could go either way really.
 

NightHawkRMX

Polypheme
Ambassador
That's quite annoying to be honest. I guess it's about par for the course, but still annoying.

This particular unit isn't actually THAT old, even if the model is 15+ years old. I think the prebuilt it came from was from 2012.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
A lot of prebuilt systems incorporate parts that have been sitting on warehouse shelves for years, so even if the PC model is somewhat modern, some parts might not be. Plus, a 2012 unit could very easily have parts from as far back as 2008, or more, and most PC components from 2008-2010 are literally ancient when compared to even the most basic hardware from, say, 2020.

Certainly PSU platform designs are worlds apart when you look at models with a ten year gap between them.
 
May 10, 2021
4
0
10
0
Below you will find MY standard list of recommended power supplies and beyond that this thread is intended as a landing place for questions or discussions regarding specific units, platforms or related PSU tech, all of which are all welcome to be discussed here. If it's related to power supplies then somebody here likely can offer some insights or look into it.

To be clear, this is NOT a Tier list, does not include EVERY model out there that might be a good unit (And there are definitely some other units out there worth using which are not mentioned here, but probably most of them are either niche models, very limited regionally or older platforms) and should not be considered as any sort of be all, end all reference. These are models that I know are good, and you won't go wrong by purchasing one of them. You can use your own judgement, along with taking the time to read actual reviews, in order to determine which are better than others or which are "good enough" for your usage.

If you are looking for CAPACITY recommendations, I advise you to avoid "calculators" and stick to the recommendations at the following link:


RealHardTechX PSU Capacity(Watts) Recommendations

If overclocking the graphics card or CPU is on the menu, it would be advisable to ADD about 100w to the recommendations found on RealHardTechX, for the purpose of padding things a bit for safety, noise and cooling considerations.



If instead you are looking for model recommendations, then below are my (somewhat) short list of recommended ATX power supply models


Let's start with a couple of the biggest PSU misconceptions out there.



First, that if a power supply has a lot of watts, then that is all that really matters. Nope. That's wrong. Dangerously wrong in fact.

It's also very much untrue to try and say that if a unit carries a certain brand name then it has to be good. Again, wrong.

There are plenty of 750-1000w units out there that I wouldn't trust to power a string of LED lights and might in fact be a much worse choice than a unit with a significantly lower listed capacity.




If the platform isn't good to begin with, how many watts or amps it says it can support is irrelevant.

Higher 80plus certification doesn't mean anything, UNLESS it is a PSU platform that we already know is good anyhow. For example, a Seasonic Prime platinum unit is going to be a better product than a Seasonic Prime Gold unit, because we already know the Prime platform is very good, and platinum efficiency along with it shows there are some improvements internally to account for the higher efficiency.

In a case like that, it might be worth it. It's likely the unit will create less heat, it will probably have better performance in regard to ripple, noise and voltage regulation. It might shave a few pennies, or dollars, off the electric bill over the course of a year.

Other than that, it is not going to perform any better than the same platform with Gold efficiency. On the other hand, just because a unit has Titanium 80plus ratings doesn't mean the unit is any good at all. For example, there are Raidmax units with Titanium efficiency and I wouldn't trust one of those to power a light bulb. There are a lot of units like this out there.



If the platform isn't good to begin with, whether or not it has an 80plus certification is irrelevant.

Whatever you do, don't EVER buy a power supply based on whether it has RGB or lighting, or simply because it looks like it might be a quality unit. Some of the biggest hunks of junk out there look just as good as a Seasonic Prime Ultra Titanium, but I assure you, they are not. So far there are very few very good units out there that have RGB built in. Maybe one or two models, but rest assured you'll be be paying for the lighting, not for the quality of the power supply.

I don't know what country you reside in, and I know that sometimes it's hard to come by good units in some regions, but when possible, when it comes time to get that PSU, I'd stick to the following if you can. Before getting into the specifics, as a VERY general guide towards "I want something really good", I'll say that the Seasonic Prime, Corsair HX and Super Flower Leadex III platforms, and units based on them, should be among the top five on anybody's list of the best platforms currently and commonly available to choose from. If they are not, I'd be extremely skeptical of that list or the recommendations coming from that source.




Seasonic

Seasonic isn't just a brand, they are a PSU manufacturer, unlike many of the PSU brands you see they make their own power supply platforms AND a great many of the very good PSU models out there from other brands like Antec, Corsair and older XFX are made by Seasonic.
Most of what Seasonic makes and sells is generally either good or excellent quality, but there are a few potential exceptions or models that have caveats. There are a few somewhat "unknowns" that haven't been professionally reviewed but overall they are MOSTLY trustworthy, although they've recently had a few units that are riding that gray edge between known good and questionable. They do make a few less-good quality OEM style units, but mostly those are not going to be units you come across at most vendors, and they are still not bad. Also, the S12II and M12II 520 and 620w units are older, group regulated models. At one time they were among the best units you could buy. Now, they are outdated and not as good as almost any other Seasonic models. They are however still better than a LOT of newer designs by other manufacturers.

THAT being said, there ARE some units being sold with the Seasonic label that are NOT built by Seasonic.

They use Seasonic designed platforms but are built by RSY. For now I believe these are limited to the S12III models, and they should be COMPLETELY avoided, because they are not good quality and in my opinion should not be allowed to carry the Seasonic name, but instead should have been relegated to the Hydrance or Energy power enterprise products which I understand are Seasonic subsidiaries that do not carry the Seasonic brand name. They are not good units based on reviews so far and should be avoided. If that changes based on new information then I will happily remove this paragraph but until then, stay away from them if you are expecting something that is "typical" of Seasonic. These S12III models, are not.

The Seasonic 520w and 620w S12II/M12II units CAN be used on newer Intel platforms, if you turn off C6/C7 in the bios, but I'd really recommend a newer platform whenever possible. Prices are usually pretty good on those though, so sometimes it's worth accepting the lack of DC-DC on the internal platform. Higher capacity versions of the High current gamer are not based on that platform, so they are fine. Those being the 750w and higher versions.

Most common currently, in order of preference, would be the Seasonic Focus series, then Focus plus, then Prime, then Prime ultra. The newer Core series units are positioned as Core GC, Core GM and Core GX in order of heirarchy. It's worth mentioning that there are generally Gold, Platinum and Titanium versions within each, or most, of those series, but that does not necessarily mean that a Focus plus Platinum is necessarily better than a Prime Gold. It only means that it scored better in the 80plus efficiency testing, not that the platform is better. Seasonic specifically states that the Core series is their "builder" level unit now, to be considered below the Focus and Focus plus units but above the S12II and S12III models. So, much better than garbage but probably not what most users are looking for when trying to source a typical Seasonic offering.

Again, don't let yourself get tangled up in the idea that a higher 80plus rating specifically means that it is a better unit than another one with a lower rating, unless you know that it is a good platform from the start. All these Focus and Prime units are pretty good so you can somewhat focus on the 80plus rating when deciding which of them to choose.




Super Flower

Super Flower is another PSU manufacturer. They are like Seasonic and they make power supplies for a variety of other companies, like EVGA. Super Flower units are usually pretty good. I'd stick to the Leadex, Leadex II, Leadex III and Golden Green models, OR units sold by other brands USING those platforms because they also make most of the good units sold by EVGA like the G2, G3, P2 and T2 models.

Super Flower doesn't have a very broad availability for the units with their own brand name on them (But HAVE recently begun expanding and offering some products in the USA and other regions outside their normal market regions. I believe this is probably due to the breaking of the relationship between them and EVGA, who it seems has mostly moved on to lower tiered, less reliable OEMs for their current product lines and models), and are not available in a lot of countries but for those where there is availability you want to look at the Leadex, Leadex II and Leadex III models. The Golden green platform is fairly decent too but is getting rather long in the tooth as a platform AND I've seen some reviews indicating a few shortcomings on units based on this platform. It is a good budget platform still, but is not on par with the various Leadex platforms.

Even so, it's a great deal better than a lot of other platforms out there so you could certainly do worse than a Golden green model.




Corsair

The orange and black label VS models and the green and black label CX models should be avoided. Completely. Currently we just cannot justify using one of these units. The track record is terrible and if you have one, especially if it is more than a year old, it is probably either already failing or if you are having problems, is likely the reason why. If you don't already have one, avoid them.

The black and gray label VS series units are much better than the older orange and black label VS models, but they are still units you really only want to use with basic use office or internet browsing machines, or in a pinch, maybe a machine with a lower TDP slot powered card. Also, they are not a modern design, having an older group regulated platform which you can find plenty of in depth information about if you do a search for "group regulated power supplies". These are better than any of the units down below in the wall of shame list, and better than the older VS and CX units, but don't assume you that you can simply pair a graphics card that has a 550w recommendation with a 550w VS unit and not have any problems, because in all probability, you will. These units are not meant for use with high demand gaming systems. In a PINCH, for VERY short term use, they will work, but they are not going to last under the rigors of daily gaming loads.

The CXm units are fair. They are "ok" for the price and if the price is right you could do worse. The non-green label "2017" CX models are slightly better than the CXm units. For a budget entry level unit, they are fairly decent. They are not great or fantastic, but they ARE ok, if this is ALL you can possibly afford. Don't buy one of these expecting it to last as long as an RMx or EVGA G2 unit though. It's not going to. It's a good entry level offering and that is all.

The Vengeance models are a small step up from the 2017 CX units. The recently released CX-F models are on par with the Vengeance models.

Aside from that, any of the TX, RM, RMx, RMi, HX, HXi, AX or AXi units are good. Generally speaking, the HX, HXi, AX and AXi models are among some of the best power supplies you can get in the world, at any price, and should be seriously considered by anybody looking for a very high quality power supply.




Antec

The True power classic units are made by Seasonic, and are very good, but are not modular. The High current gamer 520w and 620w, or any other PSU you see on the market that is 520w or 620w, are also made by Seasonic, based on the S12II and M12II platform for modern versions, and are pretty good units but again they are an older platform that is group regulated so if you go with a Haswell or newer Intel configuration you will want to avoid those because they do not support the C6/C7 Intel low power states. Once again, I'll use the phrase "In a pinch", because there are certainly situations where those Antec and Seasonic 520w/620w units might be the best of what is available to your and if they are, you could do much worse, but they should not be among anybody's list of top models to choose from if there are other models available that have reviewed well and are based on newer and more advanced internal platform designs.

The Antec High current gamer 750w and 850w units are very good and are specifically not the group regulated Seasonic platform, which came in 520w and 620w capacities There are however older and newer HCG models, so exact model number will likely be a factor if choosing one of these however both the older models and the newer models are good.

Antec Edge units are ok too, but reviews indicate that they have noisy fan profiles. I'd only choose this model if it is on sale or the aesthetics match up with your color scheme or design. Still a good power supply but maybe a little aggressive on the fan profile. This may have been cured on newer Edge models so reading professional tear down reviews is still the best idea. Probably these are not available anymore for most markets.

Antec Earthwatts Gold Pro units are very good also and are based on the Seasonic Focus platform.




Be Quiet!

BeQuiet! does have a few decent models, BUT, you must be VERY selective about which of their models you put your trust in. From model to model their are huge differences in both quality and performance, even with the same series. If you cannot find a review for a BeQuiet unit on HardOCP, JonnyGuru or Tom's hardware that SPECIFICALLY says it is a very good unit, and does not have any significant issues in the "cons" category, I would avoid it. In fact, I'd probably avoid it anyhow unless there is a very great sale on one that has good reviews, because their units are generally more expensive than MUCH better units from Antec, Seasonic, EVGA and Corsair.

Certainly there may be cases where sales or regional availability makes a specific Be Quiet! model that has shown itself to be good in reviews might be a good purchasing option but be very sure to do your due dilligence first, because usually this is not the case and there is usually something good from another manufacturer like Seasonic, EVGA, Super Flower, Corsair or Antec in most regions where Be Quiet products are sold that can be had for less.




EVGA
They have BOTH good and not very good models and most of their products that can be recommended are those based on various Super Flower platforms Do NOT simply choose a power supply because it carries the EVGA name, because while they certainly have some excellent models, they have some absolute turds as well and I mean models well known for failure practically every time they are put into a gaming or other system with moderately demanding requirements.

Not very good are the W1, N1, B1, B3 (Most B3 models failed
Aris Mpitziopoulos stringent testing), BQ, BR, BT and G1 NEX models. EVGA seems to like releasing a new model every other week so there are possibly other unlisted models that you'd do well to avoid beyond these. When in doubt, if you can't find a review on an EVGA unit, it's probably because it is either too new, or it's quality is seriously lacking.

Good models are the B2, GQ, G2, G2L, G3, P2 and T2 models. Seems that the EVGA G5 series might be best avoided. The OEM is FSP on the one reliable review so far which was for the 1000w model, and while likely not strictly FSP's fault, the unit did not look like a worthy successor to the G2 or even the G3, which itself was not as good as the G2 but still better than most units out there. There are other, better choices than the G5 at this price point including their own G2 models, which, are getting hard to find. I think even the GQ units would be a better choice.




FSP (FSP Group/Fortron source power)

FSP is a PSU manufacturer like Seasonic and Super Flower, although not as well trusted based on historical performance. They have some seriously poor quality trash models, series and platforms, but also some very good stuff as well. Much as with Be Quiet!, you must be VERY careful which series or even which models within a specific series in some cases, that you consider. Unless you can find a review of a specific model, I'd avoid it. Currently the FSP Hydro G and Hydro X units are pretty good.

Pretty much universally, the FSP Hyper models should be avoided as they are low quality garbage.



Rosewill

Rosewill is the Newegg house brand, but is also available through other sources. There are three Rosewill lines from among they many lines they sell, which in some circumstances might be good options. The Rosewill Tachyon, Quark and Capstone M series are pretty good options especially if there are no other options available that have been recommended here. The rest of the Rosewill power supply products are generally either very "meh" or are outright poor quality.




In MY opinion, Cooler Master and Thermaltake should be completely avoided

They do have a few good units, like some of the Thermaltake Toughpower series models, but most of the models sold by both these companies are either REALLY poor or barely mediocre, and the ones they have that ARE good are usually way overpriced. The Thermaltake TR2 and Litepower series, even the newer revisions, should probably just be avoided altogether, along with the Smart series units, which are simply not good choices for use with gaming systems. If you want to use a Smart series unit with your internet browsing machine or some kind of low powered office box, it's probably ok. Although I'd recommend avoiding them, the Smart series units might be the best available units in some regions. That should not be mistaken for the idea that they are quality units though.

This is just ONE example of why I say that. Very new and modern CM unit. One of the worst scores ever seen on JonnyGuru for a well known brand name product. It should be a complete embarrasment for the company, but unfortunately this is not the first time we've seen a really bad power supply come from either of these two companies. Sad.


Cooler Master Masterwatt Lite 600W review


The Powerspec units sold by Microcenter are a mixed bag. Some of them are fairly decent using the same platform as the Sirfa High power Astro lite platform, so not total dumpster fire type units, but not particularly good either, and some of their units are simply garbage and should be listed below in the DO NOT USE category, but I'm leaving them out because there are really no reviews of them and since there are a few units from them that are ok-ish, I'm giving them a "use at your own discretion but buy a better model if you can" grade.

Even a gray label Corsair VS unit would probably be an upgrade from one of those Powerspec models, and a CXm or 2017 CX would, almost certainly would, without any doubt.

Certainly there ARE some good units out there that you won't see above among those I've listed, but they are few and far between, much as a hidden nugget of gold you find in a crevice among otherwise ordinary rocks and don't EVER assume a unit is good just because of the brand.

If you cannot find an IN DEPTH, REPUTABLE review on Tom's hardware, JonnyGuru, HardOCP, Hardware secrets (Old reviews by Gabe Torres), Kitguru (Only Aris reviews), TechPowerUP, SilentPC crew or a similar site that does much more than simply a review of the unboxing and basic tests that don't include reliable results for ripple, noise, voltage regulation and a complete teardown of the unit including identification of the internal platform, then the unit is a big fat question mark. It is best to avoid question marks when it comes to your hard earned dollars, whenever possible.

I recommend not trusting such units as companies generally always send out review samples of any unit they feel is going to get a good review, and don't send them out if they know they are going to get hammered by the reviewer. No review usually equals poor quality. Usually.





Brands that in general should never be trusted at all except when a positive reliable review for a SPECIFIC MODEL from that brand exists.

One or two of these brands listed below MIGHT have a single model or two that are cut from a completely different mold than what that brand is known for (Or manufacture anything from mediocre to decent quality units under other brand names but not their own. One example would be HEC that makes some decent models under the Cougar label and a few rather borderline ones in the past for EVGA, but their own HEC/Compucase Orion units have historically been terrible.), but overall, if they are listed below they are primarily known for selling just plain junk and in many cases, very dangerous junk that lacks adequate protections or cannot even manage to sustain a fraction of whatever rated capacity their products might indicate on the specifications as far as units sold under their OWN name. I have yet to see any that were of recommendable quality or in many cases even safe for use.


A-Top, AK Power, Akyga, Alpine, Apevia, Apex (Supercase/Allied), Aresgame, Artic, Ace, Aerocool (There might be one model worth using, but I'd still avoid them.), Aspire (Turbocase), Atadc, Atrix, Broadway com corp, Chieftech, Circle, CIT, Coolmax, Deer, Diablotek, Digital Alliance, Dynapower, Dynex, Eagletech, Enlight, Eurotech, Evo labs, EZ cool, Feedtek, Foxconn, Futureman, G7, HEC (Compucase Orion), HEDY, High power, iBall, iStar computer co., Jeantec, JPac, Jual, Just PC, Kentek, Kolink, LC Power, Linkworld electronics, Logisys, Macron, MSI, Njoy, NmediaPC, Norwood Micro (CompUSA), Okia, Powercool, Powerlogic, Powmax, Pulsepower, Q-tec, Quantex, Raidmax, Rave, Rocketfish, Segotep, SFC, Sharkoon, Shuttle, Skyhawk, Spire, Startech, Storm, Sumvision, Tesla, Trust, Ultra, Wintech, Winpower, Xilence (Until I see a reputable review of a model showing different), xTreme (Cyberpower), Youngbear and Zebronics.
Nice write-up. Wish I had your PSU knowledge.
 
My bud picked up a Alienware aurora r12 with a 6800xt and a 11400f after his patience ran out for a feasible gpu purchase. He's quite content with it, especially since I set it up in an atx case instead of that awful case it came in and bought his old parts.

I took a peak at the 550w psu that came with it. Secondary caps were Ltec and CapXon (I couldn't see the primary cap through the grill) and the two 12 rail were rated at 18amps each. So it was a 432w psu, 440w according to the label, powering a 6800xt. LOL, just a bit tight, my bud replaced it with a evga 850w G2 from his old rig fortunately. I hope the 1000w option is better at least.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
I have pulled MANY cheap power supplies out of Dell prebuilt systems, but those were mostly budget, entry level machines. Most all of their mid to upper tiered models have usually been Delta built models. But I see a lot less Dell units these days than I used to, so ..................
 

NightHawkRMX

Polypheme
Ambassador
Any clue if the cables from an EVGA BQ650w and BQ600w are interchangeable?

I have a bq600 and a bq650 but accidentally mixed up the modular cables in my bin of spare cables. I don't know which came from which unit.
 
So, I was wrong. The alienware psu didn't have two rails. I only glanced at it the first time and didn't see the rest, whoops. It's made by acbel.

I've seen this arrangement many times before on pre-built psu's, but never quite understood the whole 12vA1 and 12vA2 arrangement. Is it just the same rail shunted into two more rails while sharing the same max capacity? or are they their own independent rails? Does the psu have 3 individual 12v rails with the 12vA and 12vC rails shunted or does it actually have 5 rails?

This looks to be more acceptable arrangement then what I had made it out to be before. Though I would still never pair it with a 6800xt.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
What? There's no question, Acbel is generally pretty poor quality on any of their units I've seen personally or read about. Like anybody, I'm sure ALL of these companies are CAPABLE of making high quality power supplies, but most of them are not out to do that. They are out to make COST EFFECTIVE power supplies, and in that regard companies like Acbel do quite well.
 

King_V

Splendid
Ambassador
Maybe Acbel works a little bit better on the Dell units, because Dell is a large customer that:
  1. Acbel wants to keep as a large-scale customer
  2. Thus Acbel does not want to piss off, as Dell will probably drop them if they get too many warranty claims
Now, this is complete speculation on my part, based on a completely different industry. Air-conditioning/refrigeration.

Back in the day, my dad worked for Fedders. They had quality control/inspections on all of their units, but, when he mentioned quality control/inspections for Kenmore products (I think he was talking about refrigerators at the time) he said that there was a more rigorous inspection/QA process.

Yes, it cost them more to do that, but since every Kenmore was a relabeled product from another brand, and Sears was buying massive quantities, Fedders made absolutely sure that Sears wasn't going to get any unusual number of complaints. It would be too big of a hit if Sears lost faith in Fedders.


Does it work this way for PSU makers who supply Dell? I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me if the same thoughts went behind this. Make SURE they last long enough for Dell's warranty period.


Of course, my dad retired in the late 1990s, so, industry thinking could have changed quite a bit since.
 

Eximo

Titan
Ambassador
Well if Sears was involved, things certainly changed.

Was amazing being able to walk into Sears and get a replacement part for a washing machine that was 20+ years old though (The knob of all things failed)
 
Reactions: King_V

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS