Discussion PSU tier list discussion thread

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Rogue Leader

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It's good to have a person to provide such data for Corsair PSUs for sure, and we could perhaps ignore results we see for TX-m in the reviews and tier it back just on the basis that Jon says so. But how about other brands ? We don't have a person as open for discussion as Jon for any of other brands. And even if we suddenly did, imagine, comes Thermaltake contact and says that PSU X is better than Y, while in reviews we clearly see that Y performs better than X which puts them in separate tiers, and we have no idea who that person is, how strict their testing process (even if i don't exactly know that for Corsair either but we trust Jon and he gave an impression that it's very strict). So what do we do ? Make an exception only for Corsair ? That doesn't sound neither fair nor unbiased to me.
But you DO have that person for Corsair, he is right here and he is telling you the difference between two models that HIS company sells. There is literally no bias in his information. If this tier list is meant to be scientific you should be able to use/gather ALL possible information. You have a massive resource spending his time here sharing this data with you, handing it to you. Who cares that you don't have the same resource from Thermaltake, or Seasonic, or whoever. You DO have it for one and it can allow you to make more informed decisions on this list which will make it more useful for all.

It was made clear that community input was important for this list to work, and all I have seen so far is answers without meat, and ignorance to facts and resources presented. I understand that there is a method to it all, but sometimes these things aren't as cut and dry as the numbers you can get from a piece of paper.

If this type of discussion and input can't be taken into account then we may just need to rethink this list and its inclusion here under the Tom's Hardware name.
 

Rogue Leader

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All that said I think a change to your list is needed that will help a lot of these arguments. Using Tier A as the example there are a LOT of Tier A units in gray italics. As I understand it that means they qualify but they have certain problems which means be wary. It seems to be in agreement to all that this seems to just not be clear enough/not make sense. And IMO thats true.

If someone looks at a glance at the list and sees "Coolermaster Masterwatt Maker" its a Tier A unit, but its in gray. Then you have to look elsewhere to see it has problems which makes it not so really a Tier A. Maybe that doesn't mean bump it to Tier E, but it surely should not be used interchangeably with a Corsair AXi for example. Maybe these units need to be broken down and put at the end of the Tier A list (and B and so on) and clearly delineated as having problems and to refer to the spreadsheet. Its just not that clear for the average person.
 
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All that said I think a change to your list is needed that will help a lot of these arguments. Using Tier A as the example there are a LOT of Tier A units in gray italics. As I understand it that means they qualify but they have certain problems which means be wary. It seems to be in agreement to all that this seems to just not be clear enough/not make sense. And IMO thats true.

If someone looks at a glance at the list and sees "Coolermaster Masterwatt Maker" its a Tier A unit, but its in gray. Then you have to look elsewhere to see it has problems which makes it not so really a Tier A. Maybe that doesn't mean bump it to Tier E, but it surely should not be used interchangeably with a Corsair AXi for example. Maybe these units need to be broken down and put at the end of the Tier A list (and B and so on) and clearly delineated as having problems and to refer to the spreadsheet. Its just not that clear for the average person.
The grey italics state there is an issue with the unit under specific circumstances or for a particular component of the unit (i.e. fan problems), this can also apply to individual batches such as with the Corsair SFF units that just recently had a mass recall. As such, it wouldn't be fair to drop units that meet the criteria and are otherwise well performing units because of problems with a single batch, for example.

Fortunately, revision 14 states many of the issues with units in the footnotes of each tier so readers can actually see the reason behind the greying. If you take a look, you'll see that some of the greyed out units are result of the old Seasonic Focus line with high ripple at specific load percentages, which is bad for components with high transients (e.g. Vega and Pascal). There are others but that's just an example.

Also, regarding the Masterwatt Maker comment. The golden lettering shows that a SKU is the best of its tier, the AXi line is gilded whereas the Masterwatt Maker is grey. If the reader cannot read the method behind the colours, that's on them, not us. One of the earlier revisions was like how you suggested it with ' - ' for the units with problems but that simply took up too much space - which results in what is currently in place.
 
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daris98

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Aris doesn't offer bullet points as a point of comparison between models. Anything he notes would be noted because it simply doesn't meet the expected capability or criteria that he believes a unit SHOULD meet. That criteria doesn't change from review to review, or model to model.
It does change. Even in some occasion Aris points out that the inrush current is too big while actually not as bad as PSUs that doesn't get pointed out for having too big of inrush current. Wentai Aidan is a meh because of it's positioning and price, if it is sold for $100 people we will give a recommendation on it.
Here's a more abstract example that applies to the Vengeance vs. TX-M scenario:

Two 650W PSUs. The Vengeance uses four 166A/60V FETs for SR. The TX-M uses six 140A/60V FETs.
What makes this more relevant in terms of "how good a PSU is" than any other parameter we used? PSUs aren't a box of MOSFETs, remember?

PSU reviews, including Aris's, simply are not that thorough. It's like the whole CWT GPU vs. GPX. I can leverage the GPX platform and save $10 on the BOM, and although Aris might say it passes all of his tests and is a better value proposition than anything based off the GPU platform, I wouldn't feel confident using it because of the cheap components used inside. I literally have a lab full of GPX's that have blown up for a number of reasons, yet reviews are saying "it's good enough".
How does "cheap components used inside" compares to the performance the two has? It's a toss between the two, and we choose one, some might choose in between, you can choose the other, but it doesn't make you any more right than we are.
 
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Juular

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But you DO have that person for Corsair, he is right here and he is telling you the difference between two models that HIS company sells.
I understand that but again, if one PSU has four MOSFETs, and second PSU has six MOSFETs with higher total rating but considerably higher ripple also and both have relatively long warranty, which one is better exactly ? Yes TX-m warranty is longer but MOSFETs aren't exactly components affected by aging, capacitors although are affected by ripple.
I'm not trying to dismiss Jon's information, i just don't see a way to incorporate it into this tier list and methodology without making exceptions based on 'the word', as in, moving Corsair TX-m higher (and possibly moving Vengeance Silver lower) in the list ignoring ripple data.
If someone looks at a glance at the list and sees "Coolermaster Masterwatt Maker" its a Tier A unit, but its in gray. Then you have to look elsewhere to see it has problems which makes it not so really a Tier A. Maybe that doesn't mean bump it to Tier E, but it surely should not be used interchangeably with a Corsair AXi for example.
And that's exactly why it's gray. These problems aren't major enough to move it to lower tiers, certainly not to tier E. In the specific case of CM MW Maker it has really bad (still in specs but barely) 5VSB regulation and power-good signal problems, not exactly major stuff IMO. So if you really need high wattage PSU it should be your last option to consider, with other gold and white units being prioritized. I don't see problems or contradictions here.
Maybe these units need to be broken down and put at the end of the Tier A list (and B and so on)
We had smth like this before with tier A-, it proven not to be not very clear for average person either with constant questions why 'Seasonic Focus' in in tier A- even though it's specifically only FX and FM revisions that are there and newer GX and GM are in tier A. We merged such units into tier A and grayed out so they're all besides eachother and easier to distinguish and see that one revision is problematic while the other is not.
and clearly delineated as having problems and to refer to the spreadsheet.
They already are, they are gray, with first thing you see in the list being the legend with description for gray color clearly saying that these units are problematic and you should refer to the spreadsheet to see why before buying them.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
I'm not going to go through all that, just to see what actually belongs where, or doesn't, if I'm looking for a quick reference, and if I'm disinclined to do it, I can assure you that NONE of the people for whom a list like this is generally intended or for whom it would actually be useful, are going to do so, or even have the capacity to understand what all these random colors, check this spreadsheet, look at those footnotes, wait, it's Thursday but these units are only good on Tuesdays and Fridays. That's just too damn complex and honestly, if we're REALLY being honest, the ONLY people who are going to really understand what is what with your tiering, exclusions and notations are the people who don't need the list in the first place.

I can't see this being beneficial to anybody who needs it for reference without any willingness to make common sense changes AND to incorporate the input from a highly qualified engineer, which I'm pretty sure none of you are, as well as an entire team of veteran builders, most of whom have been building systems for longer than most of you OR most of our members, have been alive. It's great that you've all done a fair amount of due diligence, increased your knowledge, become fairly fluent with many of these companies, platforms and the industry in general, but none of that really matters if you can't scrape data and offer it forth in a way that is useful to the layman who make up the majority of visitors to most forums. Being flexible enough to use a little common sense while tiering rather than tiering based entirely on numbers that often don't tell the whole story, seems like something that has to be mandatory, yet seems beyond this projects members ability to incorporate.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Wentai Aidan is a meh because of it's positioning and price, if it is sold for $100 people we will give a recommendation on it.
No, it's "meh" because it has a laundry list of issues that no Tier A power supply should have, and certainly not one that likely prices itself right out of consideration by potential adopters.
 

Juular

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Gray - Buy cautiously.

If you have to "buy cautiously", it does not belong in Tier A. Period. End of story. I'm not buying ANY excuse or explanation contrary to that, because there aren't any that make any sense to anybody but you guys.
So you're saying that we should move gray units from tier A to tier B ? All Seasonic Focus units ? EVGA G3 ? We had that before, and we had a guy coming in the thread cursing at us for saying that Seasonic Focus is worse than Corsair CX or smth like that, we don't want that again. What is not clear with gray units being your last option inside a tier i don't get. You guys are first people saying that you don't understand gray/gold colors, none of such feedback were received on LTT forum or through discord.
No, it's "meh" because it has a laundry list of issues that no Tier A power supply should have, and certainly not one that likely prices itself right out of consideration by potential adopters.
You'll see long 'laundry' lists of 'issues' on pretty much all other Aris reviews, he simply lists all issues there, even very minor ones. If we open Seasonic Focus reviews for example you'll that there are:
  • bad 3.3V transient response
  • some long leads found
  • bulky cables
  • short distance between sockets
  • low 5VSB efficiency
  • it's noisy
  • high EMI
Yet we ain't detiering units for any of this.
 

Rogue Leader

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You guys are first people saying that you don't understand gray/gold colors, none of such feedback were received on LTT forum or through discord.
We didn't say we don't understand it. We DO understand it. The issue is that we (the people reviewing this) understand the technicalities of this list and how its rated and PSUs in general.

The problem with Tier lists, (and JG brought this up) is you're trying to dither a complex set of performance measures, components, conditions, etc into a very simple A through E rating. It becomes extremely subjective. AND added to that, the people who generally look at it are not as astute as you or me or whoever. Someone like me is going to look up a PSU before I trust your rating. The average user is not.

So the point we are trying to make is if this is the route you are going where you're putting PSUs into a high rating class with issues, whatever they may be, despite some color coding, to the layman it is not very clear. If its in tier A, it should be the best you can buy in every aspect, period. If that means that a Seasonic Focus gets bumped down then so be it. We all know the Focus had problems.
 

Rogue Leader

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I'm not trying to dismiss Jon's information, i just don't see a way to incorporate it into this tier list and methodology without making exceptions based on 'the word', as in, moving Corsair TX-m higher (and possibly moving Vengeance Silver lower) in the list ignoring ripple data.
But thats what I am saying. When you have better info from someone who knows more than the group of you combined, exceptions should be made. If its a definitive list, which has a subjective set of criteria to begin with, then there should be room to bend when information from an extremely high source comes along.
 

Juular

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Someone like me is going to look up a PSU before I trust your rating. The average user is not.
If that someone cannot be bothered to look up at least some info about the PSU they're buying then nothing will make them to do that. Regardless of whether that's a recommendation based on this tier list or some random dude saying 'get a PSU X'. Tier lists are blanket recomendations by definition, of course there are specifics, but there are least some information which would help a person so distinguish PSUs they see in the market than just saying 'get Seasonic or Corsair' or even 'get Seasonic Focus or Corsair RMx', because if recommending PSUs just by the brand is just wrong, recommending specific models doesn't work always either.
But thats what I am saying. When you have better info from someone who knows more than the group of you combined, exceptions should be made. If its a definitive list, which has a subjective set of criteria to begin with, then there should be room to bend when information from an extremely high source comes along.
Again, i just don't see a way to incorporate that information. First, we clearly see that regardless of whether TX-m design is more robust, it also has higher ripple. And second, if we're going to tier PSUs by such info, we need some reference point. Okay, TX-m is better than Vengeance Silver but what we should do then, tier TX-m up ? Detier Vengeance Silver down ? What about other units ? Corsair RM has Chinese caps for example, do the matter as much as MOSFETs too or actually more ? Detier it too ? Again, since Jon most likely wouldn't provide any info on PSUs of other brands, even if we'll get complete breakdown on tiering of just Corsair PSUs, don't you think it would get somewhat subjective ?
So the point we are trying to make is if this is the route you are going where you're putting PSUs into a high rating class with issues, whatever they may be, despite some color coding, to the layman it is not very clear.
Currently we have 4 basic tiers and additional color coding mostly for two top tiers, which basically makes 8 subtiers total without having a whole ordeal of trying to determine requirements for 8 tiers. If an average person can't comprehend that gray color is lowest priority and gold color is highest priority then i'm afraid, we can't help them.
And if current tiering based on hard data such as performance figures, components and topology is subjective, what do you think would make it less subjective ? Tiering based on quality or reliability of the platform and OEM ? That would be somehow less subjective ? I don't think so.
And i still didn't get a straight answer from Jon on why he thinks that Vengeance Silver is worse than TX-m. Sure, MOSFETs are higher rated, but that only matters when they're under high stress as ripple would increase in such situations and if stress is very high they may fail. But first, we do see from reviews that TX-m actually has higher ripple, probably because of more MOSFETs, and even though Vengeance Silver is actually rated for 40°C, it's still high enough, neither we can tier PSUs based on this metric as it obviously load dependent and for example all Seasonic high end PSUs are rated for 40°C continuous 100% load. TX-m has tighter tolerances ? Again, hard data from reviews suggest on the opposite. Which metric makes TX-m a better unit specifically except a vague 'it's higher quality' ?
 
What makes this more relevant in terms of "how good a PSU is" than any other parameter we used? PSUs aren't a box of MOSFETs, remember?

How does "cheap components used inside" compares to the performance the two has? It's a toss between the two, and we choose one, some might choose in between, you can choose the other, but it doesn't make you any more right than we are.
Easy. Just pull up the spec sheets! They're online!

But on a very high level, you can just "assume" that if multiple bridge diodes, MOSFETs... even capacitors, are used that the design is more robust and the PSU should last longer and/or handle more stressful environments like high heat, frequent mains voltage drops, etc.

That's why I'm so against 230V only PSUs. They work great on 230V mains, but if you experience frequent brown outs, the anemic bride diode will eventually fail. Also, they tend to not put heatsinks on those (because metal costs money) leaning towards even more potential failure.

Speaking of heatsinks.... Another thing is when reviewers complain about heatsinks or lack of heatsinks. If you double up on the output MOSFETs on the DC to DC output, for example, they run so efficiently (usually about 98%) they don't NEED active cooling!

And then there's the assumption that all fans are created equal. I don't blame reviewers for not wanting to tear down every PSU fan, but often the same fan model from the same manufacturer might have a different motor driver than another fan. And some companies will impose balance requirements on fan blades to prevent fan manufacturers from using tooling too long (as they wear out, the fan blade consistency varies causing imbalance), so what happens is when brand "C" "retires" a tool because the fans are no longer in balance, they just move that tool over to brand "S" and keep making fans with it for another couple years. :D

All I'm saying is there's so many variables..... That's what makes it impossible to make any kind of accurate "tier list". It's a good starting point. I'm not completely against the idea. But if you move one PSU from one tier to another because of one inconsequential "fault", you just blow the accuracy of the list out of the water.
 

Rogue Leader

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Moderator
If that someone cannot be bothered to look up at least some info about the PSU they're buying then nothing will make them to do that. Regardless of whether that's a recommendation based on this tier list or some random dude saying 'get a PSU X'. Tier lists are blanket recomendations by definition, of course there are specifics, but there are least some information which would help a person so distinguish PSUs they see in the market than just saying 'get Seasonic or Corsair' or even 'get Seasonic Focus or Corsair RMx', because if recommending PSUs just by the brand is just wrong, recommending specific models doesn't work always either.

Again, i just don't see a way to incorporate that information. First, we clearly see that regardless of whether TX-m design is more robust, it also has higher ripple. And second, if we're going to tier PSUs by such info, we need some reference point. Okay, TX-m is better than Vengeance Silver but what we should do then, tier TX-m up ? Detier Vengeance Silver down ? What about other units ? Corsair RM has Chinese caps for example, do the matter as much as MOSFETs too or actually more ? Detier it too ? Again, since Jon most likely wouldn't provide any info on PSUs of other brands, even if we'll get complete breakdown on tiering of just Corsair PSUs, don't you think it would get somewhat subjective ?

Currently we have 4 basic tiers and additional color coding mostly for two top tiers, which basically makes 8 subtiers total without having a whole ordeal of trying to determine requirements for 8 tiers. If an average person can't comprehend that gray color is lowest priority and gold color is highest priority then i'm afraid, we can't help them.
And if current tiering based on hard data such as performance figures, components and topology is subjective, what do you think would make it less subjective ? Tiering based on quality or reliability of the platform and OEM ? That would be somehow less subjective ? I don't think so.
And i still didn't get a straight answer from Jon on why he thinks that Vengeance Silver is worse than TX-m. Sure, MOSFETs are higher rated, but that only matters when they're under high stress as ripple would increase in such situations and if stress is very high they may fail. But first, we do see from reviews that TX-m actually has higher ripple, probably because of more MOSFETs, and even though Vengeance Silver is actually rated for 40°C, it's still high enough, neither we can tier PSUs based on this metric as it obviously load dependent and for example all Seasonic high end PSUs are rated for 40°C continuous 100% load. TX-m has tighter tolerances ? Again, hard data from reviews suggest on the opposite. Which metric makes TX-m a better unit specifically except a vague 'it's higher quality' ?

You're not getting what I am saying.

Part of the deal to have this list here is for you and your team to take into account constructive criticism and information and at least review it with eachother and make this work together with everyone.

You now have multiple people telling you that MAYBE, JUST MAYBE your way of displaying it isn't super clear to the layman whom is the main audience of this list.

However to every single criticism I am seeing long elaborate variations of "No" , oh except for adding a junk PSU from Armageddon to the Tier E list (who really cares?). Again ignoring everyone else you have a huge resource willing to help you alter your methodology. Someone who has more PSU knowledge in his pinky than all of us combined. Instead of using that resource you're asking him to prove himself in line with your subjective criteria.

Its honestly almost insulting to him.
 

Juular

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Two 650W PSUs. The Vengeance uses four 166A/60V FETs for SR. The TX-M uses six 140A/60V FETs.
Now i don't have a detailed components breakdown for any Vengeance Silver neither i do for 650W TX-m but 750W one according to Aris review has 4x APEC AP4608P rated for 195A at 40V and 100°C ...
your way of displaying it isn't super clear to the layman whom is the main audience of this list.
The only things i see here are statements 'your tier list is confusing' without any actual suggestions on how to improve them, this doesn't help anyone. I've asked if you people would rather like to see more tiers instead of color coding, and what exactly about color coding isn't clear to you or you think isn't clear to newbies, i didn't get answers to these questions either. But i'm listening.
Again ignoring everyone else you have a huge resource willing to help you alter your methodology.
Again, what i've heard from Jon so far are vague statements that Vengeance Silver is worse than TX-m despite that we see it having lower ripple and comparable performance on all other metrics. Sure, componens may be higher rated, but first, as you see on the example above, they're apparently not consistent in the lineup with higher rated SKU somehow having lower rated 12V MOSFETs, and second, that doesn't translate to anything directly, a PSU isn't just a bunch of components slapped together, you can't judge a PSU just by looking at it's components ratings as Jon himself constantly reiterating 'A PSU isn't just a box of capacitors', same can be said about MOSFETs. So we can't incorporate any actual changes to methodology without actual reasoning behind his statement. Again, i'm listening, and we're more than willing to make changes to our methodology if we get some actual suggestions, that's what we're here for.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
The only things i see here are statements 'your tier list is confusing' without any actual suggestions on how to improve them, this doesn't help anyone. I've asked if you people would rather like to see more tiers instead of color coding, and what exactly about color coding isn't clear to you or you think isn't clear to newbies, i didn't get answers to these questions either. But i'm listening.
The color coding thing was a complaint on Dottorent's tier list as well, so it's not just you. To be honest, as it played out in that thread as well, the only thing color coding is probably useful for is differentiating between efficiency certifications.

I think the bottom line is that it doesn't really matter what we suggest, or how we suggest it, or even whether what is suggested makes perfect sense or not. The fact is that for every suggestion there HAS been, including those made by Jon, you've simply disregarded it as meritless and offered your own opinion as to why it's not acceptable and can't be done that way. There hasn't been ANY attempt to incorporate a single suggestion other than moving that unit to Tier E. Not even so much as "that's an option so let's look more closely at it".

All there has been are self justifications as to why every single idea is impossible or impractical or wrong. I don't see a future in it at this point. It's like, gah, nevermind.
 
Now i don't have a detailed components breakdown for any Vengeance Silver neither i do for 650W TX-m but 750W one according to Aris review has 4x APEC AP4608P rated for 195A at 40V and 100°C ...
Oh.. I lose track of what Aris has published as a review, what's public in a Cybenetics report and what he puts in our beta test reports. :D

But I'm super happy he does the break downs in the reviews when he does, because if someone tries to argue "they're both 80 PLUS Gold CWT platforms, therefore they're equivalent", I can point out that one might have cheap Silan and Great Power MOSFETs while another has far better Infineon MOSFETs.

While a PSU isn't a "box of caps" and the importance of Japanese capacitors has diminished to the point of.. well... unimportant, the quality of parts like MOSFETs and diodes does vary wildly.
 

Juular

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There hasn't been ANY attempt to incorporate a single suggestion
So like ... two of them ?
  • 'Your tier list is confusing'. As in, color coding is apparently too hard to comprehend. I ask again, what are alternatives you think of ? I can think only of introducing more tiers and we were in fact actively doing the opposite but i guess we can do just by separating gold and gray color in separate subtiers if that would make this tier list easier to navigate, we need to discuss that internally.
  • 'TX-m is better than Vengeance Silver'. I reiterate again, i don't see a substance in this statement, therefore it's impossible to incorporate this as changes to our methodology. If you or Jon can come out with something actually constructive we will be glad to make changes.
 

Juular

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the quality of parts like MOSFETs and diodes does vary wildly.
I understand that. But we don't have data you have on their reliability. And if you're going to say that 'TX-m is better than Vengeance Silver' because it has well, different MOSFETs configuration, then you should either give us some reference point naming other common units relative to which we should place aforementioned units if we ever will do that, or give us some actual insight on how to tell which MOSFETs are better and which are worse, because in the above example it turns out that 750W TX-m SKU is actually worse than 650W one with just VxA=W logic ? It doesn't make sense. I also understand that the latter may be just impossible, as in, we ain't engineers and don't make PSUs, we just don't have the knowledge you have, but if we can't judge PSUs by their components breakdown then the next thing closest to that is actual performance data we see in reviews, and that's exactly what we base this tier list on for now.
 

Rogue Leader

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The only things i see here are statements 'your tier list is confusing' without any actual suggestions on how to improve them, this doesn't help anyone. I've asked if you people would rather like to see more tiers instead of color coding, and what exactly about color coding isn't clear to you or you think isn't clear to newbies, i didn't get answers to these questions either. But i'm listening.
I and others literally suggested a way of improving it when I first brought this up. Your response to that was "no because colors are better" I'm telling you the colors can be confusing, others are telling you that, we are trying to make this accessible to all. You are using colors on PSU names, while PSUs out there have 80+ certs which use similar colors, and that most assume is related to quality (which we know is not true).

Again the responses I am seeing here is "we are all ears, we are listening" etc, and to everything mentioned or suggested its "no".
 

Juular

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You are using colors on PSU names, while PSUs out there have 80+ certs which use similar colors, and that most assume is related to quality (which we know is not true).
Let's see, we have green, blue, gray and gold colors there. There are no possible associations with efficiency certification for blue and green. Gray can be barely associated with Platinum\Titanium perhaps but in what universe ? So you're talking about gold specifically (again, i should try to elaborate your suggestions myself for you guys). If we'll replace gold color with say, purple, would be that less confusing ? Gold were chosen as a color signifying the best units in the tier exactly because of associations it has, not 80+ Gold but generally being a color of luxury and such, you open the tier list and even without seeing the legend you see gold colored units there and assume that they should be better than others. If you can come up with more obvious color coding i'm all listening.
I'm telling you the colors can be confusing, others are telling you that, we are trying to make this accessible to all.
I ask in like third time here already ? Do you think we should split at least tiers A and B to 3 tiers each adding 4 more tiers instead of color coding ? Would be that less confusing ? I feel like i'm talking with the wall honestly.
 
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