An often overlooked, but important, part of any PC build is the power supply. The power supply unit, or PSU, is what feeds electricity to all the other components in the system. It’s, therefore, essential to pick the right wattage and features for the best performance.
Let’s take a look at at the options, and help you choose the best PSU based on your system’s requirements.
Best Low-Wattage PSU:
Seasonic S12III 500W
If you’re building a system with minimal power requirements, you can try a PSU like the Seasonic S12III 500W. Power supplies, even low wattage ones, need to be of high quality. This is because they can destroy other components in your system if they go wrong.
This is a good-quality 500W PSU from a reputable brand so you can be confident in your system’s longevity. It comes with all the cables you’ll need for installation, as well as a five year warranty.
Best Mid-Wattage PSU:
Corsair RM 750x
If you’re an system builder looking for a mid-range PSU, try the Corsair RM 750x. This 750W power supply is gold certified in terms of efficiency, so it won’t cost you on your electricity bill. The RMx is fully modular and comes with a variety of cables in black so you can neatly arrange the layout within your case.
It also offers a quiet fan tuned for low noise operations. It even has an option whereby the fan is switched off entirely under light loads, keeping your system quiet.
Best High-Wattage PSU:
Asus ROG 1200W
When you’re building a high-end gaming PC using parts such as two graphics cards, you need lots of power as provided by a PSU like the Asus ROG 1200W. This 1200W beast of a power supply has platinum certification, meaning it achieves a very high level of efficiency, and it has a wing-blade fan to keep components cool while still operating quietly.
Fun extra features on this gaming-focused PSU include an integrated OLED panel that shows real-time information about power draw and RGB lighting that can be controlled with Asus Aura Sync to add a little color to your system.
Best Budget PSU:
EVGA 600 BR
Those who are looking for an affordable, but decent quality PSU should consider the EVGA 600 BR. This 600W PSU has the essential features you need, like bronze certification. This means that it’s not the most efficient, but it’s not terrible either. It also offers solid performance without too much noise.
The PSU is non-modular, so you can’t remove cables you don’t need. However, the cables it does come with are sleeved in black for a sleeker look. If you’re building on a budget, this component comes with a three-year warranty so you can buy with confidence, too.
Best Small PSU:
Corsair SF Series 750W
For some builds, such as micro ATX or mini ITX systems, you may not have a lot of room in your case for a PSU. In these cases, you can use a small form factor PSU like the Corsair SF Series 750W. This SFX PSU fits into tighter cases than a standard PSU.
Fortunately, it also comes with an STX to ATX bracket so it can fit into larger cases too. It offers 750W, platinum certification, an option to disable the fan at low loads, and fully modular cables to save even more space.
Best Modular PSU:
EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G1+
Whether you want a sleeker aesthetic for your build, or you want to save space and help airflow, you should opt for a modular PSU like the EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G1+. Modular PSUs come with removable cables, so you only need to plug in the ones you want to use. For example, most modern motherboards provide additional power to the CPU using an eight-pin ATX cable, but some use four-pin EPS cables instead.
Most power supplies will typically come with both ATX and EPS cables. In a modular power supply, you can simply remove the cable that you don’t need to save space. This particular PSU comes with one ATX cable, two EPS cables, four PCIe cables, three SATA cables, two four-pin peripheral cables, a floppy adapter, and an AC power cable.
That’s almost every type of power cable you could possibly need! It’s also gold certified, offers 750W of power, and is a slightly shorter length than standard PSUs to make it even more compact.
Best Quiet PSU:
be quiet! Pure Power 11
Users trying to build a silent PC should look for a quiet PSU, so they’re not disturbed by excessive fan noise. The be quiet! Pure Power 11 is a 600W power supply that has gold efficiency, modular cables, and quiet operation.
The PSU is optimized for low noise through its use of a silence-optimized be quiet! 120mm fan. This brand is well-known for its quiet fans and cases and has applied the same standards to its PSUs as well.
Best Fanless PSU:
Seasonic Prime Titanium Fanless 600W
Another option for a supremely quiet build is a fanless power supply like the Seasonic Prime Titanium Fanless 600W. This is a passively cooled PSU, meaning that there are no spinning fans to make noise. Instead, it is designed to produce very little heat. This way, the heat it does produce can be removed using only the heatsink, so that the PSU does not require a fan.
You’ll also notice that Seasonic Prime Titanium PSU has perforated sides instead of solid metal, allowing even more heat dissipation. These PSUs are rather more technically complex to design and build than PSUs with fans, so they’re not cheap. But for your money, you’ll get a 600W, titanium certified PSU which should operate in almost perfect silence.
The Best PSU for Your PC
There’s a lot to consider when buying a PSU. Many first-time builders opt for a cheap power supply, but they later regret it when the component dies and maybe even takes other parts of their system with it. To avoid this situation, make sure you’re buying a decent quality power supply from a reputable brand.
Also, consider other features you might need. These include efficiency ratings, modular cables, and compact size. You can also look into options for keeping your PSU quiet, like good quality fans, a silent operation mode under low load, or even a fanless PSU.
To learn more about picking the right power supply for your build, see our guide to the things you should know when buying a power supply unit.