You can build the best gaming rigs with powerful CPUs and top-end motherboards but none of them can work to their full potential if you don't use a good quality power supply unit (PSU). A PSU converts the AC current from the wall into DC current for use by the PC components. There are a lot of factors that determine a good quality PSU and it is essential that you are aware of them so that your investment is protected.
It is important to understand your wattage needs. Even using a pair of NVIDIA RTX 2080s in SLI together with an overclocked CPU does not necessarily need a 1000 W PSU. Knowing your case dimensions is also important. Most PSUs fit in the ATX form factor but some of them are a bit deeper than usual, which makes fitting in a compact ATX case a bit difficult. If cable management is a concern, opting for a modular power supply unit can help although, modularity is only generally seen in the more expensive options.
With that information, here are the 9 best power supply units to buy in 2019 for PCs of all power requirements.
Corsair has been a leading PSU brand and the RM750x offers a lot of improvements over the previous generation. The new model offers an additional Entry-level Power Supply (EPS) connector for modern CPUs. The new version is also low on the noise and performs admirably well. The 750 W space is an intensely contested one because it offers the perfect capacity for mid-range to high-end PC rigs with enough room for future upgradeability. The Corsair RM750x is 80 Plus Gold and Lambda A+ certified for power efficiency. The RM750x offers a host of protection features including over-current protection (OCP) on individual rails and a 10-year warranty. There is a 135 mm fan to keep things cool as well. In the box, apart from the two EPS connectors, you also get four PCIe connectors apart from the SATA and Molex cables. Some of these connectors also have capacitors to reduce ripples.
The Corsair RM750x is easily on the best Corsair power supplies in the market today and it is not hard to see why. It performs better than most of the competition including the Seasonic SSR-750FX and Corsair's own TX750M. However, the performance per dollar is definitely not the RM750x's forte and you will definitely be paying a higher price for this unit compared to the others. The noise output is also amongst the lowest in its class, which will be welcomed by many.
Some gamers cannot just have enough of RGB lighting so Thermaltake offers a cool RGB setup in the PSU as well with the Smart RGB series. The Thermaltake Smart RGB is one of the best budget PSUs in the market but don't let the price make you think twice. This PSU can output 700 W of power that should be able to accommodate most modern peripherals. The Smart RGB is not a modular PSU so all the cables come attached to the unit and cannot be removed. Still, you get pretty much all the essential cables required to fully set up a powerful gaming rig. Some of the features of this model include a high amp +12 V single rail, guaranteed 500 W of continuous output at 40 degrees C, 80 Plus certification, and 10 LEDs that can offer 256 RGB color effects. Although the PSU offers a large fan, there are still large vents on the surface that should allow for even better airflow. Internal components are well-spaced and have enough area for proper ventilation.
The main USP of the Thermaltake Smart RGB is its pricing and the amount of features you get including RGB lighting. Some will find the lack of modularity to be an issue but that shouldn't be a problem as long as you are able to make good use of all the provided ones. This PSU is 80 Plus rated but given the efficiency, it could have easily been an 80 Plus Bronze certified. The cable lengths are fine for most cases but larger cases might find them a bit on the shorter side. While the power supply itself is rated for 700 W, you can actually push it to slightly above 1000 W before the over power protection shuts down the unit. Performance in ripple tests was also excellent for a budget power supply so this is easily our best recommendation if your budget is less than $100.
The EVGA 750 N1 is another competing product in the 700 W range intended at budget gamers. Unlike many other power supplies in this list, there is no 80 Plus rating for power efficiency. However, that does not affect the power supply's ability to perform well while still offering the most common protection features that are usually reserved for the more expensive ones. The overall build quality is sturdy and a bit heavy. This is not a modular unit so all cables come pre-attached. Despite not having an 80 Plus rating, the EVGA 750 N1 performs just as well as a unit that is 80 Plus White. EVGA rates the ideal operating temperature at just 25 degrees C while other manufacturers offer guaranteed performance at least at 30 degrees C. Sure, higher temperatures don't mean that the unit will fail but the efficiency does take a nose dive once the ambient temperatures cross 40 degrees C.
One limitation of the EVGA 750 N1 is that it is a group regulated unit, which means fluctuations or ripples in output are to be expected compared to an independently regulated power supply. There is also a PCI Express cable less than some of the other units of its class. The EVGA 750 N1 is a good performer no doubt and has the excellent build quality, but there are quite a few other units that can offer even more for slightly more.
The Seasonic Prime 600 Titanium is a premium power supply unit for gaming PCs and high-performance workstations. The Prime 600 is a fanless unit, which means almost zero noise levels. It is fully modular and can operate at temperatures close to 50 degrees C. The lack of a cooling fan helps with improved reliability and the unit itself has an 80 Plus Titanium rating for high efficiency. There are five rails in the Prime 600 with the lower 3.3 V and 5 V rails offering a combined power output of 100 W. The +12 V rail can offer 50 A and 600 W of current, which should be sufficient for most systems. The 5 V SB and the -12 V rail offer a maximum output of 12.5 W and 3.6 W respectively.
Performance-wise, the Seasonic Prime 600 bests most of the competition in its class. However, the performance per dollar is not really the best in the market so you should be ready to cough up enough money if you need a fanless Titanium-rated PSU. Absence of the fan means that the noise levels are some of the lowest in the market and given the Titanium rating, the efficiency is one of the highest. You get two EPS connectors and four PCI Express connectors so connecting the latest CPUs and GPUs should not pose much of an issue. Load regulation and ripple suppression work great on all rails. Those who value absolutely silent operation will be pleased to know that the Prime 600 has no coil whine at all. All these features make the Seasonic Prime 600 Titanium the best fanless PSU in the market in the 600 W category. Sure, there are cheaper PSUs that are still silent but if the ambient noise is of concern (especially in recording studios), then the Prime 600 should be your top priority.
Not all OEMs can claim to offer the best performing 1600 W PSUs but Corsair is an exception. The Corsair AX1600i is easily the best power supply unit to buy in 2019 provided cost is no deterrent. The AX1600i is slightly longer than a typical ATX power supply, but it should fit easily into most modern cabinets. The AX1600i has a lot of firsts to its credit. It uses 100% 105 degrees C Japanese capacitors a digital design for 94% power efficiency and Gallium nitride transistors thus, earning it an 80 Plus Titanium rating. Corsair offers the Corsair Link software that allows you to control and monitor most aspects of the PSU including fan speeds, RPM curves, and OCP switching. Corsair also offers a whole lot of cabling to suit your setup and they are fully modular, which means you need to use only those you need for the current setup. Interestingly, the 24-pin cable has sense wires that allow sensing the voltage to be controlled on the fly.
The best part about the Corsair AX1600i is the relatively noiseless operation of the 140 mm fan. The fan does not spin at nearly half the load i.e. 800 W making it as good as the Seasonic Prime 600 fanless PSU above. Even at half load, the fan just spins at a low speed making for an absolutely silent operation for most use cases. The Link software allows you to customize your own fan curves if needed. Adequate safety precautions are on board including overcurrent protection, overvoltage protection, under voltage protection, short circuit protection, over temperature protection, and overpower protection. Load regulation and ripple suppression are excellent as expected. Topping it all is a 10-year warranty and an MTBF that is excess of 100k hours meaning this is the power supply you should be looking for if money is no bar and you are building a multi-GPU workstation.
be quiet! is a German brand that specializes in PC cases, fans, and PSUs. The Straight Power 11 is a fully modular power supply that is 80 Plus Gold certified for highly efficient operation. True to its name, the Straight Power 11 runs quietly for the most part. If you are upgrading from an earlier be quiet! unit, you get a nice tool on the company's website that allows you to check cable compatibility with newer models. The dimensions are typical of an ATX PSU but the depth is slightly higher. This should not be a problem with most ATX cabinets but fitting it inside compact cases might get a bit tricky. The Straight Power 11 uses the company's own SlientWings 135 mm fan that features fluid-dynamic bearings and ribbed wings for low noise operation. The fan can reach up to 1800 RPM, which is actually more than enough even under load. The PSU has almost no wires on the inside as well resulting in all round good ventilation and better management of space.
Those looking for an efficient operation will not be disappointed with the Straight Power 11. It offers around 92% efficiency when loaded between 20 to 100%. However, the efficiency does go down considerably at loads lesser than 40 W. While fan noise is relatively low, be quiet! does not offer any form of fan control. At higher loads, the fan can spin up a lot emitting high noise. At higher operating temperatures, there is a drop in efficiency levels. Nevertheless, this drop is uniform and not due to any one component. As long as the loads are kept reasonable and ambient temperatures are within the specified limits, the be quiet! Straight Power 11 is a very good PSU to buy considering that you get really good quality power output. However, the higher noise levels at increased loads and no way of controlling the fan mean that those who are conscious about these aspects might have to look elsewhere for now.
Those who are looking at a compact yet efficient PC power supply should have a look at the SilverStone SST-SX550. The SX550 supports the SFX form factor and is one of the best PSUs for micro ATX and mini ITX builds. It comes with a small 80 mm fan that promises to operate at low noise levels. The fan can theoretically operate at 3,800 RPM at full speed but most build that the SX550 targets hardly offer that much of a load. SilverStone claims that the SX550 can deliver 550 W continuous power at 50 degrees C ambient temperatures so this PSU should be suitable for most ambient weather conditions. The unit is 80 Plus Gold certified for high operating efficiency and features a single +12 V rail that can deliver a large 45 A of current that should be more than adequate for most PC setups. The unit is not modular but all the supplied cables are of high quality and are sleeved. Available protection modes include over current production, overpower protection, over voltage protection, short circuit protection, and over temperature protection.
While the SX550 is rated at 550 W, it can peak up to 630 W before shutting down. Noise suppression, load regulation, and ripple suppression work without a hitch. Peak efficiency is 91.8% at 50% load and goes down to 89.5% at full load, which conforms to the 80 Plus Gold rating. SilverStone says that fan noise shouldn't be a problem. However, that is true only at low loads. Once the loads reach 350 - 400 W, the fan becomes audible. The smaller size of the fan also enhances the noise levels. But running at the full 550 W load continuously is not an expected real-world scenario so that need not be a factor for worry. If you are building a mini ITX or a micro ATX gaming system, the SilverStone SST-SX550 is easily one of the best SFX power supply units in the market today.
NZXT is a well-known name in the PC cabinets and AIO liquid cooling segments, and the company returns to the PSU market with the introduction of the E-series with capacities from 500 - 850 W based on the Seasonic Focus Plus Gold platform. While the original Seasonic Focus Plus is somewhat cheaper, the NZXT E-series is costlier due to the inclusion of digital software monitoring tools. The digital software control allows users to dynamically alter rail operations and tune the fan profile as desired. Speaking of fans, the E650 is definitely not the quietest PSU out there and fan noise is audible even at low speeds. The cables are somewhat shorter but offer in-cable capacitors for ripple suppression. NZXT's CAM software offers a lot of controls for fine-tuning the PSU and also provides an overview of your PC setup. Fan speeds can be set between Fixed, Silent, Performance, and Custom. Real-time monitoring of the CPU and GPU via the EPS and PCI Express cables is possible and one can also configure the overcurrent protection point as well. However, there is a catch as many reviewers shown that the CAM software's readings usually don't tally with their physical measurements.
When using the PSU at ambient temperatures, one can perceive a fair amount of fan noise. However, the E650 offers a very good efficiency at ambient temperature, which makes it qualify for the 80 Plus Gold rating. The NZXT E650 qualifies as one of the best power supply units for gaming if you can overlook two main issues. The CAM software cannot read AC wattage from the wall so there is no way to accurately measure efficiency unless you use dedicated instrumentation for it. The fan noise is also another concern that might put off those who look for a quieter operation. There is also no additional EPS connector, which would have been helpful for those wishing to use HEDT CPUs.
Those not wanting to spend a fortune on PSUs but still looking for a high-performance option should consider the BitFenix Formula Gold. It is still a bit expensive compared to similar offerings from Corsair or EVGA but the price more than justifies the performance. The Formula Gold does not have a modular cable option but it is very compact and will fit in ATX cases of all sizes. 450 W might not seem much, but it is more than sufficient for a mid-range gaming rig with one GPU as long as you don't overclock the CPU or GPU too much.
The BitFenix Formula Gold performs better than some of the offerings from Corsair and EVGA and is very close to some of the Seasonic variants. The entry-level pricing also helps in offering more performance per dollar in the case of the Formula Gold. The overall operation is pretty quiet and should suffice for the majority of the PC users out there.
So, those were our choices for the best PSUs to buy in 2019. Remember that while you don't need to invest in expensive options, you should not be compromising on the overall quality of the power supply unit as the life of the other components directly depend on power quality.
We hope that this article has addressed your needs. Feel free to let us know in the comments below if you need any other information and we’ll be sure to get back to you at the earliest. And while you are at it, don’t forget to follow TechNadu on Facebook and Twitter.