Ranked PSU list

Hello all. This is an early stage project. I'll let you know when that changes.

It is a collaborative effort being done by several of us here on the forums. You get to view our progress here:
Until we say so, this is all "rough draft" status and should not be fully trusted as a reference.

Ranked Power Supplies

The purpose of this list is to provide good information that will help anyone decide what PSU to purchase.
For a few years there has been a Tiered PSU List that gets used to place various brands and model lines into categories. This has helped the community a great deal but it does have some problems. There have also been some attempts at updating this, but they have not been successful.
For a long time I considered the Tiered PSU List as sacred, but I eventually realized it was just an excellent early attempt to classify the various PSUs on the market. It is not an official document, and indeed this is not an official document. This list is the result of testing, opinion, and consensus. Nothing more.

We also have a few other lists, that represent a lot of work and thought:
DavidHammock200 at Extreme Overclocking forums
Diaz at OC Forums

We need some logical ranking system that will be easy to read and follow.

PSU Criteria

There are many respected references regarding PSUs, and I am supplying a few of my favorites:
These stickies at the top of this jonnyguru forum.
Everything You Need to Know About Power Supplies @Hardware Secrets
These help us determine the following criteria.

1. Performance under stress. High operating temperatures combined with heavy loads can bring many supposedly good power supplies to their knees. Most so-called reviewers fail to properly stress a PSU during testing.

2. Longevity. This is not an easy thing to judge. Sometimes the historical performance of a particular OEM or design can be used, but mostly expert evaluation of the various internal parts and assembly is the only way to predict how long a given unit will last.

Beyond these two are more specific criteria, but these may change in importance depending on the user. I list here my personal order and yours may be different. However, all of these items are important, and none of them should be ignored.

3. Warranty. Not only duration but actual service quality.

4. Voltage Regulation. The ability of the unit to supply stable voltage under different demands, from low to high.

5. Voltage Ripple. The amount of fluctuation remaining in the DC current after conversion from AC. Can only be seen and measured on an oscilloscope or such.

6. Efficiency. The more efficient a power supply is, the less heat it generates and the lower your power bill.

7. Noise levels. The plural is there because this can change depending on load and ambient temp. Usually this is only the fan noise, but even passively cooled units can generate some noise.

7. Cabling. Cable length, modularity, sleeving, cable type.

8. Aesthetics. Color, fan lighting, etc.

In modern desktop computers, especially those used at least partly for graphically intense games, total wattage is not as important as maximum amperage on the 12V rail(s). For this reason, this list is broken down not by wattage, but by 12V amps.
The ranks will be as follows in each amperage range:

Rank 1 - Will contain a maximum of 5 units. If another is added that causes 6 in this rank, one must be removed to rank 2. As power supplies become increasingly sophisticated and of higher and higher quality, the contents of these ranks must also shift.

Rank 2 - Will contain former rank 1 PSUs plus any current models that compete well with them. This list will be large, but somewhat self-limiting as older models go out of production.

Rank 3 - Will contain recommended PSUs that can't quite compete with the better ones but may be desireable for budget or availability considerations.

All rank 1-3 PSUs will have at least 80 Plus certification. There may be a few initial units that do not have this, but they are expected to quickly be replaced or certified, and will be noted.

Rank 4 - Will contain barely adequate PSUs that should only be selected in desperate circumstances. These need not be 80 plus but should have some basic protections and be at least ATX spec as to voltage under whatever load is expected to be placed on them.

Rank 5 - Will have units with serious flaws in design, parts, or performance. Not recommended for any desktop. Any serious violation of ATX specs will land a unit here.

Unrated - Any PSUs on the list that do not have a rating are simply not yet researched, or no good information exists. We may supply some clues to these as we can, for instance who the OEM is, without rating them. It is expected that most of the units listed without a rank will be poorer quality.


A number of volunteers are currently working on this project, but we do have room for a few more. Some knowledge of PSUs is expected, and certainly those with good reps here on these boards are encouraged to PM me if you would like to help out.

35-42 jtt283
43-54 (Proximon for now)
55-64 Hunter315
65-75 Proximon
76 - 120+ Skora
173 answers Last reply
More about ranked list
  1. Here's a pretty up to date list if you are interested: http://www.ocforums.com/showthread.php?t=589708

    You may want to follow the layout there. It makes more sense to do it by wattage imo. Perhaps you could do a wattage + your idea ranking system?
  2. If we expand your break down by amperage it could be quite promising. I like the ocforum's blacklist towards the bottom there, things like the star of that corsair video should go down there along with any that fail a review.

    I think a link to newegg might be helpful, i figure many of us will reference this thread for a good PSU suggestion and having the links here would save searching it on newegg.

    Also maybe at either a color code, or another set of letter next to it indicating its 80+ certification for those who are concerned about power usage and heat output.
  3. I think the main issue is one of consistency. it's fair to say that on any given review site, the ranking *should" at least be consistent when the same testing parameters have been applied. However comparing one site's ranking with another should be avoided.

    On the OC site shadow referenced they have done pretty fair job. But even they gave equal ranking to the Antec SG-850, CP-850 and TP-850. Clearly Antec doesn't think they are all "equal" or they wouldn't bother to make 3 models.

    The other problem is when things are "close" , what is the variation between identical units of the same model ? Do we separate a unit that hits 99.1% of rated voltage from one that does 98.7% .... and is that difference consistent from unit to unit when both models for example run from 98.5 unit 99.5 depending on just what unit you yank off the line ?
  4. I think you are on the right path with use of amps over wattage.

    ^+1 Hunter315's comments.... Linking to Newegg or a similar site for us that live in the Homebuilt systems thread and recommend the PSU's would be nice. :D Color coding/noting for the 80+ ratings of Bronze, Silver & Gold is another useful tool which kind of falls under your 4 & 5 criteria's.

    This will be a huge undertaking on your part, so I'll offer my support where I can to help out. Also, I would reach out to JohnnyLucky for feedback, if you haven't already. In my experience in the PSU section, he is one of the most knowledgeable.
  5. To clarify, just the few PSUs I have posted so far represent hours of work. Once rank two is filled out and the other ranks added it's reasonable to expect 10-12 hours per level... If we suppose 10 levels we're looking at around 120 hours to really get this up and running.

    Shadow, the problem with wattage is that it's deceptive. Take for instance the CP-850. It's not a true 850W because it only delivers 64A on the 12V... so even though it's a great PSU it has to be compared to the HX750 or TP-750, closer in actual ability.
    Another example is the Ultra X4 850. Only 60A so it's clearly REALLY a 750W PSU.... for all desktop purposes anyway.
    I am using both the post from Diaz and this thread from David Hammock:

    As well as a few roundups and of course all the serious review sites.

    Mostly it's
    Hardware Secrets
    Silent PC review

    Those are pretty much all the serious testers that move a good number of PSUs through the shop, and they tend to all come up with the same results. They may interpret those results differently, but the results themselves are consistent. It's my sense, from hanging out over at the jg forum, that I can generate a large degree of agreement on this list, as long as I keep an open mind and recognize when someone with more knowledge is telling me something ;)

    I'm also discussing this idea over there.

    Tecmo, we're talking about probably 2-300 links when it's all done, and I'm not going to maintain that. The reviews are enough :) Color coding I should be able to pull off, and I'll definitely try that now.
  6. Your dedication and passion for this stuff is heartwarming Proximon. I like how each PSU can have reviews linked from more than just one site like diaz has limited his thread to. Once the base list is built, this really becomes a monitoring game for new reviews and figuring where to plug them into the ranks for that section. Is that how you see the maintenance of this? That's the toughest part with most list that are produced, is how to maintain them.

    If going by amperage, a short guide should be included. Someone doing research is going to ask, "How many amps do I need for xxxx GPU with 2 opticals, 2 HDDs, and OCing?" If we can provide a quick list where they can add up what they need on the relevant rails, they can have a starting point to know which section to look at.

    I question the need for ranks 4 and 5. Giving a nod for risky but not too risky seems counter productive and a drain on time. While I see some merit for a blacklist, it could save a load of time keeping it to OEMs and not worry about which kingwin makes it into group 4 instead of 5. There should be an adequate array of price options over the first 3 ranks for each section for users to choose from.

    As for links, along the lines of davehammocks thread, the way you have it orgainzed can eliminate a lot of that info. Listing the individual amps/voltages and linking in the specs seems redundant. This is a guide, a place to start research from, not one stop shopping. I like the idea of each unit having the OEM spec link, the review links, and a single etailer link. Don't put the price in there and once those are plugged in, they are static, nothing really to maintain. Once the unit becomes deactivated, the entire entry gets blasted, right? Or you could add a retired rank to each section, but that might be misleading as there will be newer and shiner PSUs for that amp section.

    Here's my offer to do my part, once you settle on a format, feel free to assign me a site, specific PSUs, section to research and I can PM the findings back to you and plug them in.
  7. When you put it that way... "2-300 Links", I fully understand not creating Newegg links as an added step. I can find the Newegg links myself :)

    I do like the color coding look and quick feedback!

    You have a great start going with this list. Good Job!!
  8. I have lots of links and tutorials in mind.

    It's just a question of organizing and limiting the reading up front, which most people will skip over anyway.

    I'll be going ahead on this. I plan to get about three amperage levels fleshed out before posting, and I'll also have a more thorough format set up here for review.
  9. Great idea but it's going to be a lot of work. Yesterday it took me a while just to find a couple of decent 1,000 watt psu's over at jonnyguru.com that I could recommend. Must have read close to a dozen technical reviews.
  10. I spend too much time frittering away around here anyway ;) By doing this I get to be more efficient with my time and ultimately more helpful.
  11. I to question the need for 5 tiers. It honestly should be 3. Those you can use, those you can use if you have to, and those you should avoid. Teir 1 should be those that pass with flying colors, teir 2 will be those that pass kinda. Perhaps the ripple is high, or the exhaust temp gets up there, or ??? Tier 3 are those that fail testing.

    Another idea if possible the actual manufacturer should be included. Perhaps if people see that SeaSonic makes Tier 1 PSUs and Deer shows up a lot in Tier 3 PSUs that Deer PSUs should be avoided. Obviously if who really made the PSU isn't known it can't be included.

    Other thoughts. I to like the Amps idea. Perhaps a best for the money at each amp level?
  12. Well best for the money is a whole different task and varies depending on the site, what specials are going on, and if there is an MIR this week. Just compiling a list of good PSUs will be hard enough and pricing will be nearly impossible to keep up with and it would really go to hell at the end of each month when newegg prices and combos go to hell.
  13. Obviously hunter. They do it for GPUs and you have the same problems. A general "these are usually best for the money" will work. Those that are normally cheap(est). Won't be acurate all the time, but something that helps people when they are looking for a PSU and a long list of them. Perhaps those that meet this can get a $$$ in the listing?
  14. Keep em coming :)

    It all comes down to this doesn't it? Is anything within ATX spec "good enough"?
    The answer seems to be no. Better efficiency under heat and load stress, better ripple, etc. do seem to make a difference. If not in day to day stability then in component longevity certainly.

    So, I think we need to always identify the best of the best. It helps define what "good" and "acceptable" really mean. By pegging down that top rank, I keep myself honest and maintain perspective on the other ranks.

    Lumping ranks 2 and 3 together won't do either, because people want a way to decide which PSU they are going to buy. Do you want a EA500 or a Seasonic M12II 500? This has to help you out there.

    Rank 4 is another matter. I put it there with certain people in mind from various countries that do not have access to large incomes or big selections. I want to help these folks out, and try to steer them away from the very worst choices. We here in the more affluent countries sometimes forget that the world doesn't march to our drum all the time. I do get these requests and I want them to get the best that they can, whatever that means.

    I've been tempted by the price thing, but I really want to avoid that altogether. I need to exclude price from the criteria completely because it changes a lot. If I start dealing with prices then I have to do far more frequent updates and I have to do MASSIVE price searches for each item. So for instance the SG-850 and HX850 will live side-by-side and the purchaser will have to look and see which is the best deal.

    Eventually, a person should be able to use their browser to search the page for the PSU they are looking for, and have a strong likelihood of finding it in one place or another.

    As to the unknown and unlisted PSUs... that could change...
  15. 4745454b said:
    Perhaps those that meet this can get a $$$ in the listing?

    Hmmm That's not bad... $ = usually a good value.

    That's doable.
  16. You wouldn't need to constantly update the price. From what I've seen the EA500 is usually a good buy. Every now and then you can't get it on sale or with MIR and the Corsair 450 becomes the better buy. But like you said everyone has a browser and can check for their own country. Or time when they buy. Putting a $ symbol next to those PSUs that are usually the best in their price/output range can help those who see 20PSUs in a row and aren't sure where to start.
  17. A big discriminator for me is "Max power at 50 C." That's apparently a pretty difficult spec to meet.

    Proximon said:

    Rank 4 is another matter. I put it there with certain people in mind from various countries that do not have access to large incomes or big selections.

    That's an excellent point. I work in Saudi Arabia and brands like Corsair or Antec simply are not available at any price.

    I was helping a friend build an i7 based gaming system where he was seriously considering CrossFiring two 4870's. We were looking at power supplies and saw an unknown branded 900 watt PSU. He asked what about that one? I reached over and picked it up. "Nope. Not heavy enough." He thought I was kidding - I mean, whoever heard of buying a PSU based on weight, right? It weighed about as much as my 550 watt Antec.
  18. Exactly! Sometimes we just have to throw out the rules and do the best we can.
  19. I think this is a nice idea. My only concern is that there appear to be a number of these resources available, into which many hours have already been poured. Would it make more sense to direct users to one of them? Or do we prefer an "in-house" reference?
    I see it was mentioned and color-coded, but I'd like to see efficiency included in the judging. If it isn't at least 80+, it doesn't belong above tier-3, and maybe not even there, as too many decent 80+ PSUs are available.
    For those interested in what makes a good PSU, using links (e.g. to hardwaresecrets) might be better than risking accusations of plagiarism or outright infringement. Referring to common sources will also put those of us who care to read "on the same page" so to speak.

    Edit: Anyway, I will definitely stay subscribed to this thread.
  20. for those of us who wish on affording those PSU's try out bjorn 3d's PSU contest


    Well it's the month for sliding up to the table and gobbling down enough Tom Turkey to put a battalion in a food coma and Ultra dropped in on us and saw the great contest rack we have going and wants in on the contests for November.

    Up for grabs an Ultra X4 850w PSU.

    Modular Design – Patented technology helps reduce clutter by using only the cables needed. This not only increases airflow within the case, but it gives the inside of the computer a clean and professional look that is easier to manage and service.

    80 Plus Certified – The X4 line received the coveted 80 Plus Bronze certification meeting a stringent energy efficiency performance specification. This optimization ensures that that less energy is wasted by the computer and heat and noise generated by the PSU are minimized.

    Power Protection – Short circuit protection, in-rush current protection, and thermal overload cutoff protection –all work in conjunction to protect systems from under voltage, surges and brown outs.

    Simple Installation – All X4 PSUs include thumb screws, zip ties and Velcro straps to make the build process as streamlined as possible.

    Lifetime Warranty – Register online or by sending in the included warranty card and receive a lifetime warranty.

    Reduced Acoustics – Featuring a large 135mm dual bearing cooling fan, Ultra’s X4 power supplies offer reduced acoustics, increased airflow and longer life. Further, Ultra includes a silicone chassis bracket which significantly reduces vibration noises typically caused between the chassis and the fan.

    So if your using one of those generic PSU from KillMyRig.com this might be the contest for you.

    Let's keep this one simple:

    1. Post the URL (Web Address) of any review we've done in the last year.

    2. Post the Name of the reviewer

    3. Copy and paste the first complete sentence of the review.

    The review may only be used once. Meaning if I post our "Swimsuit Issue Review" first then you come back in and post it as your entry, my entry was in first and your entry doesn't count.

    Every URL from the review must be different.

    Second Method:

    Post a valid link to this contest on another forum along with the text in this thread. Not one line, the entire text.

    Contest ends last day of November, winner by random draw from eligible entrants. Decision is final. One entry per person, per method, per household. That means you can make two qualifying entries, one by each method. Running to your neighbors house and re-entering will only get you disqualified.

    Only one entry by each method per person, entering the contest multiple times will disqualify you. If you can't read the rules and follow them then someone else will get this beautiful PSU.

    So this Thanksgiving belly up to the Forum and scarf an Ultra X4 850w PSU, at least it won't give you food coma!


    Edit: Little clarification, USA/Canada Only, No P.O. Boxes or APO addresses, must be a Bjorn3D.com review.
  21. Onus said:

    I see it was mentioned and color-coded, but I'd like to see efficiency included in the judging. If it isn't at least 80+, it doesn't belong above tier-3, and maybe not even there, as too many decent 80+ PSUs are available.
    For those interested in what makes a good PSU, using links (e.g. to hardwaresecrets) might be better than risking accusations of plagiarism or outright infringement. Referring to common sources will also put those of us who care to read "on the same page" so to speak.

    Edit: Anyway, I will definitely stay subscribed to this thread.

    I have been considering the 80 Plus requirement very seriously. It would make the whole job easier, for sure, but there might be a few older PSUs that never got certified but are still quite good. I see that Antec and Corsair have all theirs certified, (Except the cheap Basiqs).

    As for the other suggestions, I see I need to implement all the ideas I have now. You guys keep requesting things that are already intended ;)
  22. Some changes.
  23. I like those changes.
  24. Quote:
    Shadow, the problem with wattage is that it's deceptive. Take for instance the CP-850. It's not a true 850W because it only delivers 64A on the 12V... so even though it's a great PSU it has to be compared to the HX750 or TP-750, closer in actual ability.

    You do have a point there.

    Also, I would reach out to JohnnyLucky for feedback,


    Btw, any one know what happened to Zorg? He used to spend a lot of time in the PSU and OCing section. Haven't seen him for ages....
  25. Proximon - Don't just consider the 80+ certifications. Do it! Energy efficiency should be one of the deciding factors and it will save you a lot of time too. They have a complete database at their web site that can be downloaded. I refer to it every once in a while.
  26. Thanks! It's already changed to reflect that. I'll put in this link as well.

  27. I'm going to drop the color scheme and replace it with manageable symbols... smileys I think.

  28. Wow thats a very interesting list, never would have expected dell to have so many 80+ gold ones. The colored smileys will make it even easier because they are the right color too.

    This is looking like its going to turn into a very intensive project, it might be best if we split it between a few people.

    About the black list, we may want to do that by series and note any exception to that rule, like the antec basiq's except the 500 watt which does well, or definitive stay clears like that 450 watt raidmax.
  29. Quote:
    This is looking like its going to turn into a very intensive project, it might be best if we split it between a few people.

    If you are volunteering, pick an amp range and go for it :) This is obviously not the final thread, we can put it together later.

    There seems to be a 10 image limit. I need someone to install these smileys into the smiley list... I can convert to gif if needed.
  30. Smileys uploaded and pending validation, i converted them into gifs, they come out to be like 1k a piece.

    I will start working on a 55-64 Amp range, thats about 650 - 800 so its the common one for dual GPU setups. Im going to be spending a lot of time on jonnyguru over the next few days i think.
  31. Ah thanks Hunter, I actually just figured it out myself. Thanks for the help! You've just made this a certainty.


    When they come up.

    Obviously would have been better to have them called bronze, sliver, and gold :p
  32. [:hunter315:1] [:hunter315:2] [:hunter315:3] They live! :( alright maybe not quite yet damn, that little box was deceptive

    I used the same naming scheme as you did.

    Now if we can get someone to take the 500-650 block we will have all of the major areas of the PSU spectrum covered.
  33. Yeah I think that will have to be broken down more. 32-40A will cover the 500W crowd, and 41- 54 will go from the likes of the 550VX to the TP-650.

    31A and below seems to be firmly the office/HTPC segment so that can be done last.

    We'll probably have to split the 76+ area into two as well, for practical reasons.... CF 5970 is going to require some real muscle.

    32-40 jtt283
    55-64 Hunter315
    65-75 Proximon
    76 - 120+ Skora
    (This last group is actually smaller so I've left the whole range in one group. It will mostly be 80 and 90A

    I'm sure I'll be able to do more sections, but that's the start.
  34. ok....i see all the big names on here...just wanted to add my 2cents worth
    what about split rails over the 12V? my bro has an el-cheapo branded PSU, which i thought was ****, but apparently it has 84A over 4 12V rails.... whats with that? can you trust it? ill get the brand to you.
    I know its off topic, but i think how many rails should also be mentioned, even briefly in your 1-8 list u have at the very start of the link

    you guys are what makes this awesome...thanks :D
  35. As Jonny has shown over and over agin, there is no real difference between multi rail PSUs and single rail. There is NO such thing as trapped power. I think the only thing I'd mention is you can't just add the individual rails together. 18A + 18A != 36A, but often only 22A.
  36. ahh....so his PSU, tho rated at 84A, probably only produces something like 64A or so when using the rails together?
  37. I think this would be a good time for a little education.

    Did you know that amps * volts = wattage?

    So watts/volts = amps... look at this label:


    See under the 12V rails where it says 960W? Divide that by 12 and you have the (supposed) max amperage output for 12V.... 80A
  38. yeah and to work out graphics card draw is watts/12=amps
  39. This should probably be linked to somewhere in the first post

    Micky_lund you may want to take a look at this thread about single vs multi rail PSUs, but i would really suggest reading through the entire PSU FAQ its very informative.

    What those current ratings actually mean is the point at which the PSU will trip and shut the rail down, continuing with the picture that Proximon posted, you can draw up to 18 amps from each rail, if you try to draw 18.5 it will shut down to protect itself, however the 12 volt source itself cannot put out more than 80 amps of power, or about 13.3 amps per rail if the load is evenly distributed, so even though you could draw 17 amps per rail without triping any individual rail, the source for those rails would be over taxed and shut the unit down as a whole.

    The reason you cannot just add the rails is because they have a common source, if they each had an individual 12 volt source that was powered off the AC in then yes you could add them, but the added hardware to do that would make PSUs obscenely expensive and horribly inefficiencient, there are some good PSU that you can just add the rails on, certain Antecs and OCZs, but thats only because they rate theirs honestly.

    In the end the number of rails a PSU has is totally irrelevant since its really the combined power we care about in the end. Even intel changed the ATX specs from requiring the CPU on a second rail to recommending it so they atleast have come to believe that separating your rails doesnt provide you added benefits unless the PSU is crap to begin with.
  40. hmmmm....thanks for the quick and great replies
    and hey, you might add something to ur original post (because of me) :D
  41. I cannot speak for PSU's over 700 watts, but every "multi-rail" PSU below that level that I checked was just a single rail PSU. Both of my Antecs (a 550 watt TP3 and a 650 watt TP3) were advertised as three rail power supplies. But measuring with an ohmmeter showed a short circuit between any two yellow wires on any connector. Opening them up showed three clusters of yellow wires labeled 12V1, 12V2, and 12V3. Checking underneath the circuit board showed all three pads tied together on both PSU's.

    I also have a couple of Cool-Max PSU's (hey, that's one of the better PSU's available in Saudi Arabia :( ) that are advertised as dual rail PSU's. Same is true of these.

    I'd say to ignore the whole multirail thing and go with total 12 volt amps.
  42. The exception is the Corsair 1000HX, which is a true dual-rail PSU.
  43. So, then why do they advertise them as multirail? Was it just because of that old spec and because they think most people think more = better?
  44. Pretty much.
  45. Well, that's nice. Thanks for clearing this up. Before I wasn't sure if it was a pro, con, or what. Now I know just to ignore it. I think I'll still go with my 650HX.
  46. I wrote, "I'd say to ignore the whole multirail thing and go with total 12 volt amps. "

    Proximon said:
    The exception is the Corsair 1000HX, which is a true dual-rail PSU.

    I'd say to ignore the whole multirail thing and go with total 12 volt amps unless the PSU is a true multi-rail PSU. :)

    And bump.
  47. Can't use images, can't use smileys. I hope this get's fixed. I don't want to go make my own forum just to get this working.
  48. My work schedule is 4x10 and Internet access is monitored and a lot of [forum] sites are blocked. Jonny, HardwareSecrets, and HardOCP are among those which aren't though, so I really think I should contribute to this, especially on the lower end. It could be slow, but please PM me on how you would like submissions formatted. I believe I can do something.
  49. Proximon... Images and unique smileys are limited to 10 per post. I found that out when doing my build guide. To add more pics to my post, I have to combine images into one "big" image. You can use unlimited number of standard smilelys like :) :D :( :p You could utilize them intead but it won't look as nice as your unique smileys or go back to color coating.

    I agree this limit needs to be removed or increased as it effects the ability to post useful threads as the OP wants.
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