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PSU brands to look for and brands to avoid

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Last response: in Systems
March 11, 2010 8:16:53 PM

Ive been looking around google checking reviews on psu brands and quite a lot of brands seem to have a lot lower wattage than the manufacturer states, as well as people stating they arent reliable.

I know a lot of people are corsair fans but what other psu brands are generally okay?

My current psu is a sumvision which i know is poor, and even though its supposed to be 500 watt, i bet it isnt. it was bought because of my lack of budget a couple of years ago, still i am on a low budget, but its higher than before. (although it has lasted without blowing my shít up.

More about : psu brands brands avoid

March 11, 2010 8:18:39 PM

Antec is another good brand.
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March 11, 2010 8:25:41 PM

If you post the specs you plan to be using this new PSU on then it will make it help people make a good recommendation for you :) 

Generally, Antec, Corsair, SeaSonic etc. are held with highest regard on these boards.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 11, 2010 8:39:58 PM

Yea OCZ usually make good PSUs. That one would will be fine for your system.
March 11, 2010 8:42:24 PM

Silvune said:
Yea OCZ usually make good PSUs. That one would will be fine for your system.


& thank you everyone else who commented, ill stick with the ocz unless it goes up in price before i buy it.
March 11, 2010 8:46:42 PM

branflakes71 said:
Antec is another good brand.

May be. But I personally had Antec Smartpower 2.0 that failed on me. I might have been just unlucky though.
March 11, 2010 8:54:51 PM

yyk71200 said:
May be. But I personally had Antec Smartpower 2.0 that failed on me. I might have been just unlucky though.

I'd say every single psu out there, no matter the brand has a fail chance, it just seems like some brands are better than others.

Personally i hate paying more for something because of a brand.

Beans are a great example.

lets say heinz beans are about £1 more expensive than tesco's own brand. And people buy heinz, why? they are most likely made in the same factory. Only difference is the brand/label.

Although it seems like this isnt the case with computer components such as the PSU.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 11, 2010 9:05:14 PM

Forget brands.....buying by brand name is a sure fire way to disaster.

PSU manufacturers are like car manufacturers......I'm a Porsche kinda guy myself but I will use Ford for this example since I have never owned one.....if you're in a sports car club, could you say "the Ford is a good performing car" ?

You might say for example ..... "The Ford Mustang is a decent performing little sports car for the price" and some will argue but some will agree......but would anyone agree with you if you said "The Ford Escort is a decent performing little sports car for the price" ....same thing.

PSU manufacturer's make PSU's to meet market segments. Just because Ford makes the Escort, doesn't in and of itself make the Mustang a bad car. (Let's please avoid the Mustang's worthiness and stick to the point plz).

Let's use Silverstone as our example .....

Does Silverstone make great power supplies ? Yes
Does Silverstone make crappy power supplies ? Yes

Silverstone Element ST85EF 6.0 Performance Rating

Silverstone Zeus ST85ZF 9.5 Performance Rating

If I said go out and buy a 850 watta PSU from Silverstone and you came home w/ a ST85ZF, you'd probably be happy w/ that 9.5 rating.....but if you came home w/ the ST85EF (only 1 letter different in model no.)\, you'd probably never talk to me again.

Same is true for most manufacturers....and while you might assume that buying within the same line is "safe" , this is something that can not be guaranteed. writes:

When it comes to the noise they make [or build quality], PSUs of the same brand, even of the same series, are not that closely related sometimes. While some PSU brands are pretty consistently quiet (Seasonic is a good example), individual models still vary. Some brands are less consistent. This is especially true of brands whose power supplies are made for them by OEMs, often more than one at the same time, for the same or similar series. Which brands have their PSUs made by other companies? Why almost all of them — all but three names on our recommended lists: Seasonic and Fortron-Source / Sparkle (closely related), who actually manufacture their own products. Enermax used to, but some of their products are now subcontracted out; we don't know what percentage or to who.

So be warned. Don't assume that since Super Quiet 500 received an Editor's Choice award, the same brand's Ultra Silent 1000 must be very quiet [or equal in build quality] too. If we have not reviewed it, if it's not on these lists, it's best not to assume. At least inquire in the forums. SPCR does not make assessments of products without examining them, and we generally choose not to review products that don't meet our minimum requirements for "quiet". The reviews take a great deal of time and effort, and we prefer to save it for better products. So... sometimes "holes" in our recommendations of products in a series may exist because those models simply did not make the grade.

In short, read the reviews. I start here:

as SPCR does a through analysis of both build quality / electrical performance and acoustical performance. After that I go and look for another review here:

If I am happy with both, and the pricing, I've got my purchase settled.

My "short list" for readily available, and affordable units (alphabetical by category).

Outstanding for Electrical and Acoustical Performance

Antec CP Series
Antec SG Series
Seasonic MD12 Series
Seasonic X Series

Outstanding for Electrical Performance

Corsair HX Series
Silverstone Zeus Series

Very Good Electrical Performance
Antec Earthwatts
Antec TP / TPQ Series (some are / some aren't)
Corsair TX
Corsair VX
March 11, 2010 9:21:51 PM

hmm interesting, although 'quietness' is something i dont care about since my case fan makes more noise than its worth, even though its only a 120mm fan.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 12, 2010 4:38:20 AM

General rule of thumb. Good PSUs are current lines from these companies. Antec, Corsair, Enermax, PCP&C, and Seasonic. Generally you can't go wrong by buying PSUs from these guys. OCZ, Thermaltake, etc also have good PSUs, but it depends a lot more on which line your buying from. As pointed out, one letter can make a huge difference. The reason I say current lines is the also a fore mentioned SmartPower 450W. Antec used some bad capacitors in that line and they would fail under heat. If you can keep it cool enough it will treat you well. Let the heat build up however, and it will fail. My SP450W still works.

OCZs Z series is good, as is one of the Xtreme lines. Its either the mod or the stealth, I don't remember at the moment. I think the GameXtreme line is the bad one.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 12, 2010 4:55:23 AM

Your maximum power should be 50 to 60% (depending on whether you'll upgrade soon).

It's common to buy a Power Supply that's overkill. Most computers spend their time idling. For example, many people buy 850Watt Power Supplies and Idle about 200Watts which is under 25% load.

Check out the Efficiency curves for PSU's (they all have one).

Some efficient systems with i5-750's even Idle at about 80Watts which is 10% of 800Watts!

If I knew I wouldn't be upgrading I'd look carefully at my Idle and Max System Power and my Efficiency Curve for the PSU. For example, Idle should be say, 40% of the PSU's max, and my maximum output would be 75%. As long as I wasn't WAY off and getting 60% efficiency instead of 80% I'm happy.

You should be staying within 5% of your Maximum efficiency at all times.
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
March 12, 2010 5:16:55 AM

My goal is to operate a PSU at about 50% - 60% of capacity. At that point, you are not radically overspecing a power supply, yet the load is low enough that it runs relatively cool.

OTOH, I am not on a tight build budget. :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
March 12, 2010 4:20:14 PM

Concur with above 2 posts and should be in tier 2, or 1 (prefer tier 1 if cost is not to high).
I usually apply 20% at min and 50 -> 60% at max. (75% @ max load but excepable)
My system approx 100 watts Idle = 500Watt PSU, approx 300 watts @ max = 500 Watts. Have a igreen 600 watt (what I had laying arround for new build).

When min and max do not match, go for the higher wattage. Normally for the Max load and take what you get for Idle.

The 50 to 60% improves life expectancy and also voltage regulation at max load. Interms of % effiency Voltage regulation trumps as long as effiency is => 80%.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
March 12, 2010 4:29:42 PM

Here are some of the differences between a quality PSU and a cheap psu:

1) A quality psu will give you a continuous wattage rating while a cheap unit will advertise peak wattage.
2) A quality psu will deliver those watts at 40c. A cheap unit will deliver them at room temperature; 25c. Not realistic.
3) A quality psu will deliver most of the wattage on the +12v rails where it counts. A cheap psu will deliver them elsewhere.
4) A quality psu will be more efficient.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 13, 2010 5:29:52 AM

Cool PSU video:

There are modular and non-modular Corsair models. "Modular" for those that don't know means the cables are detachable which is great.

Two examples of Corsair PSU's that might be ideal for your situation:

1) HX750 Corsair (modular)
2) TX750 Corsair (non-modular)

Look around for sales too. Add in shipping costs. All things being equal I prefer the modular. I have one and it's awesome in every way.

HX model is modular but more expensive; I wouldn't pay a lot more for that luxury (got mine on sale). HX Warranty is 7 years instead of 5 which may seem like it doesn't matter but a quality PSU can easily last 10+ years, but, again not worth a significantly larger price.

Other PSU's are modular or seem similar at lower prices. Some cost a lot more. My research indicates that the Corsair TX750 is probably the best deal for the price.

Do NOT skimp on the PSU. The minimum problems are higher noise. Other issues include damaging other equipment or just causing intermittent, annoying problems which mimic other hardware or software issues. A more inefficient PSU will likely eat up any price difference over time in electricity costs. A really bad PSU can even burn down your house. Considering how much you spend on a computer over 5+ years is it worth it to get a cheap PSU just to save $50?

It's good to look at websites, read reviews and more. At the end of the day, the TX750 is a great PSU which is hard to beat. Your only decision should be what power size to get. For that, Google some reviews and find ones that show the Maximum power. Pay particular attention if you may add a second graphics card and/or overclock. As a rough rule, aim for 65% to 75% too avoid going too low or too high.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 13, 2010 6:20:29 AM

You can use the PSU link in my sig. Click that first link in that first post and it is a summary of the PSU reviews out there so you're actually looking at models and not just brands.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 13, 2010 7:57:20 AM

Modular can be nice, but not really needed. I wouldn't pay more for one. With even a half way decent case and a bit of work you can route your cables in a good way. I also wouldn't buy a PSU because of the warranty. What good is a 7-10yo PSU? You can't even use my 4yo Antec SP 450W in a machine of today because it lacks the 8 pin mobo plug that they need. You should certainly buy a quality board, but as long as you get a 3-5yo warranty I wouldn't pay extra for longer.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 13, 2010 10:44:29 AM

I have to agree modular is nice but at the end it wasn't worth paying extra. Such as I used 5 out of 6 connections on my psu. So the 6th one could have just been zip tied behind the mobo tray.

Anyway I own one of these ocZ 700w and it's treating me very well.

And yes it runs quiet, the only thing I can really hear is the top of my case fan spinning (200mm)