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Efficient, 80 PLUS Gold-Certified PSUs: A Lot Of Good Options

Four 80 PLUS Gold Power Supplies Under 450 W, Reviewed
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Power supplies in the 450 W range with 80 PLUS Gold certifications are understandably popular. They offer enough power for most PCs, they're obviously efficient, and they aren't incredibly expensive. Even though 450 W sounds small, a good manufacturer will arm its offering with plenty of cables and connectors (enough so that a couple of single-GPU graphics cards are often viable). Modular cables are almost always part of the value proposition as well. 

Today's round-up shows that some of the top vendors make similar choices when it comes to pricing and the performance of their power supplies' internal parts. Differences that do exist typically involve the bundled accessories.

Because the companies that chose to submit samples for testing are generally well-respected, it's hard to go wrong with any of these units. Since we can't identify one clear winner, here are our thoughts on each power supply:

Enermax's 430 W Revolution X't has the lowest output rating in our round-up. However, the difference between it and the other three power supplies is small, especially since the Revolution's +12 V rail delivers up to 98% of its theoretical performance in practice.

Strengths include good build quality and lots of connectors. The partly modular cabling facilitates some flexibility. Performance-wise, our measurements turn out unremarkable; they're neither good or bad versus the competition.

If we look at Enermax's cooling solution, you get a constant, but unobtrusive fan noise. Compared to the rest of the field, however, it's the loudest. The components contained within aren't particularly high-end, though most enthusiasts would consider them acceptable.

All things considered, the Revolution X't does its job well. The worst thing we can say about it is that Enermax is on the expensive side in a field filled with strong contenders.

One such contender is Cooler Master's V450S. Fortunately for Enermax, you can't buy the V450S in the U.S. Overseas, where this power supply is available, it represents the semi-modular implementation of Cooler Master's completely modular V family. It shares that line-up's high efficiency, beating the other PSUs in our round-up at each load level. This distinction is particularly striking at low loads.

The V450S also does well when it comes to ripple and noise. The remaining measurements are unremarkable. Cooler Master does cut corners a bit on cable length and connector variety. As we saw from Enermax's Revolution X't, though, there’s nothing to complain about once we open the V450S up and pore over its internals.

If you're looking for a silent PSU, consider Corsair's RM450 instead. Its fan doesn’t even spin most of the time thanks to a well-designed semi-passive design. And even when higher loads necessitate active cooling, the fan is quiet.

The RM450’s build quality is exemplary, and its internals follow suit. You don't get the most modern topology, but since it still achieves 80 PLUS Gold-class efficiency, we can't really complain. But Corsair's RM450 doesn't push past those qualifying marks, and its efficiency drops fast at lower load levels.

One possible explanation could be the fully modular cabling, which is unique among the four power supplies tested today. Combined with long runs and a wide variety of connectors, you at least get the best possible flexibility for cable management.

At first glance, Seasonic's S12G 450 W appears to be this round-up’s wallflower. There's no cable management, the chassis isn't fancy, and the price tag is noticeably low. We know by now not to judge books by their cover though, right?

In reality, the S12G has every right to sport its 80 PLUS logo. Just like the Enermax and Corsair offerings, though, its efficiency does decline a lot faster than the Cooler Master V450S. Still, it doesn't exhibit any weaknesses in our other measurements, behaving well in the ripple and noise benchmarks.

Seasonic doesn't cut any corners with cable length or connector variety. The supply's fan does spin continuously, but it's also really quiet. Open the S12G up and, particularly after paying the lowest price in this round-up, you get your biggest surprise: a modern design with high-quality components and fantastic soldering throughout. Enthusiasts with their own cable management skills and a penchant for good bargains should choose this power supply.

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