Although high-wattage power supplies get most of the glory, we take our hats off to small, efficient solutions offering more practical output. We take four sub-450 W PSUs and run them through our benchmark suite to see if we can determine a winner.
In the automotive world, being green is all the rage. No manufacturer wants to be caught without at least one model aimed squarely at that demographic. And sure, the government gets involved by compelling the industry to move toward cars that consume less fuel and pump out fewer emissions into the atmosphere. The response isn't surprising: our more mainstream cars trade power for higher efficiency.
The same general principle can be applied to power supplies. Today's processors are far less power-hungry than their predecessors. Even gaming-oriented PCs built for performance seldom suck down more than 450 W. Better efficiency, on the other hand, is good for both the environment and your wallet.
So, we went into this round-up with the following two requirements for the participants: their submissions couldn't exceed 450 W and they needed to be efficient. In order to keep prices within reason, we settled on an 80 PLUS Gold rating as sufficient to meet our second demand.
Four vendors stepped up to our challenge. Seasonic offered its S12G at 450 W, which is currently selling for $75. Enermax sent in its Revolution X't, rated for 430 W and available at $90. Spend an additional $10 and you can get Corsair's RM450, which, as its name suggests, is rated for up to 450 W. Cooler Master submitted its V450S. And although that unit appeared promising, it isn't available in the U.S. That makes Seasonic's power supply the least-expensive option in our field, which isn't something you might have expected.