Page 1:Building An Entry-Level Gaming PC
Page 2:The Quest For The Right Graphics Card
Page 3:Picking A CPU, Motherboard, And RAM
Page 4:CPU Cooler
Page 5:Choosing An Appropriate Power Supply
Page 6:The Right Chassis Is Mandatory
Page 7:Drives And Installation
Page 8:A Small, Stylish Gaming PC On A Budget
Choosing An Appropriate Power Supply
PSU: Super Flower Golden Green HX 350 Watt
The merits of using an efficient power supply like the Super Flower Golden Green HX 350 W in an entry-level PC are easy to identify. We're saving money in a number of different places with this build, but this is probably the one place where you want to spend a little more.
Even our more gussied-up Red Devil configuration stays well under 300 W during testing, and we could add a Radeon R9 270 to this setup without breaking past its maximum output.
A PC like this probably won't be tasked with too many long gaming sessions, so it's more important to find a power supply capable of great performance at idle and under light desktop loads. That means consumption in the 80 W range, or even lower. And snagging an efficient PSU pays off big time down there.
The Super Flower Golden Green HX 350 W includes all of the cables needed for our build, cleanly sleeved and plenty long. It’s a typical single-rail PSU, which is more of an advantage than anything, since you don't have to worry about dividing that modest output amongst multiple rails. Because of this, we could theoretically draw 384 W at 12 V, which our build realistically doesn't require. Another advantage of going with an HX-line PSU is its five-year warranty.
The LLC DC/DC converter leaves a good impression, especially since, according to the manufacturer, it should have all major features except Over Temperature Protection (OTP). Short-circuit tests using all available output connectors reliably resulted in the Super Flower Golden Green HX 350 W shutting down.
Surprisingly, we were even able to run a Gigabyte Radeon R9 290 WindForce using an adapter, and it remained stable for prolonged periods of time. That card draws almost 216 W on its own in gaming loads, or just under 260 W under compute-heavy tasks.
Measuring the power consumption across all rails during our stress test yielded a respectable 382 W, with peaks of up to just under 500 W here and there.
Unfortunately, while this specific model is fairly easy to find over in Europe, it's less common in the U.S. We originally had about $65 budgeted for it in our fancier Red Devil configuration, so that was our target for something comparable on this side of the pond. If you can't find the Super Flower power supply, Seasonic has its SSR-360GP, which sells for $60 on Newegg, sports a slightly higher output rating, and is also 80 PLUS Gold-rated. Like the Golden Green 350 W, it's a single-rail design, and we're confident it'd be a solid alternative.
As promised, we continue to update the pricing chart:
|Components||Baseline Build||Price||Red Devil||Price|
|Graphics Card||AMD Radeon R7 260X||$120||AMD Radeon R9 270|
Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti
|CPU||AMD Athlon X4 750K||$80||AMD Athlon X4 750K||$80|
|Motherboard||Socket FM2 or FM2+||$45||Mini-ITX Socket FM2+||$85|
|RAM||8 GB DDR3-1600 Kit||$60||Avexir 8 GB DDR3-1600 LED Kit||$75|
|CPU Cooler||Bundled cooler (overclockable to 3.8 GHz)||---||Raijintek Themis with AM2 Adapter||$40|
|Thermal Paste||Not Necessary||---||Gelid GC-Extreme||$10|
|Power Supply Unit (PSU)||350 W, 80 PLUS Bronze||$25||Super Flower Golden Green 350 W 80 PLUS Gold||$65|