Your power supply (or PSU) plays a major part in determining your system's reliability, depending on its performance. So you should be careful when it comes to picking the right PSU for your build. A great power supply should also have protection features to save your components (including the power supply itself) in case something goes wrong with the electricity supply or your other PC components.
You'll also of course have different concerns depending on whether your power supply will be pushing a monster mining rig, an always-churning workstation, or a mainstream productivity or gaming desktop. We’ll help you find the right power supply for your next desktop below.
Quick Shopping Tips
First, figure out your wattage requirements. It doesn’t make sense to purchase much more potential power capacity (wattage) than you’ll ever use. You can roughly calculate how much power your new or upgraded system will draw from the wall and look for a capacity point that satisfies your demands. Several power supply sellers have calculators that will give you a rough estimate of your system's power needs. You can find a few below:
- Cooler Master Power Calculator
- Seasonic Wattage Calculator
- MSI PSU Calculator
- be quiet! PSU Calculator
- Newegg PSU Calculator
You probably don’t need a 1,000-watt PSU, even for an extreme gaming rig. A few years ago, all graphics cards on the high-end of our GPU hierarchy were very power hungry. But this has changed with Nvidia's recent architectures. It's simply not necessary to buy a 1kW PSU for a couple of RTX 2080s. An 800W model will do just fine, leaving headroom for an overclocked CPU as well. Fans of AMD's high-end Radeon VII or the newer Radeon RX 5700 XT will need to plan for higher power use, pairing these cards with PSUs featuring greater maximum output.
Check the physical dimensions of your case before buying. Chances are, if you have a standard ATX PC case, an ATX power supply will fit. But many higher-wattage PSUs are longer than the typical 5.5 inches. So you’ll want to be sure of your case’s PSU clearance. If you have a particularly tiny or slim PC case, it may require a less-typical (and more compact) SFX power supply. We have picks for this form factor below as well.
Want a clean build or working in a tiny case? Consider a modular power supply. If your case has lots of room behind the motherboard, or your chassis doesn’t have a window or glass side, you can of course cable-wrap the wires you don’t need and stash them inside your rig. But if the system you’re building doesn’t have space for this, or there’s no easy place to hide your cable mess, it’s worth paying extra for a modular power supply. Modular PSUs let you only plug in the power cables you need and leave the rest in the box.
Best Power Supplies 2019
1. Bitfenix BF450G
Best Cheap PSU ($60/£60 or less)
Rating: 4 / 5
Manufacturer (OEM): Channel Well Technology | Max. DC Output: 450W | Efficiency: 80 PLUS Gold, ETA-A (88-91%)| Form Factor: ATX12V v2.4, EPS 2.92 | Cooling: 120mm rifle bearing fan (DF1202512SELN) | Modular: No | Warranty: 5 years
Pros: Full power at 46°C • High efficiency • Good ripple suppression • Tight load regulation • Quiet operation • Excellent build quality • Compact dimensions
Cons: Non-modular cable design • Power factor is a little lower than normal
BitFenix's Formula Gold 450W is a bit pricier than competing PSUs like Corsair's CX450 and EVGA's 450 BT. But it's also more efficient and much quieter. If your needs are covered by 450W of output and you don't have a problem with fixed cables, then the BF450G is worth considering for your mainstream PC.
Read Review: BitFenix Formula Gold 450W PSU
Alternate Pick: Corsair CX450 450W PSU
Another decent alternative if your budget is low, you need more than 500W of capacity, and you aren't that concerned about efficiency or some fan noise under load is the Corsair VS650. It won't win any performance awards, but it gets the job done without much in the way of frills or fuss, for less than $50.
2. Corsair RM550x
Best PSU: Up to 550 Watts
Rating: 4 / 5 (Editor's Choice)
Manufacturer (OEM): CWT | Max. DC Output: 550W | Efficiency: 80 Plus Gold, ETA-A (88-91%) | Form Factor: ATX12V v2.4, EPS 2.92 | Cooling: 135mm Rifle Bearing Fan (NR135L) | Modular: Yes | Warranty: 10 years
Pros: Full power at 48°C • Efficient • Semi-passive operation • Silent • Japanese caps • Fully modular
Cons: Expensive • No fan test button • Distance between 4-pin Molex connectors
The RM550x is an amazing PSU with fantastic ripple suppression, tight load regulation on the minor rails and excellent performance with transient loads. It’s also nearly silent, even under load. On top of that, this unit is highly efficient, although some other Gold-rated PSUs with similar capacity fare a bit better.
Another advantage of the RM550x is the quality of its internal components. The only thing that we would like to see in this PSU is a convenient way to test the fan's proper operation. The fan does spin for a short time every time the power supply is switched on, but we'd like Corsair to add a fan test button like the one on its RMi units.
Read Review: Corsair RM550x PSU
Alternate Pick: Bitfenix Whisper Series 550W PSU
3. Seasonic SSR-600TL
Best PSU: Up to 650 Watts
Rating: 4.5 / 5 (Editor's Choice)
Manufacturer (OEM): Seasonic | Max. DC Output: 600W | Efficiency: 80 PLUS Titanium, ETA-A+ | Form Factor: ATX12V v2.4, EPS 2.92 | Cooling: Passive | Modular: Yes | Warranty: 12 years
Pros: Resilient to high temperatures • Efficient • Accurate Power Ok signal • Dead silent • Fully modular • 2x EPS & 4x PCIe connectors • Excellent build quality and long warranty
Cons: Expensive • Distance between peripheral connectors • Not top-notch transient performance • Inrush current with 230V input
The SSR-600TL is the best passively-cooling PSU we’ve tested. It’s super efficient, its overall performance puts to shame many high-end active cooling PSUs, and it can easily support a strong gaming system. Its only serious drawback is its high price tag, and every passive power supply is going to have the same issue.
If you want to spend less and a semi-passive PSU is good enough, there are more affordable options in Seasonic's portfolio that we'd still call quiet.
But if you're looking for something to put into a special-purpose PC (for a recording studio or hemi-anechoic noise testing chamber), then your best bet is a passive unit that costs more.
Read Review: Seasonic Prime Titanium Fanless 600W PSU
Alternate Pick: EVGA SuperNOVA 650 G3 PSU
4. Seasonic SSR-750PX
Best PSU: Up to 750 Watts
Rating: 4 / 5
Manufacturer (OEM): Seasonic | Max. DC Output: 750W | Efficiency: 80 PLUS Platinum, ETA-A (88-91%) | Form Factor: ATX12V v2.4, EPS 2.92 | Cooling: 120mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing Fan (HA1225M12F-Z) | Modular: Fully modulaR | Warranty: 10 years
Pros: Reasonable Price • Full power at 47°C • High efficiency • Good build quality • Quiet operation • 10-year warranty • Compact dimensions
Cons: EMI • 3.3V transient response • High OPP • 5VSB OCP • Short distance between peripheral connectors
Seasonic's 750W Focus Plus Platinum is a true bargain in the $110 range. We don't know how the company managed to hit such an attractive value point while maintaining strong performance, excellent build quality, and a 10-year warranty. It offers superb overall performance, employs fully modular cabling, and fits in a compact enclosure.
In the past, Seasonic's engineers played it safe with aggressive fan profiles for increased airflow, and as a result, many of its previous-generation PSUs were fairly noisy. But with the fresh Prime and Focus models, that’s just not the case. The high-efficiency Focus models feature semi-passive modes and loose fan profiles, even under tough operating conditions. It’s nice to see key OEMs like Seasonic realizing that performance and reliability should go along with mild acoustics.
Read Review: Seasonic Focus Plus Platinum 750 PSU
Alternate Pick: Corsair RM750x PSU
5. Corsair AX850
Best PSU: Up to 850 Watts
Rating: 4.5 / 5 (EC)
Manufacturer (OEM): Seasonic | Max. DC Output: 850W | Efficiency: 80 PLUS Titanium, ETA-A+ (91-94%) | Form Factor: ATX12V v2.4, EPS 2.92 | Cooling: 135mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing Fan (HA13525L12F-Z) | Modular: Fully modular | Warranty: 10 years
Pros: Quiet Operation • Efficient • Great performance overall • Long hold-up time • Top build quality • Ten-year warranty
Cons: Expensive • EPS connectors should use 16AWG wires • Short distance between the peripheral connectors • High OCP on the minor rails
If you need the best 850W power supply and you don't have a restrictive budget, the AX850 should be among your top choices. It registers high performance in all areas: efficiency, load regulation, ripple suppression, transient response and, on top of that, it is dead silent as well.
While it's the best 850 watt premium PSU around, it's not a perfect device. I wish the current triggering points on the minor rails were lower, that there was a larger distance between the peripheral connectors (ideally 150mm) and that there were 16AWG gauges on the EPS connectors.
Read Review: Corsair AX850 PSU
6. Corsair AX1000
Best PSU: Up to 1,000 Watts
Rating: 4.5 / 5 (Editor's Choice)
Manufacturer (OEM): Seasonic | Max. DC Output: 1000W | Efficiency: 80 PLUS Titanium, ETA-A+ | Form Factor: ATX12V v2.4, EPS 2.92 | Cooling:135mm fluid dynamic bearing fan (HA13525M12F-Z) | Modular: Fully modular | Warranty: 10 years
Pros: 80 PLUS Titanium efficiency • Solid build quality • Excellent results through our benchmark suite • Fully modular • 8x PCIe & 2x EPS connectors • Sleeved cables • Selectable semi-passive mode • 10-year warranty
Cons: Expensive • EPS connectors should use 16AWG wires • Short distance between the peripheral connectors • OCP triggering points on the minor rails should be set lower
Corsair's AX1000 is one of the best 1kW power supplies available. If you want the highest possible performance matched with quiet operation, don't hesitate to make it the centerpiece of your next build (provided the price doesn't scare you off).
This beastly PSU offers tight load regulation on all of its rails, amazing ripple suppression, and crazy-high efficiency levels. Its transient response is impressive, so we're not surprised that it takes the lead from Seasonic's 1000W 80 PLUS Platinum- and Titanium-rated models (even though they're built using the same platform with slight modifications).
Read Review: Corsair AX1000 PSU
Alternate Pick: Seasonic Prime Ultra Platinum 1000W PSU
7. Corsair AX1600i
Best PSU Above 1000 Watts
Rating: 5 / 5 (Editor's Choice)
Manufacturer (OEM): Flextronics | Max. DC Output: 1600W | Efficiency: 80 PLUS Titanium, ETA-A+ | Form Factor: ATX12V v2.4, EPS 2.92 | Cooling: 140mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing Fan (NR140P) | Modular: Fully modular | Warranty: 10 years
Pros: Full power at 48°C • Powerful & efficient • Ripple suppression • Load regulation • Hold-up time • Accurate Power Ok signal • Silent • Quality caps • Fully modular • Lots of connectors • Quality fan • Magnetic side covers
Cons: Expensive • Small distance between peripheral connectors • EMI with AVG detector
We waited years for a competitor to dethrone Corsair's AX1500i, and in the end it was another Corsair power supply to post higher overall performance. The Corsair AX1600i is the best PSU that money can buy today, period. It offers top performance in all areas and uses an innovative platform, which provides a glimpse at the future of power supply design.
The use of a cutting-edge PFC circuit in combination with a fully digital platform seems to be the key for record-setting performance. Besides its super efficiency, the AX1600i also offers great load regulation, amazing transient response, a long hold-up time, and unparalleled ripple suppression. Moreover, the great benchmark results are accompanied by quiet operation, enabled by a relaxed fan profile and a high-quality FDB fan. Using the Corsair Link software, you're able to choose between three fan modes: performance, balanced, and quiet.
Read Review: Corsair AX1600i PSU
Alternate Pick: EVGA SuperNOVA 1600 T2 PSU
8. Corsair SF750
Best SFX PSU
Rating: 4.5 / 5 (Editor's Choice)
Manufacturer (OEM): Great Wall | Max. DC Output: 750W | Efficiency: 80 PLUS Platinum, ETA-A (88-91%) | Form Factor: SFX, EPS 2.92 | Cooling: 92mm Rifle Bearing Fan (NR092L) | Modular: Fully modular | Warranty: 10 years
Pros: Powerful • Efficient • Great ripple suppression • Tight load regulation • Quiet operation • Fully modular • 7-year warranty
Cons: Expensive • Low hold-up time • Semi-passive mode can’t be deactivated
The Corsair SF750 is the strongest and one of the best SFX power supplies that money can get you today. If you want so much power out of such a small PSU and you can afford its stiff price, there is no other option. It can easily support a potent gaming system and thanks to the couple of EPS connectors that it has, and is compatible with high-end mainboards that need more juice in the CPU's area.
If you don't need more than one graphics card connector, you should consider the top-notch SF600 Platinum instead and save yourself some serious money. Corsair has set the so high in the SFX market that even SFX pioneer SilverStone, doesn't have, for the moment at least, a competing 750W SFX model in its portfolio.
Read Review: Corsair SF750 PSU
Alternate Pick: Corsair SF600 Platinum PSU