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Picking The Right Power Supply: What You Should Know

Example 2: Mid-Range Gaming PC

Test Case 2: The Mid-Range PC

Again, let’s begin by taking a look at our mid-range build.

Next, we pick out some likely power supplies. Our choices are:

Hardwaremania24Standard ATX 420WNone$14 (£N/A / €9.90)
LC-PowerLC6350 Super Silent 350WNone$28 (£37 / €19.90)
RasurboReal & Power RAP 350W80 PLUS$49 (£N/A / €35.00)
Super Flower Golden Green 450W80 PLUS Gold$83 (£N/A / €59.00)
EnermaxModu 82+ II ErP 425W80 PLUS Bronze$113 (£N/A - €80.00)

Two PSUs Are Killed In Action

That brings us back to our charts. Sadly, two of our contenders didn’t survive this scenario, though we're hardly surprised. Remember what we said about the spec sticker on one PSU that promised more power than could realistically deliver? Yep, that was one of our casualties. More interesting than the fact that it died was the point at which it happened. See for yourself:


Rasurbo enjoys a small lead when our system is idle. But once the PC presents a normal load, Super Flower winds up ahead by a slim margin. Despite its much higher price, the Enermax unit finds itself in third place. LC-Power and the cheap Hardwaremania24 PSU come in last.

Under full load, Enermax advances to second place, right behind Super Flower. Rasurbo’s Real & Power RAP 350W is right up against its limit, which is evident by its waning efficiency. It really is just a bit underpowered for this build, so we wouldn't recommend it for extended use. Downgrading to a more mid-range graphics card would definitely help.

In order to let our two low-cost candidates compete here, we had to use PCIe adapters for the graphics card. LC-Power’s so-called 350W model died a sudden (albeit quiet) death, giving off a hiss and a picturesque little cloud. We decided not to continue testing the Hardwaremania24 model under load, since it gave off a pungent odor as soon as we fired up Google Earth in our “normal load” scenario. We considered that warning enough, and chose to protect the rest of the platform from imminent meltdown. We’re not exaggerating the danger either, since the PSU lacks any kind of protection mechanism beyond a sluggish micro-fuse.

Aris Mpitziopoulos
Aris Mpitziopoulos is a Contributing Editor at Tom's Hardware US, covering PSUs.