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Best Power Supply Unit for PC gaming

Best Power Supply Unit for PC gaming
(Image credit: Corsair, Seasonic)

Without the best power supply unit for PC gaming, you might as well be driving a paperweight. But these somewhat innocuous metal bricks may very well be the most critical part of your gaming PC build. Without the right power supply unit (PSU), your best graphics card or gaming CPU can't do what they were designed to do.

Unfortunately, just buying the biggest PSU you can possibly slot into your case is hardly the most efficient solution. While you'll certainly have more than enough juice to run your components, you'll be wasting money, potentially impeding airflow in your build by jamming a massive power brick in there and drawing an unnecessarily large amount of power that your PC won't have any use for, which just equates to excess heat. 

No interruptions!

(Image credit: CyberPower)

Need a stable supply? Here are the best uninterruptible power supplies for PC.

Besides looking at the overall wattage of a given PSU, there are three main flavors to choose from: Fully modular, which lets you pick and choose what cables you want to use from a small satchel that typically comes packaged with the system. These usually are slightly more expensive but save you on the hassle of finding ways to route cables you don't need. 

Semi and Non-Modular PSUs have the essential ATX and SATA connectors slotted directly into the supply itself, and while semi-modular offers some room for expansion, non-modular supplies force you to work with what you have and can force you to find a home for cables you potentially don't need.

Besides the form factor and wattage of your PSU, you'll also want to look at the power efficiency which dictates how easily the PSU converts the AC from your wall into the DC that is usable by your computer. The industry standard for most commercial PSUs is the "80 Plus" rating system which rates from bronze to titanium. This means you can expect at least an 80 percent efficiency in terms of AC to DC, with a higher rating equating to better efficiency and potential savings on your energy bill. Other standards are also gaining popularity such as the ETA and LAMDA certifications which have more granular efficiency measurements, as well as monitoring the noise created by the PSU.

The good news is, if you invest in the right power supply with a little bit of headroom and the right warranty, you can continue to upcycle it to future builds as well, making this a decision worthy of consideration.

Best power supply units for PC

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1. Corsair RM850x

The best PSU for PC gaming

Form factor: ATX | Capacity: 850W | Efficiency rating: 80 Plus Gold | Modularity: Full | Warranty: 10-year

Reliable with great warranty
Fully modular cables
Quiet fan
Slightly pricier than competitors

Corsair's RM-series power supplies have been an enthusiast favorite for years now. The company has developed a strong reputation as one of the leaders in reliability and warranty service for PSUs. The latest RMX line features improved components, a quiet fan and a fantastic price point. The usual features that made the series a hit are of course still present, including 80 Plus Gold certification, fully modular cables and a generous 10-year warranty.

We've used RMX power supplies for years here at PC Gamer and have never had an issue with any of them. Priced just slightly above competing modular 80 Plus Gold power supplies, the RM850x features up to 850 Watts of continuous power which is more than most users will need for even multi-GPU builds. Reliability and a great balance of performance and features make the RM850x our all-around top choice for power supplies.

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(Image credit: Cooler Master)
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2. Cooler Master MasterWatt 750W

The best budget power supply

Form factor: ATX | Capacity: 750W | Efficiency rating: 80 Plus Bronze | Modularity: Semi | Warranty: 5-year

Affordable
Fanless below 15% load
Relatively compact
Only semi-modular

When you're on a tight budget, it can be tempting to disregard major brands and choose the cheapest power supply available. In some cases, you might even be okay doing so, but we can't stress enough that power supplies should be given at least a little bit of thought. Spending just a few more dollars can mean the difference between just a simple power supply failure or a catastrophic one that takes down other components with it.

Cooler Master's MasterWatt series is our favorite choice for budget builds. They aren't the cheapest power supplies around, but they offer a whole lot more than their cheaper counterparts. 80 Plus Bronze certification, a clean design with semi-modular cables and a trusty five-year warranty make the MasterWatt a safe bet with great value for users on a budget.

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3. FSP Dagger 500W

The best compact power supply for mini-ITX builds

Form factor: SFX | Capacity: 500W | Efficiency rating: 80 Plus Gold | Modularity: Full | Warranty: 10-year

High quality capacitors
Fanless under 50% load
Fully modular for easy installation
Expensive

If you're building a small form factor computer with a mini-ITX or otherwise compact case, using a standard ATX power supply will be either extremely cumbersome or downright impossible. That's where SFX and compact power supplies come in handy. If your mini-ITX case doesn't include a built in power supply, the FSP Dagger is our top recommendation.

It may not be a recognizable brand to some, but FSP is actually a major manufacturer of power supplies. The company has been responsible for creating PSUs for Antec, SilverStone, Thermaltake and many others for years. FSP's Dagger 500W is great for compact builds due to its high efficiency ratings and full modularity. These features make it easier to install while also keeping high temperatures at bay, which is important to consider with any small form factor build.

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4. Gamdias Astrape P1-750G

The best RGB power supply

Form factor: ATX | Capacity: 750W | Efficiency rating: 80 Plus Gold | Modularity: Full | Warranty: 10-year

26 RGB lighting effects
10 year warranty
RGB only controlled via button
Lighting doesn't sync with other components

Whether you love it or hate it, RGB has just about made its way to every single component in the PC hardware space. A light up power supply is only natural if you're one of the few builders on a mission to fill an entire case with RGB components. There aren't a whole lot of options since most modern cases cover the entire power supply, but the Gamdias Astrape would be our main recommendation here.

The Astrape 750G features high quality Japanese capacitors, 80 Plus Gold certification and fully modular cables. The built in fan comes with addressable RGB LEDs that are loaded with 26 different lighting effects. These animations were much nicer than the other options we've tested, but the controls are inconveniently located behind the power supply. Gamdias isn't the most reputable brand when it comes to power supplies, but the Astrape is built with high quality capacitors backed by a ten-year warranty.

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5. NZXT E850

The best digital power supply

Form factor: ATX | Capacity: 850W | Efficiency rating: 80 Plus Gold | Modularity: Full | Warranty: 10-year

Digital power monitoring
NZXT CAM software integration
Sleek design
Expensive

Digitally monitored power supplies have been around for a few years now, but none have come bundled with as useful a software as NZXT's E-series. The E850 is one of the most expensive 850 Watt Gold certified power supplies on the market, yet we can't help but recommend it in this guide. The build quality, design and overall feature set make it a solid choice for enthusiast builds.

The E850 is powered by NZXT's CAM software, an all-in-one hardware monitoring tool that provides valuable insight for both gamers and enthusiasts. The E-series power supplies are able to track in real-time Wattage draw from the CPU, GPU and attached peripherals. Additional insights include temperatures, power on time, voltage and fan speeds. Most users won't find this information terribly useful, but for those concerned or curious to know exactly how much power their PC and its parts are consuming, NZXT's E850 is the most consumer-friendly option available.

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6. Seasonic Prime 1000 Titanium

The best high end power supply

Form factor: ATX | Capacity: 1000W | Efficiency rating: 80 Plus Titanium | Modularity: Full | Warranty: 12-year

12 year warranty
Titanium certification
Very quiet
Really expensive

The 80 Plus certification standard has been around for quite some time now, but only recently has the 80 Plus Titanium certification become available. Unlike the Bronze through Platinum certifications, Titanium is the only level that measures efficiency at low loads. This is particularly important since most power supplies aren't operating at full load all of the time. 

There aren't a whole lot of options available when it comes to Titanium rated PSUs, but Seasonic's Prime Titanium would have to be our favorite. This power supply is likely the beefiest one you'll need. Unless you're running a full stack of power hungry AMD gpus, 1000 Watts is more than enough for a high end machine. The Prime Titanium features everything you'd expect in a high end PSU including the highest quality internal components, fully modular cables and a suite of useful accessories.

Best of all, the power supply comes with a staggering 12-year warranty. It certainly says a lot about reliability when a company is willing to back their product for over a decade. Seasonic's Prime Titanium may be pricey, but a high end machine deserves a high end power supply.

Choosing the best power supplies

An 80 PLUS Titanium certified power supply is more efficient than a Bronze one, meaning the internal components are subjected to less heat and are likely to have a longer lifespan. This also means fans don't have to work as hard, and are quieter in efficient power supplies. They may cost a bit more, but higher certified power supplies do tend to be more reliable than others. Luckily, most manufacturers offer warranties.

This is why reliability, customer support, warranty and manufacturer reputations are among the first things we looked for when choosing the best power supplies. Since there isn't exactly a single solution that makes sense for every build, we decided on a number of categories to fit the needs of more PC gamers. For each, we also took into account budgets, compatibilities, unique features and designs.

Our top selections were made based on a combination of the criteria listed above and overall efficiency ratings. While it isn't by any means the all-telling solution for PSU performance, the 80 PLUS certification program provides some form of standardization and expectations for efficiency. More efficient PSUs mean less heat and lower energy consumption.