be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central

Best PC power supplies Windows Central 2021

To make the most of your PC components, you're going to need a power supply unit (PSU). This is the most important component of your PC build since it's what is responsible for providing power to the entire system. It's vital to choose a PSU from a reputable brand with enough capacity to support your PC. Here is our list of options for the best power supply for gaming PCs in 2021.

Best overall: EVGA SuperNOVA P2 650W

EVGA SuperNOVA P2 650WSource: EVGA

Pros:

  • 650W output
  • Quiet operation
  • Incredibly efficient
  • High-quality build
  • 10-year warranty

Cons:

  • Pricey
Category EVGA SuperNOVA P2 650W
Wattage 650W
Modular Fully
Efficiency 80 Plus Platinum
Form factor ATX12V
Cooling 1x 140mm fan
PCIe connectors 2
Warranty 10 years

650W is a good sweet spot for gaming PCs in 2021, especially if you're considering the best graphics card from NVIDIA or AMD. The SuperNOVA P2 from EVGA is a monster of a PSU. It's fully modular, allowing you to use only the cables that are required by your motherboard and connected components.

The PSU is cooled by a single 140mm blower, which has a decent curve depending on current load and the ECO mode switch on the rear of the unit allows one to choose between performance and noise. The 80 Plus Platinum badge sees this PSU as 94% efficient at converting AC to DC when under 50% load, which should be about right for most single GPU PC builds.

If all that wasn't enough already, EVGA backs this PSU up with a full 10-year warranty. It could be viewed as a little too pricey for some builds, but this is one of the best power supplies for gaming PCs.

Best overall

EVGA SuperNOVA P2

EVGA SuperNOVA P2 650W

The best power plant for your PC

You'll find it difficult to find a better value PSU than this EVGA example. It's rated for 80 Plus Platinum and has enough power for gaming PCs.

Best budget: Corsair CX Series 450W

Corsair CX450Source: Corsair

Pros:

  • 450W output
  • Affordable
  • Efficient
  • High-quality build

Cons:

  • Just one PCIe connection
  • Not fully modular
  • Limited warranty
Category Corsair CX Series 450W
Wattage 450W
Modular Semi
Efficiency 80 Plus Bronze
Form factor ATX12V
Cooling 1x 120mm fan
PCIe connectors 1
Warranty 5 years

The Corsair CX450 is an interesting power supply and that's not just because it can be found for as little as $50. This 450W variant is actually made by two manufacturers: Great Wall and Channel Well Technology. Depending on which version you manage to purchase, you'll have slightly different efficiency figures and audible fan curves.

But really, when it comes down to it, the CX450 is an extremely good PSU for the price, backed by Corsair's fair five-year warranty. The 80 Plus Bronze efficiency rating ensures this PSU is good at converting as much AC power into DC with little waste. It's not all good news, however. The single PCIe connection may restrict expansion or use with GPUs that require additional cables.

Then there's the fact this PSU is only semi-modular, meaning the main power rails are hard-wired into the unit.

Best budget

Corsair CX Series CX 450W

Corsair CX Series 450W

For when you're on a tight budget

Corsair is a household name for gaming hardware and the company's range of PSUs are solid choices, especially the CX series.

Best 550W PSU: Seasonic Focus 550W

Seasonic Focus 550WSource: Seasonic

Pros:

  • 550W output
  • Quiet operation
  • Excellent efficiency
  • High-quality build

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Limited warranty
Category Seasonic Focus 550W
Wattage 550W
Modular Semi
Efficiency 80 Plus Gold
Form factor ATX12V
Cooling 1x 120mm fan
PCIe connectors 2
Warranty 7 years

Seasonic may not be the most renowned brand for power supplies, but it's actually responsible for plenty of PSUs out there from reputable brands like NZXT. The Focus series is Seasonic's mid-range line of power plants and this 550W unit is more than enough for most PCs. It's semi-modular, is rated at 80 Plus Gold, and delivers stable power to all your components.

It may be semi-modular, but Seasonic allows you to pick and choose which peripheral cables you wish to use, as well as an optional PCIe cable if your GPU requires it. It's a little pricey for an 80 Plus Gold PSU, but the level of quality you receive with a Seasonic power supply shouldn't be overlooked.

Best 550W PSU

Seasonic Focus

Seasonic Focus 550W

Focus on power delivery

Seasonic makes some of the best PSUs out there, and the Focus range is a great choice for most PC builds.

Best 850W PSU: Corsair RM850x

Corsair RM850xSource: Corsair

Pros:

  • 850W output
  • Quiet operation
  • Incredibly efficient
  • High-quality build
  • 10-year warranty

Cons:

  • Pricey
Category Corsair RM850x
Wattage 850W
Modular Fully
Efficiency 80 Plus Gold
Form factor ATX12V
Cooling 1x 135mm fan
PCIe connectors 4
Warranty 10 years

If you plan on using the latest GPUs from AMD or NVIDIA and want a capable processor with plenty of other components connected, you'll want to step up your power headroom estimation to about 850W. Corsair's RM850x has more than enough to supply reliable, stable power to all your expensive parts.

It's fully modular, as expected at this price point, is cooled by a magnetic 135mm fan, and is 80 Plus Gold rated. Backed by a full 10-year warranty and using premium Japanese capacitors rated for 105C, you'll have no issues running your PC with this best power supply for gaming PCs.

Best 850W PSU

Corsair RM850x

Corsair RM850x

Enough power for latest GPUs

Corsair's RM range of PSUs is fantastic for mid-range PCs with the latest NVIDIA 30-series graphics cards.

Best 1000W PSU: be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12

be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central

Pros:

  • 1000W output
  • 80 Plus Titanium rating
  • Incredibly efficient
  • High-quality build
  • 10-year warranty

Cons:

  • Expensive
Category be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12
Wattage 1000W
Modular Fully
Efficiency 80 Plus Titanium
Form factor ATX12V
Cooling 1x 135mm fan
PCIe connectors 8
Warranty 10 years

be quiet! makes some high-quality PC components and the company's PSU range is renowned for low noise and stable operation. Take those traits and throw in 1000W and 80 Plus Titanium efficiency rating and you get the be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12. This 1000W unit is an absolute behemoth in power delivery.

It's expensive — and I'm talking the price of a GPU or CPU expensive — but you get a fully modular PSU with a 135mm fan to keep everything cool under load. There are eight PCIe connections, which shows just how serious this PSU is at supplying power, and you can choose between multi or single-rail 12V modes.

Best 1000W PSU

be quiet! Dark Power 12

be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12

For serious PC builds

You likely don't require a 1000W power supply, nor should you reserve a good portion of your budget to buy one. But this is one of the best PSUs around.

Best SFX: FSP Dagger Pro

FSP Dagger Pro 850WSource: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central

Pros:

  • 650W output
  • 80 Plus Gold rating
  • Very efficient
  • High-quality build
  • Compact size

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Limited warranty
Category FSP Dagger Pro
Wattage 650W
Modular Fully
Efficiency 80 Plus Gold
Form factor ATX12V
Cooling 1x 92mm fan
PCIe connectors 2
Warranty 7 years

FSP is a manufacturer of PSUs that makes units for other companies, including be quiet! They make solid power supplies that are reliable and provide clean and stable current to connected hardware. We're big fans of the FSP Dagger Pro range of SFX units that are well designed for use inside more compact PC builds.

This 650W model is fully modular, has enough capacity to handle a full gaming rig, is 80 Plus Gold rated, has a warranty of seven years, and has a powerful 12V rail. The fan can get a little loud when pushed with a heavy load, but it's not something that you'll notice much above other fans spinning up inside the case.

Best SFX

FSP Dagger Pro 850W

FSP Dagger Pro

Most compact PSU

FSP makes some great PSUs for other brands and its own collection of power supplies is also worth considering.

What about other PSUs?

It's difficult to choose a good PSU for your build as there are many out there from reputable companies. PCs only really need around 500W with a single dedicated GPU, and a 1000W PSU from an unknown brand will likely not be as good as an 850W option from the likes of Corsair.

One thing we strongly recommend avoiding is saving too much money. It's best to spend a little more on this component to get a unit that sports necessary protective features, as well as great reliability and support from the manufacturer. Just remember one thing when shopping: Wattage isn't everything. Don't go for the highest number you see.

How much wattage do you need?

Depending on what components you plan on installing inside the PC, you'll want to have a power supply with additional headroom in addition to providing enough power to all the components. PSU manufacturers have their own calculators, which you can find below, but we recommend around 700W for most PC builds.

NVIDIA also recommends PSU wattage limits depending on which 30-series GPU is selected. There's likely not going to be a scenario where more than 900W of power will be required by your system, making such a PSU rather pointless, unless you're building an enthusiast rig.

Higher efficiency means less waste

80 Plus is a certification system to show the efficiency a PSU is capable of. Percentages are provided for 20%, 50%, and 100% loads. If your system uses about 250W at peak demand and the PSU is capable of handling 500W, you're reaching the 50% threshold. This is where power supplies are generally considered to be most efficient.

Load 80 Plus Bronze 80 Plus Silver 80 Plus Gold 80 Plus Platinum 80 Plus Titanium
20% 85% 87% 90% 92% 94%
50% 88% 90% 92% 94% 96%
100% 85% 87% 89% 90% 94%

The higher up in the table you go, the more expensive the PSU will become. An 80 Plus Bronze is considerably more affordable than a range-topping 80 Plus Titanium, for example. When it comes down to it, you won't notice much of a difference between the 80 Plus tiers, aside from a heat output and power draw.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Author:

Rich Edmonds is a staff reviewer at Windows Central, which means he tests out more software and hardware than he cares to remember. Joining Mobile Nations in 2010, you can usually find him inside a PC case tinkering around when not at a screen fighting with Grammarly to use British words. Hit him up on Twitter: @RichEdmonds.

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