These days, it's not always simple to choose the ideal power supply unit for one's needs. Faced with a bewildering array of manufacturers, brands, models and wattage levels, casual buyers often judge by outward appearances, attractive prices, or nominal wattage ratings. However, seasoned hardware enthusiasts generally shop for a power supply that's earned a reputation for quality and reliability, with appropriate wattage and price as secondary considerations. The consequences of a badly-chosen power supply may include system instability, lockups, BSODs, hard-disk corruption, and even catastrophic power-supply failure which damages other components; it's not simply a case of, say, losing a few 3DMarks because one chose a stylish-looking video card that happened to have slow RAM. The power supply is fundamental to the rest of the computer, and merits as much care as any other hardware purchase.



Aftermarket power-supplies seem to fall into one of three market segments. The budget segment covers mainstream home/office computers used for general Internet and office work, where a good-quality 400-watt unit would be more than adequate. The midrange segment covers the requirements of enthusiasts running upper-end video cards, additional drives, demanding CPUs, and perhaps overclocking. The most demanding (and profitable) segment is the high-end enthusiast market, where it's the norm to find multiple GPUs, advanced overclocking and cooling, many drives, and sometimes multiple CPUs.

Tangentially, for an everyday home/office user whose computer's needs won't exceed 400 watts, we suggest our European readers consider the be quiet! brand. be quiet! has earned a reputation for reliable, stable power supplies offering good value, good support, and respectable appearance. The company boasts a unique 48-hour exchange service for customers in Germany, Poland, and France. be quiet! was one of the first companies to recognize the desire for super-quiet power supplies, and still offers some of the quietest units on the market, but the excellent support and exchange service are also major selling points for buyers in Europe.

In the mid-range and high-end enthusiast segments of the market, we see a tremendous selection of power supplies with a wide range of wattages, ranging as high as 1600 watts. While most of us will agree that 1600 watts borders on the ridiculous, it certainly illustrates that power-supply manufacturers listen to the market, and will build what people want to buy. At AnandTech, we have tested various models from 1000 to 1300 watts this year, but have no immediate plans to go beyond that. For 2008, we will focus on a wider range of mid-range power supplies rated at up to ~850 watts, which is still quite potent.

Power Supplies of the Year
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  • kilkennycat - Friday, December 21, 2007 - link

    The unrestricted ~60 amps available to each +12V output of the PC Power & Cooling supply should create a very pretty conflagration if the PC develops an internal low-impedance or short-circuit on a +12V line.... or if, say, an output capacitor in the power-supply begins to current-leak. There is a very good reason why Intel recommends a current limit of not more than 22amps PER OUTPUT on the +12V lines. Costs a bit more in components and space to implement the extra circuitry to provide safe current limits on EACH +12V output. Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Friday, December 21, 2007 - link

    Your post is so silly, it requires no reply.

    However, if you DO wish to start a fire (while functioning perfectly), I would suggest using a Miller 4500W PSU with 375A of clean power. You could also get the 10,500 Watt model, but it's a bit expensive. Think how nice that thing would look sitting next to your case.

    My fav PSU review review, bar none:
    http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=384">http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=384

    and for all you starving students repeatedly whining about $100+, 750W Anandtech powersupply reviews - hey at least I can run TWO PC with any of my current units - lol
    http://reviews.pcapex.com/power_supply/ultra_x3_10...">http://reviews.pcapex.com/power_supply/ultra_x3_10...
    Reply
  • HOOfan 1 - Friday, December 21, 2007 - link

    Or you could use your Miller PSU to weld yourself a custom Case. Reply
  • HOOfan 1 - Friday, December 21, 2007 - link

    Or you could use your Miller PSU to weld yourself a custom Case. Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Friday, December 21, 2007 - link

    ya, I read the PSU "myths" on the PCP&P site.
    anyone can deduce that stright in soldered leads are better than those that have a male and female connector involved.
    SO what.
    The simple fact is that the marketplace is moving to modular, Buck the trend and lose share.
    Modular PSU dont seem to be failing or blowing up mobo, or starting fires. They do seem to function well despite the added resistance.
    People are fed up with PSU with 20 cables 48" long that you are stuck with.
    I will never buy a non modular supply ever again.

    And heres an example of the conflicting reviews that litter the internet......

    greatest thing you could buy - 5 stars
    http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canu...">http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/ha...-tx750-7...

    so - so
    http://www.jonnyguru.com/review_details.php?id=136...">http://www.jonnyguru.com/review_details.php?id=136...
    Reply
  • rADo2 - Friday, December 21, 2007 - link

    Zalman uses a combination of fixed and modular cables. The important connectors like ATX power and +12V for the CPU as well as two VGA power connectors and a HDD cable are fixed. This makes sense, because those cables will almost certainly be used, giving you an optimum power delivery. Should you need more than those you can attach them to the PSU. Reply
  • Etern205 - Thursday, December 20, 2007 - link

    Just wondering from the picture on the first page with the PSU's back facing us. Can anyone actually tell what PSU that is without having to look at the name? :)

    e.g. I know that the black with yellow stripes is by Antec Quattro.
    The orange PC&C Silener and the above I think it's a PC&C Turbo Cool.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, December 21, 2007 - link

    referring to any one PSU or all of them in general? The ones with USB ports are Hipers, I'd guess the ones with half-blocked rears are also Hipers, the one with the orange coil covers is a Thermaltake, etc. If you cared enough I'm sure you could identify most of them by looking back at the reviews and comparing shots. Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Thursday, December 20, 2007 - link

    well, PCP&C (OCZ) just announced a new super duper 860 Watt PSU with a SEVEN year warranty and 1.5% regulation/1% ripple and adjustable pots.
    http://www.pcpower.com/power-supply/turbo-cool-860...">http://www.pcpower.com/power-supply/turbo-cool-860...
    So you might wanna keep an eye on this one.
    But its NOT modular, so that lets me out.

    Zalman has a new vers of their 1KW unit which seems to be decent
    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Zalman/ZM1000-H...">http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Zalman/ZM1000-H...
    And it IS (semi) modular

    I am still looking for the perfect PSU. I have read reviews until I'm buggy eyed, and theres always some one thing that ruins the deal......
    Too hot at high wattage, bad efficiency, one rail poor regulation or high ripple, stiff cables, too noisy, not modular

    Then there are the conflicting reviews - one guy says its the greatest, another says its deeply flawed.
    Reply
  • rADo2 - Friday, December 21, 2007 - link

    Zalman has also ZM850-HP, which seems like the best 850W unit to me, it is stable and *incredibly quiet*:

    http://bios.techpowerup.com/reviews/Zalman/ZM850-H...">http://bios.techpowerup.com/reviews/Zalman/ZM850-H...

    Too bad Anandtech did not test it as well.
    Reply

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