Introduction

It's summer time and PCs are working in warmer environments than they're used to. With our PSU buyer's guide for the summer season we want to focus on some of the quality power supplies we've tested (or are in the process of testing). It's important to pay attention to heat, particularly if you're in a home without AC, as increasing environmental temperatures can create problems. Users may not want to get the absolute quietest power supply available if it's going to be in a relatively hot environment, as these may create instabilities due to a lack of sufficient cooling. Of course, if you do have AC or live in a colder region, we'll have some silent and near-silent recommendations.

In terms of recommendations and budgets, we need to clarify a few things before we begin. We pretty much won't even touch power supplies that cost less than $50; it's possible to get an okay power supply for a truly budget price, but you will get a lower efficiency model and you're taking something of a risk. We don't feel the risk is excessive, so for truly entry-level systems you can go ahead and look at the ultra-cheap options out there (i.e. cases that come with a PSU). However, keep in mind that lower efficiency means your initial savings will almost certainly disappear with higher power requirements over the coming months and years.

As an example, consider a budget system that requires 80 W of power in order to function. Using an 80% efficiency power supply means that you will draw 100 W from the wall; a 70% efficiency power supply will require around 115 W. If you leave the system on all the time, you will be looking at somewhere near $15 per year spent on power due to PSU inefficiencies. An 80 W system is also pretty low end; if you're running a midrange system that uses more like 160 W, your yearly power costs will obviously double. Likewise, it's possible to get an 85% efficiency power supply and cheap options might only be 65% efficient, again resulting in a doubling of savings.

Having set the stage with that example, our budget power supply offerings will start at $50 and ranged up to around $85. $85 on a "budget" power supply may seem unreasonable, but we are more interested in quality than strict dollar amounts, and so our categories will be based on how much power the various PSUs are able to deliver more than cost. Once you begin to focus on quality power supplies, a corollary to the above is that higher output options will cost more money, so our recommendations may have some overlap.

Budget Recommendations
POST A COMMENT

37 Comments

View All Comments

  • narcan - Thursday, August 07, 2008 - link

    Seasonic is missing here, the best psu manufacturer around imo. (they build the better Antec PSU's and others, next to it's own line of products) Reply
  • Milleman - Sunday, July 27, 2008 - link

    Just resently bought a 800W PSU made by Gigabyte, which works great! Great finnish and modulized power plugs as well. The pricetag is somewhere around 100 Euro. Why haven't Anand yet had a look at those? Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Sunday, July 27, 2008 - link

    Because Anand doesn't have time to review PSUs ;)

    The Gigabyte Odin was reviewed quite some time ago:
    http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.a...">http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.a...
    Reply
  • Milleman - Sunday, August 03, 2008 - link

    Aww... Didn't know that! :x

    Thank you! :D Great review about the Gigabyte Odin power supply! Just the one I bought. Great Power Supply as well.
    Reply
  • steveyballmer - Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - link

    Good equipment, it doesn't work with Macs though!

    http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com">http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com
    Reply
  • finbarqs - Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - link

    just bought one from JR, came DOA, but they're doing an Advanced Replacement for me. One thing I gotta, say, is this beast is huge! Hopefully I get a consistent power flow, because my last TT 700W PSU, (toughpower) I think sucked. Killed 3 MBs... but then again, i'm just speculating. Reply
  • Alexstarfire - Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - link

    Why are all these PSUs so expensive? I got my OCZ StealthXStream 600w PSU for $60, I believe. Not the highest build quality ever I'm sure, but it's got to be better than the $70 450w PSU in the "budget" section. It was on sale, but you can get it on Newegg for $79. Actually, it's $54 after MIR. Reply
  • Noya - Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - link

    OCZ have always seemed kind of cheap to me.

    And for the $70 Corsair 450, it can be had regularly at buy.com for $49-55 after a Corsair rebate. At $70-75, you can get their 550vx or 650tx models. Hell, I've seen their 750tx for $89 w/rebate and google checkout. And they're always shipped free...BUY.com for the Corsair WIN!
    Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - link

    Thanks, will keep this in mind for the next one. Reply
  • masouth - Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - link

    Why does it "got to be better"?

    ...because it's 600w?
    ...because it's OCZ?
    ...because it was cheap?

    I'm not saying that it is or it isn't better because I haven't looked at any reviews of that ps however the only information you've included to back up that it's got to be better is the brand, watts, and the price.

    All three of those can be very misleading without being tested.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now