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
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  • imaheadcase - Tuesday, July 22, 2008 - link

    It could of also came from your price engine on website..oh wait its been broke for about a year. :P
  • bob4432 - Monday, July 21, 2008 - link

    Power Supply Buyer's Guide?

    looks more like paid placement recommended by anandtech to me. how much do you guys charge to have an item in these "buyer's guides"?

    sure these are good psus, but there are many, many more that are just as good and not on the list. also, wasn't one of the recommended ocz units having an issue in one of your reviews w/ a multi-gpu setup? could have sworn it was a 800-1000W ocz unit that couldn't even put out less than 300-400W continuous, not even long enough for you guys to finish your test.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, July 21, 2008 - link

    We charge as much as we charge for any other article: nothing. Send us the hardware, and we'll get a review done. Listing every potential part that is close to the same quality gets tedious, and it goes without saying that we haven't tested every part. Christoph has tested or is testing all of the PSUs mentioned here, so he's comfortable making recommendations. There are also quite a few PSUs he's tested which aren't on the list, for one reason or another.

    The main reason for the article is to provide a broader overview of the PSU market. Many overlook this important component, and settle for cheap options that are inefficient and potentially unstable.
  • madgonad - Monday, July 21, 2008 - link

    My brand new Corsair PS is delivering 11 volts on the +12V line, so I am just waiting around for an RMA from them. I keep forgetting that 'Made in China' is also a warning label...
  • rudolphna - Monday, July 21, 2008 - link

    Kingwin ABT-450MM Stable, good power output, very quiet.
  • RobertAnderson - Monday, July 21, 2008 - link

    I am surprised the Silverstone Decathlons didn't make it into the recommendations. It looked like a good quite power supply after the review showed it was quite and extremely stable.
  • RobertAnderson - Monday, July 21, 2008 - link

    Sorry that was quiet. I just woke up.
  • Christoph Katzer - Monday, July 21, 2008 - link

    The 700W version is included.
  • RobertAnderson - Monday, July 21, 2008 - link

    Wow, I don't know how I missed that.
  • SilthDraeth - Monday, July 21, 2008 - link

    That Coolermaster PSU that was 85% Energystar Silver certified?

    Or was it another brand, but I am sure it is Coolermaster.

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