Power Supplies 
   - Christoph Katzer

Entry – Less than $50
Seasonic OEM - 300W and 350W 

The low end hasn't changed much since last year since most manufacturers don't cater to this market, preferring to aim their introductions to the more profitable high-end of the PS market. Last year we recommended Seasonic's OEM line and they remain excellent entry recommendations this year. The SS-300ET or SS-350ET models are both under the $50 mark. We have tested these units and their performance are up there with the best power supplies in this section, and both models represent tremendous value for the money.

As last year we don't recommend buying power supplies under $30. When you drop below $30 units often are victims of faulty topologies and inferior components built to a low price point. The less than $30 power supplies rarely meet their promised performance levels.

Midrange - $60 to $150
Corsair CMPSU-400CX - 400W

Good overall quality, efficiency up to 85% (230VAC) and 83% (120VAC), nice appearance with quality cable sleeving, many connectors for a 400W (4/8-pin, 6pin PEG), tight voltage regulation with 12V always above 12.00V, silent at low loads (17dB(A)) and up to 26dB(A) with full load. The normal price is around $60, which is a good value, but Mail-In Rebates of $20 have recently appeared.

PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad
Our long time favorite, the Silencer 750 Quad from PC Power & Cooling is still a top seller. The price is very similar to a year ago at $125 to $130, but MIRs this year reduces the final cost to around $100. It still delivers top-notch performance coupled with very good quality, and the after-rebate price is a great value.
Highend - $160+
When it becomes available it will be one of the best performing high-end power supplies in the market. It looks like Enermax is not yet able to ship final units, but be sure to read our exclusive review of the Revolution85+ to see why we are excited by this PSU. It will be very expensive but we expect that prices will settle down once larger numbers arrive in markets around the world.
Index Case


View All Comments

  • ccd - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    You gave a holiday recommendation for an HTPC mobo, why not for a case as well??? Reply
  • ccd - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    You gave a holiday recommendation for an HTPC mobo, why not for a case as well??? Reply
  • Mastakilla - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    i'm missing a nice powersupply between 500-600W

    i'm gonna compose a nice budget desktop for my brother soon and i'm planning to use an overclocked Q6600 with a cheap ATI videocard

    I don't think the 400W will be enough for that
    and the 750W PC&P is just overkill and too expensive
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    My desktop system here at work uses a Q6600@3GHz, P35 chipset, 3GB RAM, and a NVIDIA 7300GT graphics card. Power draw at the wall is a little over 100W at idle IIRC, and max is under 200W. I built the system with a 650W Enermax Infiniti PSU as we were considering moving to much more powerful graphics cards to support the OpenGL work we were doing at the time. So I would guess the 400W might be OK, and through tomorrow at Newegg is $60 with a 20% off code and a $20 MIR, so $28 plus shipping after MIR. Reply
  • zebrax2 - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    same comment as you. it like they went from low end to higher low end then they skipped the midrange then went ahead with higher midrange and lastly hi-end. Reply
  • StraightPipe - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    That 1000W PSU is nice, but if it's not available yet, it's nto a very good recommendation.

    How about recommending a big daddy i can find on the market?

    Core2 Quad Q9300 - OC @ 3.6GHz
    Tuniq 120Tower
    4x1GB Corsair Dominator @ DDR2-800
    NVidia 8800GTS
    Areca 1220 RAID card:
    OS-2x150GB Raptor RAID0
    STORAGE-4x1TB Seagate RAID5
    Sound Blaster X-fi
    5 Case fans (120mm, 120mm, 90mm, 80mm, 80mm)
    Ear plugs (just kidding)

    I was using an OZC Elite 800Watt PSU, but it died after 2 months...waiting on RMA now, but think i might be better off with 1000W
  • StraightPipe - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    So in review, you've recommended a 300W, 400W and a 750W PSU.

    Lots of gaps left to fill. Instead of breaking the "Guide" down by price points, i'd think a breakdown by power supplied would be more appropriate. Maybe 100-150W intervals from 300-1200 would be good.

    I guess I'll just start digging through the Cases/Cooling/PSUs section.
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    Your exact components are not on there, but using stuff that is close and picking some worst-case estimates for other components (chipset) it seems doubtful that your system draws over 450W max. So something in the 800W range would probably serve you well, so long as you were not anticipating an upgrade to an SLI/Crossfire setup. If you were, then 900-1000 watts might be justified, though you would probably still be OK with 800.
  • Crusty - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    While it's nice finally seeing some decent buying guides if these were done say for the first of December they would be far more useful. I've done all my shopping already, and even those that haven't will have a hard time getting the items shipped on time for Christmas. Reply
  • bovinda - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    Though I always enjoy reading your guys' guides, I have to agree, wish they'd been around about two weeks ago. :) Reply

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