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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  • Etern205 - Thursday, December 20, 2007 - link

    They do not make modular psu. Have you ever read their myths?
    Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Friday, December 21, 2007 - link

    Rumors say that OCZ will have good PCP&C PSU with cable management under their brand soon... we'll see. Reply
  • jonnyGURU - Thursday, December 20, 2007 - link

    Well, it also uses that same ol' Nidec 80MM fan, so it's not quiet either. Reply
  • poohbear - Thursday, December 20, 2007 - link

    u guys really should have rated them according to wattage category, i mean u chose psus that are 750wt+, but who the heck buys that stuff aside from the sli crowd? why not have categories for 350wt, 500wt, 650wt, and then the ridiculous 750wt+ monsters. quite frankly the seasonic was the only viable recomendation for me, an enthusiast that will never buy sli or crossfire. Reply
  • aussiestilgar - Thursday, December 20, 2007 - link

    I agree. I read the title of this article hoping there would be an in-depth round up. It would have been nice to have separate categories and name the best power supplies within each. I'm also surprised Corsair didn't get a mention. Reply
  • JEDIYoda - Monday, December 24, 2007 - link

    I am not suprised at all!!
    Corsair has some fine PSU`s.
    But the fact remains there are as good or better power supplies on the market!

    Plus it all depends on what site is doing the testing and awarding the best....but we will not go there....heheh
    Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Thursday, December 20, 2007 - link

    did in the holiday buyer's guide though... Reply
  • Ratinator - Thursday, December 20, 2007 - link

    I have to agree with you on this. I have only taken some brief cracks at overclocking (I just haven't had the time to get an understanding of how to do it properly) plus the computers I build for myself tend to be the best for your buck not the hgh end. I personally prefer seeing the base scores for CPUs, GPUs and RAM though I do have a fair bit of interest in overclocking ability even if only to look at (for now). Anand and his team almost always do a great job of showing the best of both worlds. I really like the articles that delve into high range, mid range and budget range comparisons too.

    This article does give me an idea what to look at for a power supply, but I too am curious about the 500W range as I don't see myself doing SLI anytime soon and don't feel I will need anything in the 750W range.

    Anyway. Anand and his team are still my favorite and best source for information. Keep the info coming. You guys rock.
    Reply
  • BladeVenom - Thursday, December 20, 2007 - link

    I know the big power supply fetish gets old. Just look at Anandtech's 8800GT review; that card with a C2D Extreme only used 209 watts under load. Reply
  • jonnyGURU - Thursday, December 20, 2007 - link

    Yeah, but let's see someone build a PC with it and and a 300W power supply and see how well it does after doing some gaming for a couple hours. ;) Reply

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