When building a new PC or upgrading your old one, it’s important to have a good power supply unit, as they are a direct source of energy for your computer.
It’s no use to have a high-performing CPU or GPU if you’re going to saddle it with a lesser PSU. It’s already an understandably hard process to try and match all the PC parts into a cohesive unit, particularly if you’re looking at the mountain of GPU choice.
For this reason, we’ve generated a definitive PSU hierarchy to help you choose what’s best for you.
This hierarchy was thought of based on performance and efficiency. There are also other important things that aren’t among the deciding factors but are worth mentioning and explaining.
Namely, we’re talking about PSU efficiency and the 80 Plus rating. This is a certification created to indicate that a power supply is at least 80% efficient at 20%, 50% and 100% loads. There are six different certificates that point to a PSU’s efficiency and their names are pretty self-explanatory: Regular, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Titanium.
With each tier in the PSU hierarchy, there will be explanations and suggestions for the best use of the PSUs in that tier. In order to avoid clutter, we’ve chosen to only showcase a maximum of 2 models per manufacturer in each tier.
Also, we will be splitting the PSUs in every tier in two categories: multi-rail and single-rail
What’s the difference? The difference between these two categories is in the number of overcurrent protection circuits. Power supplies with multiple OCP circuits are called multi-rail while those with just one OCP circuit are called single-rail.
Keep in mind, these OCP circuits have no influence on performance. Even the difference in protection is minimal. Single-rail (S-Tier, A-Tier, B-Tier) PSUs are built to provide the best possible protection.
There are some unique cases where multi-rail PSUs could be useful, but only for PSU/PC enthusiasts. In other words, don’t give too much thought into this split of categories.
Here’s a good video showing the difference between them.
Table of ContentsShow
Starting from the top, and like in almost any other PC component hierarchy, places here are reserved for what can be called the enthusiast class. PSUs in this tier will hold at least an 80 Plus Gold rating, often an 80 Plus Platinum rating and sometimes 80 Plus Titanium rating. Those rated Titanium are pretty rare these days, so we don’t see them on the market as much.
These PSUs are reserved for very high-performing systems. Unless you’re running a top-of-the-line CPU and GPU and intend to overclock them, these aren’t for you.
One thing that’s extremely interesting to point out in regards to the future of this tier is that with the increased focus from hardware manufacturers on energy efficiency, there may not be a future at all for these enthusiast-class PSUs. That prediction might seem outlandish, but given Nvidia’s and AMD’s tendencies of one-upmanship in every possible detail for their GPUs (which are considered top power consumers), it’s possible that these strong PSUs may become extinct.
Although, not as soon as we’d hope considering that NVIDIA’s release of the RTX 3000 Series has GPUs that easily go over 300W of total power draw. When talking about energy efficiency, we expect top-tier performance with no more than 250W power draw. So, S-Tier 800W, 900W or even 1000W PSU are destined to become extinct, but that may not happen soon.
|Antec||High Current Pro Platinum|
|BeQuiet!||Dark Power Pro P11|
|BeQuiet!||Straight Power 11 Platinum/Gold|
|Cooler Master||V-Platinum 2019|
|Deepcool / Gamer Storm||DQ-M|
|ADATA / XPG||Core Reactor|
|Chieftec / Chieftronic||PowerplayPlatinum|
|Cooler Master||Masterwatt Maker MiJ|
|Fractal Design||Ion+ Platinum|
|High Power||Super GD|
|In Win||Premium A1 Plus Gold|
|LC Power||LC Platinum|
|Seasonic||Prime Gold Titanium|
|Sentey||Golden Steel GSP-HM|
|Sharkoon||Silentstorm Cool Zero|
|Super Flower||Leadex III ARGB|
This is a more affordable range, but will still cost you a pretty penny. These PSUs aren’t exactly an overkill even when overclocking the GPU and CPU and might, in fact, be the best option in the long run. PSUs in this tier might also be closer to that enthusiast range, and the power they generate might still be too much overhead room for the majority of gamers.
Getting an A tier PSU is still not recommended for people who are building a budget PC, as they probably don’t have enough knowledge to take full advantage of these powerful PSUs. Furthermore, if this is your first PC build with a budget, you likely won’t even need a PSU from this tier and could probably save some money and get a better GPU instead.
In this range, it’s safest to stick to the manufacturers that have a good track record, like Thermaltake Deepcool, or be quiet!. This is because a lot of new companies will try to make the best possible PSU and will want to make it high-end, which might not be possible right off the bat.
In this A-tier list of PSU you will most commonly be met with 80 Plus Gold.
Another great benefit of these A-tier and S-Tier PSUs is that the manufacturers offer very long warranties. Be quiet!, Deepcool, Corsair and several others offer a 10-year long warranty for their high-end products. Some even longer. It’s an advantage worth considering.
|1st Player||Steampunk Gold|
|Abkoncore||Tenergy Gold X50W|
|Antec||Earthwatts Pro Gold|
|BeQuiet!||Pure Power 11|
|Cooler Master||MWE Gold|
|Great Wall / Hunters||Titan TF|
|High Power||GD-F V2 HPM|
|LC-Power||GP4 – Arkangel III|
|Lian Li||PE SFX-L|
|OCZ / PC Power & Cooling||Silencer MK III|
|Rampage||Everest Forza FTX|
|Sharkoon||Silentstorm SFX Gold|
|SilentiumPC||Supremo M1 Gold|
|Silverstone||Strider Platinum PTS|
|Skydigital||Power Station 5 Gold|
|Super Flower||Golden Green|
|Thermaltake||Toughpower DPS G RGB|
This is probably the best tier for the majority of PC builders for their acceptable price and consistent quality. Of course, you might not be able to overclock your high-end hardware, but if affordable reliability is what you’re looking for, then PSUs in this tier are perfect for you.
Much like in the previous tier, it’s a safe bet to stick to a reliable manufacturer, but in this tier it might be worth your time (and money) to get something from a relatively unproven brand.
Overall, here is where you’ll find the best value for money PSUs in this hierarchy.
|ADX||Power W Gold|
|Antec||High Current Gamer Bronze|
|Enermax||Revolution X’t II|
|Fractal Design||Integra M|
|Great Wall||M 1200|
|High Power||Performance Pro|
|In Win||Classic C|
|LC Power||Gold Series|
|NOX||Hummer X Gold|
|OCZ / PC Power & Cooling||Silencer Platinum|
|OCZ / PC Power & Cooling||ZX|
|Raidmax||Vortex Gold AE-V|
|Silverstone||Strider Gold ST|
|Super Flower||Leadex Silver|
|Super Flower||Golden King|
|Thermaltake||Toughpower Gold Semi-Modular|
|Thermaltake||Toughpower Grand RGB Platinum|
|XFX||Black Edition Core|
|Xilence||Performance A+ III|
We’re now in the bottom half of our PSU hierarchy. From here on out, most power supply units aren’t as efficient as the ones listed above. These would be rated either 80 Plus Bronze or Silver. This kind of rating means that the PSUs are at least 80% efficient during load.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot combine it with a high-end gaming PC. Reliable bronze or silver rated PSUs with 500W, 600W or 700W could handle a high-end GPU such as a RTX 3070 or RX 6800.
A lot of solid PSUs can be found in this tier, but be careful, there are a lot of PSU on the market with misleading advertising on rating. The same thing applies for those in the D or F tier.
|Abko / Suitmaster||Mighty|
|BeQuiet!||Pure Power 10|
|Cooler Master||MWE V2 Bronze|
|Fractal Design||Tesla R2|
|LC Power||GP3 Silver|
|NOX||Urano TX Green Power|
|Silverstone||Strider Essential ET-B|
|Thermaltake||DPS G Bronze|
The second-to-last tier in our list is reserved for PSUs that are only suitable for the lowest budgets and should not be used for gaming.
While PSUs from this tier will technically work with a dedicated GPU or a higher-end CPU, they’re not recommended for anything outside of a work computer that will run Microsoft Office and even that might be stretching it. Even minor fluctuations of energy could deteriorate your hardware over time.
This tier will be comprised mostly of older units which are slowly but surely nearing their expiration date.
|BeQuiet!||Pure Power L9|
|Cooler Master||Masterwatt Lite|
|Fractal Design||Integra R2|
|Gamdias||Astrape M1 White|
|Great Wall / Hunters||Gaming G5|
|Green||ECO rev 3.1|
|High Power||Simplicity ST HPG-T12S|
|LC Power||Silent Giant GP3 Bronze|
|NOX||Hummer X Bronze|
|Raidmax||Thunder V2 RX-AP|
|SilentiumPC||Supremo M1 Platinum|
|Skydigital||Power Station 5 80+|
We’ve reached the absolute bottom of the barrel of the PSU hierarchy. Members of this tier are an actual physical risk to your PC. They could easily malfunction and short circuit your board or any other component.
Of course, there are circumstances where that can happen to almost any PSU out there, but premium PSU are equipped with tons of protection against such situations and you also get a warranty. PSUs of this tier are not recommended for any kind of PC.
|Corsair||VS 2012 orange|
|LC Power||Non-rated units|
Final Words On The PSU Hierarchy
It’s fundamental to accentuate that this isn’t a definitive and final PSU hierarchy list. Just like many things in the technology world, power supply units evolve and their rankings are subject to constant change.
However, where PSUs should be appreciated a lot more is the fact that they’re reliable, long-lasting and relatively cheap, particularly when compared to things like GPUs, which go out of style lightning fast.