Whether you are building a new PC or upgrading your existing one, it’s important to have a good power supply unit, as they are the direct source of energy for your computer.
There is no point in having a high-performance CPU or GPU if you saddle it with a lesser PSU. It’s already a complicated process to try and match various PC components into a cohesive unit, especially when considering the vast amount of GPU options.
With this in mind, we have created a definitive PSU hierarchy to help you make the right choice.
This hierarchy is arranged based on performance and efficiency. There are other important traits that we didn’t use as deciding factors but are still worth mentioning and explaining.
In particular, we’re talking about PSU efficiency and the 80 Plus rating. This is a certification created to clearly indicate that a power supply is at least 80% efficient at 20%, 50% and 100% loads. There are six different certificates that signify a PSU’s efficiency and their names are pretty self-explanatory: Regular, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Titanium.
Alongside each tier in the PSU hierarchy, there are explanations and suggestions for the best uses of the PSUs in that tier. To avoid clutter, we’ve chosen to showcase a maximum of 2 models per manufacturer in each tier.
We have also divided the PSUs in each tier into two categories: multi-rail and single-rail
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 one OCP circuit are called single-rail.
Keep in mind that these OCP circuits have no impact 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 rare cases where multi-rail PSUs can be useful, but only for PSU/PC enthusiasts. In other words, don’t focus too much on this split of categories.
Here’s a good video explaining the difference between them.
Table of ContentsShow
We’ll start from the top. As in any PC component hierarchy, this tier is reserved for what could be called the enthusiast class. PSUs in this tier hold at least an 80 Plus Gold rating, often an 80 Plus Platinum rating, and sometimes even an 80 Plus Titanium rating. PSUs rated Titanium are pretty rare these days, so we don’t see them on the market as often.
These PSUs are reserved for very high-performance systems. Unless you’re running a top-of-the-line CPU and GPU and intend to overclock them, these PSUs are unnecessary.
Something worth considering regarding the future of this tier is the increased focus by hardware manufacturers on energy efficiency. There may not be a future at all for these enthusiast-class PSUs. That might seem outlandish but, given NVIDIA’s and AMD’s tendencies of one-upmanship in every detail of their GPUs (which are considered high power consumers), it’s possible that these strong PSUs could become extinct.
In any case, this doesn’t appear to be happening soon. NVIDIA’s release of the RTX 3000 Series has GPUs that easily exceed 300W of total power draw. When discussing energy efficiency, we expect top-tier performance with no more than 250W power draw. So, if S-Tier 800W, 900W or even 1000W PSUs are destined to become extinct, it might 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. Unlike S-Tier, these PSUs aren’t considered overkill even when overclocking the GPU and CPU. They could be considered the best option in the long run. Even so, PSUs in this tier can still be considered primarily for enthusiasts, and the power they generate could be unnecessarily excessive for the majority of gamers.
Choosing an A-Tier PSU is not recommended for people who are building a budget PC, as they are unlikely to take full advantage of these powerful PSUs. If this is your first PC build on a budget, you probably won’t need a PSU from this tier and could spend that money on a better GPU instead.
In this range, it’s safest to stick to the manufacturers that have a positive track record, such as Thermaltake, Deepcool, or be quiet!. This is because many new companies try to make the most powerful PSU and want to make it high-end, which might not be possible at first.
In this A-Tier list of PSUs, the majority of models are rated 80 Plus Gold.
One great benefit of these A-Tier and S-Tier PSUs is that manufacturers usually offer very long warranties. be quiet!, Deepcool, Corsair and several others offer a 10-year long warranty for their high-end products. Some guarantees are even longer. This is 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 choice of tier for the majority of PC builders, due to the acceptable price and consistent quality. They might not allow you to overclock your high-end hardware but, if you are looking for affordable reliability, PSUs in this tier will be ideal.
As in the previous tier, your best bet is to stick to a reliable manufacturer. However, in this tier, you can also consider buying a PSU from a less established brand.
Overall, this is where you will find the best value for money PSUs in our 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. In this tier and below, most power supply units are less efficient than the ones listed above. These would be rated either 80 Plus Bronze or Silver. These ratings mean the PSUs are at least 80% efficient during load.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t combine them 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.
Many solid PSUs can be found in this tier, but be careful; there are a lot of PSUs on the market with misleading advertising on ratings. This also applies to those in the D and F tiers.
|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 in this tier will technically work with a dedicated GPU or a higher-end CPU, they aren’t recommended for anything beyond a basic computer that will run Microsoft Office (even that might be stretching it). Even minor energy fluctuations could deteriorate your hardware over time.
This tier will be comprised of mostly older units that are slowly but surely nearing their expiration dates.
|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 have reached the absolute bottom of the barrel of the PSU hierarchy. Models in this tier pose an actual physical risk to your PC. They could easily malfunction and short circuit your board or any other component.
There are circumstances where that could happen to almost any PSU you choose, but premium PSUs are equipped with layers of protection against such situations and usually have warranties. 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 important to emphasize that this isn’t a definitive and permanent PSU hierarchy list. Like many other things in the world of technology, power supply units evolve and their rankings change constantly.
However, PSUs should be appreciated for the fact that they’re reliable, long-lasting and relatively cheap in comparison to components such as GPUs, which quickly become outdated.