Whether you are building a new PC or upgrading your existing one, it’s essential 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 considering the vast amount of GPU options.
With this in mind, we have created the ultimate PSU hierarchy to help you make the right choice for choosing a new PSU.
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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. These ratings are a certification created to indicate that a power supply is at least 80% efficient at 20%, 50%, and 100% loads. Six certificates 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 it. 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. Enthusiasts use the term multi-rail for power supplies with multiple OCP circuits, while single-rail PSUs are the ones with one OCP circuit.
Keep in mind that these OCP circuits have no impact on performance. Even the difference in protection is minimal. Manufacturers build single-rail PSUs (S–Tier, A-Tier, B-Tier) 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.
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.
Unfortunately, PSUs rated Titanium are rare these days, so we don’t see them on the market as often.
These PSUs are meant for very high-performance systems. So unless you’re running a top-of-the-line CPU and GPU and intend to overclock them, getting PSUs from this tier may be unnecessary.
There is an argument to be made here somewhere about the idea that high-end PSUs could go extinct because of the ongoing competition for energy efficiency between brands such as NVIDIA and AMD or AMD and Intel.
However, that doesn’t seem to be the case, as reports mention that future RTX 4000 GPUs may go up to 450W while current flagship GPUs go up to 300W.
|Antec||High Current Pro Platinum|
|BeQuiet!||Dark Power Pro 12/Pro – Dark Power 11/Pro – Straight Power 11 Platinum/Gold|
|Bitfenix||Whisper M – Formula Gold|
|Cooler Master||V-Platinum 2019|
|Corsair||AX1600i – HX Platinum – RMi – HXi|
|ADATA / XPG||Core Reactor – Cybercore|
|Antec||Earthwatts Gold Pro – Gold Pro White – High Current Gamer Gold/Extreme|
|Asus||ROG Thor – Thor 850W|
|Chieftec / Chieftronic||Powerplay Gold/Platinum|
|Cooler Master||V Gold V2 – V SFX Gold|
|Corsair||RMx 2021 – RMx 2020 – RMx 2019 – RMx 2018 – RMx 2015 – SF Gold/Platinum|
|EVGA||Supernova G2 – Supernova G6 – Supernova P2 – Supernova P6 – Supernova T2|
|Fractal Design||Ion+ Platinum – Ion+ 2 Platinum – Ion Gold|
|FSP||Hydro G Pro – Hydro PT Pro – Hydro PTM Pro|
|In Win||Premium A1 Plus Gold|
|Phanteks||Revolt X – AMP – Revolt Pro|
|Riotoro||Builder 1200w – Enigma G2|
|Seasonic||Prime Gold Titanium – Focus PX/GX/GM – Prime Snow Silent Gold/Platinum – Connect|
|Silverstone||Decathlon Gold DA-G 1650W – Nightjar SXL|
|Super Flower||Leadex Gold/Platinum/Titanium|
|Thermaltake||Toughpower GF1/PF1 ARGB/TG1 – Toughpower Grand RGB Platinum – Toughpower iRGB Plus Platinum|
The A-Tier is a more affordable range but will still cost you a pretty penny. However, 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 are meant primarily for enthusiasts, and the power they generate could be unnecessarily excessive for most gamers.
We do not recommend getting an A-Tier PSU for a budget PC, as it is unlikely to take full advantage of the entirety of the PSU’s power. Instead of an expensive PSU, invest more in a CPU, GPU, RAM, or storage.
In this range, it’s safest to stick to manufacturers with a positive track record, such as Thermaltake, Deepcool, or be quiet!.
In this A-Tier list of PSUs, most 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 warranties last even longer.
That’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|
The B-tier is the best choice for most PC builds primarily because of the acceptable price and consistent quality. These might not be the best for overclocking GPUs/CPUs, but PSUs in this tier will be ideal if you are looking for affordable reliability.
As in the previous tier, your best bet is to stick to a reliable manufacturer. However, you can also consider buying a PSU from a less established brand in this tier.
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 those 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. For example, reliable bronze or silver-rated PSUs with 500W, 600W, or 700W could handle a high-end GPU such as an 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 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).
That’s because minor energy fluctuations could deteriorate 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. Therefore, 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 because they’re reliable, long-lasting, and relatively cheap compared to components such as GPUs, which quickly become outdated.