Why Power Supply Efficiency Ratings Matter

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psu efficiency

Most power supplies you see on the market come with an 80+ certificate, this is what we refer to as the efficiency rating of the power supply. The efficiency rating of the power supply can seem like a big deal at first glance, but you’ll soon realize the difference they make is more long-term than anything.

In this post, we’re going to go over the differences of each efficiency rating, and go over the numbers and see if they make a big difference in the long run. But to make it simple, higher efficiency rated power supplies will save you more money in the long run, but not as much as you think.

Answer: If you check out a power supply, it shouldn’t be hard to notice its efficiency rating, on the box it should have a certificate that tells you how efficiently it operates. Usually, you’ll find 80+, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Titanium. Each efficiency rating refers to how much energy it pulls will be converted into usable energy(DC Power).

So Does The Power Efficiency Rating Matter?

Generally yes, and its effects can be measured, but the main reason why the power efficiency matters is that, in the long run, you’ll save more money on your electrical bill. This is thankfully due to the power supply pulling less power from the wall(AC Power) to generate the required amount of power.

To put it into perspective, the inputted power which does not get converted into usable power is referred to as waste, and this waste is usually dissipated in the form of heat, this can be harmful to your system. The more heat generated by components typically means the lifespan of such components and the ones it’s affecting will be diminished.

The effect of a power supply with poor efficiency is increased heat of the overall system which can pretty much inhibit performance by degrading the performance of the CPU and GPU. The ambient heat of the power supply could mean that your processor and graphics card will throttle themselves to compensate for the higher temperatures.

You can calculate the waste pretty easily, if your power supply is pulling 500W of power from the wall(AC Power), and your power supply is 80% efficient then we multiply 500 by .80. 500 * 0.80 = 400, so 400watts is actually being used by the system, so the other 100 watts are being wasted and dissipated as heat.

Best Power Supply Efficiency Rating

LOAD:20%50%100%
80+ PLUS80%80%80%
80+ PLUS BRONZE82%85%82%
80+ SILVER85%88%85%
80+ GOLD87%90%87%
80+ PLATINUM90%92%89%
80% TITANIUM92%94%90%
Power Supply Efficiency Chart

On paper, the titanium-rated power supplies are the best, it’ll save you more money in the long run, and it comes with higher quality components. But you can get away with Gold and platinum power supplies, there’s nothing wrong with them in terms of durability and performance. If we were to recommend a power supply, we’d recommend gold as they offer the best bang for your buck, and a lot of great power supplies are gold-rated such as the EVGA SuperNova G2.

But in general, just make sure you pick up a power supply with an 80+ Certificate, you do not want to take the chance with a power supply that doesn’t meet these certifications. This is because you can put yourself and the people around you in a dangerous situation if the power supply malfunctions.

This is why we say the power supply efficiency matters, it can also be a reference to how well the power supply is made, the higher efficiency power supplies use higher quality components. So it’s pretty easy to imagine what type of components a power supply without the 80+ efficiency rating is using, most likely poor capacitors.

Which Power Supply Should I Buy?

For the average consumer, a bronze-rated power supply is more than enough, if you’re going for a mid-tier gaming PC, you do not need top-tier power supplies such as gold and platinum-rated ones. But this does not mean you should cheap out on a power supply, there are decent and durable 80+ bronze power supplies.

If you’re looking to build a top-tier gaming PC, then we recommend you pick up at least an 80+ gold-rated unit. These power supplies are far more durable, handle higher loads better, and use better components. When you’re going for an expensive build, it’s best to have critical components such as the power supply to be high quality.

There’s a reason why gold-rated power supplies are the most popular, this is because they offer the most bang for your buck due to the fact they use great quality components. And if you look at the specs, gold-rated power supplies are 90% efficient at 50% load which is pretty decent.

But it usually comes down to what you’re doing with your system, not all computers work the same way and pull the same amount of power. For example, a crypto mining rig will pull massive amounts of power for a long time, and many users running mining rigs try to minimize the amount of power used, so they go for 80+ Titanium power supplies for the most efficiency.

Conclusion

In conclusion, power supply efficiency matters for many reasons, the main reason is you save money in the long run off your power bill if you go for a more efficient unit. However, don’t expect to save a massive amount of money, usually, it’s a small amount.

Secondly, more efficient power supplies use better internal components such as Japanese capacitors, and these components last longer and produce better results. Poorer power supplies that do not have an 80+ rating certificate will not use premium components, therefore you’re going to put your computer at risk and maybe your health.

In all honesty, you shouldn’t require an 80+ Titanium power supply if you’re a normal consumer just looking to build a personal gaming rig. However, if you’re running servers or crypto mining machines, then saving money on your electrical bill will make more sense as these types of builds tend to pull a massive amount of power for extended periods of time.