One of the best things that can be done for a PC is investing in a quality power supply, made easier with end-of-year sales. PSUs tend to get glossed over at times, as they’re a bit humbler than the latest CPUs or graphics cards.
While it’s true that PSUs may not be a glaring bottleneck like processors, GPUs, or storage can be, they are certainly the lifeblood of any rig and play a vital part in how reliable the system is. These days, all the big players have compelling options at the bottom end. So, there’s little reason to compromise on a PSU.
We could make the argument that buying a better PSU is worth it, even if it means dipping into the budget allocated for the GPU or CPU, as a good PSU will outlive both and can be transplanted into a new build down the road.
We’re here to outline the weekend’s best sales for PSUs—and just in time for the holidays, if anyone has been holding out for deals. Speaking of deals, we’ve already been rounding some of those up for early Black Friday 2018, and we’ll have more to come throughout the week and into Cyber Monday.
We’re currently in the middle of our annual year-end awards, where we celebrate the year’s best products and acknowledge the companies we may have upset. ‘Tis the season, after all. Anyway, check out our awards for best and worst PC cases of 2018 and best CPUs of 2018.
Sales and prices change all the time, so keep an eye out for that as you’re shopping.
Best Power Supply Deals Holiday 2018
Best Budget PSU Sale
EVGA 500 B1: At the low-end, compromises are usually made with fixed cables, fan type, and efficiency. That’s not to say it’s all bad, though. The EVGA 500 B1 is a budget PSU we’ve recommended before and used in our builds. The EVGA 500 B1 is often around $40-$50.
The EVGA 500 B1 is a 500W, 80 Plus Bronze rated unit, which should cover power output for budget and even mid-range builds. While there are cheaper options out there, we strongly advise against buying no-name units that lack efficiency certifications and may have shoddy warranties.
Best Mainstream/Consumer PSU Sale
Corsair RM750x: The 700 to 800 watt range is very popular among gamers, primarily because of the potential power or overhead that creates a sense of comfort. While we don’t necessarily agree with that reason for a purchase, it is a shopping trend we acknowledge, and buying “extra” is useful for upgrade pathways. That said, a 750W PSU is enough for overclocking most CPUs and GPUs, barring HEDT-class hardware. These end up around $90-$100, on average.
Corsair’s RMx line is something of a budget series of their more premium RMi series, which offer premium fans and a digital interface. Corsair’s RMx PSUs use all Japanese caps, fully modular design, a 7-year warranty, and relatively silent operations in addition to most heavy-duty protections.
Honorable mention: EVGA Supernova 650 G3
Best High-End PSU Sales
Seasonic Prime 850 Titanium: These types of PSUs are usually reserved for serious overclockers or workstation users, or those seeking maximum reliability and warranty longevity. Some of Seasonic’s Prime family also includes fan toggles, useful for silent PCs. These units also break into the 80 Plus Platinum and Titanium certifications. For those building high-end gaming rigs or workstations, these options are apt.
Admittedly, these efficiency ratings are a bit of niche product, and one could argue they are unnecessary—but they’re high-end for a reason. Seasonic’s 850 Titanium offers, like its namesake implies, 80Plus Titanium levels of efficiency (anywhere from 90% to 96% depending on load and voltage), tight ripple suppression, fully modular design, a semi-fanless mode for quiet operation and a 10-year warranty.
This one costs about $190-$210.
Honorable mention at roughly $110+: EVGA Supernova 850 P2
Best SFX PSU Sale
Corsair SF450: As SFF builds become more pervasive, we’re seeing more SFX form factor PSUs, but there are still limited options in this segment of the market. Just like there isn’t a lot of competition or innovation in the sub-400W space, the same is true for SFX PSUs.
Aside from that, Corsair does a lot right with their take on the SFX form factor. Silent operation, thermal performance, modular cable design, and a 7-year warranty make the SF450 worthy of consideration for an SFF build, where silence and efficiency are a priority. This one costs around $85, depending on active sales.
Best Silent PSU Sale
be quiet! Straight Power 11: This PSU from be quiet! is aimed at those going for a silence first approach. Straight Power 11s from be quiet! focus on near-silent operation by optimizing airflow through the chassis and using mostly passive cooling.
The inclusion of a fluid dynamic bearing fan—one of the company’s own Silent Wings 3—helps with moving air while reducing vibrations. It’s based on the FSP platform, features a full set of heavy-duty protections, 80 Plus Gold certification, and a 5-year warranty.
Best Overkill PSU Sale
Corsair AX1600i: Odds are, most gamers don’t need even a kilowatt of power, much less 1.6kWs of power. We use the Corsair AX1600i in our extreme overclocking bench and for our OC streaming, including ice bucket overclocking.
Corsair’s AX1600i is noteworthy for its digital interface that allows for real-time monitoring and the ability to adjust settings on the fly, coupled with software that allows easy toggling of multi- or single-rail functionality (useful for OCing). It is also capable of delivering 1600 watts continuously and is 80 Plus Titanium certified. Corsair innovates here with the use of gallium nitride FETs, rather than silicon, which helps in marginally decreasing chassis size and increasing efficiency of the PWM. In short, these improve efficiency and reduce power loss from switching.
If any are looking for the most exotic PSU to buy, this is it. That said, it’s around $360 now – a good drop from its usual $400+ price-point.
That’s it for our PSU sales guide this year. If you have any questions regarding PSU shopping, leave us a comment or tweet. We’ll be rolling-out more hardware roundups and awards, so stay tuned. If you haven’t already, check out our Best CPUs of 2018. Be sure to watch our YouTube channel as well, as there will be content there that may not make it over to the site.
Lastly, treat yourself by picking up something from our GN store.
Editorial: Eric Hamilton