10

I am going to be building a computer for a college student. He is going into general engineering while he figures out exactly what he wants to do. The budget for this computer is about $1500 USD (just for the tower). This computer will be running Windows 10. He will be using this computer for school work and for gaming.

I just about have all the parts picked out, but I need a way to power them.

Requirements:

  • 24 pin ATX power connector
  • 8 pin CPU power connector
  • 80 Plus Platinum
  • Standard size
  • Can power 140W processor, 300W graphics card, 2 or 3 3.5" 7200 RPM hard drives, one SSD, and ~5 fans
  • Costs less than $200 USD

Nice to Haves:

  • Fully modular
  • Dedicated fan

I will be getting this motherboard, processor, and graphics card for reference. What is a good power supply that meets my requirements?

  • Ah, the final (?) piece of the puzzle has arrived. The PSU will largely depend on the other components you're getting. Any speculation on those yet? – Adam Sep 30 '15 at 4:10
  • @Adam More than the ones I have listed at the end of my question? I will give this a few days and then ask about the case, which I believe is the last question – Cfinley Sep 30 '15 at 4:12
  • What type of hard drives? HDD/SSD? If HDD, what spin speed? – Andy Sep 30 '15 at 4:21
  • @Andy I will probably get him one or two 3.5" 7200 RPM 2TB HDD for backups and maybe a small SSD for the OS. – Cfinley Sep 30 '15 at 4:23
  • Based on the components you have and 16GB of RAM, you'll need a PSU with a minimum of 600W. – Adam Sep 30 '15 at 4:24
10

I recommend Corsair's AX760

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  • Has the connectors specified (24 pin ATX and 8 pin CPU)
  • 80 Plus Platinum certification
  • Standard size
  • 760 watts (if you feel that's to close to the estimated 600W pointed out in the comments, you can upgrade to the 860W for $20 more)
  • Cost: $150 (on sale); $200 (full price)
  • It is fully modular
  • Not only does it have a dedicated fan...it's quiet
  • 7 year warranty

My newest machine has this power supply. I've had no problems with it at all and been very pleased with performance. I use it to power very similar hardware to what you've already picked out (including the multiple drives and combination of HDD and SSDs). I selected it because of the good reviews I'd seen, including an Editor's Choice award from TechPowerUp

To sum up, the AX760 is a no brainer if you don't want many bells and whistles (aka digital control), but do want the best that money can buy in this category. You will invest a serious amount of money, that is for sure, but you will enjoy Corsair's support for seven years while your system is being fed by ultra-clean and stable DC outputs.

6

PSU recommendations are tough because it is a fairly quickly shifting market (not as bad as some, but nonetheless). I have personally had good experiences with several Corsair models, Enermax, EVGA and a couple of others over the years, so how do you go about picking one again?

My lazy default is probably Corsair, but that is covered in other answers, and I occasionally want to look at other options and do my homework rather than assume that it is still the best choice. When doing so, I first check out a Power Supply calculator like this one to make sure I am beating my minimum required wattage by at least 20% - this gives me wiggle room should I need to add devices, or up the graphics card later, it also means that I am not over stressing the PSU even at full load.

Next, I will decide if I really want modular or not, because there is usually a bit of a premium there in terms of price. Then I will filter down to the ones on the list with the best efficiency rating within my wattage and budget range. This is all a little theoretical, so let's walk through it with actual numbers.

I guessed at a couple of things with your specs as a guideline and came up with a wattage requirement of 580W. Using my 20% rule above that rounds up to 700W as a minimum and I'll use 800W as a max to keep the resulting list smaller. Next, I plugged those requirements (along with the platinum 80 plus and modular requirement) into Newegg and got a list of just 8 candidates.

What I am hoping for now is for one (or more) of those candidates to be from brands I know. If so, then I just do some basic due diligence by reading a couple of reviews, and make my choice. In this case my results give me two such options:

Without a major price difference I would go for the Corsair, but the reviews on the EVGA look good, I've had decent experience with EVGA previously, and right now it is coming in at $40 cheaper than the 760 ($109 vs $149 after rebate) because it is on sale. That's enough for me, if I was buying the PSU right now, it would be the EVGA. Without the sale I would plump for the Corsair.

  • I own and use a 750W SuperNova from EVGA. Great PSU, currently running my 130W Xeon overclocked and with two GTX 760s, all the fans a GX500 case can hold, and a bevy of hard drives with no problems for several years now. – Adam Wykes Jul 12 '16 at 3:06
5

I'm with Andy on the Corsair PSUs. They're always the best quality on the market and they come with great price tags. I'll recommend something a little different though: the Corsair HX850i is part of the HX gaming series and is built for high performance with low noise output.

Specifications:

  • 840 Watts – more than enough room for extra graphics cards or overclocking
  • 20+4-pin power (effectively 24 total)
  • Haswell support
  • fully modular
  • 92% efficiency – amazing performance for gaming
  • over power/under voltage/over temp/short circuit protection
  • Corsair Link to adjust rail voltages (fan speeds)
  • ZeroRPM mode that turns the fan off when there's little to no load
  • 140mm fluid dynamic fan

The warranty on Corsair products is much, much longer than anything else you'll find, however it still doesn't cover the entire lifespan of the PSU because they last so dang long. I highly recommend this.

  • Corsair PSUS are neither uniform (they're not even all the same OEM) or the best possible quality on the market. Their warranty's length derives from the facts that A) most people who buy Corsair buy it for the brand name and are the sort who massively overprovision for their needs and B) Corsair is a massive company that can easily afford to do that. While I'm not one of those snobs who will accept nothing but Seasonic, my recollection of reviews on Corsair puts them in the high middle/low-high segments generally. Personally, I've had bad luck with Corsair -more than other "good" brands. – Adam Wykes Jul 12 '16 at 3:05
  • @AdamWykes You must be the "one percent" then. Corsair's products (anything from PSUs to mouse pads) are almost always highly rated for their durability and reliability. As far as I know, it's pretty rare to run into major problems with their products. – Adam Jul 12 '16 at 4:27
  • As the guy who has to throw these things out from my company's server room (also our deaded PC room - we're a smaller company), I can tell you that Corsair produces and sells a range of quality in their products, just like most companies that actually rebrand OEM work - see here to get a sense of who their OEM makers are (realhardtechx.com/index_archivos/Page447.htm) You can see that their OEMs are no different from many other "less reputable" PSU makers. The rarity of people running into issues with Corsair products is easily ascribed to the two reasons I already provided. – Adam Wykes Jul 12 '16 at 6:15
  • @AdamWykes I don't see the relevance of your OEM argument. Just like any other company, they take OEM parts and incorporate them into their products in special ways. That special way is the difference between Corsair and other companies. Also, most people don't buy Corsair for the name brand. They buy it for the trust in the name brand (again, because of their good reputation). – Adam Jul 12 '16 at 8:15
  • That's a very broad explanation of how Corsair incorporates OEM parts into their PSU products. I'm flagging this comment as unhelpful pending a more detailed explanation of what it is Corsair does to "incorporate" their OEM parts for added value. – Adam Wykes Jul 12 '16 at 14:58

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