How much of a difference do these ratings make? Is it worth the cost (Currently newegg has a couple Bronze PSU's at $65-$75, while the gold rated ones are $135), or is there a minimum good level, and the rest is marketing hype?
Whether it is worth it or not depends on how much you care about PSU efficiency.
80 Plus means the PSU is at least 80% efficient. Bronze, silver, gold, and platinum certifications mean the PSU exceeds the basic 80 Plus requirement, corresponding to efficiency levels of 82%, 85%, 87%, and 89% respectively.
Depends on your electricity costs. If your electricity is cheap and you don't run your PC with 100% load (running "Folding@Home" or some similar pointless garbage ) 24/7 - I wouldn't bother with all these "gold", "platinum" and such ratings.
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Even if you've got expensive electricity and/or run 24x7 it will take a *very* long time to make back that $70 price difference in power savings alone. As in, many years... probably longer than the PSU (or the system it is installed in) will last. It's almost certainly *not* worth it based solely on economic considerations.
Whether it's worth it TO YOU depends on other factors, like:
- Is it too warm in the room where the PC is located, making a cooler-running PC something you really want?
- If you live somewhere where electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels, do you care about reducing your CO2 footprint?
ezcool's 700w is supposed to be bronze rated but its certainly not by amd ha ha. but with the real makes like antec corsair coolermaster etc the ratings usually though not always do one extra thing. usually the higher the rating the quieter the psu. ots not always tje case so read reviews too but it is a good rule of thumb.
The quiet thing is a reasonably good point - anything rated 80+ is usually quieter than anything not, at least. I tend to stick to corsair, though, and even their Builder series which isn't 80+ is still relatively quiet unless you really get it under load.
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