Poll: How powerful is your PSU?

The range of PSU wattages available today is truly staggering. At Newegg alone, the scale starts at 145W and goes all the way up to 1500W. You’d need a pretty power-hungry system to require anything close to even a kilowatt with today’s hardware, though. I suspect most enthusiast desktops get by comfortably with much less. But just how much less?

That’s the subject of today’s poll, which simply asks: What’s the wattage rating of your primary desktop’s PSU? You can cast your vote over on the right column on the front page or after clicking on the comment link below.

In our last poll, we asked whether your primary portable PC had an optical drive. 28% of voters have an optical drive and use it often. However, another 39% have an optical drive that rarely gets used. Of the 34% of voters who go without, 4% still yearn for an optical drive, while 30% haven’t looked back.

Comments closed
    • Ruiner
    • 9 years ago

    Antec passively cooled Phantom 350.
    OCed e8400 and Radeon HD 5670, one SSD (boot/apps) and one 2.5″ bulk drive….88w idle, 187w under OCCT psu torture test (at the wall per KillaWatt).

    • clone
    • 9 years ago

    had psu’s ranging from 250 to 850 watt’s over the years…. when they tranisitioned to 55nm I went down from my 850 watt silverstone to a 400 watt…. (sold the psu with the 4870 I was using)……. I may go back up but likely no higher than 460watts.

    can get a CoolerMaster 460 watt with all of the needed plugs (for me) to run an HD 5850 or less which is well beyond what I’ll likely get to render StarCraft 2 later this month.

    the CoolerMaster is listing for $29.79 CDN no MIR … that is just a damned tough price to beat…. runs quiet and is currently powering a dual core AMD with 4gb’s of ram, Raptor HDD.

    ยง[< http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/221135/COOLERMASTER/RS460_PSARJ3_US/<]ยง

    • dashbarron
    • 9 years ago

    Epic win on the BtF reference ๐Ÿ™‚

    • ModernPrimitive
    • 9 years ago

    Cooler Master RPP 850… overkill for my aging e8500@4ghz and GTX 280 but never skimp on the psu.

    • Kaleid
    • 9 years ago

    Zalman 850w which is overkill but it leaves me room using up to 400W without any fan speed increases.

    I’m at about 200-220w full load from wall with the monitor included atm.

    • nightmorph
    • 9 years ago

    I have a 150W PicoPSU and matching power brick for my workstation, but my max load is probably about 63W. Maybe somewhere in the 70s at system start, including HDD spinup. My system uses less power, at low and high levels, than any of my reading lights.

    Coulda got by with a 90W Pico, but I needed the extra cables found on the 150W flavor for my SSDs and fan controller.

    • Veerappan
    • 9 years ago

    420W PCP&C Silencer ATX.

    I used my Kill-A-Watt on the system before my old power supply died, and figured that at Idle I was only pulling ~100W and load was ~190W (with a Radeon 4850).

    System:
    Phenom X3 720BE
    4GB DDR2
    Radeon 4770
    2x 640GB Caviar Blue
    2x Optical (DVDRW + Bluray)

      • Taddeusz
      • 9 years ago

      Yea, computer enthusiasts rarely try and figure out how much power their systems REALLY use and just go for the biggest they can afford or think they need.

      The best power supply for a given system depends not only on maximum demand but also average demand. Power supplies have a “sweet spot” at which they run at their most efficient. This is usually in the middle somewhere. So if you get a power supply that is either way over the top or one that is barely enough it’s probably not running where it is most efficient.

    • crsh1976
    • 9 years ago

    I’m currently using a Shuttle SFF box with a 300w PSU; Core 2 Duo E8400, 4 GB of RAM, 2 hard drives, a DVD-RW drive and a Radeon 5770.

    Not a whole lot of headroom left, as in I can’t possibly switch to a Core 2 Quad processor or move up to a Radeon 5870, but it does the job.

    • Disco
    • 9 years ago

    I’ve been looking at putting together a new desktop, most likely based upon the ‘utility player’ in the system guide. Will the 500W PSU in the Antec Sonata case be enough power to add an additional hard drive? I also have a Radeon 5850 which I would transfer to the new machine (instead of the guide’s 5770). Would the 500 W be enough, or would I have to upgrade the PSU?

      • Darkmage
      • 9 years ago

      Yeah, you’ll be fine. Consider upgrading the PSU if you go Crossfire, but another hard disk won’t cause any problems.

    • chunkymonster
    • 9 years ago

    I have a tendency to buy a psu that supplies 150-200 more watts than what the system is estimated to use, this way I can add components without worry and move the psu to the next build. PSU’s usually outlast my upgrade cycle anyway.

    • stdRaichu
    • 9 years ago

    500W, and I’ve never been able to get it to suck more than about 350 from the wall whilst simultaneously playing a game and doing two x264 encodes. Long live the power-friendly i5 and 5770.

      • kuraegomon
      • 9 years ago

      Second this. That is a wonderful combination for up to 1920×1200 (or 1080, pleh) gaming. Still smile over the power readings I got for the first rig I built with this combo.

    • entropy13
    • 9 years ago

    FSP 500W – 60GHC

    • Krogoth
    • 9 years ago

    Last option on the poll is fail, because it isn’t a cheese-related joke and the Back to Future joke has been done to death. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Buzzard44
      • 9 years ago

      Au contraire.

      Last option of the poll is win, because I have a PCIe x16 flux capacitor. It requires THREE 8-pin connectors.

        • 5150
        • 9 years ago

        How does Mr. Fusion plug in?

    • Shobai
    • 9 years ago

    300W Seasonic SFX supply. 720BE cpu, 4890 on a 790GX matx board, 6GB ram, 1 HDD, 1 ODD.

    With PhenomMsrTweaker and Rivatuner, the machine idles at around 100, 110W and heads up towards 290W under load [both AC, so DC load will be at most 80%]

    • Thorburn
    • 9 years ago

    Silverstone 1000W PSU, pushing dual Westmere-EP’s and a Radeon 5870 so while a little overkill (total system draw at peak is around 700W) was needed for dual EPS12V connectors.

    • CampinCarl
    • 9 years ago

    Running the 500W Antec EarthWatts that came with my Sonata III. Seems to work well, I haven’t noticed any instability. Haven’t had time to hook my dad’s Kill-A-Watt into it yet though.

    • Sunburn74
    • 9 years ago

    Seasonic X 750 here. Fan is idle most of the time. Pleased with PSU.

    • FuturePastNow
    • 9 years ago

    400W Corsair, far more power than a Phenom II X4, a G92 graphics card, and a few hard drives require.

    • StuG
    • 9 years ago

    I have a HX650 from Corsair. Thing produces enough power to drive my entire system (Dual HD5870’s, Phenom II X4 940 @ 3.5, 4 HDD’s, Asus Xonar D2X, and more) and doesn’t even break 500w.

    I can’t imagine you would need a PSU close to 1000w of power unless you had triple GTX480’s….

    • Krogoth
    • 9 years ago

    610W PC Power & Cooling Silencer PSU

      • cegras
      • 9 years ago

      Same! Although my next PSU will definitely be a Seasonic X series.

      • Waco
      • 9 years ago

      I have the 750w Crossfire edition running my rig.

      • dashbarron
      • 9 years ago

      Mines that P&C 750 Ferrari red one as well.

    • RickyTick
    • 9 years ago

    Is there a direct relationship between PSU wattage and e-peen?

      • aatu
      • 9 years ago

      E-peen enlargement formula for PSUs:
      (MF) x (BF) x -[<(GHz)<]- (kW) = EE [cm] MF: modularity factor ranging from 1.0 to 1.5 BF: brand factor ranging from 0.5 to 2.0 For example modular 1.2 kW from a moderately well known brand: 1.5 x 1.5 x 1.2 = 2.7 (cm) But considering CPU gives a formula: (# of cores) x (AMCSF) x (GF) x (GHz) = EE [cm] AMCSF: after market cooler solution factor, ranging from 1.0 to 3.0 (2 and up reserved for liquid cooling) GF: generation factor, ranging from 1.0 to 2.0 Even an old dual core 2GHz (with stock cooling) gives way more epeen than PSU. And there's even no comparison with GPUs. Disclaimer: These are simplified formulas. If you're serious about it, you will also have to consider the noise and the size of the fans, etc. /[

        • YellaChicken
        • 9 years ago

        l[

          • RickyTick
          • 9 years ago

          Maybe size does matter. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • aatu
          • 9 years ago

          Ouch. Fixed.

          edit:
          Another brainfart. First I changed it to GW. One minute later it occurred to me that has to be wrong. Then I was about to change it to MW, but luckily I noticed it before posting, and changed it to kW. Now everything should be right…?

    • ShadowTiger
    • 9 years ago

    I have a 1 kw rosewill PSU I got for $120

    It was a great value, it gets 80% efficiency (not certified), and considering that PSU’s lose strength over the years it will last me a long time.

    I have a q9450 and 2x GT 8800

      • kiwik
      • 9 years ago

      A Corsair 650W TX would have been a better investment for you.

        • jimmylao
        • 9 years ago

        agreed, over the years, corsair has pretty much proven to be psu kings

    • mnecaise
    • 9 years ago

    350W oem Dell running a Pentium D, 2 drives and an upgraded video card. Runs a bit hot, but it’s been chugging along for 4 years now. (might be time to upgrade it to a more efficient model…)

    • albundy
    • 9 years ago

    my $30 700w active pfc modular psu is keeping me very very happy. sure i only use half of that power, but come time to upgrade to a dx11 card and add a few more hard drives, then its definitely worth it.

    • kdashjl
    • 9 years ago

    a hot wheels delorean count?
    btw pixxo jaguar 600w
    works well a little noisy

    • Chrispy_
    • 9 years ago

    I feel guilty about my 1000W monster:
    I associate people who buy 1000W PSU’s with a gullibily for marketing ploys.

    This 8800GTS and Q9550 machine previously ran just fine on a 460W supply. If I hadn’t “won” this OCZ 1000W supply in an inventory mixup, I’d still be using the 460W supply. I suspect that an I7 and a 5870 would also have run just fine on my old PSU, given the supposed power draw of the components I am currently using.

    Quality > Quantity.

    • Vaughn
    • 9 years ago

    Enermax Infinity 720 Watts here. It was way over kill in my operton 170 Rig but I wanted something modular and was thinking ahead at the time.

    It now powers my overclocked i7 rig and going strong after 2+ years of service. It may very well outlast my 920 and go into the next rig.

    So it was well worth the $200 I paid for it at the time!

    • Ozobamai
    • 9 years ago

    I migrated my ‘old’ Corsair (/Seasonic) HX520 (which is a great supply) to another client, and now use a Seasonic X-650. I certainly don’t need 650W, but like the fact that 99% of the time the fan is not even running. Silence *is* golden. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    150W PicoPSU. Complete overkill; everything maxed out, I can’t get the off-the-wall power consumption to go over 85W.

    • ClickClick5
    • 9 years ago

    Antec Neo HE550. Been running strong since 2007.

      • Mr Bill
      • 9 years ago

      Same here, system typically draws ~230W including monitor, probably overkill.

    • morfeus
    • 9 years ago

    430W Seasonic using it since 2007.

    Powering an ASUS mATX board with an Athlon BE @2100 (stock speed), 4Gb Crucial ram, 5 hard drives (optical drive disconnctd due to lack of sata ports ๐Ÿ™ and a 7600gt (XFX oc). And also 3x 80mm fans.

    I believe it doesn’t go over 100W (at the wall) for normal day to day surfing etc. Haven’t checked under heavy load, but since the processor is a 45W energy efficient one, only the 7600gt is likely to pull much powr, so guess it probably won’t go over 150W maxed out.

    • henfactor
    • 9 years ago

    Enermax 460watt providing power to: Phenom 955 (OC’d to 3.7GHz, 1.45vCore), 9800GTX (slightly OC’d), Two HD’s, wifi card, optical drive, 5 120mm fans, and a Gigabyte 750a mobo.

    Think I’m stretching it a little? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • StuG
      • 9 years ago

      Probably not actually.

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    Pulling 85W for an E8500 Core2Duo + Passive 9600GT + Intel G2 SSD while playing GTA4, a browser window, Outlook 2010. The two LCD’s attached use more powerg{<.<}g Have a Corsair 450W installedg{<.<}g

    • Captain Ned
    • 9 years ago

    Corsair HX520 here. The old Barton-core Athlon XP box (still plugging away) has an Antec TruePower 330.

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 9 years ago

    My system has a 600W 80+ PSU. Every other PSU is between 420W and 580W. And there will never ever be a need for something more powerful.

    My system is a i7-860 w/ the HD5870 and 3 HD and at max use (Folding) it doesn’t draw more that 380W from the wall via the Kill-A-Watt, so even my 600W is overkill. It was on sale and it is rated as one of the best, so I’m happy.

    • Laykun
    • 9 years ago

    850W (Coolermaster Silent Pro)

    i7 975 @ 4.1ghz
    5970 + 5850 @ 920/1000
    RAID0 640GB
    2 Pumps pushing water round

    Runs just fine. Quite often anything more is overkill unless your tri-sli-ing some GTX480s

    • mmp121
    • 9 years ago

    My PSU is an ancient Antec TruPower 430 thats nearly 7 years old now.

    • Shinare
    • 9 years ago

    Conroe 2.1GHz @ 3.0GHz
    8800GTX
    2 250GB HDD
    3 Case fans.

    Powered fine for 3+ years with a Rosewill 550W PSU.

    PS> My UPS tells me that while running 3dMark I am pulling around 250W.

    • maxxcool
    • 9 years ago

    However people vote the real question should be How many 12v amps… thats the real test of a power supply.

      • moriz
      • 9 years ago

      well, mine only has one….

      …. that’s rated for 60A.

      the real test of PSUs is the total current of the 12V rail(s), not how many there are.

        • Mourmain
        • 9 years ago

        “Amps”, also known as “amperes”, also known as a measure of current.

          • NeelyCam
          • 9 years ago

          Owned!

          • moriz
          • 9 years ago

          heh, i swear it read “12v rails”, instead of “12v amps” when i replied.

          oh well.

        • Deanjo
        • 9 years ago

        Total of amps per rail means nothing if it none of those rails are sufficient to supply sufficient current to the attached device. I’ll take a single 60 amp rail over 30/30 rails any day of the week.

      • bcronce
      • 9 years ago

      All good PSUs run the 5v/3v off the 12v anyway. My PSU can run 100% of it’s rated power on the 12v.

      As to the others liking singular large rails over smaller ones.

      My PSU also allows near all power on a single rail, mainly because they over built the circuits on all the rails to help smooth out the power even more. But obviously, the PSU won’t allow the total power to exceed a set threshold.

      So, I can still run as many devices on any single rail on my PSU as yours, but I have the *option* to use other rails and reduce noise.

    • yuriylsh
    • 9 years ago

    Corsair 550VX. It is definitely overkill for my system, but it is 80+ and it was on sale with good reviews.

    • wira020
    • 9 years ago

    Thermaltake 750w Toughpower ( the first version i think ).. should be overkill for just amd 720be n reference radeon 5850… but i want to be safe for future upgrade… maybe for CFX or something.. it’s also very quiet n cool considering i’m probably just using around half it’s capacity at max… it was the cheapest price/watt that i found n it’s also modular… hope they dont change the atx standard or something so i can still use it for another 10 years…

    • bobboobles
    • 9 years ago

    601-800 /[

    • Deanjo
    • 9 years ago

    PC Power and Cooling 750 (real PC Power and Cooling supplies not OCZ) ftw. After trying Seasonics, Coolermaster, Antec, Corsairs, OCZ, etc I can definitely see why PC Power and Cooling supplies are in a class of their own.

    • kuraegomon
    • 9 years ago

    Thermaltake ToughPower 1200. Overkill at this point, but it wasn’t for my old system – that one pulled 500 Watts at *[

      • StuG
      • 9 years ago

      I find a 600w idle hard to believe form that system. I have a friend with a very similar system that draws just under 300w…

    • jdaven
    • 9 years ago

    So far after 183 votes, we have a Gaussian distribution right in the middle of the range. That could have been guessed before hand. If you build it, they will come. If you offer less than 200 W or greater than 1200 W, someone somewhere will buy. These are the extremes with most people buying in the middle. That Gauss guy was very smart.

      • wibeasley
      • 9 years ago

      With 6 relevant bins, how do you distinguish that from the other 4 or 5 common symmetric distributions?

      “That could have been guessed before hand.” It was. That’s why Geoff chose these categories above instead of 0-600W, 600-1200W, 1200-1800W and 2200W-2800W.

        • ludi
        • 9 years ago

        Look again at the binning: it is divided by even 200W increments across the commercially available range. The “less than zero” option doesn’t exist outside of certain dubious Internet inventions, and the “greater than 1200W” option is extremely specialized, while everything else in between is readily available if you want to pay for it.

        There’s no reason why most people should be buying anything in the 600W and up range based solely on system requirements, and yet they clearly are.

          • wibeasley
          • 9 years ago

          But you’re subjectively placing the threshold of ‘extremely specialized’ at 1200W, and that judgement is influenced by commercial availability, not by system requirements. And the lowest bin isn’t really 200W wide, because the min is 145W. The boundaries [0, 1200] were well-chosen points to make the histogram’s pattern easier to quickly comprehend.

          The skew isn’t really related to my point, but it is positive the ‘commercially available range’ is defined as [145W, 1500W] –and I think Newegg is a reasonble definition of commercially available.

          This likely is the silliest argument I’ve been in (in TR), but I’m still willing if neither of us get righteous.

    • KarateBob
    • 9 years ago

    Two or three OCZ GameXStream 600w’s.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 9 years ago

      two or three in your primary desktop?

    • flip-mode
    • 9 years ago

    500 watts in both my machines. Overkill for both my machines, probably. My beefier machine has been measured using 225 watts. I never want a system that needs even a 500 watt PSU. Even 225 watts is more than I’d like to be using.

    • colinstu
    • 9 years ago

    Antec EA500. It’s serving me well.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 9 years ago

    Corsair HX620.

    My system very likely doesn’t need 620W, but I wanted a modular PSU and it was on sale so…

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 9 years ago

    I have a 150w brick that isn’t as efficient as most, but I never saw it go over 100w, so now I’m using a better 84w brick. That computer is a hot piece of junk with a useless graphics card. My new desktop would probably be fine with a normal 65w brick.

    Hooray amazing technological innovations like the GTX 400s that keep us in the dark ages of 1,000w PSUs!

    • bthylafh
    • 9 years ago

    380W Antec Earthwatts. Plenty powerful for three hard drives, a DVD burner, Radeon 4850, and older Core 2 Duo.

    edit: and a Xonar DX (thanks TR!).

    • holophrastic
    • 9 years ago

    I’ve got 850W, but my UPS says I’m only using 350W at the most intense 4 megapixel 3d gaming. weird.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 9 years ago

    My DeLorean is in the shop, so my primary PSU is a Corsair 650TX. I like it, it’s darn quiet considering I’m probably not even drawing 250W under a full load.

    • axeman
    • 9 years ago

    I’m not sure what to vote. I don’t have a “primary desktop” anymore. I have an ultraportable, an HTPC that also does games, a file server. I can’t believe how many people are over 600w though! I might have a 400-450 in the file server, but then again, I don’t believe in power-sucking graphics cards – I find the best card that will work without an auxilliary power plug and go with that.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 9 years ago

      The reason mine is so high is that at low loads, the fan doesn’t run at all. Since even under full load my load is still less than 50%, my PSU is effectively passively cooled.

      Also, thanks to Gigabyte’s EasyTune6 software, my CPU fan doesn’t spin at all until it gets under load, either. I love the quiet.

    • dragmor
    • 9 years ago

    Laptop 65w, Shuttle 250w.

    • khands
    • 9 years ago

    I should really read through the whole poll first next time.

    • SNM
    • 9 years ago

    Oof, those are some large categories. I suspect you’re going to find nearly everybody in the 401-600W range, but most of them are probably in the upper end of that spectrum…

    • grantmeaname
    • 9 years ago

    90W.

      • wibeasley
      • 9 years ago

      That’s great for a primary desktop. What are the specs?

        • ludi
        • 9 years ago

        The specs very likely include a hinge between the base and the display.

        • grantmeaname
        • 9 years ago

        2.8GHz Intel dual core, HD 4570, 3GB DDR2-800.

        Hells yes.

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      That’s what I’m talkin’bout!

      • Anonymous Hamster
      • 9 years ago

      65W for me. Completely external and fanless, I might add. About the size of an ice cream sandwich.

    • Jigar
    • 9 years ago

    650Watts local brand, which is getting long in the tooth now.

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