It's been a while since we last reviewed a power supply—so long that our last review samples are now fully fossilized, waiting to be recovered by future generations of geologists. The factories where they were built now manufacture flying cars, and the term "PSU" itself is now a portmanteau for an extremely vulgar dance move.
Well, all right. Maybe not quite. But it has been a while.
There's a very good reason for our moving away from PSU reviews, of course. Five to 10 years ago, finding a quiet and efficient PSU with enough 12V amps to power a real gaming rig was tricky. It involved careful comparison shopping and the perusing of many reviews, including our own. Without appropriate research, there was a very good chance of winding up with a noisy unit and an inadequate connector load-out. Today, though, 80 Plus-certified units with near-silent fans practically grow on trees. Most of the good ones have overly beefy 12V rails, five-year warranties, and more connectors than people need. And they're modular, too.
The stakes, in other words, are much lower.
That said, we are curious types here at TR. We couldn't resist the urge to look in on some recent PSUs, if only to verify what we've known for some time. Some itches simply have to be scratched. Especially the ones resulting from the aforementioned dance move.
To scratch this particular itch, we gathered semi-modular 750W units with 80 Plus Gold certification from Cooler Master and Rosewill—including a representative of Cooler Master's newly released VSM series—and stacked them up against a member of the old guard, PC Power & Cooling's Silencer 760W, which came out almost four years ago. Let's see how far we've come over the past several years.
Cooler Master's V750
We'll introduce Cooler Master's V750 first, since it's the newest unit of the bunch.
Like many high-efficiency PSUs, the V750 derives most of its capacity from a single 12V rail. This rail is rated for 62A, which works out to 744W, or about 99.2% of the total output rating. That's a good thing: the 12V line feeds the most power-hungry components in a system, including the CPU and GPU. The other rails aren't nearly as important.
The V750 follows the current trend in other ways. It features a 120-mm fan (with dynamic speed adjustment), active power-factor correction, Japanese capacitors throughout, and a lofty efficiency rating. The 80 Plus Gold label on this thing denotes efficiency of 87-90% depending on the load, or 88-92% if you're connected to a 230V AC outlet.
This is also a "semi modular" unit. The motherboard and PCIe power leads are hard-wired, but the others can be added or removed at the user's discretion. We like modular and semi-modular designs, and we recommend them exclusively in our System Guide, because they make for much tidier builds with fewer airflow obstructions. With non-modular units, one has to find room to tuck away all the unused cables.
The V750 ships with four PCIe 6+2-pin connectors, so it can drive up to two top-of-the-line graphics cards with dual 8-pin power jacks. On top of that, the modular cables in the box provide eight Serial ATA connectors, six 4-pin Molex connectors, and one 4-pin floppy connector, for those still rocking old-school 1.44MB drives.
At 5.9" x 5.5" x 3.4" (150 x 140 x 86 mm), the V750 is fairly compact. It's actually about 0.9" (23 mm) shorter than the Rosewill Capstone and about 1.6" (40 mm) shorter than the Silencer. That smaller footprint corresponds exactly to the official ATX specification, but it's uncommon among enthusiast-grade power supplies these days. Unlike the Capstone, Silencer, and a whole wealth of other units, the V750 will happily fit in Mini-ITX and microATX cases that support only standard-length PSUs.
This PSU will set you back $99.99, or $89.99 after a mail-in rebate, at Newegg. Cooler Master covers it with a five-year warranty and a "Gold Guarantee" that includes "live help" tech support and full coverage of replacement fees, such as shipping costs. That certainly doesn't hurt.