Bronze, Silver, and Gold: How to make sense of Power Supply ratings

Bronze, Silver, and Gold: How to make sense of Power Supply ratings

80-Plus Rating System Thresholds
The 80-Plus Rating System Thresholds

When choosing a power supply, you’ll often come across terms such as Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Titanium. But what do these mean? Essentially, the higher the rating, the higher efficiency a PSU will have.

Efficiency:

When a PSU sends power to your computer, some percentage of the power from your outlet never reaches the computer, and is instead released as heat. The more heat is released, the less power reaches the computer and the less efficient the PSU is. This is where the rating system called the “80 Plus system” comes in. If 18% of the total wattage coming from the wall is lost in transit to your PC, your PSU is 82% efficient, and thus would earn a Bronze rating based on the chart shown above. If only 8% is lost, it would be 92% efficient, and would earn a Titanium rating. This is the premise of the 80 Plus rating system.

Which should I get?

In theory, then, you should always buy a Titanium-rated PSU, right? Not exactly. Take this EVGA fully-modular 650W PSU, for example. At the time of writing, it costs $155, nearly twice as much as the $80 price tag on its bronze counterpart shown here, for only a 9% jump in efficiency at full load. It would take nearly 10,000 hours, or over a year, of your computer running at full speed to save the $75 extra you spent on the Titanium.

Which should you get, then? This entirely depends on your computer’s intended use. If you’re building a PC that you intend to use an absolutely monumental amount, such as for computations or very long-term crypto farming, then it may be worth it to buy a more efficient PSU. Otherwise, save your money and stick to the Bronze. For 99% of people, the functionality difference is negligible, while the price difference is not.

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