If your PC plugs into the wall, it has a power supply. The workhorse of computer components is one we often don’t think about, but having a PSU with sufficient juice (not to mention smooth, reliable operation) is key to making sure your desktop runs smoothly. To help him nail down some buying decisions, Gordon Ung got a little advice from an old friend of the PCWorld YouTube channel: Stephen Burke, Editor-in-Chief of GamersNexus.
So, what’s the biggest concern for GamersNexus? Transient power spikes. In layman’s terms, these are anomalous boosts in power draw that can come from intense hardware use, typically high-end games, and they can “surprise” even a high-wattage PSU into an annoying and potentially damaging system crash. They’re most common on low-end PSUs and those with design compromises, like small form factor power supplies. Specific parts, like the RTX 3080, are particularly known for transient spikes.
The easiest way to avoid these transient spikes is to get a power supply with more power than your system needs, but that’s not really efficient in terms of either electricity draw or money. A better choice is to invest in a more high-quality power supply that actually provides the power your system needs. How do you do that? Check the reviews, of course! Merely looking for an 80-Plus Gold certification isn’t going to cut it.
There are a lot of premium features in power supplies that can prevent system hiccups, like short circuit protection and crossload balancing. But if you want to find a good power supply without having a minor in electrical engineering, look for one that’s certified Gold or Diamond by Cybanetics Labs. This more extensive certification service is focused on overall performance and stability instead of just power efficiency, like 80-Plus certification.
For more tips and pointers on finding the right power supply for your system (or your kid’s system), watch the video to the end. Thanks again to GamersNexus for hanging out with us — subscribe to both their channel and PCWorld on YouTube!
Michael is a former graphic designer who's been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.