Whilst busily researching components for our product line, one issue I had was with power supplies. So-called ‘gaming’ power supplies seem to occupy most of the market, with power ratings reaching a staggering 1500W.
My gaming rig, whilst not the most powerful setup in the world, packs a Core i7, an Nvidia GTX 260, 4 SSDs and 12Gb of RAM and it barely brushes 300W under load. Even with a pair of graphics cards in there it ran happily on a 540W power supply.
Power supplies in the 200W-400W range, that would be more than enough for the vast majority of non-gaming PCs not running heavy-duty graphics cards are virtually non-existant.
One of our suppliers list 14 PSUs capable of delivering in excess of 1000W and only 9 rated at below 400W.
Only the most extreme, multi-GPU, over-clocked, water-cooled PC setups will ever get close to the insane power requirements at the top end of the market, yet power supply manufacturers are falling over themselves to produce power supplies with ever higher outputs in some sort of crazy arms race.
That wouldn’t be a problem in itself if it wasn’t for two things.
1/ Wildly misleading claims made by computer enthusiasts and some system builders as to the power requirements of an average PC. I have seen people being advised that PCs of a similar setup to mine would require PSUs rated at 700W or 800W. This leads to people spending money on heavy-duty PSUs they don’t need.
2/ The lack of a wide range of high-quality PSUs in the 300W-400W range that would happily power the vast majority of PCs that don’t use high-end graphics cards. Where are the 350W 80 Plus Platinum PSUs?
Of course, one problem is that at the bottom end of the market, the PSU is very much an afterthought, cheap and cheerful PSUs, not noted for reliability or efficiency are fitted into cheap PC cases and are available for next to nothing.
Only a realisation by many in the enthusiast market that they are being persuaded to buy wildly over-specced power supplies can bring about a shift away from the power supply arms race towards a more balanced and sensible product range.