1200W PSU Roundup 2014Update 04/12/14:
Please note that we originally reported the EVGA SuperNova P2 1200W and Seasonic Platinum Series 1200W as reaching noise levels of 48.6 and 42.9 dB(A) in the 500W load test, respectively. We have since realised that these results were incorrect, and in fact the EVGA PSU remained at just 18.8 dB(A) during this test while the Seasonic reached 21.7 dB(A). We sincerely apologise for these inadvertently misleading errors, and have updated the appropriate graph, reviews, scores and conclusion in line with the new data. Please note that in light of this new data we now consider the EVGA SuperNova P2 1200W to be deserving of our Premium Grade award.
There are not a lot of scenarios that will require a kilowatt-class PSU, but if you’re into extreme overclocking, use three or four graphics cards or want to supplement your income using cryptocoin mining, you might want to consider a really serious power supply. In which case, you've come to the right place, as we've tested eight of the latest models.
Generally speaking, most PCs will get by just fine with a 500-600W PSU (so be sure to check out our latest roundup of such PSUs here
), and that’s assuming you’re using a mid-range to high-end processor as well as a similarly powerful graphics card. By and large, computer components tend to use less energy rather than more as technology advances, so demand for power supplies that can deliver over 1,000 watts would seem to go down rather than up.
However, in particular the recent popularity of mining crypto-currency using multiple power guzzling graphics cards has instigated PSU manufacturers to deliver a slew of new PSUs to the market that are more powerful than ever. While the cryptocoin boom appears to be mostly over for now, at least when using off the shelf graphics cards, there are still some situations that will require you to invest in a heavy-duty PSU.
First of all, if you’re going to use three or four high-end graphics cards, combined with a high-end and possibly overclocked CPU, it is possible a mere 1,000 watts won’t cut it and you’ll want a model in the 1,200 watt range. Secondly, overclocking enthusiasts pursuing new 3DMark or other graphics benchmark records will also need a hefty PSU to deliver the required power, as power consumption increases hugely when you raise the voltages feeding the CPU, mainboard and graphics cards.
And, frankly, that’s about the entire range of possible usage scenarios for power supplies such as the ones we’ll be discussing on the following pages. The good news is that it’s hard to buy a real dud in this class. The bad news is that none of them come exactly cheap, but there are significant price differences between the cheapest and most expensive model. That just leaves us to discuss the varying options on test here and tell you which one to get.
80 Plus What?
One thing worth mentioning is the 80 Plus rating of these models. All of them are 80 Plus Platinum, except the Be Quiet! and Chieftec offerings, which are rated 80 Plus Gold. While Platinum still commands a premium, prices are coming down and in fact several are cheaper than the twin Gold options in the test. This is markedly different from the price differential between Gold and Bronze PSUs, where Gold commanded a premium that was hard to regain through saving on your power bill. At least for Platinum versus Gold this won’t come up: Platinum is indeed the new Gold, at least in this test.