What is 80 Plus efficiency?
In the process of determining what PSU is right for your PC build, you are confronted with a range of aspects to consider such as form factor, wattage, and efficiency. Efficiency is a special case, as it can be hard to know what makes a PSU efficient. That’s where the 80 Plus certification program comes in. In this article, we will go over some basics of PSU efficiency and discuss in detail the 80 Plus certification levels. You might have heard of PSUs being “Gold certified” or having “Platinum efficiency”, and in this article we are going to get into the details of what those terms mean.
Before we dive into the specifics of 80 Plus certification, you may be wondering: why should I care about PSU efficiency? Efficient PSUs make less noise and usually feature higher quality, longer lasting components. In short, the more efficient a PSU is, the less money you will spend on electricity and new components.
80 Plus is a voluntary certification program that PSU manufacturers can participate in to prove the efficiency of their units. For a unit to be considered for certification at all, it must achieve at least 80% efficiency at 20%, 50%, and 100% loads and feature a power factor of at least 0.9 at 100% load. This is the basic 80 Plus certification. As the certification levels go higher, higher numbers are required. For example, to achieve a Bronze level certification, a unit must achieve 82%, 85%, and 82% efficiency at 20%, 50%, and 100% loads, respectively. See the table below for a full breakdown of each certification level’s requirements:
Sometimes, particularly efficient units can also perform beyond the bounds of these levels. For example, Cooler Master’s GX III Gold 850 can achieve Titanium level efficiency at 10% and 20% loads, making it more efficient that the average Gold rated unit.
The Platinum level tends to be a good balance between efficiency, performance, and price. A Platinum rated PSU is highly efficient but goes easy on your bank account. Cooler Master has recently released two Platinum rated PSUs, the V Platinum V2 and the V SFX Platinum. Both units are thus rated to achieve 89% efficiency at 100% loads, ultimately saving you a lot of money each month.
So which efficiency level should you look for in your PSU? Regardless of what kind of PC you are building, you are going to want to aim for the most efficient PSU you can, and often a Platinum level PSU is a good choice. However, some PSUs with other certifications such as the 80 Plus Gold rated GX III Gold can achieve up to Titanium level efficiency depending on the load. This means that reading the details of each PSU’s 80 Plus efficiency rating and performance is key so that you may make the correct and informed decision for your build. If you’d like more info on Cooler Master’s own range of PSUs such as the GX III Gold, V Platinum V2, and the V SFX Platinum, please check them out here.