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There is no part in a PC build that doesn’t serve a critical purpose. You could say that virtually every aspect of PC is in equal standing of importance – you wouldn’t have much of a quality build without everything pitching in.
Even so, it’s a cold hard fact that, in terms of importance to function, versatility, and sheer necessity, the PSU is one of the things you don’t want to skimp on. That’s why you should take a look at any of the 7 best PSUs (Power Supply Units) under $100 in 2020 we’ve got right here.
Best PSUs Under $100 in 2020 Round Up
The table below will give you a quick look at our selections for the best power supply units under $100 that are currently available on the market. To read a full review, simply click on ‘review>>’ in respective row.
1. GAMEMAX GP-650
Form Factor: ATX12V 2.3 | Capacity: 650W | Efficiency Rating: 80+ Bronze | Modular: No | Warranty: 3 Years
- Decent energy efficiency
- Low noise levels
- Stable and reliable
- Quality and lasting build
- Organized cables
REASONS TO AVOID
- Non modular
- ’only’ 3 year warranty
Our Rating: 9.7/10
A powerful PC needs a powerful PSU to supply it with all the energy it needs to function consistently as optimal capacity. While a cheaper PSU can work fine for anyone building a rig that’s not expecting much in terms of performance, anything with a little ambition needs something that can fulfill precisely what that ambition needs to come to fruition.
The GAMEMAX GP-650 fits a nice little niche that markets itself as the prime candidate for price vs. performance deals. For energy efficiency, you’ll be looking at an 80+ Bronze rating. While that’s objectively the second lowest rating it could have, that by no means that it’s poor functionality. After all, you’re still going to be getting 84% efficiency, which alone is a reliable standard.
The noise level for the GP-650 is an aspect that comes with very little criticism. Though you may hear some faint whirring under a high load, which can be reasonably expected from almost any PSU fan, the ultra-silent fan feature actually manages to live up to its name quite well. Combine that with a dual-rail design, which limits noise during power transfer, and you’ll rarely hear a peep out of the GP-650.
Take a look at that name again: GP-650. Obvious as it may be, being able to manage up to 650 watts to power your PC takes some effort. There’s stability issues, reliability, and even distribution to worry about, all of which are very well handled by the GP-650. While you may take it for granted, this is a PSU that’s capable of handling a wide variety of PC builds competently.
Oh, and don’t forget about cord management. Each bundle comes wrapped in a fine mesh, keeping your mess of wires organized straight out of the box, easing the burden of having to sort through a mess of multi-colored cables whenever you need to find the one you’re looking for.
The overall design of the PSU is clean, sleek, and pristinely organized, which if for no other benefit makes it look exceedingly fitting with your PC. The cords, however, are a little short, which may limit how they fit in with your build.
However, there’s one problem that should be addressed, and that’s whether it’s modular or not. Granted, this is less a problem with the product and more an issue with how it’s listed. You may find on the GP-650’s Amazon listing that it’s a modular PSU. That’s not the case, which can lead to some annoyance and heartache if you’re unprepared. The GP-650 is decidedly non-modular, which shouldn’t be a problem so long as you take care of your cords.
The GAMEMAX GP-650 is a top-tier candidate for a wide variety of gaming and non-gaming PCs that are looking for a capable, powerful PSU that can take as much as it can give. Not only can you get it for a good price, it’s set to last you for quite some time.
2. Cooler Master MasterWatt 750
Form Factor: ATX 12V v2.4 | Capacity: 750W | Efficiency Rating: 80+ Bronze | Modular: Semi-modular | Warranty: 5 Years
- Stable and poweful unit
- Semi-modular design
- 5 Year warranty
- Clean and easy cable management
- Superb value
REASONS TO AVOID
- Noisier under heavy load
Our Rating: 9.6/10
Now for one of the more powerful PSUs on this list. The MasterWatt 750 Watt already sets a pretty high bar for itself, being engineered for more powerful PCs that consume more energy. The more power your computer needs, the more imperative the PSU needs to be capable of handling the strain.
Firstly, being rated with an 80+ Bronze rating is a good indicator for the type of performance you can expect from the MasterWatt 750. Designed with Dual Forward and DC-to-DC circuit topology for greater stability for power transfer, it does a standup job keeping your PC consistently and appropriately powered.
With all things considered the primary performance job resulting from its energy efficiency and stability is of the most premium quality with few drawbacks. This is further aided by the design of the cables, using 16AWG PCIe that not only support high-quality, energy efficient powering, but also can be further amplified by the MasterWatt 750’s semi-modular design.
While you’re stuck with the cables you’ve got, you still have the leverage to customize your PSU with auxiliary cables you need.
The noise pollution needs some attention. The fan works well, and the dustproof design helps your PSU run for years without deadly dust buildup. The noise pollution isn’t so much affected by the fan as it is by the coil whine.
The harder you push your computer, the greater that the MasterWatt will rev up, increasing coil whine on a fairly consistent basis. If you’re running your computer on low loads, you shouldn’t hear a thing, but higher loads are going to struggle with background noise.
Per PSU build design, it’s structurally sound. Any instances of misplaced screws or poor build quality are found few and far between, leaving you with a clean, sleek PSU in nearly every case. Can’t account for every outlier, after all. The cables are also wrapped in a durable mesh, providing easy cable management for what amounts to a large amount of cables. Makes your life a little easier.
This is one of the best value PSUs you can find, even if it does come with its flaws. The sheer amount of features, from the semi-modular design to the semi-fanless up to 15% load airflow feature to the circuit design itself, make for a dense, well-constructed PSU in the end. It has solid performance marks, even if the coil whine does get a little intense.
This is the kind of product you get if you’re looking for the best bang for your buck. With all the features jam packed into its case, the MasterWatt 750 Watt still delivers on the fundamentals, only then to tack on some bells and whistles for handling high-end rigs at optimum capacity.
3. Thermaltake Smart Pro RGB
Form Factor: ATX 12V 2.4 | Capacity: 750W | Efficiency Rating: 80+ Bronze | Modular: Yes | Warranty: 7 Years
- Clean design with RGB
- Powerful and efficient
- 7 Year warranty
- Excellent airflow
- Super silent
- Fully modular
REASONS TO AVOID
- Not the safest unit out there
Our Rating: 9.5/10
Bearing remarkably similar specs to the comparative Thermaltake products you’ll find on this list, the Thermaltake Smart Pro RGB needs to find something within its structure that sets it apart for the average builder.
One of the most initially appealing qualities for the Smart Pro is its build design. While the RGB components are limited in their scope and spectrum, it can still provide a tasteful show for builds with a glass side panel.
With plenty of ventilation for excellent airflow, a durable box design, and a faceup fan design for optimal lighting and heat exhaust, it bears the feel of a quality product if nothing else.
Though you might hope for a rating on par with its contemporaries, the Smart Pro only sports an 80+ Bronze rating. Again, that’s in no world a poor score, it’s just how it was constructed. Handling on average a typical 85% for energy efficiency is still more than enough to adjudicate the appropriate levels of power in equal measure to the entirety of your computer.
750 watts is a fairly hefty amount of power to evenly ration out, which leaves the fan to handle a fair bit of heat buildup. A common problem that PSUs run into is excessive noise pollution, either from a fan that’s faultily constructed or due to coil whine. In this instance the Smart Pro has done an excellent job handling this issue, running at near silence even with a heavier load.
Once again, Thermaltake building their products to be fully modular is a huge point in their favor.
The wires that come included tend to be hit or miss, and if you’re unlucky enough to receive a set that doesn’t meet your standards you’re not stuck with them. Being able to freely attach and replace your PSU’s cables is a refreshingly easy way to manage your wires while ensuring you have the highest quality connections for your build.
The biggest thing to watch out for with this product is the possibility of burnout. It doesn’t have the greatest of protections when it comes to ensuring the PSU won’t fry your computer if it malfunctions, and although it’s a rare occurrence, it’s not a 0% probability.
While the Thermaltake Smart Pro RGB doesn’t have as good a rating as some of the other Thermaltake products you’ll find, what falls short in performance is made up in overall cost-competitive value. At its core, the Smart Pro is a highly effective product, making it an excellent choice for builds that are looking for an upgrade in power, performance, and aesthetics.
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4. EVGA 600 BR
Form Factor: ATX12V | Capacity: 600W | Efficiency Rating: 80+ Bronze | Modular: No | Warranty: 3 Years
- Decent energy efficiency
- Great customer service
- Fully sleeved, long cables
- High quality and durable build
- Fairly silent
REASONS TO AVOID
- Non modular
- Numerous reports of DOA
Our Rating: 9.4/10
If there’s one thing you can rely on EVGA for, it’s luxurious warranty deals. Admittedly, the experience in actually cashing in on a warranty when it comes time varies from consumer to consumer, but judging the customer service is another thing entirely when it comes to analyzing the quality of a PSU. The EVGA 600 BR, standing on its own, seems to stand fairly well, and if the worst happens then you’ve got three years of warranty over your head.
Starting off, this is one of EVGA’s more powerful products, clocking in at 600 watts. That’s a great number, no complaints there, should be able to route all the power you need where you need it. What’s more important is taking a look at its 80+ Bronze Rating. Clocking in at 85% energy efficiency, there’s little evidence to show that the 600 BR can’t deliver on its promises.
You’d hope to find more modular PSUs running at comparative prices, but being modular or non-modular bears no tremendous significance here. Having the capability to curate your own PSU experience is nice, but non-modular PSUs like the EVGA 600 BR are still more than able to get the job done as expected.
The attached cables are, thankfully, fully sleeved, hiding a multi-colored eyesore while ensuring there’s a modicum of pre-established cable maintenance built into the product. Plus, these cables are pretty long, making the connection process much easier to deal with without worrying about short cables.
The 600 BR goes above and beyond in terms of durability and construction quality. The metal is sound, the screws are well-fitting, the build is tight. Every part of it is consistently seamless and solidly constructed.
The fan seems to do fairly well at reducing the amount of noise pollution that lower quality products usually suffer from. Unless you’re running some demanding programs, the 600 BR should purr like a kitten.
The thing that the 600 BR seems to suffer most from is inconsistent internal quality. That is to say, there are numerous reports of the product being DOA, or having short lifespans before shutting down.
As a QA issue, EVGA needs to be sure to handle this delicately and efficiently, even if these mistakes are few and far between. Hopefully you don’t get a dud, but it’s not exactly the most uncommon problem that PSUs have.
While the EVGA 600 BR doesn’t sport as many amazing and tantalizing features as other similar products do, that’s not really EVGA’s style. These are fundamentalist products, PSUs that are built to do what a PSU does: deliver stable, reliable power to your PC. The 600 BR does that, supported by DC-to-DC convertors and essential hardware protection for a positive experience.
This is the kind of PSU you’d use to upgrade from an older rig, or to supplement a new build that doesn’t dip too heavily into the top-tier performance range. It’s powerful, but 600 watts is not limitless. As far as EVGA products go, this one delivers a commendable, reliable job.
5. Thermaltake Toughpower GX1 RGB
Form Factor: ATX12V v2.4 | Capacity: 500W | Efficiency Rating: 80+ Gold | Modular: No | Warranty: 5 Years
- Excellent energy efficiency
- sleeved cables
- Great silent performance
- 5 Years warranty
- Quality and lasting unit
REASONS TO AVOID
- Non modular
- Low wattage (compared to others)
Our Rating: 9.3/10
This may be the Thermaltake product with the lowest amount of maximum power output and customizability on the list, but think of it as prioritization in the face of affordability. While it may not have all the features that make other PSUs the most enticing products on the planet, it aims to capture what makes a PSU actually valuable: performance.
Admittedly, the thing about the Thermaltake Toughpower GX1 RGB is that it doesn’t particularly distinguish itself in terms of features and design. Being non-modular makes it clunky and removes that autonomy that builders have in organizing their own cables, but the hardwired design helps simplify the product as a whole for accessibility and accountability.
While each wire cluster is wrapped in a black mesh, helping quite a bit with the cable management, it doesn’t do the best job at hiding the multi-colored wires lurking beneath the material. While that isn’t necessarily the most grievous of sins, it may slightly clash with the aesthetic qualities that the GX1 shoots for with its RGB fan design.
What’s really attractive about the GX1 is its efficiency rating. At this price range and wattage, you’re more often than not going to be running into mostly Bronze and lower ratings, which works fine since 500W PSUs generally aren’t intended for heavy-load rigs.
The fact that the GX1 features an 80+ Gold Rating does manage to turn some heads, though, which means on average a 90% energy efficiency delivered throughout your machine. Whether that counts as overkill or not has no bearing on what is inarguably a better performance.
Even under heavy loads, the GX1 on average never crosses over more than approximately 25 db, comparable to a bunch of leaves rustling. If you find that you’re hearing significant noise pollution from this product, then chances are you got a dud and can cash in on the product’s 5 year warranty if you can’t tolerate the noise.
The main thing to consider with this product is its overall capability in comparison to what you’re looking for. Yes, the GX1 has pretty competent specs for its class, but a 500W PSU isn’t the optimal choice if you’re looking for an upgrade to your gaming rig. The more powerful your PC is, the less likely that this product will be able to deliver the satisfactory performance you’re hoping for.
This is a PSU that is best utilized for the type of builder that’s looking for a quality build, premium performance, and isn’t too concerned with overtaxing with high-end graphics and operations. It’ll provide a smooth experience, so long as you keep your PC’s limitations in mind. All things considered, it’s an excellent budget PSU.
6. Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB
Form Factor: ATX12V v2.4 | Capacity: 750W | Efficiency Rating: 80+ Gold | Modular: Fully Modular | Warranty: 10 Years
- Attractive looks with RGB
- Excellent energy efficiency
- Fully modular
- 10 Year warranty
- Easy to install
REASONS TO AVOID
- Stability issues
- Generates a lot of heat
Our Rating: 9.2/10
The Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB puts as much effort into its PSU functionality as it does into its aesthetics.
While other products are content with making a visually appealing but static product, Thermaltake takes the next step and throws a splash of RGB into the mix to suit your tastes. It’s got some lightshow functionality, which is great for integrating it into a stunning rig, but colors don’t make a superior product alone.
The Toughpower Grand has a lot going for it, but energy efficiency is a priority for prospective PC builders aiming for the highest quality performance. Good news here, considering the Toughpower Grand has an 80+ Gold Rating, placing it as one of the best on this list in the numbers game with typically 90% of the power being effectively drawn and transferred.
A huge part of what makes this a suitable choice for virtually any build is its modular design, providing you with the means to tweak, augment, and adapt the cable complement to your needs.
This way you can renovate your cable management, removing unnecessary wires in exchange for a streamlined, cleanly put together system with minimal excess. No point in having those auxiliary wires if you’re not going to use them, right?
As for the noise pollution factor, for anything under 40% you shouldn’t hear a peep. With a fan design explicitly engineered to reduce noise, even when you begin pushing the limits on what your PC can handle, the worst you should hear amounts to little more than some light background whirring.
If you prefer having the fan on constantly, however, an included switch gives you the option for the fan to be spinning at capacity rather than relying on the Smart Zero Fan to judge when it needs to run.
Though the Toughpower boasts some impressive torque for most high-end builds or lower, it does have some trouble with stability. Even with the included protections, it’s prone to power fluctuations that either mess with the continuity of your computer’s power distribution or turn it off entirely. That’s alarming, considering in a worst case scenario it could theoretically fry your entire build, kicking you out no small sum of money and ultimately wasting hours of effort.
At the very least, should the Toughpower Grand’s flaws get the best of it, you have a 10 year warranty to fall back on. With an inconsistent power draw being the most prevalent issue with its design, there can understandably be some skepticism about its performance. That being said, in all other aspects it’s a solid performer.
For gamers who are looking to increase the performance of their rig while adding in a little more customizability and color, the Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB can be a flashy addition to your PC.
7. EVGA 100-W1-0500-KR
Form Factor: ATX12V | Capacity: 500W | Efficiency Rating: 80+ White | Modular: No | Warranty: 3 Years
- Cheapest unit on the list
- Great budget option
- Great price to performance ratio
REASONS TO AVOID
- Poor energy efficiency
- Stability issues
- ‘only’ 3 year warranty
Our Rating: 8.9/10
Bit of a mouthful for this PSU, but performance isn’t judged by name. What matters is how the EVGA 100-W1-0500-KR holds up in regards to power distribution, functionality, stability, etc. etc., the whole kit and caboodle. Considering it’s the cheapest option on this list, the most important factor is how much of a budget are you saving at the risk of a lower quality product.
Starting off with its power efficiency rating, the 0500-KR doesn’t break any presumptions in particular, earning a 80+ white, the lowest among the certified ratings you can receive.
Again, this isn’t necessarily indicative of overall quality, but it should prepare you for what you can reasonably expect from this product. It’s best rated for 80% energy efficiency, which means you should tread a little more carefully with it.
What EVGA does do well with its products is including extensive protection features to keep your PC safe. For the 0500-KR, you’ve got provisions for over voltage, under voltage, over current, over power, and short circuit eventualities, which are excellent for providing that extra layer for keeping your PC safe.
Here’s the thing though: these protections are not bulletproof. While having the protections there is comforting, with this product in particular you have to be aware that they may still fail and harm your PC.
As with many low-cost PSUs, the risk of massive failure (although still slim) is higher, and this PSU has some history with frying computers and catching fire. The likelihood of this happening to you is incredibly low, granted, but not impossible.
500 watts is a pretty fair amount for handling most mid-to-low range PCs, and maybe even a few higher grade ones. However, the guarantee that the 0500-KR will deliver a steady performance is not 100%. Be that as it may, with those unlucky few being outliers, the 0500-KR doess do a pretty dependable job for long stretches of time.
The fan isn’t the quietest, which does hamper the overall experience while using this product. It’s a shame that the 0500-KR can’t deliver on a silent performance with every product that gets shipped, but if you’re willing to stomach a little background noise, which can be easily ignored with headphones, the noise pollution shouldn’t be too terrible a red mark.
Something that shows some concern is the product’s warranty. While it says it has a 3-year warranty, many consumers have found that the warranty frequently did not cover the replacement for their busted PSU. Certainly many have found the warranty to be sufficient, but there’s a bothersome amount of people who’ve struggled with EVGA’s customer service.
There are some noticeable issues with the 0500-KR, admittedly, but here’s what it’s great at: affordable, long-lasting, well-functioning performance. Considering the pittance you’re paying for this product, you’re getting a pretty good PSU out of it. For those who are building a secondary or backup PC, this makes for a great budget PSU to get it running right out the gate.
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Why Are PSU Prices So High?
We’ll try to sum up a complex circuitry of economics in as succinct a section as possible. PSU prices are high, and will likely increase in the future, and this is due to factors such as tariffs, parts availability, shipping, margins, and demand.
Most computer parts are not manufactured in America, meaning that they’re built overseas and then shipped to the States when purchased. This comes to clash with importing, since you’re then dealing with imposed tariffs targeting countries like China which end up raising the end cost of the product.
This, combined with some trouble sourcing the appropriate electronic parts, then lends credence to companies bumping the price of their product for better margins. Since PSUs have been growing in demand every year, the price then increases to meet that demand.
The end result is that profits have to exceed the costs of an increasingly expensive industry. Distributors want a bigger cut, manufacturers have a greater demand to meet, and much of it is obstructed by politics.
It’s a frustrating, roundabout game that doesn’t show much hope in the way of slowing down, given that inflation continually affects the markets. Given enough time, everything that used to be cheap will cost more the next year, and PSUs are no exception to this.
How Long Do PSUs Last?
Depends. The main factor that determines the longevity of a PSU is its build quality. A great PSU can last for years without having any hiccups, whereas a bad one can fall apart within a matter or weeks or even days. For those computers that function under a normal load, a PSU can last on average between five to ten years. That lifespan, however, is shortened when it comes to use.
PCs that draw high amounts of power running intense high-end programs constantly do so at the expense of their PSU. The more a PSU works overtime to handle the heavy loads of a computer, whether it’s gaming, bitcoin mining, or any other demanding exercise, the more that PSU burns through its functionality. The harder it works, the more it chews through its lifespan.
There are, of course, ways to avoid dramatically shortened PSU lifespans, including just being a smart buyer.
Some brands simply work better than others and, by extension, last longer. The more general method of extending your PSU’s expected lifespan is dependent entirely on how much stress you put it under. By cutting back on your more intensive performance sessions, you can relieve the burden on your PSU and tack on a few more years to it.
Can A Bad PSU Damage Other Components?
Consider for a moment what the PSU is responsible for: delivering power to the entirety of your computer. That’s an enormous, critical responsibility, especially if you start off not taking into account the full capability of what your PSU can handle compared to what your PC demands.
Most of the damage can result from negligible or faulty protections built into the PSU itself. Most reputable brands will include such protections covering OCP, OPP, UVP, OVP, and SCP, all of which involve some manner of voltage, power, or circuit anomalies.
Anything that deals so directly with electricity, like the PSU does, bears the risk of being ill-prepared or ill-manufactured and possibly fry your machine’s more vulnerable components.
Power distribution is a management game. If the PSU does an insufficient job transferring energy, be it too much or too little, the resulting feedback can have disastrous effects on your GPU, RAM, motherboard, or any other integral aspect of your PC. If the PSU has faulty wiring, it can create sparks and a fire, both of which have very evident detrimental effects on the function of your computer.
While most of these are widely preventable malfunctions, the best ways to avoid these things happening is to do you own research on your prospective new PSUs and determine that the product you have your eye on is quality made with care, prevention designs, and high-quality build materials.
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