Picking a suitable power supply is critical, as it’s one of the core elements of your PC build.
Although saving cash on your PSU might seem like an excellent way to cut corners to get yourself a nicer CPU/GPU, going too far can be quite disastrous.
Modular power supplies not only help your PC build look cleaner with a more comfortable cable management experience, but they’re often also built better than their regular counterparts.
Although buying a modular PSU doesn’t guarantee it, it does improve the chances of landing better quality units.
If you’re looking for a quick list of recommended modular (semi and full) power supplies, for either gaming or heavy rendering workloads – here you go:
Best Modular PSUs List
|500-600W||CORSAIR TX-M Series TX550M CP-9020133||550W||80-Plus Gold|
|601-700W||EVGA 650 B5 220-B5-0650-V1||650W||80-Plus Bronze|
|CORSAIR RM650 CP-9020194||650W||80-Plus Gold|
|701-1000W||SEASONIC FOCUS GX-850 SSR-850FX||850W||80-Plus Gold|
|CORSAIR RMx RM850x CP-9020180||850W||80-Plus Gold|
|be quiet! DARK POWER PRO 11 850 Silent BN253||850W / 1000W||80-Plus Platinum|
|> 1001W||be quiet! DARK POWER PRO 11 1200 BN255||1200W||80-Plus Platinum|
|CORSAIR AX1600i CP-9020087||1600W||80-Plus Titanium|
(Thanks to those maintaining the PSU Tier List on the LinusTechTips Forum)
If you’re curious why I chose these models, read on!
Good Power Supplies vs. Bad Power Supplies
There are numerous horror stories out there of things going horribly wrong. A power supply failure is unique as it directly powers so many of your (likely) pricier components – increasing the chance of it frying other parts with it.
A bad/cheap power supply usually does ‘work’ as long as it’s not pushed to the limit. I have experienced this first-hand!
My Corsair CX 500W (the old one) burned up as soon as I upgraded my graphics card on my old PC (2013). Not only did IT conk out, but it also took my motherboard with it.
Thankfully, nothing else.
The PSU had worked quite well on my old build for a good two years without any issues whatsoever. My guess is, the total power draw got dangerously close to full load, and that’s what caused the mishap.
What is a Modular Power Supply?
Modular power supply units or PSUs, allow you to attach only the power cables that your PC will need.
It reduces the nest of cables inside your case, ensuring that you’re managing only those that your PC uses.
Traditional power supplies come with non-removable cables, so if you don’t need that extra PCI-E power connector, you have no choice but to stuff it out of sight somewhere.
Modular Power Supplies: Are they always good/better than the rest?
From a purely probabilistic point-of-view, yes, a modular power supply is more likely to be of better quality than a regular PSU because they’re among the more ‘premium’ products offered by manufacturers.
However, this doesn’t mean that terrible modular PSUs don’t exist. Don’t take modularity as a sure-shot sign of quality to be safe.
Fully-Modular vs. Semi-Modular PSUs: What’s the difference?
When it comes to modularity, there are two types. Fully-modular PSUs go all the way and allow you to connect all your components as needed, including CPU power and motherboard power.
On the other hand, semi-modular PSUs come with a few core components (8-pin CPU power, 24-pin ATX motherboard power, etc.) permanently attached.
So, what’s the benefit of going fully-modular when you pretty much have to connect core components anyway?
Well, you can do something like this:
Now, you can achieve this with semi-modular and regular power supplies as well, but it means dealing with cable extensions and adding even more clutter to your build.
It’s better to go with fully-modular power supplies if you see yourself making aesthetic improvements down the line.
Our Modular PSU Recommendations
Although I know there are quite a few impressive power supplies at every price point, I’ve tried to stick to models that are available across most regions.
For manufacturers that vary part numbers by region, I have included the base part numbers ones to make your search easier.
PSUs Between 500W and 600W
I don’t recommend going modular at this wattage range unless you really need to because these units do end up being a bit too pricey for my liking. However, people building PCs with smaller form-factors with low-profile GPUs that need every bit of space they can get, or if you’re aiming for low-power systems, you might find them worth it.
Best 550W Modular Power Supply Unit (PSU)
Corsair’s semi-modular power supply comes in at a reasonable price without compromising on quality way too much. If you want a power supply that will easily handle future upgrades, I’d suggest looking into the 650W options below as well.
Part Number: CP-9020133
Power Supplies Between 601W and 700W
For gamers who want some freedom when it comes to future upgradability, this is the ideal wattage tier for modular power supplies.
Gaming PCs generally won’t need more than 650W of power (10th Generation Intel might change this; watch out for an update after it launches).
Best 650W Modular Power Supplies
Budget Pick: EVGA 650 B5 80-Plus Bronze (Fully-Modular)
EVGA’s modular option at 650W is quite attractive, and I wholeheartedly recommend the 650 B5 for gaming systems.
Although its price isn’t exorbitant, it does offer a host of protection features like OVP, UVP, OCP, OPP, SCP, and OTP (if you’re not sure what these are, we’ll be covering them in an upcoming guide to picking Power Supply Units)
Nonetheless, if you’re going to be pushing it to the limit for extended durations, I’d skip this and go for the premium recommendation below.
Part Number: 220-B5-0650-V1
Premium Pick: CORSAIR RM650 80-Plus Gold (Fully-Modular)
Corsair offers decent value with its RM series PSUs, and the 650W option is no exception. If you’re going to be running workloads like renders at this wattage tier, this is the product I’d recommend. It does come with a 10-year warranty as well, so that’s quite attractive as well.
Part Number: CP-9020194
Power Supplies Between 701W and 1000W
While most gaming systems won’t need power at this tier, if you’re aiming for a top-tier build, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.
The recommendations here are a bit different than the lower wattage tiers. Even the ‘budget’ options are built exceptionally well with all popular safety features available.
Hence, the premium recommendation will focus on a few extras like a higher efficiency rating, silent operation, and so on.
Best 850W Modular Power Supplies
Budget Option #1: SEASONIC FOCUS GX-850 80-Plus Gold (Fully-Modular)
Budget Option #2: CORSAIR RMx Series™ RM850x 80-Plus Gold (Fully-Modular)
Seasonic and Corsair both come in at attractive prices for an 850W power supply without compromising on quality. If you find both these options available in your region at similar rates, go for Seasonic over the Corsair unit.
Part Numbers: SSR-850FX (Seasonic) / CP-9020180 (Corsair)
be quiet! has a reputation for offering nothing but the most premium experience if you have the budget. The Dark Power Pro 11 series stays true to the be quiet! name with a silent design.
It ensures that fans don’t spin up at all at lower loads while remaining quite silent even at high loads due to the fluid dynamic bearing fan used in it.
Part Numbers: BN254 || BN654 (1000W) / BN253 || BN653 (850W)
Power Supplies Between 1001W and Above
If you’re shopping at this tier, you’re most likely handling heavy workloads like extended renders using multiple GPUs.
When you’re drawing this much power and distributing it to your undoubtedly expensive components, make sure you’re not compromising on quality at all.
Best 1200W and 1600W Modular Power Supplies
Premium Option #1: be quiet! DARK POWER PRO 11 1200W 80-Plus Platinum (Semi-Modular)
Premium Option #2: CORSAIR AX1600i 1600W (Fully-Modular)
Corsair and be quiet! make top-notch power supplies at the top end of the price stack, and these are excellent options for those wanting to power GPU render-nodes.
If you’re going with something like 4x RTX 2070 Super Graphics cards, the 1200W option should serve you well. However, if you want to use something more powerful, go for the 1600W PSU instead.
Part Numbers: BN255 || BN655 (be quiet!) / CP-9020087 (Corsair)
Although I’ve tried to cover most regions and popular wattages, it’s almost impossible to cover everything.
If there’s a specific PSU you want to ask me about, please do go ahead and leave a comment below. I’ll check it out and let you know!