On the face of it, power supplies are quite simple: Take power from the wall, convert it to the various voltages required by different parts of your PC, and don’t raise attention whilst doing it! It’s this last point where many of the cheaper options fall down: Unless proper thought has been given to design and construction a power supply can be a buzzing, humming box of nightmares. Here at PremiumBuilds.com, that will NOT fly, so we’re sorting the quality items from the boxes best left on the shelf in order to recommend a PSU that will give reliable and quiet service for years to come.
Thankfully the days of 500W GPU’s, SLI arrangements and 1000W power supplies are (for now) behind us. It’s no longer necessary to specify a Power Supply the size of a regional sub-station for a gaming PC. Even top tier components such as the i9-9900k (150W) and RTX 2080Ti (around 300W) will make a maximum of around 750W demand on a PSU and there are a wealth of options that provide this output. There are several aspects to a power supply that impact its noise profile and it’s worth paying attention to these as you make your selection.
- Build Quality. Well built PSUs have high quality components and are constructed with care. Many of the high pitched noises a PSU can make are down to coils vibrating as alternating current passes through them. If this noise is audible there’s very little you can do to silence it. In addition, a cheaply built PSU is likely to use a thin metal housing and omit dampening materials and bushings which can exacerbate the problem, passing vibrations to the computer chassis. It’s worth buying a quality item to mitigate these issues – and that doesn’t mean spending a huge amount. Remember – every other component in your PC relies on the power supply for stable and reliable operation so steer clear of no-name brands – they’re a false economy.
- Fan type. Tied in to build quality is the type of fan the manufacturer opts to use. It’s an inescapable fact that spinning fan blades in air makes noise but both bearing noise and fan blade noise can be minimised with thoughtful design. A high-quality fan does a great deal to minimise noise.
- Fan Profile and ‘Zero Fan Mode’. Power Supplies spend a good deal of time almost at idle. A PC when browsing or consuming media is using a bare minimum of power. An efficient power supply will generate minimal heat in this scenario and so can switch off the fan completely to operate silently. The components will simply cool passively. Once loads increase, when gaming or rendering video, for example, additional heat is produced and the fan will blow air through the Power Supply to remove it. How this fan curve profile is set and the point at which the fan cuts in is down to manufacturer set parameters in most cases so careful browsing of spec sheets can reveal the right PSU for you. In most gaming PCs, GPU CPU and case fans will be audible over the power supply when loads increase but that doesn’t mean you can’t lower the system noise profile with a carefully chosen PSU.
On to the recommendations.
Best Quiet Power Supplies – My Recommendations
Best Quiet 550W PSU for Gaming
The Corsair TX-M is a solid choice for a 1080p gaming system. 550W is plenty for a system with a Ryzen 3600 and RX 5700 or RTX 2060 Super. The TX-M boasts Gold efficiency rating and an industry-leading 7-year warranty. Semi-Modular cables mean that the essential 24 pin and EPS power cables are permanently connected, but beyond that, you only add the cables you need keeping the system build clean and airflow paths clear. Whilst it won’t run completely fanless a quality fan and the Gold efficiency rating ensures noise it kept to a minimum. If 550W isn’t quite enough, the 650W and 750W versions are also available at attractive prices and make a solid case for your Power Supply choice.
Best Quiet 750W PSU for Gaming
Even the most demanding systems will be well served by this 750W PSU – the Seasonic Focus+ 750W Gold. It boasts a host of technology to keep a minimal noise profile: A fluid dynamic bearing fan, fanless mode to 30% load (so browsing and desktop work won’t even see the fan spin up) and between 30% and 50% load the fan spins so slowly SeaSonic claim that it’s still silent. Reviews are universally positive, marking this PSU out as best in class with clean power delivery and efficient operation. It even comes with a confidence-boosting 10-year warranty. At £90 it’s an absolute bargain and one that will address your power supply needs for the foreseeable future.
Best Budget Quiet PSU for Gaming
A lower budget doesn’t mean you have to cut corners in your PSU choice or accept a noisy unit. The BeQuiet! System Power 9 600W power supply uses solid build quality and a decent 120mm fan to reduce its noise profile. The output is plenty for any current gaming system and four PCIe outputs on the 600W version ensure you can even run a pair of GPU’s if you need to – indeed they have opted for a dual 12V rail design to facilitate this. BeQuiet! give real thought to build quality and despite the low price this PSU offers a 3-year warranty. Whilst it’s non-modular, at just £55 it represents fantastic value for money and is a great basis for any cost-conscious builder.
Best Completely Fanless PSU (Quietest Power Supply)
So what if ‘quiet’ isn’t quiet enough? If you’re building an HTPC that sits in your living room or a server that lives in a small office, you might decide that any noise is unacceptable. And there’s where fanless PSU’s come in. With careful thermal design, these units get by with purely passive cooling, reducing their noise profile to zero. Of course, the careful design (and low volume production numbers) mean such units don’t come cheap. Because HTPC’s tend to use low power components and don’t require power-hungry graphics processors, this 450W unit from Silverstone, the Silverstone Nightjar SST-NJ450-SXL 450W Platinum PSU, fits the bill perfectly. A Platinum power rating means it sends very little of the input power to waste, lowering the heat load on your system.
Its SFX-L form factor so it will fit into discreet cases of the type you’d want for an HTPC or minimalist server build, and reviewers have highlighted its excellent electrical performance with clean and stable power output. If it’s truly silent you’re looking for, and your system fits inside the power requirement, look no further.
No Holds Barred Ultimate Quiet PSU
Corsair RMi 850W: There are a good number of high-end PSU’s vying for your attention and hard-earned cash – but Corsair takes the crown due to their commitment to offering user customisable settings via the iCue interface. It’s not enough that this PSU uses high-quality components, a top-notch fan and utilises zero fan mode for silent operation: Corsair even let you balance the sound profile to the load, so you get to choose whether you prioritise thermals or noise. Corsair have also chased down coil whine and the RM series power supplies have additional Quality Control checks for transformer and other components to ensure they’re silent. The RMi series PSU’s are available with outputs from 750W-1000W and of course offer gold efficiency rating. You can choose whether you run them in single or Multi 12V rail mode depending on your needs, and they’re backed by a 10-year warranty. Buy with supreme confidence that you’re getting a top-notch and very quiet Power Supply Unit!