Computer

How do 80 Plus power supplies affect the consumption of the PC?

The 80 Plus certification body has made a very important niche for itself in the industry, since despite the fact that today it is nothing more than a kind of marketing fee to be able to wear the certification logo that does not really guarantee anything ( since only two units are analyzed, and the rest carry the seal without being analyzed even if internal components are changed that alter their operation), they indicate approximately how efficient a power supply is and what we can expect from it.

What is the efficiency certification?

Any manufacturer that wants one of its specific models of power supplies to carry the 80 Plus efficiency certification seal must pay a series of expensive fees for the entity to test and certify the efficiency of the unit, and depending on the result obtained. , it will be endowed with a stamp or another that will be the one they carry. Once they obtain the seal, all the units of that particular model will be able to bear the seal, despite the fact that, as we have mentioned before, they have not been tested and even if they modify their internal components.

Leaving this aside, this certification does serve to give us an idea of ​​the efficiency of the power supply, the efficiency being the difference between the power that enters them from the wall socket and the power that it supplies to the PC. To give a short and simple example, if a power supply is 80% efficient and you are getting 100 watts from the wall outlet, you are actually only supplying 80 watts of power to the PC, so 20 of those watts they are generally being wasted in the form of heat.

80 Plus efficiency certifications

As you can see in the image above, the certification consists of six levels that go from the simple 80 Plus White certificate as the lowest to the 80 Plus Titanium as the best and denoting the most efficient sources, passing through the Bronze levels, Silver, Gold and Platinum. You should know that even if they do not bear the seal of this certification, it is forbidden to sell power supplies in Europe that have less than 80% efficiency, which is comparable to the 80 Plus White certification, and therefore you will not find sources less efficient than that, not even OEMs of questionable provenance.

Now, is an 80 Plus Gold font better than one that does not carry any type of seal? Surely yes, but there is also the possibility that the manufacturer of the font that does not carry a stamp simply did not want to pay the expensive toll that the entity requires in exchange for being able to use its logo. In any case, and leaving this aside, it is clear that the more efficient the power supply, the less energy will be wasted and therefore, the less energy the PC will use up unnecessarily.

This is how 80 Plus sources influence your electricity bill

80 Plus Fonts

First of all, you should know that regardless of the type of power supply you have, the PC has a certain consumption, that is, because it has a more efficient source, the PC will not consume less. What you will be able to reduce is the energy wasted, and so that you can understand it in a simple way, we are going to give an example:

Imagine a PC that needs 500W of power to work, and that is what the power supply must supply.

  • If we use an 80 Plus Silver power supply, whose efficiency at full load is 85%, it will actually be drawing 588 watts from the plug socket.
  • If instead we used an 80 Plus Platinum source, whose efficiency at 100% load is 89%, the actual consumption would be 561 watts.
  • If, on the other hand, you have an 80 Plus White source with an efficiency of 80%, the real consumption would be 625 watts.

You can see the difference, right? Although the consumption of the PC is always 500 watts, the power that the source needs to supply it to the PC differs depending on its efficiency, and that is where you notice that the source is more or less efficient, since in the end that difference in consumption It has a significant impact on the electricity bill. And since you are probably wondering how much it influences, we are going to clear that question below.

We are going to make the assumption of a gaming PC equipped with a fairly powerful graphics and a latest generation CPU; the consumption of this PC while gaming is 450 watts, but since you are not playing all the time, we estimate a average consumption of 300 watts while it’s on. Also suppose that PC remains on on average 8 hours per day, because it is used a lot.

The actual consumption we pay is measured in kWh (kilowatts per hour), and to calculate it we have to divide the consumption watts by 1000 and then multiply it by the hours of use. With the assumptions that we have told you, and taking into account that the average price of kWh in Spain in June 2021 is € 0.14 / kWh, we can draw the following conclusions (cost calculation in a 30-day month):

Source certification Real consumption Monthly consumption Monthly price Difference from the previous level
Source certification80 Plus White Real consumption376 W Monthly consumption90.24 kWh Monthly price€ 12.63 Difference from the previous level
Source certification80 Plus Bronze Real consumption366 W Monthly consumption87.84 kWh Monthly price€ 12.29 Difference from the previous level€ 0.34 / month
Source certification80 Plus Silver Real consumption354 W Monthly consumption84.96 kWh Monthly price€ 11.89 Difference from the previous level€ 0.40 / month
Source certification80 Plus Gold Real consumption345 W Monthly consumption82.80 kWh Monthly price€ 11.59 Difference from the previous level€ 0.30 / month
Source certification80 Plus Platinum Real consumption338 W Monthly consumption81.12 kWh Monthly price€ 11.35 Difference from the previous level€ 0.24 / month
Source certification80 Plus Titanium Real consumption330 W Monthly consumption79.20 kWh Monthly price€ 11.08 Difference from the previous level€ 0.27 / month

Here we can clearly see that there is a monthly saving that can be quite important, because if, for example, you go from using an OEM 80 Plus White font to an 80 Plus Titanium, the difference from what you would pay is 1.55 euros per month, and this amount would be significantly increased if the PC has a consumption greater than the 300 watts on average that we have estimated.

If we had to say which efficiency certification is the most recommended, without a doubt we would tell you that 80 Plus Gold is the one that has the best relationship between the cost of the source itself (which can be found at quite acceptable prices) and the difference in energy cost compared to previous certifications.

For example, imagine that you intend to spend 80 euros on an 80 Plus Gold power supply for your PC, and you currently had an OEM. If your PC is similar to the one we have used in our calculations, we would be talking about the monthly energy savings of 1.04 euros per month, so in 77 months (about 6 and a half years) you would have amortized the investment. Many of you will say that then it does not pay off, but do not forget the heat generated due to the inefficiency of the source and what it would cost you to buy an OEM source of the same power (calculate that even the cheapest ones would cost you 30 euros), like this that in that case the profitability point would be found in just 4 years.

Of course, the final decision is up to you, but now you already have empirical figures to be able to make your guess about it.

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