HOW OW MANY WATTS DO YOU NEED?

Maximum PC - - THE SUPPLY OF POWER -

It’s usu­ally not as many as you think. A de­cent sin­gle graph­ics card gam­ing rig is happy with 500–600W. Put very roughly, a nicely specced mod­ern rig with mul­ti­ple drives needs 200–250W at most, plus the CPU and graph­ics card.

We did con­sider of­fer­ing a quick list of what uses what—a 10TB hard drive, for ex­am­ple, needs 7–10W—but the list would be too long, and there are on­line cal­cu­la­tors that can do this for you. OuterVi­sion has a good one that in­cludes pro­ces­sor and GPU over­clock­ing, plus it shows po­ten­tial sav­ings ob­tained by using higher ef­fi­ciency rat­ings.

Plan ahead. Are you ever go­ing to fit two graph­ics cards, or over­clock? Spec­ify for the most ex­treme your rig is ever go­ing to get—you do not want to buy twice. Given the graph­ics sys­tem is where the pres­sure is, look for rec­om­men­da­tions from graph­ics card man­u­fac­tur­ers. For ex­am­ple, an Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti or GTX Titan asks for 600W, and 850W if you dou­ble up. Drop to a GTX 1060, and 450W will cover things.

AMD cards are more de­mand­ing—the Vega 64 is no­to­ri­ously power-hun­gry. A sin­gle Vega 64 wants 600W, but a dual rig asks for 1,100W. The most ex­treme rec­om­men­da­tions in­clude a dual Vega 64 Liq­uid Edition or quad GTX Titan; th­ese want 1,350W. A four-card Radeon R9 Fury X tops this at 1,600W. Yowsers.

If you plan to over­clock, an­other 50– 100W should cover things, but you need a good clean cur­rent, so go high qual­ity. There is no ideal value. It just needs to be enough to run ev­ery­thing with­out stress­ing the PSU—an ex­tra 100W over won’t hurt; much more means pay­ing for some­thing you’ll never use.

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