The Power Supply Unit or PSU is one of the most critical components of any PC build, while simultaneously also being the most under-appreciated one. Not only is the power supply responsible for providing power to all of your PC components, but it also dictates what you can and cannot put into your system. Making the wrong decision while choosing a power supply can lead to catastrophic results down the line while choosing a good PSU in the first place can give you long-lasting reliability and peace of mind. It is for this reason that enthusiasts in the PC space never recommend saving a few bucks on a power supply.
However, that does not mean that you have to buy the most expensive 1000W 80+ Gold certified units in order to stay safe. There are plenty of reliable, well-made units out there for each price point and it is certainly possible to get a long-lasting unit for your budget with a bit of research. In this roundup, we will be taking a look at the 5 best affordable power supplies which can be used in budget or entry-level builds without any concern.
Let’s dive into our picks for the 5 best entry-level budget PSUs you should buy in 2021.
1. EVGA 500B Bronze
Solid All-Rounder PSU
- Good Wattage for Budget Builds
- 80+ Bronze Efficiency
- 2x 8-pin PCIe Connectors
- 40A current on the 12V Rail
- Marginally More Expensive
Wattage: 500 Watts | 12V Rail: Single, 40A | Fan Size: 120mm | 80 PLUS: Bronze | PCIe Connectors: 2 x 8pin (6+2) | Warranty: 3 Years
EVGA is one of the most reliable PSU manufacturers out there. One of the best things about EVGA is that they have a lot of budget-oriented power supply products that are actually really good, therefore they are a good choice when shopping for PSUs on a budget. The EVGA 500B is one of the best budget PSUs currently available on the market and it has been a staple of entry-level builds for quite some time now.
The EVGA 500B can deliver up to 500 watts of continuous power to your build which is great for a lot of budget components. Many budget power supplies advertise a 500W rating on their product pages but that can be misleading. Most of the really cheap units can only deliver a peak wattage of 500W and are not able to sustain that wattage. Under a heavy load, those power supplies will trip and the whole computer will restart. Thankfully, that is not the case with the EVGA 500B.
This particular EVGA unit also comes with an 80+ Bronze certification which means that the unit is more efficient than many other options in this price range. The Bronze certification means that the power supply can deliver up to 85% efficiency under specific loads, and that is a very good result for a power supply in this price bracket. The 500B also comes with a decent 120mm sleeve-bearing fan that delivers low-noise operation even at high loads.
The 500B Bronze unit comes with a single 12V Rail capable of delivering up to 40A of current on it. This means that the power supply is capable of handling most graphics cards on the market under full load without any problems. 2x 8-pin PCIe connectors are also included with the unit that enables it to handle bigger graphics cards with higher power demands as well. The 500B unit also comes with all necessary protection features including OVP, UVP, OCP, OPP, and SCP. This makes the 500B a great overall choice for entry-level or even mid-range builds on a budget.
The EVGA 500B should be selected for builds with a relatively power-efficient GPU, ideally something with a TDP under 200 watts. The PSU can be ideal for builds with GPUs like the GTX 1660 Super or the RTX 2060, and can be a good match with mid-range builds on a relatively tighter budget. It is marginally more expensive than some other units, but it is well worth the price premium.
2. Thermaltake Smart 600W 80PLUS
More Capacity, Less Efficiency
- 600 Watts Capacity
- 5 Year Warranty
- Cheaper than EVGA Units
- Widely Available
- Only 80+ White Certification
Wattage: 600 Watts | 12V Rail: Single, 42A | Fan Size: 120mm | 80 PLUS: White | PCIe Connectors: 2 x 8pin (6+2) | Warranty: 5 Years
The Thermaltake Smart series is one of Thermaltake’s budget-oriented lineups of PSUs that has garnered a positive reputation with the enthusiast community due to their reliability and excellent build quality. The Thermaltake Smart 600W unit is one of the finest units in that lineup and can be a really good pairing for a budget PC build in 2021.
With 600 watts of total wattage, the Thermaltake Smart 600W is actually the highest capacity unit in our roundup. Not only is it capable of providing 600 watts of continuous power to your build, but it also has 42A of current on a single 12V rail. This makes it our recommendation for budget builds with overclocked mid-range GPUs or GPUs with a relatively high power budget. 600 Watts is more than enough for most mid-range builds with plenty of headroom for upgrades later down the line.
The Smart 600W from Thermaltake is also 80+ Certified which is a good thing but it is a bit of a step back from the EVGA 500B unit. The 80+ white certification means that the Thermaltake unit can maintain the efficiency of at least 80% under load, and while that is great news, it is a little lower than what EVGA offered with their 80+ Bronze certified 500B unit. This makes the Thermaltake Smart 600W a mixed bag in terms of value.
The Thermaltake Smart unit also comes with a single 120mm fan that is sufficiently quiet even under load and manages the thermals of the PSU nicely. 2x 8-pin PCIe connectors are included with the Smart 600W and that means that this unit can handle GPUs with much bigger power requirements. Thermaltake has gone ahead and given a 5-year warranty with the Smart 600W which is more than any other PSU in our roundup, and that definitely makes it a smart choice for a budget build.
With 600 watts of capacity, an 80 Plus certification, a 5-year warranty, and a relatively cheaper price tag than the EVGA units, the Thermaltake Smart 600W is a strong candidate for any entry-level or budget build with a decently powerful GPU. The Thermaltake Unit would have no problem handling GPUs like the RX 5500 XT or Nvidia’s GTX 1660 Ti, even at overclocked settings.
Corsair is one of the most reputable computer hardware companies and they are renowned for their excellent power supplies, computer cases, fans, and memory kits. The CX series from Corsair is one of their budget-oriented lineups of PSUs and it has some great options for people looking for a reliable unit without breaking the bank. The CX500M is one of the best budget mid-range units from Corsair that strikes a good balance of performance, features, and price.
The Corsair CX500M is another 500 Watt unit that can provide 500 watts of continuous power to your build. Unlike some of the more sketchy offerings online, the Corsair unit delivers what it promises and it can handle any entry-level or budget mid-range build very efficiently. The 500 watts of power means that the Corsair unit is a viable option for mid-range graphics cards with TDPs under 200 watts.
One of the most unique features of the Corsair CX500M is its semi-modular interface. This is a feature that is not present in any other power supply in our roundup today and is in fact a pretty rare feature in this price bracket. Semi-modularity allows the user to only plug in those cables that you need for the system components. This allows for cleaner cable management as the amount of cables is reduced. Corsair has also included fully sleeved cables with the CX500M.
Another great feature of the Corsair CX500M is its 80+ Bronze certification. This means that despite having lower overall wattage, the Corsair unit is more efficient than the Thermaltake Smart 600W unit mentioned earlier. Corsair’s 80+ Bronze certification means that this unit can maintain efficiency of 85% under load. Corsair’s CX500M can also deliver 38A current on the single 12V rail, which is a bit less than some of the other options in this price range but is not a major problem for the graphics cards of today.
Two 8-pin PCIe connectors are also included with the Corsair CX500M, which enables this unit to handle much more power-hungry graphics cards as well. In addition to that, it comes with 0.99 APFC and all the protection features you would expect from a quality power supply, like OPP, UVP, SCP, OTP, and OVP, etc. The large 120mm fan also keeps the PSU cool while providing a quiet experience as well. The Corsair unit is very well-equipped for something that is targeted at the budget market, and it is indeed a very good quality PSU.
The CX500M is a bit more costly than some of the units on this list, but it is a really reliable 80+ Bronze certified unit that also offers a semi-modular interface. All these features make it a compelling option for a budget mid-range build in 2021.
4. EVGA 500W 80PLUS
500W Capacity on a Budget
- Good Wattage for Budget Builds
- Very Affordable
- 2x 8-pin PCIe Connectors
- Only 80+ White Certification
- Low Efficiency
Wattage: 500 Watts | 12V Rail: Single, 40A | Fan Size: 120mm | 80 PLUS: White | PCIe Connectors: 2 x 8pin (6+2) | Warranty: 3 Years
The EVGA 500W is another budget offering from EVGA that targets entry-level builds. Unlike the EVGA 500B which was an 80+ Bronze unit, the EVGA 500W offers an 80+ White certification which is a bit of a disappointment, but considering the price, it is still a good option for an affordable build.
The 500W still offers 500 watts of continuous power which is not something we can say for most other PSUs in this price range. 500 watts will still allow the EVGA unit to run most of the graphics cards in the market today without any problem. It will be ideal for more entry-level graphics cards like the RX 570 or GTX 1650 Super because that will leave plenty of headroom as well for a future upgrade.
When it comes to efficiency, the 500W is only able to offer an 80+ White certification which is a bit of a letdown, but considering that it still offers 500W of capacity in a really affordable package, we cannot expect much more from EVGA in this regard. For someone in need of a more efficient unit, the EVGA 500B is present for a bit of a price premium but can be considered nonetheless. The 500W also comes with a 120mm fan that keeps thermals in check, while the single 12V rail on the 500W can carry 40A of current which is plenty for the GPUs in this price class.
The 500W is more suited towards entry-level builds due to its lower efficiency, although it can still support a relatively power-hungry GPU thanks to its 2x 8-pin PCIe connectors. EVGA has offered 3 years of warranty on this unit as well, which is a nice touch at this affordable price point.
This is probably one of the cheapest branded power supply you can get for your entry-level gaming PC or HTPC. The EVGA 430W is a barebones offering from EVGA that is not designed for any kind of heavy lifting but should be enough for basic budget builds or home theater PCs. It is a very affordable unit that offers some nice features in its price bracket. The EVGA 430W should be considered for super-budget PC builds or HTPCs running on the integrated graphics of processors.
This unit can provide 430W of continuous power to the PC which is admittedly not a lot, but it is more than enough for some entry-level GPUs like the GTX 1050 which do not require an external PCIe power connector. This unit is also ideal for a home theater PC that has an iGPU or a small video card like the GT 1030. In addition to the 430W of power, the EVGA unit is 80+ certified which is a nice thing at this price point.
The EVGA 430W offers 34A of current on a single 12V rail which is plenty for entry-level GPUs. A 120mm fan cools the unit and also remains relatively quiet itself due to the low demands of the PSU. A single 8-pin PCIe connector is offered by this PSU which can handle GPUs like the GTX 1650 Super if required. It is nice to see features like sleeved cables, OVP, UVP, OCP, OPP, SCP, and OTP still offered at this entry-level segment of the market.
Overall, the EVGA 430W is not a super-powerful unit, but it may be enough if you’re building an entry-level PC. It is a great buy for someone building a budget gaming PC on a super tight budget with a GPU that does not require a PCIe connector like the GTX 1050Ti or a GTX 1650. It can also be a great buy for HTPCs running on iGPUs or small video cards. Its attractive price point and appreciable features make it a compelling option for these scenarios.