The specs are also important, mainly the amperage on the +12 rails and the efficiency rating. To keep it as simple as I can, since this isn't a place for a lesson on power supply specifications, I'd say look at the PSUs at the top of your budget, and choose the ones with the highest +12v rail amperages of the group and the highest efficiency rating, hopefully over 80%. After you've done that, I'd try to find as many hardware website reviews on the products, and try to choose the highest rated one.
I know, that seems like a lot of trouble just for a power supply. I still have the firm belief that the power supply is the single most important hardware item in your rig, especially if you have an upper-end video card (8800GT or better), or if you overclock anything in your rig. Today's video cards demand a large amount of juice, and overclocking requires clean, stable power. With a modern rig with an upper end video card, you just aren't likely going to get that with a 500-600 watt power supply. To be honest, my PSU comfort zone starts at 700 watts, even when running a midrange video card like an 8600GTS or 9600GT. I recently reviewed a 9800GTX, and the highly spec'd 700 Watt PSU I used worked fine, but I know I wouldn't have been comfortable with a smaller one. I have a 630 watt power supply that gets pretty hot with an 8600GTS.
So am I too picky about PSUs? Considering that well over 50% of the hardware problems solved on forums are due to marginal or too small power supplies, and considering the fact that I have only once experienced a PSU related problem, when I temporarily used a marginal PSU on a system, waiting for delivery of a larger one, I'd say that no, I'm not.
I believe that if your PSU's fan is audible, or if it is blowing hot (not warm) air, it is working too hard, and isn't as efficient as if it is silent, blowing cool or warm air. The harder it has to work, the more likely you are to have problems.
Today I will be looking at one of OCZ's newest power supplies, the EliteXStream 800w PSU. This will be the first OCZ power supply I have reviewed here. OCZ is well known for their high-performance system memory and have been in the power supply business for a while as well. Will the EliteXStream 800 live up to the high expectations I have of OCZ products? Read on to see!
The OCZ EliteXStream comes in a nice looking very informative box. Pretty much any feature you'd want to know is there, along with the specs chart.
Inside, the power supply is protected by Styrofoam partitions rather than a complete Styrofoam enclosure; nice for the environment.
Type-ATX12V / EPS12V
Fans-1 x 120mm
PCI-E Connectors-4 x 6+2Pin NVIDIA
ATI CrossFire Support
Size-50(W) x 86mm(H) x 160(L) (appx 6” x 3.5” x 6.5”)
80 PLUS Certified
Over Voltage Protection