If you’re a competitive PC gamer or someone who build a lot of custom PC’s, then you’ve probably already purchased a handful of power supplies (PSU for short). A power supply, as the name implies, powers the entire computer and it’s essential that you choose one that can provide the correct amount of energy you need.
If you’re building a custom gaming PC, then this article is perfect for you. Custom PC’s have much higher demand for power than regular PC’s that are predominantly used for work. And that’s largely because gaming PC’s have parts that require tremendous amount of energy, such as the graphics card. Most higher end graphics card even requires you to plug it directly to the power supply to work properly.
Choosing the correct power supply from the beginning is an important decision you need to make. You need to be able to choose one that’s high quality (so it doesn’t break or fry all your internal parts), has the correct wattage your rig needs, and is efficient so you’re not bleeding on the electric bill each month. With that, you’ll need to understand what to look for when choosing a power supply for your gaming rig.
First thing you’ll want to consider is how big of a power supply do you need? This will largely depend on your build, your existing case, and where you want to put it in relation to the other components in your case. In most cases, there’s a dedicated place for your power supply. However custom/boutique cases often don’t, and if it’s a very tight build, then you’ll need a small/compact one that can fit into a tight corner.
When choosing the size of the power supply, you need to keep in mind what the form factors are.
ATX: Stands for Advanced Technology Extended, is probably one of the most common form factors you’ll find.
Micro-ATX: As the name implies, these are small. And they’re mostly used for small cases. If you’re using a micro-ATX power supply, chances are this PC is mostly for work or multi-media use and not for hard core gaming. Cases this size aren’t usually good for gaming as there are overheat issues, in addition to the lack of power from typically a much smaller power supply.
Do You Need Modular?
You can opt for a power supply that’s modular or one that has fixed orientations. As you’d expect, modular means you can plug and play with only cables that are actually needed. You won’t have unused cables dangling and wasting space. It’s nice benefit to have and can often result in a cleaner more compact custom build. Great for cable management.
The downside to modular PSU is that they tend to cost more. So if you’re on a budget, consider going with a PSU with fixed cables. But if you need the flexibility and cable management advantage, go with a modular one.
Power Supply Efficiency – Demystified
You’ve probably seen the different levels such as Bronze 83% and Platinum 92% and wonder what in the world these means. Today we’re going to demystify all of the jargon for you so you can better decide which power efficiency is for you. In a nutshell, the efficiency of the chosen PSU correlates to how much energy it’s drawing from the wall, and how effective it is at converting that raw energy into DC (direct current) for your rig to use.
Efficiency formula = DC Power / AC Power
What does the number mean?
You’ll often see 80+ or 80 PLUS. This is the level of efficiency of DC / AC. In the vast majority of cases, it must exceed 80% efficiency. You’ll rarely see anything below that. And that’s where the certification comes from. 80 PLUS means this is over 80% efficient at converting DC/AC.
What does Bronze, Silver, Gold, etc. mean?
In short, the more expensive the metal is, the more efficient (and also expensive) the PSU will also be. Each level of metal also indicates it’s efficiency level. There are six levels total.
- Base level: No metal attached. This will indicate a PSU between 80% – 82%.
- Bronze: The cheapest metal on the list. PSU labeled Bronze indicates efficiency between 83% – 85%
- Silver: Efficiency between 85% – 92%
- Gold: Efficiency level between 88% – 92%
- Platinum: Efficiency level between 92% – 94%
- Titanium: Ironically not the most expensive but “toughest” metal. It’s rated to be above 95% efficiency. Also most expensive.
How Much Power Is Actually Enough?
It might be tempting to just shell out the cash for a Titanium 95% right off the bat just because it’s the biggest and baddest PSU on the planet. And since your rig already cost you quite a bit, what’s a few more hundred for a beast power supply? But before you do that, calculate how much energy your rig actually use. There’s plenty of online calculators that can help you with that. And if you’re building your computer using PCPartPicker, then it’ll automatically tell you if your PSU is sufficient to run everything.
Which high-end power supply we recommend?
If money is NOT a concern, we recommend the Seasonic Prime Ultra 1000 Titanium SSR-1000TR (PSU on the cover image). It’s practically one of the best PSU we’ve ever tested and runs silently.
The higher tiered power supply are absolutely worth it if you have a machine that can make them break a sweat or utilize their capabilities. You really need to have the need in order to justify the investment. It’s like hiring Usain Bolt to teach track at your local high-school. We’re sure he’ll be great. But is he really necessary? So for those who are conscious about their budget, we recommend buying what you really need. But make sure you over budget the power consumption in case you upgrade your PC.
On the flip side, if you absolutely must have the best and want to future-proof your build, getting the best of the best is the way to go. Your machine will run quiet, as the more expensive PSU hardly make any noises. And you’ll never have to worry about replacing the PSU when upgrading parts. Ultimately the decision rest in your hands.
Secret Lab Titan Series Review: A Gamer’s Dream Chair
Secret Lab is a company that began in 2014 with a mission to build the best gaming chair in the industry. Despite the already saturated market and fierce competition, Secret Lab decided to launch their first line of gaming chairs in 2015. They’re now distributing in over 40 countries giving gamers everywhere the competitive advantage of being able to stay in the game longer more comfortably. Their current product line consist of the THRONE, OMEGA, TITAN and Neue series.
We received the Secretlab Titan in Charcoal Blue Softwave Fabric for this review. The Titan is currently considered the largest chair available from Secret lab. It comes with a load of features you’d expect from a $400+ gaming chair in addition to being able to support up to 290lbs, which should be plenty for anyone between 6’0 – 6’4. The Titan comes with three different upholstery options, each at different prices. You can get the Pu leather at $399, Softwave fabric for $429, and premium Napa leather for $949. With the Pu leather option, you also get to choose between six different color options. With the Softweave fabric, you only get two color options. And the Napa leather only comes with one color scheme.
The Titan comes in a large black box with their logos and branding on all sides. This was a surprise for me since a lot of other gaming chairs we have at the office typically comes in a cheap looking cardboard box deprived of any kind of branding or color. They could’ve easily gotten away with just a regular cheap cardboard box, but they chose not to go the frugal route, given you just paid $500 for it. Opening it for the first time, you definitely felt like you were opening something premium.
Forget those generic thick manuals that contain 90 pages of instructions in every language known to man, and only one page of English instructions that you have to dig to find. Secret lab knew we hated that and decided to do things a little differently. As soon as you open the box, you’re greeted with a large sheet with the assembly instructions and warranty information. The instructions are visually pleasing, easy to understand, and laid out in a way that you only need visual cues to put the whole thing together.
Intelligently packaged and systematically ordered
Everything was intelligently laid out layer by layer. You can tell a lot of thought went into organizing everything this way. The layers coincide with the instructions, so you don’t need to lay everything out on the floor and then struggle to find any part. Secret lab definitely nails down the user experience right from the get-go. No one in our office has much experience putting chairs together, yet it only took one of our writer about 10 minutes to put the entire thing himself. The online video was a nice touch, however it wasn’t needed in our build thanks to the clear instructions and intuitive layering system they have going on.
Pre-assembled nuts. Why isn’t everyone doing this?!
All the tools are included in the box, so you don’t need anything extra. They even went ahead and put all the rings and washers onto the nuts so you only need to screw them on. We wish more manufacturers would take the time to do these little things. Sometimes manufacturers forget no one wants to spent an hour struggling to put together a product they paid $500 for. They just want to assemble it as quickly as possible, and get back to gaming. Secret lab understands that.
Complaints with assembly
As easy as everything was, there are a few small complaints that we had. The one thing you need to be careful of is the mechanical lever for releasing the backrest. There is an obvious warning tag that lets you know NOT to touch it until it’s fully assembled. We pressed it by accident because the label was stuck between the cushion and it fired like a gun.
The second complaint is the side pieces. They’re really just for aesthetic purposes, but they’re ridiculously difficult to screw on because you have to “align” the holes while applying pressure.
After 10 – 15 minutes, everything was fully assembled.
Looks And Feel
Aesthetically, it’s one of the most well designed gaming chair money can buy right now. We appreciated the simple and elegant styling instead of the over-the-top RGB that some chairs come with. It definitely carries a more mature look, making it suitable for home or office use. This is a chair was built for hard-core gamers and it can also be put in an office without looking out of place.
The Cold Cure Foam is firm and supportive. It’s not as cushiony or soft as you’d expect when you first sit on it. And that’s because it’s meant to provide the needed support and comfort without compromising your focus while gaming. The chair is big and hugs you as you sit in it. There’s plenty of adjustments to play around here. The arm-rest can be adjusted up/down and forward/backward. There’s a nice lumbar adjustment knob on the side. On the side, there’s also a lever that enables you to recline the backrest as much as 165 degrees.
Build Quality & Adjustments
Sitting down in the Titan for the first time, you could easily tell it’s a premium chair made of the highest quality parts. There’s no squeaking or strange noises as you’re adjusting and moving around. Everything just felt solid – the way it should be. The multi-functional tilt system works flawlessly as it should. The 4D arm-rest adjustments are easy to control. And the larger than normal XL wheels are silky smooth when attempting to roll around.
Real Life Performance Test
We put the Titan to the test by having our in-house writer, whom also happens to be a Fortnite/Apex gamer, test it out for a week. The typical gaming session is around 2-3 hours on a weekday. And on weekends, his gaming sessions on Apex hovers anywhere from 5 – 6 hours. After an entire week of shooting and looting on the Titan, our tester absolutely loved the chair. The firmness took a while to get used to, but it’s only during the extended weekend sessions that you really notice the difference. The chair isn’t noticeable. It provides support and keeps you in place. You don’t slide around, it doesn’t make a sound, it doesn’t bother you, and there’s nothing about it that would make you even think about it. And that’s the hallmark of a great gaming chair. One that simply does it’s job and keeps the gamer hyper focused and comfortable.
It can be challenging to justify $500 on a gaming chair. It might just be one of the most, if not the most, expensive equipment besides your PC rig. But if you’re a serious gamer who spends 20 – 30 hours a week gaming, having a chair that doesn’t compromise your posture, health, and gaming experience can be invaluable. Overall, the Titan (any version) is one of the best gaming chair available today and at $500 ($429 if on sale) it’s worth every penny.
The Best Competitive Gaming Chairs of 2019
Competitive gaming is still a relatively new phenomenon. And with it comes the development of all sorts of peripherals and gadgets to give players in the competitive space an edge. Gaming used to be much simpler back when I was in grade school. I used to bike over my friend’s house after school. My friends and I would finish an episode of Dragon Ball Z, and then head into his basement where he’d turn on his Nintendo 64 and we’d go four-player split screen death match in Golden Eye. And back then, we didn’t need much other than a decent controller. We’d all sit on the floor backs hunched over waiting for scoliosis to kick in as we waste one another.
Those days are long gone, and nowadays competitive gaming has evolved greatly. And along with it, the need for better support equipment, mainly back support. In recently years, there’s been a lot of new companies entering the e-sport market, especially the gaming-chair category. Gaming chairs have become an essential gaming equipment that professional players can’t go without. If you watch either Fortnite or Apex streamers on Twitch, you’ll notice just about everyone sits in a professional gaming chair. And there’s a good reason for that. A player with better support equipment will outlast and outperform a player. And that’s why nowadays, everyone is investing in a good gaming chair. But not all gaming chairs are created equal. Which chair should you invest in?
Having only been founded in 2014 and launching their line of products in 2015, Secret Lab is a fairly new company. But being the new kid on the black doesn’t mean their products aren’t among the best in class. We review and test the Secret Lab Titan Series, and so far, it’s one of the most comfortable, versatile, adjustable, and well balanced chair we’ve ever tested.
At $429, it’s certainly not among the cheapest or affordable equipment. But there’s a reason why we chose the Secret Lab as first on the list. The build quality, features, and premium materials they used for this chair is unrivaled, even by others on the list. Additionally, we like the clean look of Secretlab chairs. They opted for a more elegant and premium look. And looking at it, it really does look like an expensive chair. When we put it to the test, it performed as expected. Even after six hours of non-stop Apex domination, our reviewer felt the Secret Lab Titan Series provided exceptional support and comfort, especially in long sessions.
More petite gamers often have a difficult time finding a chair that fits them just right. Often times they’re stuck with a chair that’s too large for them, and they have to sit leaning forward because the backrest is too far away. Prolong exposure to sitting in a chair made too large for you can result in discomfort and lack of focus. And that’s where the Arozzi Verona Junior shines. As the name implies, the Arozzi Verona Junior is a chair that’s made for gamers under 5’2. It’s well structured and molds to a smaller frame, giving unequivocal comfort.
DXRacer is an old and respected company that pre-dates a lot of companies on this list. And with that, at least one of their chairs are expected to make the list. The DXRacer Tank’s is unique in that it can support a gamer up to 450lbs and it’s back support is large enough to accommodate a 6’7 giant. It’s a sturdy chair that’s made for a specific audience and also comes at a fairly steeper price tag of $600.
Autofull is a great value chair. It’s not cheaply made, and it’s price certainly doesn’t reflect that. But it’s also not overly expensive with quirks and features you’ll never need. Autofull made a chair that’s just perfect for the middle market. Someone who has a little bit of budget, wants to invest, and only invest in a chair that can deliver the essential comfort and features they need. And with that, Autofull absolutely delivers. Being at $200, it’s price point is just right. And even at that price point, they still managed to squeeze in features you’ll be surprise to find.
Vertagear is popular among Twitch streamers and many Youtubers. It’s a highly adjustable and ergonomic gaming chair with all your essential features in addition to the memory foam being on the firm side. The back can actually be adjusted. You can lift it up or down to adjust accordingly to your height, a feature not found on many chairs. Veragear also lets you choose from a wide variety of colors to ensure the chair fits your setup/colorscheme.
SNES Classic Edition Review
The second iteration of Nintendo’s blast from the past: SNES Classic Edition. As a millennial, I am particularly excited to not only unbox, but relive my childhood. For me in particular, the Super Nintendo was my first entry into the world of gaming. I remember a particular period of time in my childhood when my grandmother babysat me and my brother. We were dancing in the middle of the room like the princesses we are, and my younger brother decided to do a cartwheel, completely shattering my toe bone, leaving me in a cast for 6 months.
During that time, the casts were not as cool as they are today. This was a full cast! Disgusting, smelly, sweaty, and gross. But the one benefit that came out of all of this was that I found a love for video games. Growing up, I was always that kid that would go outside and play until the sun came down, but without the ability to run or walk, I would sit home and play Super Nintendo. I remember the first game I played, Super Mario World. That one game led to others. My favorite game of all time (besides modern era Kingdom Hearts) was Super Mario RPG.
The SNES Classic Edition is an incredible display of engineering. They were able to take the classic elements of the original and morph them into a modern twist. With the addition of the HDMI cable you can play the games on your television. No more cubed TV’s! I know you can buy these games on the 3DS, WiiU, and I am sure the Nintendo Switch at one point and time, but the this whole series from Nintendo has been a marketers dream. I absolutely love everything that Nintendo is doing here and I hope they continue this trend.
Now, it’s time to DO A BARREL ROLL!
In The Box
- SNES Classic Edition Console
- Two Controllers
- AC Adapter
- HDMI Cables
- Contra IIIThe Alien Wars
- Donkey Kong Country
- Final Fantasy III
- Kirby’s Dream Course
- Mega Man X
- Secret of Mana
- Star Fox
- Star Fox 2 (Unlock-able)
- Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
- Super Series: Castlevania IV, Ghouls’n Ghosts, Mario Kart, Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Mario World, Metroid, and Punch Out
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past
- Yoshi’s Island
Games I am personally most excited for are ranked top 5 in order.
Mega ManOut of all the games included, I played this game the most. The storyline was captivating, the levels were difficult, the anxiety and stress (and sweat) levels were over 9000!
Super Mario RPG
This was truly the first game that “started it all”. I’m not a gamer as much as I once was, nor am I programer, but I am a story teller. This for me was the first true story in gaming. The game was nearly impossible to beat. It was complex for a game of its time.
Donkey Kong Country
You get to ride on animals, the graphics were simple and awesome, and Diddy Kong makes it worth it.
Fighting games are awesome, but has there been a better fighting game since? Also, who else doesn’t like punching the crap out of cars!
This is so obvious on so many levels, but Zelda and Link has a special place in my heart. My favorite Zelda game in the franchise was Wind Waker. I can confidently say that I am the anomaly on this one, because the game itself had harsh criticism due to cell shaded graphics and lack of storyline. A link to the past is the summarization of this article and also the feeling that I received when I turned on the console for the first time.
Watch this awesome review from FUgameCrue. Subscribe to his channel. He has some awesome reviews and a great sense of humor.