80 Plus Certification Power Supplies
Understanding the 80 Plus Certification for Power Supplies – You’ve probably wondered what the 80 Plus certification means when you see it on power supplies. It’s a strong indicator that the model you’re buying is genuinely efficient, regardless of its brand.
This certification not only helps you find the best power supply for your computer, but it also contributes to energy efficiency, potentially saving you on utility costs. Additionally, it’s environmentally friendly as it reduces heat loss.
If you’re not familiar with this certification, stay with us as we explain it in this article. You’ll learn what the 80 Plus certification is and everything related to power supplies.
Where Does the 80 Plus Certification Come From?
It all began in 2004 with the 80 Plus certification program promoted by Scoba Plug Load Solutions. The program’s mission was to test power supplies to determine their efficiency.
Initially, power supplies that achieved 80% efficiency could receive this certification. However, as technology advanced, the required standards became much higher for certification.
Since 2007, those seeking the Energy Star logo must meet these higher standards. As a result, more than 2,000 different power supplies have obtained this certification.
What Does This Certification Really Mean?
Now that we have some background on the 80 Plus certification, let’s delve into its significance. A power supply that receives this certification can deliver a minimum of 80% efficiency under load conditions ranging from 20% to 100%, with a power factor of 0.9.
Typically, those with this certification work as follows at 115-volt settings:
- 82% efficiency at 20% load
- 85% efficiency at 50% load
- 82% efficiency at 100% load for 230-volt settings (commonly used in Europe).
Different Certification Levels
Although we’ve only mentioned 80 Plus, there are actually other levels available in the market. Each level specifies the minimum efficiency the power supply can offer at different load levels, depending on the market.
- 80 Plus or 80 Plus White
- 80 Plus Bronze
- 80 Plus Silver
- 80 Plus Gold
- 80 Plus Platinum
- 80 Plus Titanium (the only one requiring a minimum of 10% load efficiency).
Companies with a large number of computers often seek these power supplies because without them, energy consumption costs would be significantly higher due to their usage. However, those with this certification save money on their electricity bills.
How Are These Certifications Obtained?
If you’re wondering how power supply manufacturers obtain these certifications, here’s the process they must follow. Once completed, they can display the logo on their sold models.
- All manufacturers must take some of their models to an independent laboratory for testing.
- At least two samples of each model must be submitted and paid for. If they pass the tests, they can display the logo.
- These tests are relatively straightforward, involving connecting the power supplies and measuring how much power they draw. The tests are conducted under various loads to determine their efficiency.
This is how manufacturers determine which models qualify for certification and which do not. Nowadays, manufacturers aim to meet all standards to position themselves in the market as top brands with highly regarded certifications.
See more: How Computer Power Supplies Should Be.
Are There Disadvantages to the 80 Plus Certification?
Despite the benefits we’ve discussed, there are some disadvantages when it comes to obtaining this certification. Here’s a list of some of them:
- Some power supplies in the market may display fake 80 Plus logos or certifications, and the program doesn’t have a clear plan to prevent or eliminate such scams.
- The test equipment doesn’t have a clear or more specific mention.
- Efficiency under the 5VSB mode isn’t considered for this certification.
- Standby power consumption isn’t taken into account, which is crucial in the European market, where specific directives must be followed.
- The test environment often has a lower ambient temperature, which can affect how these power supplies perform in warmer environments.
Despite these drawbacks, the 80 Plus program remains effective. This is likely why you may be reading this article from a computer with an 80 Plus certified power supply, ensuring that its efficiency meets the minimum requirements for the load level.
Power Supplies Aren’t Cheap
It’s a fact that power supplies can be expensive, depending on the model and brand. Several factors determine their prices, and having a high-quality certification like Titanium can increase the cost even more.
The main factors influencing power supply costs include:
- Expensive components: Recent events, such as the pandemic, have disrupted supply chains, making some components scarce and more expensive. Transistors, for example, are costly in various regions.
- Rising Consumer Price Index (CPI): Over time, costs fluctuate, and the cost of living increases. This factor also plays a role in the pricing.
- High demand: The world of cryptocurrencies and mining has driven up demand for these power supplies. As a result, prices have risen, and people seek models with more power.
- Tariffs on Chinese exports to the United States have affected the supply chain and exportation.
All of these factors have led to increased demand and higher costs for power supplies. However, less advanced models without certification are still accessible. This underscores the importance of these elements when protecting your computers.
Always Stay Informed About the 80 Plus Certification
Now that you understand the importance of the 80 Plus certification and its significance in power supplies, it’s essential to stay informed. Ensure that the logo displayed is genuine and guarantees higher power efficiency.
Once you choose the right model, you’ll provide your computer with a power supply that’s fully capable of doing its job efficiently. So, consider each aspect we’ve mentioned when making your decision.