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Power Right. Power Smart. Efficient Computer Power Supplies and Monitors.

March 10, 2009 - 6:00am


Power supplies convert the AC power that you get from your electric company into the DC power consumed by most electronics, including your computer. We expect our power supplies to be safe, reliable, and durable. If they meet those criteria, then they're all alike, except for cost, right?

Well, not exactly. You see, there's one other important feature that sets them apart: efficiency. And I don't know about you, but I believe waste is bad. For me, high efficiency is one important feature that's needed for something to be high quality. So isn't it ridiculous that most power supplies waste a lot of the electricity they consume?

Higher efficiency power supplies reduce energy consumption, thus cutting your electricity bill. They reduce power consumption, helping your electric utility meet peak power demands. And they improve overall power quality. Also, by converting more AC power into DC power, less heat is generated, leading to higher computer reliability and lower maintenance costs.

Buy a new ENERGY STAR® computer, and you'll be sure that the device's internal power supply has an 80% minimum efficiency at 20%, 50%, and 100% of rated output and minimum Power Factor of 0.9, representing high power quality. That's because the latest ENERGY STAR computer specifications incorporate minimum efficiency standards established by 80 PLUS®, an innovative, electric utility-funded incentive program to integrate more energy-efficient power supplies into desktop computers and servers.

An 80 PLUS certified power supply is up to 33% more efficient than current power supplies and translates to annual energy savings of approximately 85 kWh/year in desktop computers and 300 kWh/year in desktop-derived servers.

Since the first certified power supply product appeared on the market in 2005, industry efficiency performance improved dramatically enabling 80 PLUS to introduce higher efficiency levels of Certification in 2008: Bronze, Silver, and Gold.


  80+ Bronze 80+ Silver 80+ Gold
Load Efficiency Efficiency Efficiency
20% 82% 85% 87%
50% 85% 88% 90%
100% 82% 85% 87%


Note: All of the above specifications apply to multi-output internal power supplies representing desktop and server applications in non-redundant configurations. Slightly different specifications apply to single-output power supplies, limited to data center server applications.

80 Plus recently expanded the products it covers to include ultra-efficient LCD monitors that are 25% more efficient (the entire monitor, not its power supply) than the specification for ENERGY STAR LCD monitors.

Still undecided about paying a little more for a higher efficiency computer or monitor? Check out the 80 Plus Savings Calculator to calculate your yearly and lifetime energy and cost savings. Be sure to input the actual price you pay for your electricity. With electricity rates soaring in some areas, the default value, 8.7 cents (0.087)/kWh, may be a bit low and not show the complete savings you could achieve in buying the more efficient product.