If you’re like me, you probably never give much thought to the power supply in your gaming PC. I’ve been using an 850W bequiet! Straight Power for years, transferring it between different builds. Like most PC builders, I assumed I would replace it once it reached the end of its lifespan, which I estimated would still be a few years away. However, this assumption is about to be challenged due to the next generation of GPUs from AMD and Nvidia. These new GPUs are expected to draw more power than ever before, which could have consequences for the availability and pricing of power supplies.
A Decade of Unchanged Power Demands
For the past decade, a 750W power supply has been more than sufficient for even the most high-end gaming PCs. However, recent developments suggest that this is about to change. The current generation of GPUs and CPUs are pushing power limits to unprecedented levels. For example, the RTX 3080 is the first GPU in its class to surpass the 250W mark, and the RTX 3090 Ti is the first consumer GPU to exceed 400W. Similarly, Intel’s Core i9-12900K can draw around 240W at its peak performance. These power demands indicate that a 750W power supply is no longer enough for a high-end gaming PC, despite what the official recommendations may suggest.
Don’t Wait for Higher Prices
With the imminent arrival of the RTX 40-series and RX 7000 GPUs, which are rumored to have extremely high power demands, waiting until next-gen parts show up might not be a wise decision. In 2020, there was a power supply shortage caused by increased demand from cryptocurrency miners. Although the situation is different now, there’s no guarantee that demand for power supplies won’t spike again. Moreover, the prices of power supplies are currently lower than they were six months ago, making it an opportune time to consider an upgrade.
If you’re planning to upgrade to a next-gen GPU in the near future, I strongly recommend buying a new power supply now. Whether your current power supply is aging or you simply want to be prepared for the next generation of components, don’t wait until you’re picking up a new GPU. Prices could soar when demand increases. Additionally, with events like Computex on the horizon, where we expect to get a glimpse of the next generation of GPUs, now is the perfect time to start thinking about your power supply upgrade.
This article is part of ReSpec, a biweekly column that explores the tech behind PC gaming, providing discussions, advice, and in-depth reporting.