Sponsored content: This article has been authored in collaboration with Seasonic.
Let’s start by briefly having a look at the history of Seasonic. The company was founded more than 40 years ago, and released its first PC power supply in 1981. As such, they were one of the first manufacturers of power supplies on the market. Since then, Seasonic has been a leading company within its field, and continues to innovate its products in order to bring to consumers the very best performance and experience no matter the budget.
It might very well be the case that your current computer sports a Seasonic PSU, maybe without you even knowing it. Aside from creating its own power supplies, Seasonic also manufactures power supplies for a number of other hardware companies including Corsair, Cooler Master, NZXT and more. These companies simply buy the internal components created by Seasonic and put their own name and logo on the exterior. This goes to show how much the industry acknowledges the quality of Seasonic’s products. It’s also not without reason that most of Seasonic’s power supplies come with a 7-year warranty. Some of the larger units even come with a 12-year warranty.
Anyways, enough of the history lessons. If you are curious and want to know more about the interesting history of Seasonic, you can learn more on the official website. The purpose of this article is to go over the product catalog of Seasonic in order to broaden your understanding of its various product line-ups and, more importantly, help you to figure out which product is the right one for you. Some of the points that will be presented in this article will be borrowed directly from my recent article on power supplies. Some of the points are, however, universal, and therefore apply to all power supplies from whichever company. Alright, let’s start with the basics.
Now that we’ve covered the history of Seasonic, albeit in a very short form, we’ll turn our attention to power supplies in general. What is it and what function does it serve in your computer? As the name suggests, its purpose is to supply power to the entire system. This includes the motherboard, processor, graphics card and hard drives. Simply put, all of the components of your system rely on the power supply in order to come alive.
In a sense, you could argue that the power supply is the most important component of your system since nothing will work without it. There’s a reason that Seasonic’s slogan is “The heart of your system”. As such, it is also very important that you pick the right power supply for your computer so that your system runs stable and without inexplicable errors, which might occur if you’re running it with a cheap power supply - don’t worry, we won’t be hanging anyone out to dry in this article.
There are many manufacturers of power supplies, and some of these are certainly better than others. Next to Seasonic, you might recognize companies such as Corsair, ASUS, Cooler Master, be quiet! and EVGA, all of which are known to offer high quality power supplies. As mentioned earlier, these companies are also known to use designs from Seasonic’s line-up, but re-branded as their own. There are of course plenty of other good manufacturers of power supplies out there, and the ones mentioned above are but a few of the well established manufacturers that we’ve had positive dealings with in the past.
Before we take a look at the actual power supplies from Seasonic, let’s just cover one more important point, namely, the meaning of the “80 Plus” certification. When looking for a power supply you’ll most certainly come across the 80 Plus symbols that exist in six different variations as of today. Simply put, the 80 Plus labels indicate the level of efficiency of a given power supply, and as such how much, or little, power goes to waste by turning into heat.
We always recommend that you go for a power supply with as high efficiency rating as possible. It might be the case that it is a bit more expensive compared to one with a poorer 80 Plus certification, however, if you find yourself using your computer for many hours, and on a daily basis, then the return on investment will quickly show up on your electricity bill. When looking at Seasonic’s power supplies, there are fortunately not that many options in terms of efficiency. This is in large due to the fact that its power supplies are state of the art, and almost all of its power supplies have a minimum certification of 80 Plus Gold. Only the cheapest of its models have to settle with a Bronze or Silver certification. You’ll see this once we move on to looking at the models in a moment.
Below, we’ve added an overview of the different 80 Plus certifications and what they mean. From left to right, we go from the “worst” certification, which is the 80 Plus “White”, to the best, which is the 80 Plus Titanium. As mentioned, all newer power supplies from Seasonic come with a minimum rating of 80 Plus Gold, or higher.
When a power supply is being manufactured and tested, there are some efficiency requirements that it must fulfill in order to receive one of the six 80 Plus certificates. In the image above, we see these requirements listed next to the different 80 Plus certificates. The percentages indicate the amount of power that is drawn in by the power supply and converted into something that the system can use. Therefore, you’ll want to get a power supply with as high an efficiency as possible within your disposable budget . We recommend that you always go for an 80 Plus Gold certified power supply, or higher. These are priced reasonably from most of the aforementioned manufacturers, as well as a lot of others. This way, you are sure to get the most out of the power that you draw from your wall socket. In the coming bit, we’ll be going over the different models that we’ve received from Seasonic, and I’ll be highlighting one model in particular which, considering its price, has impressed me a lot.
Seasonic offers a long list of different power supplies, all with a varying level of features, and at different price tags and ideal use cases. Even though we won’t be including all of them in this article - it would simply be too long and too cumbersome to read - I’ve handpicked a few different models. When it comes to power supplies for normal computers, we typically deal with three common sizes: regular ATX, SFX as well as SFX-L. These three form factors have some specific standard dimensions that they have to conform to in order to fit into the computer cases that they’ll be used in. The dimensions are as follows:
If you are curious and want to learn more about the different sizes and models, in general, check out our recent PSU guide. In the photo, below, you’ll see a size comparison between an SFX-L power supply, on top, a regular ATX in the middle, and a longer, high-end, ATX at the bottom. These are from the Seasonic FOCUS and PRIME series that are part of the mid to high-end offerings from Seasonic.
I mentioned that I had picked out some models from Seasonic’s line-up for this article. We’ll now be going over these individually. I’ve picked specific models that will allow us to have a look at power supplies that feature different sizes, types, cable options, and ranging from cheaper to more expensive models. Seasonic offers everything from cheap models to enthusiast models and also insane high-end models that most of us would never really be able to utilize fully. However, within its range of power supplies there are a couple of very interesting models that Seasonic is known for and that competing brands have yet to match.
We’ll go over the power supplies, one-by-one, and attempt to keep things as comparable as possible. To that extent, we’ll be sticking to the same topics for each of them: an introduction, package and contents, specifications, target audience and price. The headline for each power supply will additionally contain a link to Seasonic’s website, where you can learn even more about that particular model. We’ll start in the cheaper end, and make our way up through the line-up.
Non-modular ATX (80 Plus Bronze)
We start by having a look at a rather basic power supply, which might not be that attractive if you are a core or elitist gamer. You don’t get a lot of accessories nor an exciting design. We are dealing with a basic power supply, which is non-modular, which means that all of the cables are permanently fixed to the unit. The efficiency qualifies it as a 80 Plus Bronze, and the S12III models come in the following wattages: 450, 500, 550 and 650 watts. Many similarly classed power supplies come with cables in all sorts of colors, but on the S12III from Seasonic, they are at least all black, which adds a bit to the otherwise ordinary design. Inside the box, we find:
The S12III series from Seasonic is for those users that don’t have the biggest of demands. It’s ideal for an office computer, or for a budget gaming PC since you can get up to 650 watts with this model. The S12III series power supplies use the ATX form factor and come with fixed black cables, which can make cable management a bit more cumbersome since the unused cables have to be hidden away inside of the PC case. The cable selection is standard and we get a 80 Plus Bronze unit that has a traditional cooling solution. All in all, this is a fine standard power supply, which has been adorned with some nice black cables, and is backed up by a 5-year warranty by Seasonic.
Depending on the size that you’re after, the S12III from Seasonic ranges from $65 for the 500 W version, which makes it a very budget-friendly option. You get decent looking cables, a 5-year warranty and a solid 12 V rail with 40 A, which is sufficient for a budget gaming PC. You will be able to find cheaper power supplies from other manufacturers that aren’t as established as Seasonic. We recommend staying away from those. We recommend the S12III series from Seasonic as a minimum for your office or budget gaming PC.
Semi-modular ATX (80 Plus Gold)
We take it up one notch, but remain at the cheaper end of the scale. The CORE GM series from Seasonic is still a budget model, but when compared to the S12III, it comes with a few upgrades. We find an 80 Plus Gold certification instead of just a Bronze, and on top of that we get a semi-modular cable interface. This means that some of the cables are optional and can be removed if not used. This type of power supply is usually targeted at the middle segment, which is also indicated by the available options that the CORE GM series offers: 500, 550 and 650 watts. Both the fixed and the modular cables are black here as well, which gives the unit a nice and clean look. In terms of accessories, we also see that a few more things are included here when compared to one of the cheaper models. Inside the box, we find:
The CORE GM series is for quality conscious consumers that want to save the money it would require going for a fully modular unit, but at the same time want something nice. There’s plenty of cables included, of which, the most essential ones come fixed to the housing of the unit. This means that the price is also lower than that of a similar unit featuring a fully modular cable interface. Available in 500, 550 and 650 watts versions, don’t expect to be building a very high-end system using the CORE GM series. That’s not really what it is intended for. Instead, we get an ideal power supply for the low- to mid-tier builds, which is actually also what most consumers on the market go for. Here, the CORE GM series does an amazing job, considering its price.
The 650 watts version of the CORE GM power supply is priced at just below $100 at the time of this writing. This is a very reasonable price compared to the competition, and you get a solid power supply with a high efficiency rating, a semi-modular design with all-black cables, 7-year warranty and 650 watts to play around with. This is sufficient for any mid-tier gaming PC or a reasonable workstation.
Fully modular SFX-L (80 Plus Gold)
We’ve now had a look at two normal ATX power supplies, featuring both non- and semi-modular designs. It’s time to take it a step down, well, at least in terms of physical size. The FOCUS SGX series from Seasonic offers SFX-L power supplies that are significantly smaller than the more common ATX format. This doesn’t entail that any corners have been cut - on the contrary. We find a highly efficient unit with its 80 Plus Gold rating, fully modular cable interface, semi-passive/hybrid cooling solution and an abundance of accessories inside the box. The FOCUS SGX series from Seasonic comes in three sizes: 450, 500 and 650 watts. We’ve received the middle one for this article. In the box, we find:
This particular PSU is for those of you, who want to build a system with a small footprint. There was a point in time when it was very popular to build in mini-ITX cases that often won’t fit a regular ATX power supply inside of them due to the sheer size. The interest for mini-ITX cases has dwindled a bit over the years, but the same cannot be said for the manufacturing of these smaller power supplies. It’s possible to get SFX-L power supplies with upwards of 850 watts these days, which is quite impressive. Despite the fact that the demand for these units isn’t as big as it once was, those who do want one of these are typically the same people that require maximum performance at as small of a scale as possible and that is exactly what the FOCUS SGX series delivers, whilst at the same being rather quiet too.
However, as you might expect, the more power you squeeze into a smaller form factor, the more it will run you in terms of price. As such, you have to take into account an extra expense when going with the SFX format over the ATX. If you want the 500 watts version, which we’ve looked at today, you are looking at a price of $99.99 or more. That’s quite a lot for a 500 watts power supply. At that price, you could also get a couple of hundreds more of wattage, when going with a regular ATX power supply. Squeezing all these components into a smaller unit simply leads to a higher price tag as a result.
Fully modular ATX (80 Plus Gold)
With the FOCUS GX series, Seasonic has hit the spot, in my opinion. We are once again dealing with a normal ATX power supply. This series from Seasonic has seen a few iterations over time, and I dare say that this is one of the series where you get the most bang for your buck. We get a lot of the features that we see on the bigger and more expensive units, whilst the price is kept at a level where most people are able to join in. The cable interface is 100% modular, the efficiency is 80 Plus Gold and the cooling solution is semi-passive with a hybrid fan that only runs when necessary. It comes in several capacities: 550, 650, 750, 850 and 1000 watts. So there’s something for basically every system, no matter if you are putting together a budget-friendly office PC or a true beast of a system. Inside the box, we find:
The FOCUS GX series from Seasonic is for the consumer that seeks a rock solid power supply, and that is willing to pay a bit to get one, whilst at the same time finding the price of the large high-end models too high. I personally find that the FOCUS GX series from Seasonic is one of the best power supply series available in this price tier. You get impressive performance, high efficiency, 100% modular cable interface and a magnificent cooling solution that offers completely silent operation at low loads. As we move up in terms of pricing and series, you also get more accessories included in the box, such as extra modular cables in various lengths and with either more or less connectors so that you have better options when fitting out your particular system. The FOCUS GX series offers all of this as well as a 10-year warranty. It’s a solid pick for the solid gaming PC.
At the time of this writing, the 650 watts version FOCUS GX is priced at $126.99. If we compare this price to that of the SFX-L model from the FOCUS SGX series, you get 150 watts more for around $25 more. This gives you an idea of the extra cost that comes with building smaller systems, as mentioned earlier. Compared to other ATX power supplies that offer the same features, the FOCUS GX series is placed well in the middle, and is neither the most expensive, nor the cheapest option. One of the reasons that it is worth paying a bit of extra for the Seasonic FOCUS GX, compared to other options, is the 10-year warranty. It gives you some nice peace of mind, and confidence in the manufacturer since it is willing to offer such an attractive warranty period.
Fully modular ATX (80 Plus Titanium)
We now move one step further up the ladder, and move into the high-end tier, and one of the top shelf offerings of Seasonic. This is where we find the PRIME TX series. Here, no expense has been spared, and you get the absolute best that Seasonic has to offer. This entails the highest possible 80 Plus certification known as Titanium, 100% modular cable interface with a large selection of included cables, 12-year warranty and lots of safety measures. The PRIME TX series comes in the following variations: 650, 750, 850 and 1000 watts, which means that it will fit the needs of anyone. High-end systems usually demand 600-700 watts or more, and the PRIME TX therefore fits right into this segment. Inside the box, we find:
The PRIME TX series is for the hardcore builders that can only settle with the best of the best. If you are one of those people that has a beast of a gaming rig, maybe even more than one GPU, as well as an overclocked CPU, multiple hard disk drives and lots of RGB, then the PRIME TX is the right choice for you. With high-end power supplies like this, you get a wealth of modular cables. Where you’d typically get PCI-Express cables with two connectors on each, you instead get six separate cables, each with one connector, in order to improve stability. It’s considerations such as these that you are paying for here. On the other hand, with the type of consumer that the PRIME TX is targeted at, the price is often less of an obstacle.
In terms of pricing, the 850 watts PRIME TX power supply that we’ve looked at will cost you around $239.99. This is definitely too much for the average consumer. But as mentioned, these are not the consumers that this type of power supply is targeted at.
Fully modular ATX (80 Plus Titanium)
We continue with the PRIME series from Seasonic, but take it yet another step up the ladder. The PRIME Fanless TX is a masterpiece without equal, and to this day, I’m still impressed that it’s even possible. In short, take a PRIME TX power supply of 700 watts, and lose the fan. Additionally, throw in some aluminum heat sinks instead and what you have is the PRIME Fanless TX. This is a true high-end power supply running at 700 watts and with an 80 Plus Titanium certification. 100% modular cable interface and a completely silent cooling solution without the use of any fan. The PRIME Fanless TX only comes in this configuration with the 700 watts, but this should certainly also be enough for even high-end gaming PCs thanks to the very high efficiency of it. Inside the box, we find:
Just as it was the case with the regular PRIME TX series, the Fanless version also targets the more hardcore segment where only the best will do. However, in this case, there’s also a demand that things run silently. The PRIME Fanless TX is perfect for you if you want a high-end workstation or office PC where you appreciate silent operation. It might also be the case that you have a monster PC with custom water cooling that is already running almost silently. By adding a PSU such as this, you have one component less to worry about in terms of maintaining the silent operation. The PRIME Fanless TX series is backed up by a 12-year warranty, comes with a lot of different modular cables and all of the safety features that can be put into a power supply. Compared to regular power supplies with fans, it is recommended to turn this one upside-down so that all the warm air can escape the PSU housing through the roof of it.
We just had a look at the PRIME TX, which already set the bar high in terms of pricing. Well, this one, the Fanless version, manages to take it even higher. At the time of this writing, it is listed at $266. So for a bit more than $20 you get 150 less watts, but on the other hand, a fanless and completely silent design. This is definitely for those consumers that have an acquired taste and sees the benefit of running with a silent power supply.
Fully modular ATX/Hybrid (80 Plus Gold)
The last power supply that we’ve received from Seasonic is probably also the most unique one that sets itself apart from the rest quite a bit. Earlier in 2020, Seasonic presented a somewhat different type of power supply going by the name “Connect”. Where a normal power supply handles 12 V, 5 V and 3.3 V inside of its housing, Connect does it differently. Here, only 12 V is handled inside of the case, whilst the conversion to 5 V and 3.3 V is handled by the separate Connect module, into which all of the modular cables are connected. Once again, the efficiency is 80 Plus Gold, and there’s only one version available: 750 watts. Inside the box, we find:
It’s somewhat difficult to define a specific target audience of the Connect power supply from Seasonic. We are dealing with a unit that is to some extent similar to the FOCUS GX series, and then on the other hand, it’s very different. If you care a lot about keeping your cable routing neat and clean, then the Connect series might be for you. Since you only have one cable leading out of the power supply itself and into the Connect module you are already off to a good start in terms of cable management. The ports on the Connect module are conveniently placed so that the 24-pin cable is located close to the port on the motherboard, whilst the EPS (CPU) port is located at the top in order to line up with the motherboard there as well. As I’ll be showing you below, the cables for the Connect power supply are also much shorter than the ones you get with a normal power supply.
The price of new tech is always higher than that of the old. This also applies to the Connect series from Seasonic. As mentioned, it is quite similar to the FOCUS GX series in terms of specs. But in reality, it’s quite different. At the time of this writing, the Seasonic Connect is priced at $169.99. Compared to a similarly sized FOCUS GX, the price is substantially higher here. Whether or not this price difference is worth it to you is a subjective matter. But maybe the following section will help you to make up your mind about the Connect series.
In the photo, above, you see the Seasonic Connect power supply as well as the Connect module. The power supply itself looks like a regular power supply, although only one cable leaves it. This cable connects to the bottom of the Connect module, which in turn handles the conversion to 5 V and 3.3 V, and in addition it houses the modular cable interface. The “Seasonic” text on the Connect module also lights up in blue once the power supply is turned on. Below, you’ll see the Connect module connected to the power supply as well as some of the modular cable ports that are available. The ports are located in a logical fashion so that they align with the locations of the system that they will be connected to.
In the below photo, I still have the Connect module connected to the power supply and I’ve also connected two of the modular cables. Imagine that the Connect module is located on the rear of your system, in the same location that you’d normally be running your cables in any build. As such, the length of the cables are as long as they need to be, but not as long as your typical PSU cables. At the bottom of this photo, I’ve included the cables from the PRIME power supply and laid them out next to the corresponding ones from the Connect unit. As you can see, they Connect cables are less than half as long as the ones that come with the PRIME.
We’ve now gone over various different models and series of power supplies from Seasonic ranging from the cheaper ones that sport fixed cables, to the semi-modular ones and finally the fully modular ones. The latter of which is by far the most popular one since you’ll be able to only install the cables that you need and nothing else. With some of the bigger models from Seasonic, you get a lot of different cables in various lengths so that you are able to pick and choose the ones that fit your use case the best.
As we’ve been able to verify in this article, it’s often the cheapest offerings that come with the cables fixed. In doing so, the manufacturer is able to offer the unit at a low price, and by going with one of these power supplies, you’ll also be getting a reasonable power supply, like the S12III, at a very budget-friendly price. However, more and more of modern quality power supplies are either semi- or fully modular, and it’s definitely worth considering in case you are willing to spend a bit more. In this case, it’s worth looking towards either the FOCUS GM, FOCUS GX or FOCUS SGX. With semi-modular power supplies, it is often the 24-pin, EPS and in some cases the PCI-Express connectors that are fixed. Essentially, cables that you’ll be using no matter what.
The high-end power supplies, such as the PRIME TX and PRIME Fanless TX that we’ve looked at today, always come fully modular. This allows for a higher degree of cable customizability, and you can go with the ones that are ideal for your system since you get plenty to choose from in the box. On top of that, you also get the opportunity to swap out all of the cables with custom sleeved ones that also are available in various color combinations. This will definitely set your build apart from the mainstream.
When it comes to picking the right layout and design for your power supply, the type of build that you are aiming for pretty much dictates what you will be going for. If you are building a gaming computer, you’ll be needing a power supply of a certain quality and size, and here we typically will be looking at power supplies such as the FOCUS GX that comes with modular cables and a long list of features. We typically look towards 550 to 750 watts. If we take it up a notch to the high-end segment, these power supplies typically start at around 750 watts or more, and some of the crazier models go all the way up to 1200 to 1500 watts (PRIME). Earlier in this article, we looked at both a PRIME TX, and all of the cables that come with a high-end power supply such as it, as well as the modular interfaces of both an SFX-L and ATX power supply. When it comes to the low-end needs of office desktops and budget gaming builds, we often see the non-modular offerings, such as the S12III and the semi-modular CORE GM-650 in use. The cable interface of both can be seen in the photo below. To the left, we see how all of the cables are fixed to the enclosure of the S12III, and to the right, we have the CORE GM-650, where only the essential cables are fixed, and the rest are modular (not depicted).
An important consideration with regard to power supplies is the cooling capabilities of it. Back in the day, a fan was considered obligatory due to the heat build-up. However, a lot has happened over the years, and they’ve become significantly more efficient, which in turn means that manufacturers can be more creative when coming up with cooling solutions. This means that aside from the traditional cooling solution with a fan that runs constantly, you now can also go with models that feature semi- and fully passive cooling solutions.
In the image below, we have the PRIME Fanless TX on the left, which has no fan, and next to it, on the right, we see its sibling, the PRIME TX that features a fan that runs whenever necessary. This mode is also called semi-passive or hybrid mode. On some models that feature semi-passive cooling, a button can be found on the back that will switch between either hybrid mode or having the fan constantly running.
In the image below we see the S12III next to the FOCUS GX. The S12III features a traditional cooling solution, which means that the fan is always active. The FOCUS GX, which we see next to it, features semi-passive cooling, and if you look closely, you’ll also see the button, next to the power switch, that turns the hybrid mode on and off. When this mode is enabled, you’ll have an entirely silent power supply when not the system isn’t under full load, which is brilliant.
Below, we have a graph that illustrates the fan utilization of the FOCUS GX power supply. When hybrid mode is active, the fan only activates when the unit reaches a load of 30% or more. However, even when it is active, it will be relatively silent due to the RPM being low. It will only become noticeable once the load on the system increases. When it comes to fans, there are also different types to choose from, and different bearing systems. But we’ll save that talk for another time. In short, sleeve bearings are cheaper, whereas magnetic or fluid bearing are the ones that will last the longest.
Along with the several power supplies that Seasonic sent us, a couple of small packages were also included. In case it has gone under your radar, Nvidia just released its new 3080 and 3090 graphics cards in September, 2020. These cards differ from previous generations in that they require a new, slightly different power connector - a very compact 12-pin connector.
For those of you who have decided to go with one of the Founder’s Edition cards, you’ll be required to utilize the small adapter that comes included with the card. The downside here is that it doesn’t look good - at all. Seasonic remedies this with the provided cables that we’ve depicted below. We’ve gotten four of these cables, from Seasonic, that only exist in one version at this time. These can only be used in conjunction with the PRIME, FOCUS and CORE power supplies. The only additional requirement is that you pick a power supply within the recommended wattage range specified by Seasonic of 650 watts or more.
If you’ve already invested in one of these three types of power supplies from Seasonic, the company offers to ship one of these cables to you free-of-charge. All that you have to do is to fill out the online form that can be found right here. This offer expires by December 31, 2020. If you happen to own an older or different model of Seasonic’s power supplies, you can contact Seasonic via the following email address and inquire as to what options you have: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve now gone over a range of power supplies and various technologies from Seasonic and if you’ve made it this far, we are very appreciative since it’s been quite a long one this time around. The purpose of this article has been to shed some light on the product line-up of Seasonic, and what products they offer each tier of consumers out there. Both in terms pricing and technologies. As mentioned early on, the power supply is one of the most fundamental and crucial components of any system. It’s what makes everything come alive and it ensures the stability of the computer as a whole. With a Seasonic power supply, you’ll be a firm step closer to spending lots and lots of fun and problem-free hours in front of your computer.
Seasonic has been a player on the power supply market for many years, and you can quickly tell from just looking at its products. Whether you are looking at the budget offerings, such as the S12III, or the high-end PRIME TX series, it is evident that a lot of thought and experience has gone into the development of its products. A lot of energy has been put into creating quality products that will ensure consumers that they’ll be getting the absolute most out of their purchase.
If this article made you hunger for more, feel free to also check out our previous guide on power supplies by clicking here.
We would like to also thank Seasonic for making this article possible, and for always keeping to such high standards when making power supplies.