Let’s not forget that what a power supply does is convert AC current from the electrical outlet to DC, but in this process energy loss occurs. The name of 80 PLUS comes from the fact that these are power supplies that have a minimum efficiency of 80% so the rest of the energy, 20%, which is not transformed, is converted into heat. This means that if an 80 PLUS certified power supply consumes 1000W of alternating current then, as a minimum and we emphasize this, it will give 800W to the PC.
From what you have already deduced from the explanation, under the brand 80 PLUS the various manufacturers of PSUs refer to their power supplies with an efficiency of more than 80%.
History and evolution of the 80 Plus certification
In 2004 the 80 Plus certification was born, without any type of addition to the name in its most classic version of all, and offering the aforementioned 80% efficiency. This certification level when new levels appeared was renamed 80 PLUS White when in 2008 the 80 PLUS Bronze, 80 PLUS Silver and 80 Plus Gold certifications were added. In 2009, the 80 Plus Platinum was added to finish with the 80 Plus Titanium in 2012.
Since then, no new level has been created and manufacturers have completed certification of their power supplies.
PFC or power factor correction
One of the things to understand about 80 PLUS certified power supplies is the potential factor, which is obtained by taking on the one hand the actual power as delivered by the power supply and dividing it by the apparent power, which would be obtained by multiplying the volts by amps.
Power supplies typically have a power factor of 0.7 or 0.75, but there are sources that have what is called a power factor correction that increases the figure to 0.9. Well, 80 PLUS certified power supplies use PFC to achieve higher efficiency when converting AC to DC current.
It should be taken into account that a power supply is an analog electronic circuit and usually uses a capacitor to operate with the voltage of DC electricity. Said capacitor may undergo a phase change when converting from one type of current to another, which may lead to a decrease in the power factor. Therefore, the PFC is always an additional circuit responsible for correcting these losses.
The different levels of the 80 PLUS certification
When a power supply is marked with one of the 80 PLUS certifications, it means that it meets the following specifications:
- White: 80% efficiency at 20% load level, 85% at 0.9 PFC at 50% load and 80% at 100%.
- Bronze: 82% efficiency at 20% load level, 85% at 0.9 PFC at 50% load and 82% at 100%.
- Money: 85% efficiency at 20% load level, 88% at 0.9 PFC at 50% load and 87% at 100%.
- Gold: 87% efficiency at 20% load level, 90% with 0.9 PFC at 50% load and 87% at 100%.
- Platinum: 90% efficient at 20% load level, 90% at 0.95 PFC at 50% load and 89% at 100%.
- Titanium: 90% efficiency at 10% load level, 92% at 0.95 PFC at 50% load and 90% at 100%.
At first glance, the differences between the different certifications may seem very small, but the circuit level of the power circuit reaches higher and higher levels of complexity in order to gain a little efficiency. So the power supplies with the most advanced certifications and therefore the most expensive.
The fact that a power supply is more efficient allows us to save on the electricity bill, since the power company does not charge us each month for the amount of energy that we consume, but rather the amount that we use. we get outlets from our home or business, so choosing a good power supply with advanced 80 PLUS certification becomes a money saver over time. Another advantage is the fact that sources with a higher efficiency level make less noise, because by releasing less power in heat, they make the fan turn on fewer times.
The shortcomings of this certification
The problem with 80 PLUS certifications is none other than complying with each of them, low consumption is not taken into account. What do we mean by this? Well, while the charge levels are low, such as the PC is off or at rest, manufacturers don’t have to maintain high efficiency levels.
This means that if the required level of charge of the PC is low, we can see that not only the efficiency of the PSU does not follow what said said level of the 80 PLUS certification, but it can also be lower than 80%. . Of course, low-power devices use their own already designed power supplies to handle much lower power levels.