Having a small form factor computer can be a great way to maximize the power of your system while taking up minimal space. However, one of the major issues with small form factor PCs is that powering the system can be a challenge.
That’s why having the best power supplies in SFX format is a must. SFX power supplies are designed to fit in small form factor cases, and they can provide enough power to run your system without taking up too much space.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best power supplies in the SFX format and how to find the best one.
Power supplies in SFX format – How to find the right one
The power supply is one of the most important components of a PC. After all, nothing works without electricity. But you shouldn’t just go for the cheapest model either, since only a high-quality power supply can ensure stable operation. For a normal PC, there are power supplies in ATX format.
But if you want to buy a space-saving mini PC, then in most cases an SFX power supply is necessary. While these power supplies look very similar to ATX power supplies, they are significantly smaller and are designed for use in many mini-ITX cases. Due to their small size, power supplies in SFX format are slightly more expensive in direct comparison, since the same technology is in a smaller space.
Nevertheless, there are models with up to 1000 watts of power – so nothing stands in the way of a high-end mini PC. When it comes to the SFX format, a distinction should be made between SFX and SFX-L. The latter are power supplies in SFX format, however, a little longer.
Here you should check in advance whether these models fit into the existing housing. When it comes to equipment, the small SFX power supplies are in no way inferior to their larger relatives. They offer every imaginable connector, even a brand new 16-pin PCIe power connector for current Nvidia high-end graphics cards.
But also in terms of efficiency, there are SFX power supplies up to the 80Plus Platinum certificate in the trade. The only downside is that the cooling options are a bit more limited. This means that cooling is worse in a smaller space since only smaller fans can be installed.
The HardwareSchotte editorial team has selected the best power supply models in SFX format for you and also included a few great value-for-money recommendations.
What do you have to look out for when buying a power supply unit?
Aside from the actual rated power of a power supply, you should, of course, check in advance which connections the power supply must-have for the existing or planned PC. Is an SFX power supply absolutely necessary?
If not, then we recommend buying an ATX power supply, as it is usually cheaper, quieter, and cooler in operation. If it is an SFX power supply, then you should check whether the existing performance is also offered. SFX power supplies offer a maximum of 850 watts, up to 1000 watts with the longer SFX-L format.
If you want to read more about PC power supplies, we have a detailed power supply article for you here.
Does it make sense to just take a very powerful power supply?
Basically, you can’t go wrong with it. Of course, it is better to have a power supply with large reserves than one with too little. However, it is important to remember that power supplies are at their best in the 50 to 80 percent load range.
So if you get a power supply with 1000 watts, this has the best efficiency at 500 to 800 watts of load.
An average PC usually only needs just under 100 watts when idling and rarely more than 500 watts even under full load. In this case, the 1000W PSU consumes more power than a 650W PSU of the same quality and features.
What is the difference between an SFX power supply and an ATX power supply?
The biggest difference is the size. While most ATX power supplies have the dimensions of about 15 x 8.6 x 16 – 20 cm (WxHxD), SFX power supplies are much more compact with 12.5 x 6.4 x 10 cm (WxHxD) and are therefore inbuilt into small mini-towers. Due to the smaller format, only smaller fans up to 92 mm can be accommodated in the power supply units for cooling.
However, larger fans can also be present in the slightly longer SFX-L net lines. Due to the smaller fans, the SFX power supply can be a bit louder during operation. You don’t have to do without variety when it comes to the connections. SFX power supplies offer almost the same thing as the larger ATX models, but perhaps in a smaller number.
The current maximum output of an SFX-L power supply in our price comparison is 1000 watts. If you need more, you have to switch to an ATX system. Due to the smaller design, the acquisition costs for an SFX power supply are also slightly higher in direct comparison.
What are SFX power supplies used for?
SFX power supplies are mostly used in mini-ITX cases, i.e. in small PC cases, in which there is no space for a “normal” ATX power supply. For this, you should look at the exact specifications of the case to see whether an SFX or ATX power supply has to be installed.
What connections are there on SFX power supplies?
With regard to the connections, there are no restrictions compared to the larger ones’ outer ATX power supplies. There are all the important connections on SFX power supplies for both SATA drives and high-end graphics cards.
There are even SFX power supplies with factory-fitted 16-pin PCIe power connectors on the market.
Can you fit an SFX power supply into an ATX form factor?
Yes, this is possible in most cases. Many SFX power supplies come with a corresponding “adapter plate” so that an SFX power supply can also be installed in a larger ATX power supply slot.
However, this is only advisable if you really don’t have an ATX power supply, since ATX power supplies are usually cheaper and also better cooled and therefore quieter.
Are there also SFX neatlines with 12V HPWR connectors for the new Nvidia graphics cards?
Yes, more and more small SFX format power supplies with 16-pin PCIe 5.0 connectors are coming onto the market. Since these grids usually offer a lot of power.
They are often made in the longer SFX-L format so that the components and fans still have enough space. So nothing stands in the way of an mITX gaming PC with the Nvidia GeForce 4000 series.