The inexorable rise in the parallel processing power of modern GPUs has led to increasing power-draw that's not wholly mitigated by consistent moves to smaller manufacturing processes. For example, the twin-GPU GeForce 9800 GX2 and Radeon HD 3870 X2 cards consume around 200W when running at full chat. Granted, they're high-end SKUs that appeal to a limited market, but users can now install two and run four-GPU multi-rendering.
NVIDIA and ATI's multi-card rendering also extends to three- and four-way, bringing efficient, stable power-delivery very much to the fore. Add to this the 125-130W TDP for the majority of quad-core processors and soon, real soon, you're looking down the vents of an 800W+ PSU.
Let's be abundantly clear here. The majority of current midrange systems, equipped with a single graphics card, make do with a high-quality 500W PSU, but the requirement rises rather rapidly when running esoteric multi-GPU subsystems, and that's why both NVIDIA and ATI both have internal programs that certify various power supplies for differing SLI and CrossFireX setups.
So you might not need a 1,000W PSU, or, for that matter, a 750W model, yet having a higher capacity means that the supply isn't tasked at working near its potential, day in, day out.
Savvy users and responsible S.I.s have cottoned-on to the fact that quality begins at the source, and that's why we're seeing a greater number of retail models crop up every month.
One man's 1,000W isn't necessarily the same as another's, so, today, we put Corsair's flagship HX1000W up against the latest and greatest 1kW wonder from AKASA. Read on to find out if you need something imbued with this much capacity...