Bang For Your Buck: Four 500 W Power Supplies Reviewed

Results And Purchase Recommendations

The most important conclusion of this comparison test is that one does not have to spend more than $150 on a very good mid-range power supply. All tested models convinced us with high electrical quality and staying true to their 80 PLUS performance levels. But despite all power supplies achieving their advertised 500W and more, they showed individual strengths and weaknesses, making them more or less suitable for certain targeted applications.

Enermax Pro87+

In this roundup, the Enermax Pro87+ clearly and confidently takes home a test victory. With this PSU, everything is just right. The high build quality, excellent electrical quality, and equipment satisfy. In view of the 80 PLUS Gold certification, the price of around $140 isn't unreasonable, but it may still be too expensive for many users.

Cooler Master Silent Pro M500

The Cooler Master Silent Pro M500 is conspicuously inconspicuous. Thanks to very good efficiency at low loads, flat cables, and the silicon dampening frames, we recommend the Cooler Master especially for compact PC systems optimized for low power and low noise. Despite being a good fit for low-demand machines, the Cooler Master has enough reserves even to supply reliable power in high-performance multimedia systems.

FSP Everest 85Plus 500

The FSP Everest 85Plus 500 power supply is hot on Cooler Master's heels, but it doesn't quite manage the same high and flat efficiency curve. Furthermore, Cooler Master has more ideas on noise management and higher build quality. The gap between FSP and Cooler Master, however, is narrow.

SilverStone Strider SST-ST50F-230

For those who look primarily at price (and live overseas), both the FSP Everest as well as the SilverStone Strider SST-ST50F-230 are interesting. The latter power supply operates with good efficiency and has no weaknesses and a very clear price/performance focus. It's a shame it isn't usable in North America.

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43 comments
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    Top Comments
  • haplo602
    the yes/no graphs are funny .... how about a table ?

    anyway I did not notice voltage stability measurements and a "hot box" test.
    16
  • SpadeM
    It might be just me but the ripple/noise test wasn't performed on these PSUs. Also, at what temperature did you guys test for the efficiency? I'm hoping u tested it over 30 degrees Celsius.
    Other then that, it's a pretty quick analysis. Wish you'd open them up to actually see what components they used in their primary and secondary circuits.
    15
  • Other Comments
  • haplo602
    the yes/no graphs are funny .... how about a table ?

    anyway I did not notice voltage stability measurements and a "hot box" test.
    16
  • sabot00
    Editor FTW!
    -10
  • SpadeM
    It might be just me but the ripple/noise test wasn't performed on these PSUs. Also, at what temperature did you guys test for the efficiency? I'm hoping u tested it over 30 degrees Celsius.
    Other then that, it's a pretty quick analysis. Wish you'd open them up to actually see what components they used in their primary and secondary circuits.
    15
  • The Lady Slayer
    @SpadeM: there are other sites that dismantle power supplies, just google them

    I'm happy that yet another site thinks highly of the CM Silent Pro series; I'm using the M600W currently.
    0
  • agnickolov
    For the last several years I've considered $50 the ceiling for a 500W PSU... To put it into perspective - this is the value choice. I did spend $80 on a 530W PSU 7 years ago, but that was then.
    0
  • raclimja
    why no seasonic?

    according to most people that i know, seasonic is the very best brand that make quality psu for the money

    newegg has a Seasonic S12ii Bronze 520w for just $69.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151094&cm_re=seasonic_s12ii_bronze-_-17-151-094-_-Product

    and according to reviews it is the very best power supply in its price range(it even beat the Corsair HX 620w)
    http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=2162&page=4
    5
  • p1n3apqlexpr3ss
    Ummm... just me or 4 rails @ 18A for the FSP and 3 rails @ 25A for the enermax seem really really really heaps for a 500W psu...?
    -2
  • p1n3apqlexpr3ss
    Oh and how can you have a 115V 110% peak load test on the silverstone?? :p
    But yea very nice read, was expecting some more cheaper PSUs tbh though, the vantec ions seem to offer good price/performance, at least here in new zealand, dunno if you get them in america
    1
  • raclimja
    P1n3apqlExpr3ssUmmm... just me or 4 rails @ 18A for the FSP and 3 rails @ 25A for the enermax seem really really really heaps for a 500W psu...?


    in my opinion, if i am buying a 500w psu

    my main concern will be efficiency

    since i wont mind doing some crazy overclocking or tri-sli or quad fire over a 500w psu

    also look at this very interesting result that i have found
    a Core i7 920 + GTX 260 @stock under PRIME 95+ Furmark has only a maximum power consumption of 371w
    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cases/display/system-wattage_7.html#sect0

    and in real life usage i bet you wont even get close to that power consumption even when overclocked :)
    2
  • jhanschu
    I always enjoy reading about PSU's as I feel they are really the core to your system. Poor power means flaky system, and allow your electrical components to last longer.

    With that aside, in my opinion finding a value PSU is about weighing price and quality. Although the Pro87+ was a monster when it came to efficiency, it was still said to be available for around $140. First, that's a bit much for a budget/midrange PSU and secondly, I couldn't find that particular PSU anywhere online. I found the 600W variant on newegg for around the same price...but it's not the same PSU.

    Pretty much the same goes for the other PSU's. I couldn't find them at any reputable online dealers (newegg, tigerdirect, zipzoomfly, etc.). And I do realize that it takes much time to do a review like this, but it seems like some of the more popular brands have been left out. Even if they don't have an 80plus "Gold" PSU at or around the 500W level. At least then you'd have a baseline for a so called normal efficiency power supply.

    I did a lot of research when I purchased mine a couple of years ago when I last built a ground up system. I settled on a corsair VX550 and have been thoroughly impressed with how it's handled my moderate gaming system. Now this is a personal preference, but I've been so pleased with it, I doubt if I will go to another PSU label. But anyway, that's my $0.02.
    7
  • jhanschu
    jhanschuPoor power means flaky system, and allow your electrical components to last longer.


    you probably figured out what I was trying to say...but meant a good PSU allows components to last longer. Sorry bout that.
    0
  • doron
    I'm with SpadeM - What about a noise test?

    Very interesting article, thanks
    9
  • falchard
    I think the thing everyone looks for in PSUs above everything else is build quality. If the PSU fails, it could take everything else with it.
    0
  • JonnyDough
    raclimjawhy no seasonic?according to most people that i know, seasonic is the very best brand that make quality psu for the moneynewegg has a Seasonic S12ii Bronze 520w for just $69.99http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Productand according to reviews it is the very best power supply in its price range(it even beat the Corsair HX 620w)http://www.pcstats.com/articleview [...] 162&page=4


    The review you posted is from 2007...that power supply unit is old tech. Get with the times.
    0
  • marraco
    Thanks for testing in 230V
    7
  • jimishtar
    no corsair, no pcpower&cooling.... hmmmm
    2
  • zelog
    Silverstone Strider All cables... are modular...

    That's not what the picture says :)
    3
  • digiex
    be pa
    haplo602the yes/no graphs are funny .... how about a table ?anyway I did not notice voltage stability measurements and a "hot box" test.


    Be patient guys, this is the first time, right?
    0
  • dannyboy3210
    Typo in your Hold Up Time graph, you have:
    SilverStone Strider SST-ST50F-230 (115v) N/A
    followed by
    SilverStone Strider SST-ST50F-230 (115v) 18.0
    Other than that, this looks very useful.
    0
  • baracubra
    Its great that Tom's is finally reviewing PSU, and I hope that you guys do an enthusiast 800W-1000W review soon becuase thats what us enthusiasts really need. Btw Patrick, how would you comment that a rig running an i7 & GTX 280 draws about 380W under full load? Do we really need such big PSUs?
    0