Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

PSU Roundup: Performance, Price, Efficiency

PSU Roundup: Performance, Price, Efficiency
By

It’s been a while since our last large power supply test. Nowadays, almost all manufacturers label their power supplies with the 80 PLUS logo (for more information on 80 PLUS and what the branding actually means, check out the organization’s site. Energy efficiency has become essential to both vendors and users.

But other characteristics also play a more critical role now. Today’s power supplies include more flexibility than ever before. In addition to the familiar fan control, power consumption display, and cable management system, you’ll sometimes find USB ports and chic accessory bags. But what features—and what fundamental specifications—do you really need ?

Our German lab recently tested 10 current mainstream power supplies with power delivery of up to 700 watts. In part one (this one) we introduce the first five products. Look for part two shortly, when we’ll discuss the next five.

ManufacturerPower Supply
Cooler Master Silent Pro M500
Thermaltake Toughpower QFan 650W
Silverstone SST-ST70F Strider
Antec Signature
Dragon Force DF-530GT

In part two, we test the following products :

Manufacturer Power Supply
PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610 W
Hiper Type R MK2 680 W
Enermax Modu 82+
Fortron FSP Everest 600 W
Tagen TG680 U33II
Corsair HX 520W
Display all 44 comments.
Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    Proximon , October 17, 2008 6:29 AM
    Without voltage ripple and heat tests you can't properly evaluate a power supply. At least readers can use this as a starting point for further research.
Other Comments
  • -2 Hide
    falchard , October 17, 2008 5:36 AM
    That coolermaster PSU is nice that its cables are thin since its really annoying to have those stiff cables fill a small case. However, I wonder about its interference. That insulation and mesh is there for a reason, to prevent discharge and electrical interference of other parts.

    Also I can see the reason why a person wouldn't want a CPU/ATX connector on a 700w power supply. If they had an excessively power draining system like a Quad/Tri GPU with modern high end cards it will waste alot of power and using 2 lower watt power supplies is cheaper then getting 1 high watt one.
  • -4 Hide
    dirtmountain , October 17, 2008 5:49 AM
    Nice fluff piece. I sure wouldn't use any of these recommendations over jonnygurus or hardwaresecrets sites though.
  • 1 Hide
    optik , October 17, 2008 5:58 AM
    Just bought myself Zalman's ZM-750HP with cable management and heatpipe cooling.. Cost only 131 euros.. When I saw the article's header I hoped to see it being reviewed, but no such luck. Would've been nice to see how the Zalman's offerings would've fared against others.. The productline ranges from 360Watts to full 1000Watt PSU's so plenty to choose from..
  • 12 Hide
    Proximon , October 17, 2008 6:29 AM
    Without voltage ripple and heat tests you can't properly evaluate a power supply. At least readers can use this as a starting point for further research.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 17, 2008 6:35 AM
    http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/410
  • -7 Hide
    dirtmountain , October 17, 2008 6:36 AM
    +1 to doctorpink
  • 3 Hide
    chookman , October 17, 2008 6:39 AM
    Heat is generally relative to efficiency , due the fact that the more energy lost the more heat generated.

    Ill agree with the ripple tests too, yeh great we might have a power supply that is efficient at 100% but what if the 12v rails are hovering outside of spec...? Its a nothing review really.
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , October 17, 2008 10:25 AM
    Please add the "S" onto the word VOLT
    Thanks
  • 0 Hide
    jt1 , October 17, 2008 2:03 PM
    falchardThat coolermaster PSU is nice that its cables are thin since its really annoying to have those stiff cables fill a small case. However, I wonder about its interference. That insulation and mesh is there for a reason, to prevent discharge and electrical interference of other parts.


    What manufacturers use insulation and mesh that block interference? The insulation on the wires of my PSUs is standard insulation, the mesh is plastic and there strictly to hold the wires in place and prevent the inside of a computer case from becoming a birds nest of wires.

    If there are manufacturers that use materials to block interferences, I'd like like to look into their products as it sounds interesting but I'd like to hear from someone actually in the know as to if it would make any difference or not.
  • 0 Hide
    pcfxer , October 17, 2008 2:29 PM
    Interference on a power supply is negligible. The power runs, voltages and current are of little concern for interference. IF you want to be truly theoretical it would make a "difference".

    When I studied power engineering one would need a ton of voltage or current to be 'eligible' for most electrical phenomena to occur - theoretically.
  • 2 Hide
    Zorg , October 17, 2008 2:52 PM
    Plastic insulation and plastic mesh don't block anything except the sharp edges of the case :lol: 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 17, 2008 4:21 PM
    Ultra Products was the first modular PSU, and I would to see them tested sometime. http://www.ultraproducts.com
  • -2 Hide
    ilovebarny , October 17, 2008 4:30 PM
    page two had a misspelling. it said thinker instead of thicker, more rounded cable.
  • 1 Hide
    bounty , October 17, 2008 7:00 PM
    You mention price in the title, but it's not charted. They are listed in seemingly random places throughout the article. How sad. Also, "Mainstream" power supplies usually cost under 100$. They go on "Mainstream" computers that require probably 550-650 watts, especially on an 80+ supply. There are plenty 80+ 650 watt supplies for under 100$
  • 2 Hide
    Giovanni , October 17, 2008 8:32 PM
    Sorry but the information behind the hardwaresecrets link is flawed on
    so many levels that it would need its own website to correct it, thought
    their basic principle is right... And the Andrew Watts methodology mentioned...We have been using it since 1980s to measure CMOS and TTL
    current consumption, so it is nothing new that most psu review's
    are "wrong"... The "methodology" may be wrong, but the results are still
    mostly correct.
  • -7 Hide
    Giovanni , October 17, 2008 9:21 PM
    Damn, the point I forgot, with current technology it is almost
    impossible to design a psu that sucks in any department because
    the circuitry in them is mostly common knowledge, and all manufacturers
    copy each other, some might have the advantage for six months, but others follow sooner or later. Though some psu's have far better
    external designs than others, it doesn't tell anything about their
    ability to do their job. And neither does some hightech load-tester, in spite of what some technically oriented website tell's you.
  • 0 Hide
    sandmanwn , October 17, 2008 9:23 PM
    Been in the industry for a while and I've never seen or heard of Dragon Force psu's. Do they manufacture themselves or re brand another tier 1 manufacturers product?

    For me its Enermax, SeaSonic, the aforementioned re brands, or bust.
  • 0 Hide
    justaguy , October 17, 2008 9:56 PM
    The issue I'd take with the hardwaresecrets article is that their premises for the purpose of testing power supplies at all is wrong.

    It's not a test to see if they deliver their rated wattage in most cases. Generally the variable voltage on the rails IS the appropriate test because the test should bear out whether or not the rails stay stable (because of the PWM circuit-not in spite of it) at a given draw.

    The fact that most normal or even consumer high-end computers don't draw the rated wattage is even more reason to monitor individual rail stability rather than the total draw. If my PC only pulls 200W (guess what-that's about normal despite the 1000W PSU people pay $200 for) from a 600W supply and a +12v rail is not within a given tolerance the PSU might as well be garbage. Voltage fluctuation will cause system instability way before you have to worry about the fact that the PSU is only delivering 500W despite what the label says.

    I don't pretend to know more about testing than they do, but the logic behind that article is flawed.
  • 2 Hide
    Movieman420 , October 17, 2008 10:02 PM
    I would have to agree...'mainstream' psus should def be under $100. I can't wait til part 2...I just bought the PC P&C 610W. It was already 'on sale' at newegg then after promo code and $20 MIR, I paid $68!! AND free 3 day shipping! Current price is $99 with $20 MIR and free 3-day shipping ($79). All PC P&C psus comes with a copy of the factory testing results for that actual unit. After comparing some of the number to these result in this article, all I can say is there better be some good competition next week cuz the PC P&C is going to blow 'em all away from what I've seen thus far. And if you figure in the price (even w.o the MIR) it's a slam dunk. Since OCZ bought PC P&C, it seems that their manufacturing costs must have decreased with the extra resources probably made available because they have become a bit more affordable as of late. For those who are not aware...when OCZ made the purchase, they made it VERY clear that PC P&C would retain is own name as well as its own line of psus built to the same top specs as always. Ocz knows a good thing when they see it..they're not about to start monkeying with it. Ocz still make it's own psu line...maybe with a lil input from the best as well. My old PSU was an Ocz ModStream 520w and was still working fine when I updated/upgraded.
  • -3 Hide
    Movieman420 , October 17, 2008 10:07 PM
    I would have to agree...'mainstream' psus should def be under $100. I can't wait til part 2...I just bought the PC P&C 610W. It was already 'on sale' at newegg then after promo code and $20 MIR, I paid $68!! AND free 3 day shipping! Current price is $99 with $20 MIR and free 3-day shipping ($79). All PC P&C psus come with a copy of the factory testing results for that actual unit. After comparing some of the numbers to the results in this article, all I can say is there better be some good competition next week cuz the PC P&C is going to blow 'em all away from what I've seen thus far. And, if you figure in the price (even w.o the MIR) it's a slam dunk. Since OCZ bought PC P&C, it seems that their manufacturing costs must have decreased with the extra resources probably made available because they have become a bit more affordable as of late. For those who are not aware...when OCZ made the purchase, they made it VERY clear that PC P&C would retain is own name as well as its own line of psus built to the same top specs as always. Ocz knows a good thing when they see it..they're not about to start monkeying with it. Ocz still makes it's own psu line...maybe with a lil input from the best as well. My old PSU was an Ocz ModStream 520w and was still working fine when I updated/upgraded.
Display more comments
React To This Article