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PSU Makers: I-M

Who's Who In Power Supplies: Brands, Labels, And OEMs
By , Tom's Hardware Community


Companies: Impervio, Inter-Tech, In Win, I-Star, ICP, Jersey, JOU JYE, JPAC, Just PC, Key Mouse, Kingwin, L & C, LC-Power, Leadman, Levicom, Li Shin, Lian-Li, Lite-On, Linkworld, Logisys, Mad Dog, Mapower, Masscool, Mean Well, MGE/XG, Mitac, MSI, Mushkin

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  • 46 Hide
    chaz_music , November 12, 2010 5:53 AM
    Great article with lots of data! Thanks for the comprehensive list.

    I had a few comments to share that can help some. I am a power electronic engineer who designs switching supplies (PSUs) and inverter systems, so I see these technologies every day. One misconception is that PFC correction improves efficiency. It CAN improve efficiency if implemented right, but often it is not. PFC is needed to keep the current draw from the utility low in harmonics (only sinusoidal current) and in phase (phase angle power factor). This helps keep the utility system efficiency highest - but does not guarantee anything about the end power supply efficiency. That is depended upon the PSU design itself and how thorough it is done. Often, the simple passive diode-bridge and cap bank front end PSU is very efficient versus its PFC counterpart.

    Another point - the IC pictured in one of the slides is the control IC, not a security device. There are tons of manufactures of these from Asia, Europe, and the US. The cheapest low efficiency supplies will use hard switching chips. The highest efficiency PSUs will use some form of resonant controller(s) which requires more cost and more parts - which is why higher efficiency costs more.

    Last is a comment on what size PSU to use. Too many builders are using huge supplies "just to be safe" and are paying the price on a lower efficiency build when it is all done, not to mention too much cost. A larger PSU will have larger transformers, MOSFETS, diodes, and other parts. Larger parts require more overhead losses, just like having a V8 motor in a car will always have lower mileage than a 6 cylinder motor. The efficiency curve of most PSU designs falls off quickly as you go below 20% load because of losses in the larger parts and other extra overhead. That is why the Plus 80 curves don't go below 20%! It gets ugly below that. So size you PSU closely to the needed load. I have a 10TB server using an AMD 790GX motherboard and IGP graphics. There are a total of 12 WD Green series hardrives in this server. It has an Antec Earthwatts unit rated at 380W, and it only has to work hard during power up - the plus power peaks around 290W. Nominal power is around 115W, which is about 30% rated for this PSU - perfect.

    One anecdote - I had a server several years ago that kept killing drives. We thought it was the SATA controller, but got the idea to scope the PSU. We found that the 12V rail was going over 20-21V during power up!! Ah, that's out of spec. Kinda.

    - Charles
  • 22 Hide
    bdcrlsn , November 12, 2010 5:08 AM
    Very interesting article. Definitely saw some surprises in those charts.
  • 19 Hide
    siliconchampion , November 12, 2010 5:24 AM
    My favorite brands for power supplies are PC P&C, Antec, and Corsair. The common denominator between them all? SeaSonic. That is a testament to Seasonic's manufacturing. I have never had a Seasonic PSU die on me. I cannot say the same for countless numbers of stock OEM PSU's and Apevia branded PSU's... and now I have an idea why.

    The Apevia story. Purchased an Apevia case bundled with a 450 Watt PSU. Set aside the PSU in favor of an Antec EA650, left the Apevia on a shelf for a few months. I was building an extreme low budget computer for my cousin, and decided to take a gamble in the name of free PSU's using the Apevia to drive the low power Athlon X3 system (total peak consumption under 350 watts). 10 days later I was shelling out $45 for an Antec EA430 and spending a few hours of my time driving and installing the new PSU. Epic Fail.
Other Comments
  • 22 Hide
    bdcrlsn , November 12, 2010 5:08 AM
    Very interesting article. Definitely saw some surprises in those charts.
  • 19 Hide
    siliconchampion , November 12, 2010 5:24 AM
    My favorite brands for power supplies are PC P&C, Antec, and Corsair. The common denominator between them all? SeaSonic. That is a testament to Seasonic's manufacturing. I have never had a Seasonic PSU die on me. I cannot say the same for countless numbers of stock OEM PSU's and Apevia branded PSU's... and now I have an idea why.

    The Apevia story. Purchased an Apevia case bundled with a 450 Watt PSU. Set aside the PSU in favor of an Antec EA650, left the Apevia on a shelf for a few months. I was building an extreme low budget computer for my cousin, and decided to take a gamble in the name of free PSU's using the Apevia to drive the low power Athlon X3 system (total peak consumption under 350 watts). 10 days later I was shelling out $45 for an Antec EA430 and spending a few hours of my time driving and installing the new PSU. Epic Fail.
  • 9 Hide
    ira176 , November 12, 2010 5:39 AM
    I've put together three computers in the last 8 years with Seasonic PSU's. Never a failure, always reliable.
  • 5 Hide
    sprunth , November 12, 2010 5:52 AM
    Thanks, really informative. I never knew quite a bit of that. :D 
  • 46 Hide
    chaz_music , November 12, 2010 5:53 AM
    Great article with lots of data! Thanks for the comprehensive list.

    I had a few comments to share that can help some. I am a power electronic engineer who designs switching supplies (PSUs) and inverter systems, so I see these technologies every day. One misconception is that PFC correction improves efficiency. It CAN improve efficiency if implemented right, but often it is not. PFC is needed to keep the current draw from the utility low in harmonics (only sinusoidal current) and in phase (phase angle power factor). This helps keep the utility system efficiency highest - but does not guarantee anything about the end power supply efficiency. That is depended upon the PSU design itself and how thorough it is done. Often, the simple passive diode-bridge and cap bank front end PSU is very efficient versus its PFC counterpart.

    Another point - the IC pictured in one of the slides is the control IC, not a security device. There are tons of manufactures of these from Asia, Europe, and the US. The cheapest low efficiency supplies will use hard switching chips. The highest efficiency PSUs will use some form of resonant controller(s) which requires more cost and more parts - which is why higher efficiency costs more.

    Last is a comment on what size PSU to use. Too many builders are using huge supplies "just to be safe" and are paying the price on a lower efficiency build when it is all done, not to mention too much cost. A larger PSU will have larger transformers, MOSFETS, diodes, and other parts. Larger parts require more overhead losses, just like having a V8 motor in a car will always have lower mileage than a 6 cylinder motor. The efficiency curve of most PSU designs falls off quickly as you go below 20% load because of losses in the larger parts and other extra overhead. That is why the Plus 80 curves don't go below 20%! It gets ugly below that. So size you PSU closely to the needed load. I have a 10TB server using an AMD 790GX motherboard and IGP graphics. There are a total of 12 WD Green series hardrives in this server. It has an Antec Earthwatts unit rated at 380W, and it only has to work hard during power up - the plus power peaks around 290W. Nominal power is around 115W, which is about 30% rated for this PSU - perfect.

    One anecdote - I had a server several years ago that kept killing drives. We thought it was the SATA controller, but got the idea to scope the PSU. We found that the 12V rail was going over 20-21V during power up!! Ah, that's out of spec. Kinda.

    - Charles
  • 13 Hide
    duk3 , November 12, 2010 6:23 AM
    Maybe add something recommending quality PSUs?
    Also, you missed XFX and its seasonic PSUs.
  • 7 Hide
    Twoboxer , November 12, 2010 6:38 AM
    Replacing the psu resolves many more of the hardware issues brought to Tom's than any other part . . . probably more than half.

    It isn't possible for the average user to determine whether or not a specific psu is worth using. When we recommend a psu to someone in the forums, it's based on overall corporate reputation (arguably two companies) or specific reviews done by qualified reviewers. That gives us a relatively limited range of safe recommendations.

    The more psus are reviewed, the more information that's made available, the better.
  • 7 Hide
    shades_aus , November 12, 2010 6:47 AM
    Every single SeaSonic PSU I have owned is still running.
    I have had Antec and countless others die. Obviously the Antec wasn't the SeaSonic model.

    Now I only buy SeaSonic.

    Article doesn't have any stats on PSU usage, market share, or failure rates.
  • 4 Hide
    gkay09 , November 12, 2010 6:50 AM
    Very nice article, though most of the info was available on the net, but not in one place, and this article fixes that...Do update the tables often...
  • 4 Hide
    nfineon , November 12, 2010 7:13 AM
    A very informative article TH, and some interesting comments as well. If we consider the CPU as the brain of your system, then one may think of the PSU as the Heart & Veins... so whenever I spec out a build I tend to focus on ensuring a higher quality PSU which is too often overlooked. Seasonic seems to be my preference as they're mainly used in the Corsairs I buy, and I award you +5 internets for actually listing the models that are NOT Seasonic based as that is quite helpful! As a general rule of thumb, the heavier the PSU is the better.. that is until low-key manufacturers catch on to this nifty rule and start adding rocks/lead inside the capacitor housings...
  • 4 Hide
    aznshinobi , November 12, 2010 7:17 AM
    Ermmm where's XFX?
  • 3 Hide
    swiftsword69 , November 12, 2010 8:23 AM
    channel well and seasonic are two of the best designs on the market today
  • 1 Hide
    memeroot , November 12, 2010 8:35 AM
    never had a psu die...
  • 1 Hide
    damasvara , November 12, 2010 8:42 AM
    OMG, my PSU from Sirtec's High Power Plus is actually in the list... And I thought it was just some crappy, overpriced $40 product. That sure was relieving... Great article, Mr. Wallossek!!!
  • 6 Hide
    AeroWB , November 12, 2010 8:42 AM
    One model to add: Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold -> E320127

    And I think "chaz_music" makes an excellent remark regarding efficiency and power rating. A lot of people buy to heavy power supplies which decreases efficiency. As the 80+ standard defines minimum efficiencies at 20%, 50% and 100% load you must make sure the normal operating power of your PC is above the 20% load for your psu. A lot of fast desktops with a fast GPU and CPU PC's will have loads around 100-200W in normal operation and only reach around 300 when gaming (CPU and GPU load) so they should get a powersupply that can handle 400-500W maximum otherwise the effciency is degraded. When looking at the Platiunum and Gold level 80+ you will find only 600W and higher models, this is partly because with lower power models they cannot hit the target for 20% load and also because it is hard to sell expensive high quality low power psu's. For most standard PC's an Antec EarthWatt 380W 80+ Bronze psu will have the same or higher efficiency then a Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 600W 80+ Gold psu as the later model is not used in the region where it can actually deliver the higher efficiency
  • 5 Hide
    Onus , November 12, 2010 9:01 AM
    Thank you, chaz_music, for correcting the erroneous comments about PFC and efficiency.

    Years ago, I wouldn't have touched an Antec with a 10' pole; now it is one of my favored brands (the other is Seasonic). The data in this article is very interesting, particularly when combined with the quality technical reviews done by sites like HardwareSecrets and Jonnyguru. Very nice.
  • 3 Hide
    AeroWB , November 12, 2010 9:37 AM
    This UL method has some limitations, if we look at for example Antec we see this E176105 number listed with multiple manufacturers, they only thing it therefore says is that its Antec, which is evident from the label.
    Now Antec is a good brand, but at my company we sold lots of Antec Sonata cases which included an Antec Smartpower with E176105 and they all failed as it had a horrible quality, so in the end I ripped the SmartPower PSU out before selling them and replaced them with Antec NeoHE and CoolerMaster Real Power ProM and that was a major relief as none came back. Now this Neo HE has the same E176105 UL number. So before purchasing a new PSU, check the individual reviews at sites that have graphs with efficiency, ripple and load diagrams and who open up the PSU as Brands and UL numbers don't say enough.
  • -9 Hide
    photon123 , November 12, 2010 9:51 AM
    I bought Corsair HX520 based on the recommendations. It died after a year with no apparent cause(no lightning and no indication of a power surge). Fortunately it was fixed under a warranty and no other components were damaged. Before that I always had cheap power supplies, and they always lasted longer.
  • 11 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , November 12, 2010 10:40 AM
    good article, but id like to see something more pointed towards specific brands to stay away from and valid reasoning behind that. Far too many people get shafted with cheap nasty PSU's with false claims and i think they should be exposed. Also the good ones deserve a good write up. Cheap psu's are not always bad, but they hardly ever live up to their rated power. Load testing on a large round up of psu's would be good to see.
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