Five 550 And 600 W 80 PLUS Platinum Power Supplies, Tested

A good power supply doesn't just provide you with ample output. Increasingly, vendors have put a bigger emphasis on delivering power more efficiently, too. We're testing five 80 PLUS Platinum-rated power supplies in the 550- to 600-watt range.

While Citius, Altius, Fortius, or faster, higher, stronger is the motto for the Olympics, the PC power supply market also follows this adage fairly religiously. Manufacturers continue to leapfrog each other by enabling increasingly higher outputs to cope with the most aggressively overclocked CPUs and multi-card graphics configurations drawing hundreds of watts.

It gets bad enough that a cyber-stroll through Newegg or TigerDirect gives you the impression that power supplies under 500 or 600 W aren't even worth looking at. After all, if a fairly affordable card like the Radeon HD 7950 requires at least a 500 W PSU, according to AMD, then adding an overclocked CPU and some storage necessitates even more, right? Fortunately, even as the power supply vendors crank up output, they're simultaneously improving the efficiency of their highest-end offerings.

For this round-up of efficient desktop power supplies, we asked power supply manufacturers to send us their 80 PLUS Platinum-rated products at the lower end of the output spectrum. We set the upper limit at 600 W. Any lower and the number of contestants would have been too small. Our objective was to help system builders find an efficient solution for single-graphics card gaming and other moderately-demanding applications. Five companies submitted samples: the Antec EarthWatts Platinum 550 W, Cooler Master Silent Pro Platinum 550 W, Enermax Platimax 600 W, Kingwin Lazer Platinum 550 W, and Rosewill Fortress-550.

Naturally, the 80 PLUS Platinum rating costs more to procure. But although the output of our five test candidates only varies by 50 W, their price differences turn out to be quite a bit more significant. The list price of Antec's unit is only $120, the Enermax asks you to pay as much as $190! The Cooler Master and Kingwin power supplies are both listed at $170, while Rosewill's sells for $140. Keep in mind that we're citing each manufacturer's suggested price; the actual prices of these power supplies are often up to 20% lower.

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  • Anonymous
    What happen to Seasonic? They have the 520W fanless SS-520FL Platinum version. No PSU test is complete without a seasonic to compare to, in my own opinion.
  • Anonymous
    what? no overload it until it blows test?

    and i was making popcorn.
  • Other Comments
  • Anonymous
    what? no overload it until it blows test?

    and i was making popcorn.
  • mousseng
    Is that a typo in the first chart for Kingwin's Lazer? It claims that it fails 80 Plus's 50% load spec (82% of 92%); I assume that was meant to say 92% (since that's what the chart below it shows).

    Pleasant read, though, I like PSU reviews.
  • Anonymous
    What happen to Seasonic? They have the 520W fanless SS-520FL Platinum version. No PSU test is complete without a seasonic to compare to, in my own opinion.
  • dudewitbow
    jupiter optimus maximusWhat happen to Seasonic? They have the 520W fanless SS-520FL Platinum version. No PSU test is complete without a seasonic to compare to, in my own opinion.

    they asked for vendors for the PSUs. Theres the offshoot chance that seasonic declined the offer. On other sites, the 520w fanless seasonic unit was compared to Rosewill's 500w silent night unit. The seasonic unit I believe in that review barely edged out a victory.
  • cangelini
    iknowhowtofixitEither the Rosewill FORTRESS was defective or your calibration was off for the last test. Your o-scope shots do not match those of other highly credible reviewers. Also, I'm curious of your testing methodology, but it was not listed.

    I believe this is still applicable to all of the power supply testing our German team does: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/psu-test-equipment,2657.html. I'm waiting for confirmation that I'm right.

    Edit: Yup, that's the correct testing equipment/procedure!
  • Anonymous
    Dun dun dun..................... no acoustic performance measured, the only reason some people buy high end PSU's.
  • sebbesapa
    WOW! Thanks a bunch for including the 25watt "Low-Power PC" efficiency test! All other reviewers stop @ 20% load witch is not "idle" or "low load" at all. :-)
  • sanilmahambre
    Power supply unit is where a system builder cannot use a word "BUDGET"
  • jaideep1337
    I don't understand
    Why is the 80 plus spec officially test by having more load on the 3.3v and 5v rails?
    Clearly loading the 12v rail would give us a better overall image
  • jaquith
    Interesting, IMHO the most important aspect is 'Ripple Voltage' @ Rated Load. The only mention I see is a vague reference in your conclusion page.

    Never mind I see the ripple data buried in the individual tests. It would have been better in the summary side-by-side tests.

    Nice article.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous said:
    Power supply unit is where a system builder cannot use a word "BUDGET" "CHEAP"


    fix'd that for ya :)
  • nix327
    Sometimes in reviews like these there've been products that produce disappointing results compared to well known manufacturers. So why do they send their stuff in the first place knowing that their product is of lower quality than the competition. Do they gain something from these reviews? Just curious.
  • sandman21dan
    By reading this article, i just thought of a great idea and help for us users, a Best PSU for your money guide, i think that would be incredibly helpful since PSUs are hard to buy and to know wich ones are really good, of course i know that is a lot of work, but it could be like once or twice a year and not monthly like Video Cards and CPUs, what do you think about it?
  • Azn Cracker
    I guess these psu's are only for bragging rights. For 120, you can get good 700-800w psu
  • cangelini
    iknowhowtofixitSorry!The page you requested couldn't be found

    Sorry, take the period out of the end of the URL.
  • JPForums
    Quote:
    But two of these products stand out from the crowd: Cooler Master's Silent Pro Platinum gives us unprecedented power efficiency, followed by the value-packed Rosewill Fortress 550.


    Quote:
    Most of the samples we reviewed exhibited minor flaws. For example, Rosewill's Fortress 550 exceeds the maximum allowable ripple voltage on the 12 V rail, which is an indication of cutting corners in circuit design or component quality.


    Your priorities are obviously backwards. Rosewill's entry, by your testing, failed to meet ATX spec by producing an unacceptable amplitude of ripple on the 12V rail. By definition, this is a fail. This isn't a minor flaw, this is violating spec. A failure can not stand out from the crowd (at least in a positive sense). Now, there are other posters here that dispute your results, but you don't have that luxury. Both your results and summary comments indicate that this unit is a failure no matter how good the efficiency, price, or other metrics look.

    You can argue the importance of efficiency versus DC output quality all you want when the unit meets spec, but all of the components in your system rely on PSUs to actually meeting spec in order to function properly. Without meeting spec, there is no way to guarantee components will work properly. In fact, failing to meet spec pretty much guarantees that some component somewhere will not work properly. I've seen enough devices (granted poorly designed) fail to work properly with PSUs that had ugly DC quality, but were technically within spec to recommend one that is out of spec.
  • slomo4sho
    I would like to see a fully modular PSU review.

    Also, the difference in cost between the Gold and Platinum rated models seems to negate the power savings one would realize by going with a Platinum model. Since I do run a few of my machines 24/7, I am curious to see where the efficiency lies for low power consumption for a variety of 80+ certified models as this level of power consumption occupies a large majority of the up-time (70+%).
  • Zagen30
    Azn CrackerI guess these psu's are only for bragging rights. For 120, you can get good 700-800w psu


    Or, you know, power savings, coupled with not needing 700-800 watts.
  • falchard
    I think the PSU is the most important component on the machine. If it fails or over-volts a rail it will kill components. So I usually get the highest effeciency PSUs because I can be sure they would need good build quality in order to get that rating. Last one I did, I stuck an Antec Earthwatts 550w platinum in a machine. I liked how it was not that expensive for a platinum psu, I can live with 1% lower effeciency.
  • blazorthon
    Zagen30Or, you know, power savings, coupled with not needing 700-800 watts.


    The power savings over a proper Gold or even Silver are often too small to matter with low wattage systems. If you don't needs 700-800 watt PSUs, then getting a cheaper lower wattage model that's still high-quality means more for the money and more money that can go somewhere more important.