be quiet! System Power U9 500W PSU Review: Affordable and Quiet

The System Power line by be quiet! targets users on tight budgets, who still want a reliable and silent power supply. The $54 (£36) SU9-500 ticks all the boxes since it is based on a solid CWT platform and on top of that it has low noise output, despite of the mediocre efficiency levels. This unit competes well against the highly-popular Corsair CX450 providing a good alternative to users that want to build a silent system, since the SU9-500 is notably quieter.

The be quiet System Power U9 line consists of four members with capacities ranging from 400W to 700W. These are mainstream units, suitable for cost-effective systems with low power requirements where efficiency isn't priority one. In our opinion efficiency, which in a power supply represents the ratio of the output power divided by the input power, is of immense importance. However, many users put their budget first so there is great demand for affordable, but less efficient units like the SU9-500.

The SU9-500 doesn't have any modular cables, since those ones are usually the first to go in the effort to restrict the production cost. The platform that it is based on uses some modern touches though, which include the DC-DC converters that generate the minor rails. Usually in this price range we find group regulated power supplies, meaning that the 12V and 5V are generated by the same circuit so the performance is poor in unbalanced loads (i.e. very high loads at 12V and minimum at 5V and vice versa). This is not the case with PSUs that have DC-DC converters for the 5V and 3.3V rails, since the regulation of those rails is independent from the +12V rail.

Specifications

Manufacturer (OEM)CWT
Max. DC Output500W
Efficiency80 PLUS Bronze, ETA-A- (85-88%)
NoiseLAMBDA-A (20-25 dB[A])
Modular
Intel C6/C7 Power State Support
Operating Temperature (Continuous Full Load)0 - 40°C
Over Voltage Protection
Under Voltage Protection
Over Power Protection
Over Current (+12V) Protection
Over Temperature Protection
Short Circuit Protection
Surge Protection
Inrush Current Protection
Fan Failure Protection
No Load Operation
Cooling120mm Sleeve Bearing Fan (D12SM-12)
Semi-Passive Operation
Dimensions (W x H x D)152 x 87 x 142mm
Weight1.72 kg (3.79 lb)
Form FactorATX12V v2.4, EPS 2.92
Warranty3 Years

Power Specifications

Rail3.3V5V12V112V25VSB-12V
Max. PowerAmps2416242030.3
40
Watts110480153.6
Total Max. Power (W)500

This brand (be quiet!) is not a supporter of single +12V rail PSUs, so the SU9-500 has two of them with up to 40 Amps combined current output.

Cables & Connectors

Non Modular Cables
DescriptionCable CountConnector Count (Total)GaugeIn Cable Capacitors
ATX connector 20+4 pin (550mm)1118-22AWGNo
4+4 pin EPS12V (610mm)1118AWGNo
6+2 pin PCIe (520mm)2218AWGNo
SATA (540mm+120mm+120mm) / 4 pin Molex (+120mm)13 / 118AWGNo
SATA (340mm+120mm+120mm) / 4 pin Molex (+120mm)13 / 118AWGNo
AC Power Cord (1400mm) - C13 coupler1118AWGNo

All cables are fixed and long enough, so there won't be compatibility problems with up to mid-tower chassis. There is one EPS connector along with two PCIe ones. The number of peripheral connectors is adequate for a budget PSU, while the distance between those connectors is small. Ideally, it should be 150mm because several system components that use them (e.g. case fans), are not close to each other.

Power Distribution

Power Distribution
12V1ATX, Peripheral, SATA, PCIe
12V2EPS

Given the restricted number of +12V rails, the power distribution is good since the EPS connector is not mixed up with the PCIe ones.

Component Analysis

We strongly encourage you to have a look at our PSUs 101 article, which provides valuable information about PSUs and their operation, allowing you to better understand the components we're about to discuss.

General Data
Manufacturer (OEM)CWT
PCB TypeSingle Layer
Primary Side
Transient Filter4x Y caps, 2x X caps, 2x CM & 1x DM chokes, 1x MOV, 1x CAP004DG Discharge IC
Inrush ProtectionNTC Thermistor
Bridge Rectifier(s)1x GBU806 (600V, 8A @ 100°C)
APFC MOSFETS2x Champion GP28S50G (500 V, 28 A @ 150 °C, 0.125 Ohm)
APFC Boost Diode1x STMicroelectronics SSTH8S06 (600V, 8A @ 175°C)
Hold-up Cap(s)1x Elite (400V, 270uF, 2000h @ 85 °C, GM)
Main Switchers2x Champion GPT18N50DG (500V, 18A @ 150°C, 0.27Ohm)
Combo APFC/PWM ControllerChampion CM6800TX & CM03X Green PFC controller
TopologyPrimary side: Double-Forward topology
Secondary side: Passive Rectification & DC-DC converters
Secondary Side
+12V MOSFETS4x PFC PFR30L60CT SBRs (60V, 15 X 2 A @ 150°C)
5V & 3.3VDC-DC Converters: 2x UBIQ QM3006D (30V, 57A @ 100°C, 5.5mOhm), 2x UBIQ QM3016D (30V, 68A @ 100°C, 4mOhm)
PWM Controller: Anpec APW7159C
Filtering CapacitorsElectrolytics: 9x Elite (3000-6000h, 105°C, EV), 1x Elite (2000 - 5000h, 105°C, EK), 3x Elite (2000 - 5000h, 105°C, ED), 2x Elite (4000 - 10000h, 105°C, EY)
Polymers: 5x APAQ
Supervisor ICSytronix ST9S429-PG14 (OCP [2x 12V channels, OVP, UVP, PG) & Weltrend WD7518D (OCP [2x 12V channels], SCP)
Fan ModelYate Loon D12SM-12 (120mm, 12V, 0.30A, 70.5CFM, 33 dBA, 1650 RPM, Sleeve Bearing)
5VSB Circuit
Standby PWM ControllerTinySwitch-LT TNY289PG (25W @ 85-265VAC)

This is an older CWT platform with some modifications in the secondary side, including a pair of DC-DC converters which handle the 5V and 3.3V rails. Those converters offer good performance under all conditions, even when the loads are unbalanced among the rails.

The filtering capacitors are provided by Elite, so they are of decent quality. Actually Elite caps are considered the best choice for budget platforms, offering good reliability and performance at a good price. Some polymer caps are also used, with two of them installed on the board that hosts the DC-DC converters.

The cooling fan uses a sleeve bearing, which will be able to outlive the provided warranty period even under not ideal conditions. We didn't expect to find of course an FDB or a double-ball bearing fan in a mainstream PSU, however it would be nice to see a rifle bearing fan used instead. Finally, a 105°C bulk cap would be a safer choice, especially in regions with 115V mains.

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