BWG550M Power Supply Review
Bitfenix's rookie PSU effort was its Fury Gold family, based on a not-so-competitive FSP platform. High-quality, individually sleeved cables and good looks weren't enough to make the Fury Gold stand out in a sea of tough competition priced similarly. It seems as if Bitfenix learned from its mistakes though, and the company's second PSU line, called Whisper, is more practical with attractive retail pricing.
The Whisper family currently includes five members with capacities ranging from 450W to 850W. They're all 80 PLUS Gold-certified, feature fully modular cabling, are equipped with HDB fans, and employ multiple +12V rails. Channel Well Technology (CWT in short), which enjoys increased popularity thanks to its collaboration with Corsair, manufactures the platform.
The 550W model, officially referred to as BGW550M, is on our test bench today. It has enough capacity to handle efficiently a gaming PC with one high-end graphics card. As we've mentioned in the past, modern GPUs tend to be more efficient than prior generations, so even lower-capacity power supplies accommodate the needs of very fast hardware. Of course, under overclocking conditions, power consumption can easily get out of control. So leave yourself plenty of headroom when you plan a PSU purchase if aggressive tuning is a priority.
In addition to Gold-rated efficiency and modular cabling, the BWG550M also features a 50°C temperature rating for continuous full load delivery. This is a clear indication of the high-quality components inside. Moreover, CWT equips it with a full suite of protection features that even include over-temperature protection.
Active cooling is handled by a hydro dynamic-bearing fan that doesn't enjoy a very long lifetime. Usually good-quality HDB fans can exceed 50,000 hours, while sleeve-bearing ones reach 30,000. According to a test report that fell into our hands, the DF1352512SEMN has a 30,000-hour lifetime at 25°C, meaning that it is actually on par with a good sleeve-bearing fan. We expected a higher lifetime, that's for sure.
The BWG550M's dimensions are compact, given its 16cm length. Moreover, a seven-year warranty isn't bad at all.
|Total Max. Power (W)||550|
There are three +12V rails. The first two are rated at 25A, while the third one is a little stronger with 30A maximum current on paper. In real life, the OCP triggering point is set a bit higher on all +12V rails and much higher on the minor ones. This is done on purpose, of course, to let the PSU handle increased transient loads that'd normally trigger OCP without a problem.
Cables And Connectors
|Description||Cable Count||Connector Count (Total)||Gauge|
|ATX connector 20+4 pin (620mm)||1||1||18AWG|
|4+4 pin EPS12V (650mm)||1||1||18AWG|
|6+2 pin PCIe (650mm)||2||2||18AWG|
|Four-pin Molex (500mm+150mm+150mm+150mm)||1||4||18AWG|
Cable length is ample and the connector count is sufficient, given this PSU's capacity. With two PCIe connectors, you're free to pick from a bevy of high-end graphics options. We also don't expect a PSU in this category to have more than one EPS connector.
Eight SATA connectors will cover the needs of most users, while Bitfenix chose not to include even a single Berg (FDD) connector. We don't think an adapter would affect the BWG550M's price, so it'd be nice to see Bitfenix add one to this PSU's bundle since some components still use that particular connector.
|12V1||ATX, Peripheral, SATA|
Power distribution is optimal; the EPS connector doesn't share a rail with the PCIe ones. It's worth noting that you can connect the EPS connector to a VGA (PCIe) socket since they're identical. There's no reason to do this, though, unless you want more power from the EPS connector and you use a low-end graphics card with just one PCIe connector.
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Which ever you can find at a lower price. Performance wise they are very close.