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FSP Hydro X 450 Power Supply Review

After the Hydro G series, FSP decided to release a more affordable power supply called the Hydro X, which targets systems with lower energy needs. This PSU line consists of three units, and in this review we're testing the entry-level 450W model.

Pros, Cons And Final Verdict

FSP's Hydro X is an interesting low-capacity product family. However, very high MSRPs for non-modular PSUs trouble us. The platform and its design are modern enough to keep up with the competition, and FSP's electrolytic capacitor supplier is top-notch. However, the lack of modular cables in this price range will disappoint many enthusiasts. If FSP priced its Hydro X line for somewhere between $60 and $90, the three units would fare well at their respective capacity points. But at $80 to $110 that FSP cites, sales don't look promising since the competition in this price range is very tough.

The HGX450 does have some compelling strengths, including high efficiency and good overall ripple suppression. On top of that, its compact dimensions, quiet operation and particularly efficient 5VSB rail add plenty of points to the final score. There are also the high-quality electrolytic caps and double ball-bearing fan that should last a long time.

On the other hand, weaknesses include a high MSRP, the 3.3V rail's performance in our advanced transient response tests and loose load regulation on the 5V and 5VSB rails. Moreover, our sample has an internal quality issue that forced us to run our tests twice. We won't judge a product's quality based on one bad apple, but we definitely have to mention it. Additionally, FSP should improve cable management inside of this model and secure that thermistor to the main transformer.

FSP is really trying to get its foot in the U.S. market, and given our recent experience with the Hydro G family, it's listening to our recommendations. For example, after our review of the Hydro G 650, which noted a high price, we saw the price tags of all Hydro G units drop significantly, making them good alternatives to the Seasonic, Super Flower and CWT platforms that currently dominate the market. We strongly believe that a wider range of choices is good for everyone, since it increases competition. Besides better products, it also affects prices (in a good way). Hopefully FSP will adjust what it's asking for the Hydro X line-up accordingly once the PSUs land in the U.S. We'll see soon enough—the Hydro X PSUs should become available later this month. 

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Aris Mpitziopoulos is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Power Supplies.

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  • powernod
    Do Hydro PSUs work underwater?


    Yeah, they have to work underwater in order to camouflage themselves from Corsair's (PSUs) who dominate the water's surface!! :p
    Or to pass through the Seasonic wall !!:lol:

    ONTOPIC: Decent PSU from FSP, but only just decent!!
    Reply
  • Aris_Mp
    it is hard to enter the US markets with Corsair and EVGA throwing one model after the other and in very competitive prices, however more variation is always welcome. If they lower significantly the price tags on these models then their marketing career will be easier.

    Reply
  • Dark Lord of Tech
    Hard to penetrate the EVGA lineups with their great prices on the higher end units. These need to be lowered to sell.
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    Is there any reason the 3.3V rail shows strange behavior when crossloading? Not that it's bad or anything, but in CL1 with heavy load on the 3.3V rail, the voltage is about 0.10V higher than CL2, where the 3.3V rail has minimal load, and voltage is typically higher.
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    Okay, just finished reading the review. Besides the disappointing transient response of this unit, and the failure to meet hold-up time, this is a good unit. But the price needs to drop to about $60 IMO if it wants to compete well. Currently it's priced the same as the Hydro G 650W, and the Hydro G is a no-brainer choice over this unit.

    It also concerns me a bit that the 5V rail voltage goes to 4.79V in your second transient response test at 50% load. This is all around also a bit disappointing, but it's not a very realistic transient load (unlike 12V which happens always while gaming), but I like the Japanese capacitors, the load regulation is fine, the crossload graphs all show good results; sometimes a lot of units screw up on those. It's nice to be able to see those different load patterns, something other reviewers should try to adopt. Ripple was very nice.
    Reply
  • joz
    Hard to penetrate the EVGA lineups with their great prices on the higher end units. These need to be lowered to sell.

    G2 is love, G2 is life. (G2 550W, about...eight of them....)
    Reply
  • basroil
    FSP almost had an excellent PSU until they screwed up big time on the transient response. Looks like the EVGA G2/ SuperFlower Leadex Gold is still king of the inexpensive PSUs
    Reply
  • Flying-Q
    Please stop referring to quality PSUs with low wattage as 'entry 'level' (in the article subtitle).

    Entry Level (adjective)
    (of a product) suitable for a beginner or first-time user; basic.
    "entry-level computers"

    'Entry level' usually implies smaller feature set. In this instance the feature set of each of the models is the same other than the power output. Current generation computers need less power due to greater efficiency inherent in more recent designs of components.
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    17768395 said:
    FSP almost had an excellent PSU until they screwed up big time on the transient response. Looks like the EVGA G2/ SuperFlower Leadex Gold is still king of the inexpensive PSUs

    I would like other testing sites to start adopting these tests, like Jonnyguru. I wonder how many units that normally pass stuff would fail.

    Another funny thing is FSP just wrote a blog about the importance of transient response. :P

    But also, a 3.3V transient response just doesn't happen in 2016, probably never will. A 5V one is also less common.
    Reply
  • basroil
    17769266 said:
    But also, a 3.3V transient response just doesn't happen in 2016, probably never will. A 5V one is also less common.

    ATX loading specs state a 9A transient on 12V (and 5V might have been there). Considering most modern PSUs are 12V only and then DC-DC for 3.3 and 5V, 12V transients are going to end up affecting the 5v and 3.3V lines too.
    Reply