Inadequate and Deceptive Product Labeling: Comparison of 21 Power Supplies

Silent Operation Or A Real Din?

The power supplies lined up for our test are equipped with fans to keep the electronics adequately cool. These fans can produce an unpleasant background noise when the system is run at a high load. In this respect, Engelking and Verax present good solutions that ensure almost silent operation. Under full load, the Leadman LP-6100 E generates a particularly high noise level : it generates a peak value of 54.5 dB (A), thus putting it on a par with the noise level of a mid-range vacuum cleaner. Antec offers a solution to the noise problem with its "Noise Reduction Technology" and Enermax with its "Variable Speed Fan Control", both of which do help to reduce the noise factor.

Ergonomics Of Power Supply Fans

The noise level is a further decisive quality feature, 70% of which goes into the evaluation of the ergonomics. The Mediator 2238 measuring instrument from Brüel & Kjaer measures the noise generated by the fans at a distance of 50 centimeters. Since all the power supplies tested are fitted with temperature-controlled fans, the noise level of the power supplies depends largely on the extent to which the power supplies are loaded. For this reason, the noise level is first measured shortly after switching on, without a load, and then measured again under full load when it has had an adequate time to warm up.

Practical Advice : The Perfect Power Supply

Before going out to buy a new power supply, it is first necessary to measure the power demand of your computer system. If the computer fails to boot up after switching it on, most users’ initial assumption is that the power supply is defunct. If, however, the system constantly crashes during operation, or the screen freezes, most users will begin to look for faults on the motherboard and in the components. But, in this case, as well, it is worth checking the power supply prior to replacing either the motherboard or the graphics card.

Particularly with power supply models at the bottom end of the range that have been in use for a long time, voltage stability can diminish drastically. If the computer has recently been upgraded with new components, the old power supply will quickly become inadequate. Prior to purchasing a new power supply, a number of basic factors should first be considered.