Cougar A350: Measurements
Efficiency According to the 80 PLUS Spec
Efficiency by Load
Cougar's A350 does not pass all of the tests in our suite. While the ripple and noise metrics come back fine, we discovered that the voltages on the 3.3 V and the 5 V rails are marginal at 100% load. They're not in violation of the ATX spec, but they're close. In other words, there are no reserves at all. Exceed the specified amps just a tad, and you get out-of-spec voltages.
But that’s not even the main flaw. The real problem is that this power supply fails to satisfy its 80 PLUS Bronze rating, coming up short in the efficiency requirements in all three load ranges. In one case, the 20% load test, it's more than three percent shy of the specification. Such a clear shortcoming cannot be excused as a measurement variance. As a result, any other positive test result becomes irrelevant; the A350 fails.
A Close Look at the PCB
When we look inside of Cougar's submission, we see a couple of likely causes for the failure. We definitely get the impression that cost-cutting was one of this product's design criteria. Instead of shrink tubing, we find globs of insulating paste. At least the soldering job seems alright. The capacitors on the secondary side are manufactured by Taiwan-based Teapo. The big capacitor on the primary side is sourced from United Chemi-Con. The input filter, spread across a sub-PCB next to the mains socket and the main PCB, looks somewhat haphazard. The visual impression of this PSU reinforces our negative test results.