EVGA hits the mainstream category hard with its new B3 line. The 450 B3 demonstrates excellent performance for the standards of this price range, a fairly long hold-up time, and quiet operation. Modular cabling, a user-selectable semi-passive mode, and a five-year warranty are icing on the cake. Most important is EVGA's impressive performance-per-dollar ratio. The company used to sell hardware at cost to batter its competition, and it appears to be using a similar tactic with the B3 family. After all, it's hard to offer all of the 450 B3's functionality for just $50.
Back in the day, PSUs with LLC resonant converters sold for at least twice as much. But it seems like EVGA and Super Flower managed to reduce manufacturing costs elsewhere. It's even probable that once EVGA clears the mainstream category, prices will start to go up. Remember when this happened with the G2 family? At first those models sold for very low prices. But as they became known for high performance, prices started going up.
In the end, it may not matter because the 450 B3 has other, more serious problems. It looks like Super Flower made a huge mistake in its design, which poses a major safety risk. We noticed that the over-power protection triggering point is set way too high. Even under normal operating temperatures, one of the primary FETs in our store-bought sample, along with some other components, blew up. Either SF should set its OPP point much lower or use components able to handle higher amperage. We were also disturbed by the fact that, after the primary side shorted out, the PSU's fuse didn't blow. Every time we applied power, we saw sparks. Obviously, that's a fire hazard.
Of course, we notified EVGA of our findings, even though the company wasn't able to send a review sample before or after our mishap with the store-bought solution, stating it didn't have any to send. This looks suspicious to us, since plenty of online stores have them in stock. Seasonic recently started providing review samples through online stores to show it has nothing to hide. And after our trouble with EVGA, this approach is starting to look a lot better for transparency.
If the 450 B3 hadn't blown in a spectacular way, it would be one of the best PSUs in this category. But we are seriously troubled by its issue and EVGA's lack of a response when we probed for possible causes. Although the 450 B3 is solid and sells for a great price, we recommend being extra careful with this model until we can better explain why ours died on the bench. Maybe some day EVGA will follow Seasonic and offer reviewers samples through a retail channel to ensure that plain users have the same access to good hardware as the tech press. We'd like to confirm the whole batch of 450 B3s isn't bad, after all.
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