Introduction

Many of you have been waiting for us to review more low-wattage power supplies. We have written about power consumption several times in the past, and we have made it clear to AnandTech readers that in most cases there is no need for a high output power supply when 400W to 500W units will do just fine. We picked a collection of such units from high-end manufacturers throughout the market, and in fact we received so many power supplies that we had to split the roundup into two parts. The first part will contain power supplies rated at 300W to 450W while the second part will focus on 500W to 550W units.



Nowadays it is very hard to find high performing units with low wattages, since manufacturers mostly aim for bigger units where they can make more money. In most cases, the high manufacturing costs of smaller units with better technology stands in the way. Nobody wants to pay $100 for a 400W power supply; there is simply no market for these units, which is why most of what we see in this field is cheap units with very poor performance to say the least. However, there are still manufacturers out there producing low-wattage units for the enthusiast market; Seasonic for example makes 300W units for OEMs as well as selling them under their own retail name.

Another issue with low-end power supplies is that they normally come with a poor selection of connectors that only lets them operate simple systems, even though they could power a decent midrange graphics card. The units we will be reviewing today are from higher-end manufacturers and some even come with a 6-pin PEG connector. Two units even come with two 6-pin connectors, which is very nice to see. The market is changing and even vendors that had 500W as the lowest wattage options in their repertoire now offer smaller units. For example, we introduced the Thermaltake TR2 QFan series recently, which starts at 300W. We will include the 400W TR2 unit today, which performs quite well.

We will also have a few world premiers today. Cooler Master sent their new Real Power Pro power supplies rated at 360W and 400W. Enermax also sent a new version of their older Liberty series, this time called Liberty Eco. Silverpower, which is not much known in the U.S., has a new OEM power supply from Seasonic that will also be in today's roundup. Silverpower is actually a spin-off from Maxpoint's Tagan brand, since customers wanted something less expensive than the usual Tagan offerings. Finally, we will have a few OEM units from various manufacturers today that we can compare with their retail brothers.

Antec Earthwatts 430W
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  • Christoph Katzer - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    We cannot run after every brand there is and if those companies don't come to us... there are surely many more missing but we can only test products from companies that are actually interested in us testing their stuff. We had an Akasa unit before though... Reply
  • boboko - Sunday, January 04, 2009 - link

    >"We cannot run after every brand there is and if those companies don't come to us..."

    I guess that is the problem with almost all review sites. And the worst thing is not that you skip the smaller guys, but that what you are reviewing is not off the shelf, it's sent to you buy a company that wants a good review. So even if they have rotten quality control, and half their stuff is DOA, you know the one they send you has been triple checked and fine tuned. Not your fault, but to me the reliability is MUCH more important than a few extra watts or a few less decibels, and there's just no way to get good data on that.
    Reply
  • Griswold - Wednesday, January 07, 2009 - link

    If you read the reviews here, you'd know that this assumption is false in general. AT has had junk on their bench on more than one occassion - if every supplier would do what you claim, all reviews would take place in happy bunny land where everything is dandy and no negative notion is possible. But thats not the case.

    Surely there will be those who go the extra mile to make their product look better than it is off the shelf, but you just cant hide every trace of incompetence and bad quality.

    Much like we cant expect a review site buy every piece of hardware to test it and hope they can re-sell it without a loss.
    Reply
  • marc1000 - Thursday, January 01, 2009 - link

    wow, I know it was said before, but you guys really do listen to us. that's the reason I come here everyday to know the news! keep up the good job at 2009! regards! Reply
  • C'DaleRider - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    I'm just curious why the "old" version of the Antec Earthwatts 430 was dug out and retested since Seasonic is no longer the OEM for it but now has Delta as the OEM supplier and has been for many months now.

    Seems it'd be only fitting that the "new" version would be tested instead of a version no longer being made or sold, except as NOS (new old stock).
    Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    If only "someone" could send it to us :] I will make sure to get new revision on time, you're totally right. Reply
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    What were those bad things happening to the SII Seasonic PS? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    I believe Christoph is just saying that he's received an increase number of email messages from people saying that their Seasonic PSUs have failed. It's anecdotal at best, and it could just be a case of more people buying their PSUs and thus a small fraction that fails can still result in more complaints than before. Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    Yes ;)
    There was a revision in the beginning that had problems with certain motherboards somehow, something to do with the "power good" signal. They've upgraded the series long time ago though.
    Reply
  • Lonyo - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    I'd just ordered some new parts, including a CX400 about 30 minutes before I saw this article come up.
    Nice to see that my choice seems fairly solid.

    I'm sure this article will be relevant for other people as well.
    Reply

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