Techsolo Black Mamba STP-550

Techsolo keeps things simple with their packaging and extras. You get a standard power cable (for Europe), four screws, some cable ties, and a short user manual. The best-case hope for the Techsolo Black Mamba is that we'll get an "ultra silent" snake that can deliver the full rated power. I wouldn't bet on it, but more than one user has been tempted into going the cheap route on a PSU. At worst, the Black Mamba is a noisy blindworm that dies at 50% load, but most likely it will land somewhere in between those extremes.

The red (already mentioned and super-duper) power switch stands in contrast to the black case design. The fan grill and the cable sleeving are black too and the housing of the ATX 2.2-PSU is 14cm long. Considering the cost, the PSU actually looks decent—even cheap cable sleeving is a bump up over unsleeved cables, after all.

Cables and Connectors
Fixed Main 24-pin 40cm
ATX12V/EPS12V 4+4-pin 45cm
PCIe 6-pin 45cm
Peripheral 3x PATA 40-70cm + Floppy 15cm
3x SATA 40-70cm / 3x SATA 40-70cm

The main cables are very short at less than 50cm, and there are only six SATA and three Molex power connectors along with a single PEG connector for graphic cards—the latter seems particularly skimpy. We don't want to be too quick to judge, but this is not a good configuration for a 550W PSU; it looks more like a 400W PSU. We'll get into more details on the next page.

Shenzhen Xin Wang Electronics Co., LTD. makes the fan, one of those nameless (despite the length of their name) Chinese companies. The 140mm fan needs fewer amps than the other fans in this roundup and it has nine fan blades. Will it be silent, and can it keep the PSU cool? We'll find out in a minute.

The Candidates Techsolo Black Mamba Internals
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  • jimhsu - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    Silentpcreview also does high quality PSU reviews, though aimed at a slightly different market (hence the name). They do review performance PSUs though. Reply
  • Mathieu Bourgie - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    There's also the EggXpert (NewEgg forums) Tiered Power Supply List that's a good reference (http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/thread/323050.aspx)... as well as *cough* shameless plug *cough* my own article on the subject "Warning: 6 Surefire Ways of Blowing Up Your Computer Due to an Inadequate Power Supply" located here: http://www.hardware-revolution.com/warning-6-suref...
    Due for an update for the recommendations at the end, rest is still pretty much valid.
    Reply
  • Phaedrus2129 - Friday, October 29, 2010 - link

    The EggXpert list a terrible reference, out of date and full of mistakes. Reply
  • tomoyo - Friday, October 29, 2010 - link

    There's an amazing amount of mediocre/crap psus that are in the Tier 2 section, and yet there's also some very good psus that are somehow Tier 4. I'd say a mostly useless list. Reply
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Friday, October 29, 2010 - link

    +1 for SilentPCReview's PSU reviews, though I'd say it's not necessarily a niche for audiophiles/noise-reducing obsessive-compulsives as the name may suggest: they only have one page (of 5-7) for acoustics. The rest is a knowledgeable analysis with some of the most detailed electrical testing and thermal torture testing. Reply
  • erple2 - Wednesday, November 03, 2010 - link

    The folks at pcper.com are also particularly good at doing proper PSU reviews. They're one of the only ones I know of that do an analysis of cross-loading - ie heavily load one rail and see how it affects the voltage at the other leads (3.3, 5, 12). They're also a group that I've come to rely on for solid PSU reviews. Now if only they'd do more testing ... Reply
  • Phaedrus2129 - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    There should have been some comment on the immediately obvious signs that the TechSolo was going to be mediocre. First thing pointed out should have been the "P4PFC" on the label. This indicates that A.) This PSU is actually an ATX12V 1.x era unit, since it's advertising "P4" or "Pentium 4 compatibility", and second having "PFC" after the P4 indicates that this is a platform that doesn't come with PFC as stock, indicating that it's a lower-end unit.

    Did the TechSolo fail on the primary or secondary side (before or after the transformer)? If it failed on the primary (perhaps the rectifying bridge went nuclear?) then it would be unlikely, though still possible, for it to kill components. If it was a secondary side component that failed then this PSU is a potential time bomb waiting to wipe out your PC.
    Reply
  • mmatis - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    on September 12th from Newegg ($64.99 with free shipping and $20 MIR), the OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY doesn't seem like a bad buy to me. But then it's just running an AMD X4, a couple of hard drives, optical drive, and low end video card. Reply
  • slickr - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    Good job in this review, though I would like to see more PSU reviews and possibly include A-Power supplies. Reply
  • Beenthere - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    There are a lot of posers in the PSU market including some non PSU based companies adding questionable PSUs to the product mix. I'll continue to just buy PC Power and Cooling PSUs which are the gold standard of the PC industry. No guessing required with a PCPC PSU. They perform as advertised and are guaranteed for 5-7 yrs. depending on model. Reply

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