400-450W PSU Roundup

by Christoph Katzer on 11/6/2007 4:00 AM EST


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  • opterondo - Sunday, November 18, 2007 - link

    You all do understand that a 1000w PSU doesn't use 1000w right?

    For instance you hook up 333w peak load worth of components to it it will use ~333w.

    The only reason to buy a smaller capacity PSU is up front price and possibly better AC-DC conversion efficiency (like maybe 70% instead of 60%)
  • opterondo - Sunday, November 18, 2007 - link

    Good thing they didn't review any of the COOLMAX PSUs cause they are fairly priced and out perform most any in this article.

    COOLMAX CX-400B ATX v2.01



    COOLMAX CUG-700B ATX 12V( V.2.2)

  • mindless1 - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Months ago I was almost given a vacation in the forums because of shills and naive owners that wouldn't accept my negative comments about Ultra V-Series. I feel a bit vindicated and yet the review didn't even touch in it's primary weakness, poor capacitors leading to poor lifespan even in a system it would be suited to run in.

    I do have to disagree about one aspect of the review in that the Ultra does have PFC just not active or APFC, and an "old" passive PFC design is not a big deal, a PSU can run fine w/o AFPC and historically there were plenty of decent, not just cheap, PSU with passive PFC evidenced by the input voltage selection switch.

    Also in the reviews, please mention the fans' make model and bearing(s) type as they are also weak links when cheap sleeve-bearing types are used.
  • Kougar - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    On many of the pages I am seeing empty image placeholders that link to 0x0 pixel images that are 1.5KB in size... someone might want to fix that. :) Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    Working fine here ;) Reply
  • Kougar - Wednesday, November 14, 2007 - link

    Do you work for Anandtech???

    Since an image is worth a thousand words: http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n129/Chanur64/M...">Image Link

    The "missing" ghost image placeholder shows up for every PSU info page.
  • Christoph Katzer - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Oh yep thanks. Now it's working. Reply
  • grantschoep - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    Low end power supplies?

    I want to to know who the heck needs a 500+ watt power supply that isn't running some crazy dual SLI setup. I really wish power supply makers would focus on quite and very stable/clean voltages.

    I wish companies would really focus on very high quality low end systems. 98% of us don't need a 500+ watt power supply. 90% of us don't need a motherboard with as much crap as they tack on(2 1gig network ports for example)

    As an electrical engineer, 1 US dollar extra.... could by much better caps and the like.

    Heck as a further annoyance, when company A has a PSU fan that is better/quiter than another, why go whit the lesser

    I really wish that companies would focus on this. I don't need a 1 KW beast. I want a good, high quality ~450 watt supply that is nice and quite.

  • erple2 - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    I am a bit saddened by the (IMO) relatively unimportant temperature of the heatsinks, or sound ouput. IMO, the single most important measurement of the usefulness of a power supply is, in fact, it's ability to supply power.

    I would equate evaluating it's value on thermal and acoustic characteristics to evaluating the superiority of a GFX card on it's thermal characteristics. For that effect, my old Matrox Millenium card destroys an 8800GTX.

    Seriously, I'd really like to see much more in-depth analysis and evaluation on the stability of the power generation, the cleanliness of the signal, the resistance to sagging based on varying the power requirements, etc.

    I understand that acoustics and thermals are important, but they're really secondary to the actual performance of the power generation. If you're overly concerned with the loudness of a power supply, or how hot it gets, instead of the actual performance of the power supply, then maybe you shouldn't be using a computer..
  • Christoph Katzer - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    Did you just read the comparison or? Reply
  • zeroidea - Wednesday, November 07, 2007 - link

    The Antec PS featured in this article is currently on sale at staples.com for $30.

  • SilthDraeth - Wednesday, November 07, 2007 - link

    I know it falls outside of the 450Watt max, but it is still below the 500 watt barrier. I just bought the psu for a midrange system I built my mom, I know it works well, but I don't have the ability to test everything.

    One can wish right?
  • Noya - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    If you look around (buy.com), the Corsair 450vx can be had from $51-61 pretty regularly, and at that price it's untouchable. I must say I've had one for about two months and haven't had any problems with it. Reply
  • smthmlk - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    Can we have a full list of caps in each unit? Noting the primaries is nice, but what about the others? Thanks. Reply
  • Talcite - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    Thanks for finally putting up O-scope readings, it's quite nice to see them. One thing I'm concerned about though is the lack of explication or analysis.

    For example, is the entire o-scope range 200mV in the 12v readings or is it one division? Also, there's a number of strange spikes in all the o-scope readings. I'm pretty familiar with the 450VX o-scope readings (mostly from other sites) and I haven't noticed any spikes of that nature in their readings. It probably isn't, but is the equipment faulty?

    Thanks for putting the readings up anyways though, they're a nice addition.
  • Super Nade - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    Those strange spikes are probe noise. If the probe is coupled incorrectly, you will see this artifact. This cold be due to any number of factors like EMI for instance. Following the ATX guideline on using 0.1 uF output coupling caps will minimize this to a great extent. Reply
  • MrOblivious - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    You have to look at the sampling time on the readings to compare between sites. Different sampling times will make the traces appear a bit different. Reply
  • phaxmohdem - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    I just recently built a rig for a buddy using a Thermaltake PurePower (or ToughPower.. can't remember) 480W Unit and it works like a champ powering a Core2 Quad Q6600 CPU, 2GB RAM, 2HDD's, two Optical Drives, 8600GT, TV Tuner and a few fans. (Wish I knew about the Corsair PSU when I spec'd that system out).

    But yeah, Unfortunately most people equate Watts to overall quality.... not unlike the MHz war of days gone by. Power supplies are one of the hardest components to convince people to spend extra on for some reason. FFS, electricity is kind of the basis of the whole dam computer!

    Eventually it ends up as "Oh well. Go ahead and get that 600W $30 power supply and let me know how that goes for ya. I could use a good laugh, and don't say I didn't warn you."
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    Maybe Anandtech should go ahead and list the weight of each PSU. That has long been used as an estimate of quality. Reply
  • jonnyGURU - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    Not any more. Topologies have changed to the point where you can have very light quality units and very heavy crap. Weight is NOT a factor. Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    Yup and before the use of very bulky heatsinks made the power supplies heavier. Today the components are better and the heatsinks are getting smaller again (Seasonic and FSP standard design for example). Reply
  • Pale Rider - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    It's easily the best of the "lower" power choices. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    We already reviewed the Seasonic 330W and 500W, and given that Seasonic is the ODM of the Corsair and Antec units... except while Corsair is basically identical to the Seasonic model, Antec messed around with the fan to cut costs or something. 430W S12II and 450VX are pretty much the same PSU. Reply
  • Modular - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    Page 2: "360W combined equates to 15A when both are "fully" loaded."
    -Should read 30A fully loaded.

    Page 5: "The original design used two 17A 12V rails (as does the Earthwatts)"
    -Per this review http://www.jonnyguru.com/review_details.php?id=51&...">http://www.jonnyguru.com/review_details.php?id=51&... the Earthwatts line isn't really 2 12v rails either. No biggie, but just wanted to clarify.

    The Ultra is listed as a V-Series when it's actually the XVS, which is basically a step above the V-Series in that it has the flex cables and is modular.

    Overall this was a pretty informative review. I'm glad that you included heat sink temps and fan noise, and it's really good to see the ripple included.
  • drebo - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    In the retail computer sales business, I don't consider a $60 430W power supply to be a "Budget" power supply. That's more of a midrange, and is generally overkill for most of the computers sold. Even the Ultra is too expensive to bother with for most of my customers.

    I'd like to see a true budget roundup. Powersupplies in the $20-30 range. Like those from Athenatech or Maxtop(Q-Max) or even the lower-end Thermaltakes. I realize that they're going to be pretty crappy results, but I think it's important to see, comparitively, how they do. If it were up to me, all of my customers would be using Antec EarthWatts power supplies, but they don't understand why the extra money is necessary. With information like this, it would be far easier to convince them to spend the extra $20.
  • magreen - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    I second that call for lower cost PSU roundups. I was under the impression that FSP makes decent enough PSUs. Can you include reviews of their 350W, 400W and 450W models? They won't have active PFC, but let's be honest, most users don't care at all about that. Reply
  • Iger - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    +1 actually. I'd really like to understand what kind of performance can one expect from a low-end psu. Then again, Ultra probably answers the question, at least vaguely. I just wish we'd have a bigger choise of psus in europe... And better prices <sigh> Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    No choice in Europe? Which country are you living in? Most shops are sending the stuff all around Europe already and you'll probably find even more in Ebay.

    The problem with a low end PSU roundup is that I am living in Europe as well and it will not be easy to convince a company to send me their stuff when the shipping is triple the cost of the actual product. But let us find a way and in the beginning of next year we will see what we can do...
  • xsilver - Wednesday, November 07, 2007 - link

    Also, has it been investigated whether there are differences between varying PSU's coming off the assembly line?
    I would like to think that the high end manufacturers could produce identical products but Im not so sure the QC of the cheapo PSU's will give u the same PSU every time. eg. some cheap psu's seem to live on through torrid abuse and yet some just die only after 1 month of use.
  • Super Nade - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link


    Why did you guys cut down on the internal component analysis? Hate to see a single picture and a few cursory words about the internal architecture. Load testing aside, I find everything else a bit boring. You had a nice thing going looking at the components, why cull it? If you decided to shorten the reviews, you could have trimmed the part about acoustics. ;)


    Super Nade
  • Christoph Katzer - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    Yep, otherwise it's just getting too long and I thought actually nobody is too interested in that analyses anyway. Let me work something out for the next ones...

    Ripple is also coming today, I updated the 1200-1300 roundup already.
  • Super Nade - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    Good to know! I understand that it is going to take a considerable amount of work at the outset, to do a bit of design analysis, but once you have the popular topologies employed figured out it should be a lot less work.

    The length of the review is unimportant if it makes an interesting read. (Hypothetical example) Having 10 pages on the fans employed is going to be be boring. Since you have a wide audience with varying degree of technical appetite, the length of the review should not matter if the content is arranged appropriately.

    Best wishes,

  • floffe - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    When referring to the 8800GT article, it'd be nice to point out that those 327W from the wall was with SLI. A single card didn't get much over 200W, so even the Ultra should be able to run that, however horrible it otherwise is a a PSU.

    As for the market, I just wish someone would produce a high quality 300W modular PSU. That'd be plenty for my needs.
  • xsilver - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    Would you be ok if they charged you the same as a 400w PSU? because for the manufacturers, they're not going to the trouble of making another PSU that costs them almost exactly the same to make.
    (its like asking for a car with only 15hp because thats all u need ;)
  • jonnyGURU - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    Exactly. The cost difference at that level is rarely more than a $1. So if it costs me $30 to build a 400W, and $29 to build a 350W, etc. why would I bother? Reply
  • Souka - Wednesday, November 07, 2007 - link

    maybe because some people "think" a 350w power supply consumes 50w less than a 400w power supply...


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