Packaging


The Signature power supply comes in a big box with a matte black paper wrap around it. This time the package doesn't show much information about what the power supply looks like or its features as the packaging only has the Antec and Signature logos printed on it. The back shows the specification of the power supply, some certifications, and a European flag that suggests this is the European version of this power supply. This only means there's a different power cord inside - one for the US and a different one for the UK because of differing plug shapes. The approach to packaging is smart, as Antec doesn't need to have different boxes. They just change the paper wrap and cord for each specified market and version, lowering packaging costs. [Ed: Who really cares about the box after you've installed the PSU anyway, right?]

Appearance


The power supply looks the same as what we saw in Las Vegas at the beginning of the year. The housing is matte black and there is only one 80mm fan installed on the rear of this PSU. The fan is guarded with a grille punched out of the housing. The sides show significant differences from other power supplies, though. It has more to do with the internal arrangement and cooling, which is similar to that of the Silver Power PSU we tested last year. The top (which will be the bottom when mounted) has a small Antec logo embedded in it for identification and understated good looks. Some companies try to do fancy stuff from time to time, but in most cases PSU "bling" is just another area that could be skilled in order to reduce the selling price.

The front - which is located inside the case when mounted - has four ports for the cable management and a little more than half is perforated for the ventilation of the power supply. It is very difficult to design a power supply with an 80mm fan and cable management, as with this setup the manufacturer will need to have the whole side open or perforated for airflow. If you install a 120mm fan on top, you will have the whole front on disposal to install the cable management as has been shown with other manufacturers. Silverstone also runs this kind of setup, and we will see it in one of our future reviews, but they have a different approach to this problem. On this power supply there are two red and two black jacks on the right-hand side, beside the fixed cables. Here the user can connect additional peripheral cable harnesses and two more graphics card connectors.

Cables and Connectors


There are many cables connected to the power supply already, which will be adequate to power up an average PC system. The jacks are meant for people who need more connectors than the ones already at their disposal. All of the cables come nicely sleeved. There are two 6/8-pin PEG connectors, a 4-pin and 8-pin ATX12V/EPS12V connector for extra CPU power, and one harness each of SATA and Molex connectors already attached to the power supply. Each of the peripheral harnesses has three connectors and comes with a minimum length of 20"/50cm and maximum length of 30"/80cm. All the other fixed cable harnesses have a length of 20"/50cm.


Antec has put two more of each peripheral harness in the box, which means in the end a user could have up to nine Molex and three SATA connectors or nine SATA connectors and three Molex. There are only two jacks on disposal which does mean that the four delivered extra harnesses cannot all be used simultaneously, but the user does have the choice to tailor their cable harness choice to his needs. If you're running an SLI/CF setup you are able to connect the additional two 6-pin PEG connectors to the red jacks at the back.

The Fan


There is an 80mm Nidec fan installed in this power supply. The company website unfortunately doesn't give much information about this particular fan as the only information is about the DO8A fan without the 12PS3 ending and a DO8K that has the 12PS3 ending. The problem is that DO8A is a ball bearing and DO8T is a sleeve bearing type fan. None of these fans matches the description on the back of the fan or our measured maximum speed of 4600RPM, but it can also run slow and that might be of importance in our tests.

Index Internals
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  • PeteRoy - Monday, May 12, 2008 - link

    Power supplies might be a very critical component in the system but they are also the most boring component.

    I thought power supplies reviews are only found in unpopular computer websites.
    Reply
  • hansmuff - Friday, May 09, 2008 - link

    "Looking at performance, we saw voltage drops on the lower voltage rails as well as on the 12V rails. All of the rails perform well within specs but a drop of up to 5% is not small."

    "The Signature series definitely left its mark today with very good performance"

    Huh? If I dish out that much money for a power supply, I will not even consider one that drops 5%. And how can that be called "very good performance"?
    This PSU has some good characteristics, but my take-away from your review is "don't bother with this until (1) the voltage drop problem is verified to be fixed and (2) it drops not voltages, but $100 off it's price".
    Reply
  • mindless1 - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - link

    There is no reason to reject a power supply for 5% drop. Specs exist for a reason, that the powered components MUST also perform properly within the spec.

    What do you feel you gain with a PSU that has a hypothetically perfect 0% drop? Absolutely nothing. The drop is even less significant today with fewer and fewer parts directly powered by 12, 5, or 3.3V rails. Instead most now have buck conversion inbetween that can accept far more than 10%, letalone 5% deviation.

    I do agree the price is a little excessive, although if someone is spending enough to actually need a PSU best at 400W+ output level, they have spent quite a lot on the rest of their system as well. Many overclocked non-SLI gaming systems stay far below 300W consumption.
    Reply
  • deathwalker - Friday, May 09, 2008 - link

    This review certainly goes against the tide when it come to my experience with Antec over the last 10 yrs. My experience has led me to the feeling that when I bought a Antec product the results was generally that it was overpriced and it under performed. Reply
  • mongoosesRawesome - Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - link

    This seems completely overkill except for maybe triple SLI setups - which are also overkill.

    A good 500W PSU or even less should be plenty even for even mid/high end setups.

    Efficiency is all well and good, but if people end up buying large PSU's which aren't efficient at the lower wattage's it's all just for show.
    Reply
  • eetnoyer - Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - link

    power supply reviews for less than 5% of people who will ever need them (eg. care)? I would venture to guess that the number of users that are in the market to build a nice HTPC and are looking for a quiet low output power supply is greater than the number of ubersuperultramaxgodofgear power supply users. Reply
  • MrOblivious - Thursday, May 08, 2008 - link

    Because no one cares. Seriously. It is the same reason why you see people looking at, reviewing, and talking about a Porsche when less than 5% of people will buy one. People don't read about random run of the mill power supplies so it makes no sense to produce reviews people won't read for the website or the brands themselves. Sorry. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, May 08, 2008 - link

    People might read about the Porsche for fun, but they check Consumer Reports when they are trying to decide between an Accord and a Taurus. In this case I'd guess even fewer people care about the high-end power supply than the high-end car - a power supply isn't that exciting until it powers something else you have.

    The bigger reason is that the companies that send power supplies for review tend to send their biggest and "best".
    Reply
  • MrOblivious - Thursday, May 08, 2008 - link

    Those assumptions would be incorrect. I literally have companies begging me to take lower powered products in for review all the time and from the page counts people DO NOT read the lower powered offerings. It really is quite simple. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, May 09, 2008 - link

    Well, I suppose Johan could be lying when he states that the companies only prefer to send him big units. And I suppose the companies could be sending people to the comments here to ask in every review of big power supplies for reviews of smaller units. Reply

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