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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  • MrOblivious - Friday, May 9, 2008 - link

    You aren't going to get me to say that, but I will say he must be working in a different environment with different people than what we since Corsair, Seasonic, Enermax, SilverStone, etc have all asked/sent units of lower output to be reviewed. In fact, we have so many requests stacked up on those units that we can not take them all because we can not provide any kind of realistic time table to turn them around for them.

    Don't get me wrong I am all for doing them, but what happens when you throw a party and no one shows up? That is what happens when you do low powered units. Anecdotes of people requesting them can do nothing to change that fact that they get read by fewer people as we see from the page hits which does NO ONE any good as we don't provide the compelling content users want nor the coverage the brand is looking for.

    So to answer your question, why target higher powered units? Its because that is what people want to read about.
    Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Friday, May 9, 2008 - link

    Agreed on that. I had several lower rated units before but after showing such a bad performance one manufacturer even refused to send any more of that kind. I do have several FSP models coming soon with 300, 400 and 600 watts. I will also be reviewing OEM models from Seasonic and FSP.

    As much as I would like to test really cheap models I am just stuck with the fact that I am not located in the U.S. and there is simply nobody who would send me all that stuff. I am also interested in seeing what these unit can offer like we have seen at jonnyguru a few month ago. It's just testing for fun since there is nobody really interested in the results. They all blow up when loaded with programmable loads which is the only fun we could offer with such a review.

    I will anyway try to have more units from the lower and medium range in the future but there will be again a few higher models since I still have several 850-1000W units here...
    Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Wednesday, May 7, 2008 - link

    Note to all PSU marketing dep'ts:
    the day when people will buy a psu with a rats nest of cables puking out the back is slowly but surely fading away

    the graphs are some of the worst in recent reviews.
    that they would send this thing out as an exclusive first look unit for testing on AT (on a chroma no less) is itself a bit scary

    of course, as always, we will soon see an update to the review in a week or two that will report "the voltage drop prob has been fixed - was just a bad run of a certain component"
    Reply
  • Stele - Friday, May 9, 2008 - link

    To an extent I agree with you. Nevertheless, there are pros and cons to modular power supplies. The most obvious con is the fact that modular power supplies introduce one more connection between the PSU's PCB and the connectors at the other end - with all the attendant issues that these have compared to non-modular power supplies, especially increased manufacturing costs and connection resistance, as well as connector reliability issues (a loose connection carrying 200VA is very bad news).

    Having said that, it is possible to greatly minimise the impact of such effects; the best thing manufacturers could do is to design and employ robust and rugged connectors with large conductor contact areas - plenty of connector manufacturers with plenty of experience in mission-critical and/or industrial-grade applications out there.

    However, that means even higher costs. This would be no big deal in a world where money was no object, but in reality, in order to compete at a given price point this may lead to corners being cut where it really matters - the stuff inside the PSU, and the resulting performance, life expectancy and stability. Those that don't cut the corners end up having brickbats thrown at their naturally high prices.

    Of course there're PSUs that are modular yet offer good performance without asking for your firstborn, but those aren't the overwhelming majority.
    Personally, if I had to choose for a given price range, I'd take better performance/reliability over modular cables anyday.
    Reply
  • harbin - Wednesday, May 7, 2008 - link

    I've been using the NeoPower series first entered the market. Quiet, solid PSU. Love it to date. Still runs my o/ced Q6600 happily. Reply
  • InternetGeek - Wednesday, May 7, 2008 - link

    I think you guys have it backwards about why antec is better known. Antec is better known for their PSU rather than their cases. ThermalTake is better known for their cases rather than their PSUs.

    In any case, an excellent PSU.
    Reply
  • cg0def - Thursday, May 8, 2008 - link

    Both Tt and Antec were making cases before they started making PSUs. Only Antec was making cases long before Tt and the Antec cases used to be synonymous with high quality. I'm not sure that is the case anymore since they are terribly overpriced and many of their models still used steel sheets for the construction.
    Anyway what I was saying is that Antec IS famous for their cases and NOT the PSUs and it is only in recent years that they have started making splendid PSUs and slightly shifted their focus. Oh and Tt actually became famous for their coolers ( CPU mostly ) and then extended their product line. There used to be a day when Tt heatsinks were the best you can get ...
    Reply
  • granulated - Wednesday, May 7, 2008 - link

    LOL.. Some, if not all, of the high end Antec PSU's are actually made by Seasonics ! Reply
  • SilthDraeth - Wednesday, May 7, 2008 - link

    LOL

    Give the man a cookie.
    Reply
  • feelingshorter - Wednesday, May 7, 2008 - link

    Perhaps thats a matter of opinion, but i heard about antec cases first before hearing about their PSU. A lot of people (including me at one point), did not understand the importance of a good PSU, thinking any PSU will do fine. So unless your a person that does research on it specifically, you won't know just by chance. Whereas their cases...well they have a lot of cool cases and friends amongst each other will send links through instant messaging saying "look at this cool case from Antec" more often than messages saying "look at this extremely stable PSU". Reply

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