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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  • Martin84a - Monday, January 05, 2009 - link

    I think it says the german and the english site, run things pretty seperately.

    250watt, 16a on the 12v rail that results in a ~300mV ripple. That's a lot. We are not even talking 80% or 100% of its max rated capacity.

    I know that are "allowed" to vary 10% on the 12V rail, but i still think it is a testament to the quality of the PSU. Look at the competetion next to it, nearly straight line.

    I recently had an Antec Truepower 480 watt dying on me. I had it for a little more than 3-4 years. Prior to buying it i did a tons of research. Anandtech also gave it a very good score. Today it is clear that a lot of these has failed, because of some very shitty caps being used. You don't see this in most of the reviews, because they only test if for a day or a week or so. Warranty is a big deal for a lot of people, including myself. I won't buy western digital or maxtor anymore, because i have had too many dying on me, granted they have been running for 3-4 years. Seagate give a 5 year warranty as the only HDD manufactor, so of course i pick them.
    The same with PSU's, I still consider the Seasonic S12II a good PSU, but i would rather pick a PSU with a better warranty.
  • kenyee - Friday, January 02, 2009 - link

    They just don't make them as well as they used to. I bought one of the expensive ones a year ago because it was the quietest around at the time...croaked after a month. Didn't bother sending it back under warranty because I didn't think it was worth it. It also doesn't support older 2.0 systems which I did send it back to them for but they could have told me via email :-P
  • Finraziel - Thursday, January 01, 2009 - link

    Although I understand what you're saying about the 10% load and how no PSU comes close to 80% efficiency there, would it be possible to still post the actual results of the different psus rather than only the rather blunt comparison in the graph? Many systems may not go far below 20% load with these psus, but if you're intent on setting up a very efficient pc it's not that hard to approach or even duck onder 30 watt idle. So in those cases, even though it's not close to 80, it'd still make a big difference wether the efficiency is 50, 60 or 70%... Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Thursday, January 01, 2009 - link

    Did a small update to the efficiency page. Thanks for the suggestion. Reply
  • sonci - Thursday, January 01, 2009 - link

    So, best PSU regarding efficiency should be ENERMAX Liberty ECO, cause for 24/7 use, you hardly need 50% load..? Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Thursday, January 01, 2009 - link

    Depends on your system power requirements. There is a difference if you just need 50 watts or 150. Check the power consumption first, then check in which state you are running most of the time and then check which PSU would fit best. From some of the tested units we have separated reviews already where you can check the exact efficiency at a specific load. Reply
  • JonnyDough - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    You really DO listen to your readers! KUDOS. You're one of the few companies that does. Reply
  • sonci - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    Thankyou for your honest work..
    Happy new year!!
  • JeBarr - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    I can vouch for the S12II 330W and it's ability to run an hd 4850. Originally I had installed the FSP group ZEN 400W fanless, but due to orientation of PSU inside of htpc case did not allow the heatsink to function as designed, so I gave the seasonic a try and have no regrets. It also helps that the rest of my components are low-power, of course. Reply
  • marc1000 - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    why does akasa products never show on Anandtech?? well, I have one Akasa AK-P300PG (or something like that), it's a 300W unit. I used to power a Pentium-D 945 with a radeon 3850 (now i have a C2D e7200) and it works just fine. silent and stable power. It's a great product that could be included in future reviews.

    by the way: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! :D

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