Conclusions

As both our feature shootout and benchmark examinations show, each of these units has strong and weak points. The most interesting pattern we noticed when doing this review was on page 8, with the inconsistency of the power outputs. Pay very close attention to the power rails when buying your supplies. We do not doubt that Vantec has the only unit with a misprint on the label.

Overall, the Antec TruePower provided the best all around performance. Feature-wise, it could not compete with the Enermax EG465 or the Vantec Stealth Aluminum, but the performance benchmark showed it has a slight edge over the other units. The selling point on the TruePower is its availability and price. The TruePower is the most aggressive marketed of all the units, pricing under 100USD, at least 10USD less than the other PSU's we reviewed.

Enermax made the second strongest showing in the shootout. The EG465 demonstrated a good blend of old and new technology, combined with low heat, excellent noise levels and clean voltages. Along with the TruePower, we rate this model a good buy, particularly if you like the degree of manual control the unit provides.

Even though Vantec's Stealth supply has been generating a lot of hype, we were only mildly impressed with the unit. The presence of three fans might have made the unit a tad too loud. As we mentioned earlier, these fans generated positive pressure inside the unit, which resulted in a general increase in noise levels as air was trapped inside the housing. Furthermore, the line purity on the 3 main rails did not impress us at all; we found instances where interference peaked at 60mv along the +5V rail. For the 110USD, we expected a little more. We were very pleased that Vantec actively worked with us to clear up the issue about the misprint on the unit itself.

ThermalTake's Purepower ended up providing fairly decent performance, but not a lot of features. The performance benchmarks only put the Purepower ahead of Vatec, but Enermax and Antec were tough competitors. Since ThermalTake has been doing a great job of producing themselves as a competitor in the HSF market, we are fairly certain they are here to stay in the PSU market as well. We are very excited to see some of their future offerings.

Other PSU manufacturers have gotten into the high end market as well. We got a look at Zalman's 400W solution at Comdex and Enlight is also developing new supplies for the enthusiast market. In the next few months, we anticipate previews of these new units. We are seeing power supply technology evolve rapidly and almost every manufacturer is providing new features.

Hopefully, our brief look into the world of high end power supplies answered a few questions about this little talked about market. With enough demand, we plan on regularly taking a look at PSU's.

We would like to thank ENPC.com for providing us with the Vantec Stealth and the ThermalTake Purepower for this review. (ENPC.com is currently running a special on the Vantec Stealth 470W for 96USD with free shipping)

Temperature, Ripple and Sound
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6 Comments

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  • Sir Fredrick - Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - link

    I would have really liked to see them compare the current draw from the wall, to see how the PSUs compare in terms of energy efficiency. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, August 22, 2003 - link

    Switching power supply means the unit can be switched between American 60 Hz, 120 v, and European 50 Hz, 240 v input. Reply
  • Jeff7 - Monday, June 18, 2012 - link

    "Switching power supply" refers to precisely what the article says. The "switch" refers to the manner in which the incoming power is handled, not to a physical component on the unit.
    Plenty of switching power supplies, also called SMPS (switch-mode power supplies), are available without any switches.
    Beside me is a switcher supply that accepts 100-240VAC and puts out 12VDC. There are no switches on it.
    Some of the circuitry I work with uses small switcher supplies, which take 12-36VDC and put out a solid 12VDC output.
    I also work with boosters, which are a kind of switching power supply topology that's capable of putting out a higher voltage than what comes in. These particular ones can take 12VDC and put out about 17.5VDC.
    And, I'm looking at a power supply for integration into a new product, and it can handle anything from 85-264VAC at 47-440Hz. Again, no switches on it.

    Some of the older or cheaper switcher supplies *do* indeed have the selector switch on them to let them accommodate different voltages. But that's not what makes them "switching" power supplies. The name "switch" being the same is simply a coincidence.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, August 8, 2003 - link

    :):):):):):):):) Reply
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, August 7, 2003 - link

    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, August 7, 2003 - link

    PFC, power factor correction, is not just about noise. The square wave shape of current draw of non PFC corrected supplies adds a significant 3rd order harmonics element to the line. This usally is gets diverted by the impedance of power company transformers to flowing in the Neutral line of the power system, which in the past carried almost no current. This nuetral line was installed at a SMALLER size than the mains. There have been buildings burned up in Europe, (which has an older infrastructure) because of this. Also, drawing higher peaks instead of sinusoidal current is less efficient and adds more loss the the wires and transformers, shortening their life and adding more pollution to the world, (ie. more power has to be generated to make up the loss, resulting in more smokestack emissions). Reply

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