4-Way Power Supply Shootout: Vantec, Enermax, ThermalTake, Antecby Kristopher Kubicki on January 17, 2003 4:31 AM EST
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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)