Conclusion: No Need for 1.21 KW of Power!

There's certainly an emphasis on reducing power use and costs these days, with some governments pushing legislation to penalize companies that don't at least give some attention to the environment. Antec has worked hard to promote the image of a "green" and environmentally friendly PSU with their updated EarthWatts line—even going so far as to put green in the name and give it a dark green paint job!—but at the end of the day it's the product quality that determines whether something is worth buying. How well does the EarthWatts Green actually do when it comes down to real world metrics with no marketing fluff? Thankfully, Antec acquits itself well and produces an inexpensive yet well-built and efficient PSU.

While the marketing department might tout such benefits as the lack of a power cord and 80 Plus certification, let's be honest: removing the power cord probably did more for the company's bottom line than the environment, and 80 Plus certifications are everywhere. Still, there's nothing wrong with avoiding yet another power cord in the storage bin, and 80 Plus Bronze certification in a 380W PSU is a rarity. The fact of the matter is that many PCs don't have high-end CPUs and GPUs that need boatloads of power, but if you shop around for quality 300W PSUs for such systems, your choices become very limited.

We did a quick search on Newegg for 350W-400W PSUs like the EarthWatts Green to see what we could find. At present, there are eleven such PSUs: three "Standard" 80 Plus, seven Bronze PSUs like the Antec, and one Gold. While you might be tempted to go for the gold, so to speak, the Seasonic X Series SS-400FL comes in with a brutally high cost of $139. For that much money, you can buy three Antec EarthWatts Green PSUs (and still have $5 left for lunch after shipping)! The three 80 Plus Bronze PSUs in this range priced lower than the EarthWatts come from Raidmax, Xigmatek, and Sigma; two of those companies (Raidmax and Sigma) don't exactly have the best reputation in the quality department, and we're more than willing to pay a bit extra for the Antec EarthWatts.

What you get for your $45 is a good PSU for entry-level and midrange systems that won't be heavily overclocked or run multiple GPUs—you can still do a fair amount of overclocking if you're so inclined, though that flies in the face of being green I dare say. The cable lengths are suitable for mid-tower and smaller cases, there are sufficient connectors for the target market, and overall build quality, voltage regulation, and efficiency are very good.

There's been a distinct lack of focus on the "normal" PSU market over the past few years, with more and more companies going for the high margin 700W and higher market. Antec's back-to-basics approach with the EarthWatts line is appreciated, and the price and availability is a great value for what you get. For those that want something reasonable instead of chasing ORB and overclocking records, the Antec EarthWatts EA-380D is a great little PSU that's worth your dollar, and we're presenting it with our Bronze Editor's Choice award. You can buy power supplies that are more efficient, higher capacity, quieter, or cheaper, but there are tradeoffs with any one of those. The EA-380D strikes a nice balance and won't break the bank while meeting your power needs.

Ripple & Noise
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  • 8steve8 - Saturday, October 02, 2010 - link

    power consumption of 0.25A. Reply
  • azimex - Saturday, October 02, 2010 - link

    Ok, its current drawn . Txs for pointing it out. Reply
  • gvaley - Wednesday, October 06, 2010 - link

    I've seen worst. For example, "The current's power is 220V." :-) Reply
  • fausto412 - Saturday, October 02, 2010 - link

    Ok, everyone who reads Anandtech and can use one of these 380W PSUs in any of your current or future rigs please raise your hand. anyone? hello? (crickets) anybody?

    Who thought it wise to waste their time reviewing this? I won't even read it.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Saturday, October 02, 2010 - link

    Everyone who builds HTPC's raises hands and applies cluebats. Reply
  • bwj - Saturday, October 02, 2010 - link

    I have a Core i7 CPU, 12GB of memory, six hard drives, three SSDs, and two video cards with a 300W power supply. Reply
  • Samus - Saturday, October 02, 2010 - link

    I enjoyed the review, especially its technical component layout. It's nice to see Antec is making quality affordable, unlike PCP&C which makes quality unaffordable :) Reply
  • najames - Saturday, October 02, 2010 - link

    I think you'd be surprised at the number of people using this size of power supply or even smaller. A lot of people even run dinky Pico power supplies. I have a couple rigs using 330W Seasonics, but I should be using even smaller supplies. I don't play ANY video games onboard video is fine for media server, or computers that crunch data.

    If I have a media server with a i3 530 that draws 35W idle and 100W load, I'd want a small power supply to make it run in the 80% efficiency range if possible. I'm looking to build a new one and am going to read the article. Even if it is not the power supply I want, I might still learn something.
    Reply
  • mindless1 - Saturday, October 02, 2010 - link

    The only system you should need a > 380W PSU in is your gaming rig. Since you can't play games on more than one system at a time, the rest of your systems won't need it unless you're a quite extreme overclocker. Reply
  • Leyawiin - Saturday, October 02, 2010 - link

    I appreciate this review. I build a lot of basic PCs for friends and family that don't need what I have. Reply

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