Articles: Cases/PSU

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The products to be discussed in this review are the senior models of power supplies from three different manufacturers. They are senior not only in terms of wattage rating but also in terms of technologies employed. The three makers claim that these PSUs are cutting-edge products with innovative and even unique circuit design solutions. I can’t help seeing into the matter with my own eyes because today’s peak of progress is tomorrow’s mainstream.

The promised innovations are not merely cosmetic like a new coloring of the cooling fan or something. They lie deeper, on the level of circuit design and switching power supply fundamentals. Therefore I will expand on the most interesting things as best I can. I will not just quote promo materials (for example, those of the Seasonic model list the honeycomb structure of the vent grid among its key features although 95% or something of mainstream and top-range PSUs have it) nor will I dismantle the PSU into its constituents and enumerate the transistors and diodes employed (this is a laborious but rather useless job because the brands of transistors can only be interesting for people who repair PSUs). I will instead focus on the features of the PSUs’ circuit design that differentiate them from yesterday’s products and will illustrate them with circuit diagrams (somewhat simplified in comparison with the real PSU). This will help you understand not what transistors are in the PSU but rather why they are in there and why the PSU manufacturer calls this an advantage.

Some basic knowledge of electronics, at least about the purpose of electronic schematics and the meaning of individual components in them, is necessary to understand the appropriate sections (called Circuit Design in the PSUs’ descriptions).

But if you are just looking for a good PSU and do not want to bother about its in-depth peculiarities, you can just skip over the electronics-related sections because the rest of the review is written according to our traditional easy-to-comprehend style.

Testing Methodology

Click the following link for a description of our testing methodology and equipment and a brief explanation of what the specified and tested parameters of power supplies mean: X-bit Labs Presents: Power Supply Units Testing Methodology In-Depth. If you feel overwhelmed with the numbers and terms this review abounds in, refer to an appropriate section of the mentioned article for explanation.

As we have promised, from now on we will mark the actual power consumption of several full systems on the cross-load diagrams, so that you could better estimate if the given power supply unit suits better for any of these configurations. We will mark only the maximum recorded power consumption during simultaneous launch of Prime’95 and FurMark programs.

There will be up to three marks on each diagram corresponding to power consumption of three system configurations as discussed in our article called PC Power Consumption: How Many Watts Do We Need?:

  1. Gaming PC (Intel C2D E8600 and Radeon HD 4850)
  2. High-end gaming PC №1 (Intel Core i7 920 and GeForce GTX 260)
  3. High-end gaming PC №2 (Intel Core i7 920 and GeForce GTX 295)

You can read more about the testing methodology and systems configuration in the above mentioned article. If the system power consumption is higher than the PSU capacity, it is not marked on the diagram.

You can also go to our Cooling/PSU section to check out reviews of other PSU models we have tested in our labs.

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