Articles: Cases/PSU
 

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You can see the following cables and connectors here:

  • Mainboard cable with a 20+4-pin connector (25cm)
  • CPU cable with a 4-pin connector (27cm)
  • Two cables with two Molex connectors on each (13+13cm)
  • One cable with two SATA power connectors (13+13cm)
  • One cable with one SATA power connector (13cm)
  • Cable from the PSU fan’s tachometer (64cm)

The cables are tied together with nylon straps.

Of course, the small length of the cables is not a drawback for this PSU because the AR-350 is optimized for a specific system case. The cables prove to be just long enough to connect every component in the NSK1380. The lack of a graphics card connector is the only downside as you have to use an adapter. This can be explained, though. As we noted in our review of the system case, it can accommodate either three HDDs and a compact graphics card or two HDDs and a full-size graphics card. Considering the small dimensions of the system case, it is logical for the PSU to have only Molex connectors that are used for both configurations directly or via an adapter.

There were no problems when the PSU was working under full load for a long while.

The cross-load characteristics are normal enough for a PSU with joint voltage regulation. I can’t see any serious problems here. The +5V voltage sags under high load but even my “reference” configuration with four HDDs and a full-size mainboard (you can’t fit neither into the NSK1380 due to obvious reasons) cannot sag this voltage more than 3%. Of course, the system is perfectly stable. The diagram shows that the PSU has a large reserve of power in both Prime95 and 3DMark06 modes.

This again reminds me of the exaggerated notions of some PC enthusiasts about the amount of power a PC needs. I am quite sure I would be advised to buy a 500W or higher PSU for my testbed configuration if I asked for an opinion at hardware forums. However, I have a solid reserve of power on the 350W PSU. It is more than enough for normal operation even considering the inevitable degradation of PSU characteristics with time.

The output voltage ripple is normal at full load, the ideal calm being occasionally disturbed by individual spikes.

The fan speed is nearly constant at loads below 250W. Then it begins to grow up linearly. As a result, the PSU is almost silent when the PC is idle and quiet when the PC is under load.

The graph above was recorded when the PSU was working in the open air. I had had some apprehensions that the acceleration point would move leftwards in the cramped and rather hot NSK1380 system case. Fortunately, I was wrong. The speed of the PSU fan was not higher than 950rpm when idle and 1100rpm under 3DMark06 when I assembled a nearly-maximum configuration in the NSK1380 including two WD Raptors, 4GB of memory, a Radeon HD 3870 and a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo (65nm).

The PSU shows good efficiency: 85% at the maximum and over 80% through almost the entire range of loads. The power factor is typical for a PSU with active power factor correction.

Thus, the Antec AR-350 is a good mainstream power supply featuring good electrical parameters and quiet operation. As you know from our earlier review, the super-compact Antec NSK1380 system case this PSU is meant for can accommodate rather advanced gaming configurations. And now you can be sure that such a configuration will have more than enough of power.

 
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