Articles: Cases/PSU

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The EarthWatts EA-500 offers the following cables and connectors:

  • Mainboard cable with a 20+4-pin connector (47cm)
  • CPU cable with a 4-pin connector (50cm)
  • CPU cable with a 8-pin connector (50cm)
  • Two graphics card cables with 6-pin connectors (50cm)
  • One cable with three Molex connectors and one floppy-drive plug (53+16+16+16cm)
  • One cable with three Molex connectors (52+16+16cm)
  • Two cables with two SATA power connectors on each (51+15cm)

A nylon pipe is put on the mainboard cable. The other cables are just tied with straps. The selection of connectors is good. There are two cables with SATA plugs so that you could connect your DVD drive and HDDs without adapters, and there are two cables for graphics cards.

Together with an APC SmartUPS SC 620 this power supply worked at loads up to 347W (from the mains) and 335W (from the battery).

The EarthWatts EA-500 passed the full load test successfully.

The output voltage ripple is within the permissible limits at maximum load. There are spikes at the moments of switching of the PSU’s power transistors but these won’t do you any harm.

The cross-load characteristics aren’t very neat. The +12V voltage grows up when there is a high load on the +5V rail while the +5V voltage itself sags then. Anyway, none of the three voltages deflects more than 3% from the nominal value with my reference PC configuration (its four operation modes are marked with the crosses). This proves again that the wattage ratings of current PSUs far exceed the actual requirements of modern PCs.

The fan management system differs but little from the one of the EA-380. The fan speed remains constant at 1250rpm until a load of 200W and then grows up linearly. The fan is audible at loads over 250-300W. At lower loads it is very quiet.

The efficiency is about 85% through a wide range of loads. It lowers to 82% at near-maximum loads.

Thus, the EarthWatts EA-500 is good electrically (its cross-load characteristics are not perfect but proved to be just fine for my reference configuration) and quiet. But should you prefer it to the other models? As you can see, it is not superior to the cheaper EA-380 in anything except for the maximum allowable load. Do you really need that much power? A serious gaming system with a Core 2 Duo E6850, a Radeon HD 3870 graphics card, and four HDDs won’t utilize even half the capacity of a 500W PSU!

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