This roundup covers power supply units for midrange and entry-level computers. Such models start from a modest wattage of 300W and a price of $20. Some of the products tested – the Ascot and InWin models, to be exact – come to the market not only individually but also together with same-brand system cases that have earned a reputation for a good quality at an appealing price.
Of course, I couldn’t help including a couple of high-wattage 750W PSUs for enthusiasts and owners of large system cases (you know, it is hard to fit a 500W or higher PSU into a small PC case, see our article called 1000W Power Supply Unit Roundup for details) – you’ll find them at the end of this article.
HEC (Ascot) Silent Pro A-360 (360W) and A-420 (420W)
Ascot is a trademark of HEC/Compucase that is known for turning out products with an appealing price/quality ratio. These PSUs are somewhat more expensive than average, but the high quality and functionality justify the pricing. On the other hand, Ascot PSUs are free from decorations (such as highlighting, transparent windows, etc) and meet the requirements of practical people who just need a good product that works.
Ascot PSUs come together with same-name system cases as well as individually but it is the same PSUs. Moreover, the internal design of the models with different wattage ratings is very similar, so I’ll discuss the A-360 and A-420 both together here.
The PSUs are nothing extraordinary on the outside: a plain gray housing and a punched-out grid of the 120mm fan. The design of the housing is somewhat uncommon, though. A U-shaped cover is usually secured with four screws (five in FSP Group’s products), but there are as many as nine screws here. Perhaps this allows to use a thinner sheet of metal since the additional screws ensure the necessary rigidity and the lack of rattle.
The internal design is ordinary, too. These PSUs lack Power Factor Correction (PFC): active PFC is not provided for even theoretically while the choke of passive PFC is just not installed in the corner. The output voltages are regulated jointly. A UC3843B chip is used as the main PWM-controller; the standby source is based on a TNY267PN chip.
I could find no fault with the quality of assembly and soldering. Everything is neat and tidy here.
The PSUs both comply with the ATX12V 2.0 standard. The combined allowable load on the +12V rail is 25A for the 360W model and 29A for the 420W model. That’s exactly what the standard recommends for PSUs of such wattages.
The PSUs have the following cables and connectors:
- Mainboard cable with a 20+4 connector (44cm long)
- CPU cable with a 4-pin connector (45cm)
- One cable with one 6-pin connector for graphics cards in the A-360 and two such connectors in the A-420 (45cm)
- Two cables with two Molex connectors and one mini-plug for a floppy drive on each (45+19+19cm)
- One cable with one SATA power connector and two Molex connectors in the A-360 and with two SATA and two Molex connectors in the A-420 (45cm from the PSU to the first connector and 19cm to each next connector)
The mainboard cable is sleeved; the other cables are tied up with nylon straps.
The problem I can see here is that the PSUs have too few power connectors for SATA devices. I think that a modern PSU can do just fine with only two Molex plugs but must have more SATA connectors. This is a problem indeed since these PSUs are installed into the full-size Ascot 6AR2 and 6AR6 system cases that can accommodate more than a couple of hard disk drives.
You can read the UL certificate number at the bottom of the label: E199442. This denotes Compucase Enterprise Co., Ltd.