Articles: Cases/PSU

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The PSU’s cross-load diagrams look good but the +5V voltage fluctuates rather too much. Yet even this voltage goes out of the allowable limits in a very small range of loads in the top left of the diagram. Such a misbalance just cannot occur in a modern computer where most of the system is powered by the +12V rail. The +12V rail on its part does well, deflecting by no more than 2% from the nominal value most of the time.

This model has voltage spikes on the +3.3V rail, too. On the other power rails the pulsation is within the allowable limits (which are 50 millivolts for the +5V rail and 120 millivolts for the +12V rail). So, the PSU passes this test, yet with considerable difficulty.

The PSU uses a 120mm fan from Yen Sun Technology (also known as YSTech). This model, KM121225LS, is not listed at the manufacturer’s website, though.

The speed of the fan is changing steadily from 1200 to 2050rpm. Comparing this graph to the one of the A-360 you get another refutation of the popular notion that “the higher the wattage, the quieter the PSU is”. In practice, the manufacturers often achieve the desired higher wattage by installing a higher-performance fan. As a result, a high-wattage PSU proves to be louder than a low-wattage one, especially at low loads, despite having identical speed control circuits.

By the way, the A-460 easily worked under full load: there was but a small difference between the input and output temperatures and I didn’t spot any sign of overheat.

The PSU is only 1% more efficient than the lower-wattage models. This difference fits within the measurement error range as well as within the fluctuation of parameters between different samples of the same PSU, so the A-460 didn’t conquer the 80% peak, either. Its power factor is close to 0.7, which is a good result for a PSU lacking any power factor correction, yet much worse than the power factor of over 0.95 provided by models with active PFC.

Thus, the Ascot A-460 surpassed its low-wattage mates (I mean the A-360 and A-420), delivering more stable voltages and problem-free operation at full load. Its shortcoming is the shortage of SATA connectors (you’ll have to use adapters if you’ve got more than one SATA drive) and a higher level of noise in comparison with the A-360. It means that you shouldn’t try to get a PSU of as high wattage as possible. Instead, you should estimate the needs of your PC realistically and if those needs can be satisfied with a 350W power source (not only office-oriented systems but also rather advanced home PCs with a good CPU and a single graphics card fall within this category), the Ascot A-360 is going to be a better choice.

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