Articles: Cases/PSU

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Thus, the PSU can be connected either to an onboard USB port of the mainboard or to an external port (using the included extension cord).

The PSU is rated for a total load of 550W. It can yield 492W via its +12V power rail.

With all the similarity in their designs, the Odin GT is perfectly compatible with UPSes, unlike the Odin Pro. Together with an APC SmartUPS SC 620 the power supply worked at loads up to 360W (from both the mains and the batteries). There were no problems with switching to the batteries.

The PSU also worked well at its full output power, 550W.

The output voltage ripple is within the permissible limits.

The cross-load characteristics of this PSU are superb. The industry standard allows the voltages to deflect by 5% from the nominal values, but the Odin GT only exceeds a 2% deflection at extremely high or extremely low loads.

I measured the speed of the fan having selected the Normal mode in Power Tuner. The speed was about 830rpm at loads up to 270W. Then it started to grow up steadily, reaching 1300rpm at the maximum. So, the PSU is very quiet even without manual adjustments.

I also made sure that the switching of fan modes in Power Tuner and the manual selection of the fan speed in the same program had an immediate effect. The minimum and maximum speeds of the fan you can select are 830rpm and 2000rpm, respectively.

The PSU is over 85% efficient. Its power factor is as high as 0.99.

I think that such technologies, which make it much simpler to build powerful, reliable yet quiet PCs, are even more important that the traditional performance growth estimated in hertz, bytes and watts. If this approach is not limited to a few expensive models, but takes off for real, PC integrators and users will get an excellent tool for measuring the appropriateness of the PSU for a particular PC system. The myths about the necessity of extremely-high-wattage power supplies exist only because it’s hard to perform such a measurement.

The perspectives of an advanced monitoring system are clear even with the first such PSU we’ve ever met with. The Gigabyte Odin GT easily surpasses “smart” models with the indication of consumed power and fan speed control, leaving no chance to them at all. Two capabilities of the Odin GT are especially valuable: the manual selection of the fan speed allows to make an optimal choice between cooling efficiency and quiet operation. The monitoring of currents on the different power rails helps you see if this PSU is appropriate for your system.

I guess the addition of such a system into the PSU is not going to make the latter much more expensive to manufacture. A universal monitoring and control module can be based on one, rather inexpensive, microcontroller with a minimum of accompanying elements.

One thing I’d like to complain about is the software included with the Odin GT. Its clumsy and slow interface doesn’t make the user’s experience enjoyable.

Talking about the Odin GT, I can also recall the recently announced ESA technology from Nvidia. It extends such an approach to all of the PC’s vital components, including the power supply. In Nvidia’s vision, the existing various software and hardware monitoring and control features, often incompatible with each other, should be replaced with a unified open architecture that would allows controlling and regulating the thermal, electric and acoustic parameters of the PC. In other words, it would keep track of the temperature of each component and adjust the fan speed accordingly as well as warn the user about possible failures due to overheat or lack of power. Although the Odin GT doesn’t belong to the ESA architecture, its concept is very similar and provides a preview of how transparent a modern PC can be with such technologies.

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