Articles: Cases/PSU

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Gigabyte Odin GT GE-S550A-D1 (550W)

This PSU is similar to the above-discussed Odin Pro in its parameters, yet it is actually unique. It’s the first time we ever test such a PSU in our labs.

You may remember our review of the AcBel LCD Power Supply that was shipped with a small module to be installed into a 3.5” bay. The module reported the current status of the PSU such as load, temperature, and fan speed. A remarkable feature, the module could be connected to a USB port so that its data could be read by software.

The Gigabyte Odin GT develops this approach much further. This PSU has a USB interface it can be connected to the PC it powers up with. As opposed to the AcBel PSU, there is no need for a dedicated module, while the software monitoring and configuring options for the PSU have been expanded greatly. Running a little ahead, I should confess these options are actually exhaustive. It’s hard to imagine anything you could add more into your PSU.

In my tests I connected the PSU to a USB port of the PC configured like follows:

  • Elitegroup RS480-M mainboard (ATi Radeon Xpress 200 chipset)
  • AMD Athlon 64 3000+ CPU
  • 1GB PC3200 DDR SDRAM
  • IBM ICL35L080AVVA hard disk
  • Microsoft Windows XP SP2

A CD with the control program, called Power Tuner, is included with the PSU. You don’t need a driver to power up the PC with this power supply, though.

Having connected the PSU to a USB port (it is identified by the OS as a USB HID) and installed Power Tuner, I saw the following:

Thus, Power Tuner reports real-time information about:

  • Current and maximum (during the session) total load on the PSU
  • Voltage on each of the PSU’s outputs
  • Current on each of the PSU’s outputs
  • Speed of the PSU fan
  • Speed of an external fan
  • PSU temperature
  • Temperature of four external sensors

That’s a lot of info indeed. You can even learn not only the total load but the load on each of the power rails individually! I wonder how the PSU manufacturers will now be explaining the customer the need to buy 1000W and higher PSUs.

Power Tuner is accurate enough. Its showings differed by slightly from the results I obtained on our testbed, especially for large numbers (wattages higher than 100W and currents higher than 5A).

Besides the monitoring screen, Power Tuner has two more sections:

As you can see, the Odin GT not only provides information about the PSU’s status but also allows to control the speed of its fan. The latter has two operation modes: constant speed or a linear growth of speed depending on PSU temperature. Power Tuner allows you to select the specific speed for the first mode or the point of switching into the second mode. Besides three preset variants you can specify both parameters manually by moving the sliders near the fan speed graph.

Choose the necessary mode and click Ok to send your choice to the PSU.

Finally, the third section of the Power Tuner tool allows setting thresholds for the warning signal. As you can see, the thresholds can be based on total load, on currents and voltages of individual outputs, fan speed or PSU temperature.

Unfortunately, Power Tuner offers abundant options in a very inconvenient interface. The program window is overloaded with various decorations that distract your eyes from the data and slow the GUI down – the program switches between its screens with visible jerks.

I hope Gigabyte’s programmers will polish this tool off so that its pretty appearance wouldn’t affect the ease of use. And now let’s take a look at the actual PSU.

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