Articles: Cases/PSU

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PSUs with ratings of 600 to 700 watts enjoy higher demand than their higher-wattage counterparts we discussed in our previous review. They can easily power a rather advanced PC configuration with one top-end graphics card or a couple of mainstream GPUs, even if overclocked. There’re a lot of gaming computers like that because few people are ready to shell out for two top-end graphics cards at once. And today we are going to have a look at an affordable Chieftec, a series of three PSUs from Cooler Master, Corsair models from three different series, and one Zalman.

Testing Methodology

The following article offers a detailed description of our testing methodology and equipment and a brief explanation of what the specified and tested parameters of power supplies mean: X-bit Labs Presents: Power Supply Units Testing Methodology. If you feel overwhelmed with the numbers and terms this review abounds in, refer to the Methodology.

You can also go to our Cases/PSU section to check out reviews of all other PSU models we have tested in our labs.

We will mark the actual power consumption of three system configurations (discussed in our article PC Power Consumption: How Many Watts Do We Need?) in the cross-load diagrams. This will help you see if the tested PSU can meet the requirements of a real-life PC.

Testing Participants

Chieftec CTG-650C

This PSU is most affordable for a semi-modular model with a wattage rating of 650 watts.

The Chieftec CTG-650C is shipped in a medium-sized box which is designed in a uniform way for all three models in the series. The specific model is indicated with a red checkmark in the list on the box. The CTG-650C is a midrange model since the series also includes 550W and 750W products.

There are no extra accessories in the box. You only get a user manual (traditionally for Chieftec, it refers to two different PSU series, A80 and A85), a mains cord, screws and modular cables.

Exterior Design

The CTG-650C looks simpler than Chieftec’s more expensive PSU series. Its painted surface isn’t excessively rough, the metal of its case is thinner and its fan is only 120 mm in diameter.

The specifications table we’ve seen on the side panel is duplicated on the PSU’s bottom. The back panel is a honeycomb mesh. An On/Off switch can be seen next to the mains connector.

Circuit Design

The Chieftec CTG-650C features high component density inside. Its design peculiarities and specified electrical parameters suggest that its actual maker is Sirfa. We mean the High Power Performance Pro series with some modifications: no support for the full input voltage range, a smaller fan, no fan connectors, and modular design. Together with CWT, Sirfa is the main contract manufacturer for Chieftec.

The three chokes in the output circuitry area indicate dedicated voltage regulation based on magnetic amplifiers. Thus, the Chieftec CTG-650C is functionally close to the more expensive Chieftec BPS-650C: semi-modular design, dedicated voltage regulation, active PFC and the same output power.

The CM6800TX chip located on a daughter card next to the large input capacitor serves as a PFC & PWM controller.

The PS223 supervisor chip is responsible for monitoring and protection.

The Chieftec CTG-650C employs high-quality Teapo capacitors at the output.

Cables and Connectors

The Chieftec CTG-650C is equipped with the following cables and connectors:

  • One mainboard cable with a 24-pin connector (45 cm)
  • One CPU cable with an 8-pin and a 4-pin connector (56+15 cm)
  • Two connectors for graphics cards
  • Four connectors for other peripherals

Included with the PSU are:

  • Two power cables for graphics cards with one 6+2-pin connector on each (50 cm)
  • Two cables with two PATA power connectors and a floppy-drive plug on each (46+15+15 cm)
  • Two cables with three SATA power connectors on each (46+16+16 cm)

The cable system is okay for a PSU of that class, yet we can note a few shortcomings. The CPU power cable is rather too short (counting to the 8-pin connector). You won’t be able to power two graphics cards with two 6-pin power connectors each without adapters (but, considering the rather low load capacity of the +12V rail, the PSU doesn’t seem optimal for such dual-GPU configurations anyway). And since one SATA power cable goes to the optical drive, you only have the other cable with three SATA connectors for your HDDs and SSDs.

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