Articles: Cases/PSU
 

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About one year ago we reviewed a few power supplies from Chieftec but the newer A135 series (its models have names like APS-xxxS and APS-xxxC) had not made it into our labs back then. We’ll cover it now. Besides, we will discuss the Chieftec CFT-600-14CS model which has an extra letter in its name compared to the previously tested products. So, we will also explain you the difference between the CFT-xxx-14CS and the CFT-xxx-14C power supplies.

Testing Methodology

Click the following link for a 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 In-Depth. If you feel overwhelmed with the numbers and terms this review abounds in, refer to an appropriate section of the mentioned article for explanation.

You can also go to our Cooling/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 PSU can meet the requirements of a real-life PC.

Chieftec A135 Series: APS-550S

The first product to be discussed in this review represents the A135 series which includes power supplies ranging from 350 to 850 watts. It splits up into two partially overlapping subseries: one going from 350 to 550 watts and another from 500 to 850 watts.

The PSU comes in a small cardboard box. The text on the box enumerates various benefits of this power supply but fails to mention any specific characteristics.

The UL certificate number of E320351 indicates that this power supply was manufactured for Chieftec by Sirfa whose products have already been tested in our labs. If this name does not ring any bells with you, I can inform you that Sirfa was founded two years ago out of a Sirtec fab. And Sirtec itself should be familiar to you by our PSU reviews.

Exterior and Interior Design, Cables and Connectors

The PSU has a plain gray case of a nearly standard size. It is 160 millimeters long, making it possible to install a 140mm fan. Take note of the shape of the case around the fan: Chieftec seems to have adopted Enermax’s idea of making the gap between the case and the fan smaller in order to lower the latter’s noise (by a couple of decibels, according to Enermax).

You can see a typical layout of a modern PSU inside: the power components reside on three heatsinks which are simple smooth aluminum bars. This should be enough for cooling considering the high efficiency and low power dissipation of the PSU’s electronics. The PFC device is active. There is no dedicated voltage regulation here.

The PSU uses Teapo capacitors which enjoy a good reputation, so you can expect a long service life from it. The quality of assembly and soldering is overall good.

The PSU has the following cables and connectors:

  • Mainboard cable with a 24-pin connector (42 centimeters long)
  • CPU cable with 8- and 4-pin connectors (41+16 cm)
  • Graphics card cable with two 6-pin connectors (41+16 cm)
  • One cable with three Molex connectors and one floppy-drive plug (41+15+15+15 cm)
  • Two cables with three SATA power connectors on each (42+16+16 cm)

I have some critical remarks about this selection of cables and connectors. There is no second graphics card connector although the PSU can easily power up senior graphics cards with two power plugs. And the cables are rather short. They may prove not long enough to connect HDDs in a large computer case. In system cases with a bottom PSU compartment which are becoming more and more popular, the CPU cable is going to be almost certainly too short.

Specifications

The PSU is rated for an output power up to 550 watts and can yield up to 450 watts across its +12V rail. Thus, its effective output power (i.e. what you can get from it in a real computer that consumes mostly from the +12V power rail) is about 500 watts, which is good. The +12V rail is split into two “virtual” lines, 25 amperes each.

 
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