Articles: Cases/PSU

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Gold is highly popular among power supply makers. On one hand, the precious metal has been attracting people for centuries and, on the other hand, every PSU maker deems it a matter of personal pride to reach the highest grade of the 80+PLUS certification which has been split up into Bronze, Silver and Gold categories.

So, we’ve got such products as Seasonic X Gold (reviewed already and soon to be reexamined in our labs) or Cooler Master Pro Gold (it will hopefully reach us soon). In the name of the product I am going to review today the English word is just replaced with its Latin equivalent Aurum. Of course, there are a lot of references to gold on the product packaging and in the promotional materials. After all, some users may just not know Latin or the chemical element Au.

Well, my job is not to refresh your school chemistry course but to test new power supplies from FSP. So, let’s get started.

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. 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.

FSP Aurum AU-700

The Aurum family is split in two subseries depending on whether the PSU has detachable or fixed cables. The Aurum products with fixed cables range from a 400W model to this 700W one.

The PSU comes in a nice-looking gold-and-black box. FSP prints a special wrapper for each model, so the wattage rating and product name can be found all over the packaging rather than on a sticker somewhere in a corner.

The product’s numerous advantages are detailed on the back of the box. Besides enumerating the PSU’s connectors, the length of each cable is also indicated, which may be important for many users.

Here are the advantages listed on the box:

  • MIA IC is FSP’s very own exclusive chipset. Its description you can read here seems to have been compiled with the single purpose of confusing the buyer with an abundance of abstruse terms because, for example, it’s hard to grasp the importance of “maximum protection to Capacitor” in the PFC device. I’ve never seen a PSU with a ruptured PFC capacitor. Besides, it is more important for the user that his computer rather than a 2-dollar jar of electrolyte in his PSU be protected against overvoltage.
  • The Arrow Flow vent grid makes it easier for the hot air to leave the PSU. The arrow-shaped grid is indeed pretty but, frankly speaking, air flows better when there are fewer obstacles in its way. So, if the arrows were transformed into, for example, squares by cutting off the extra metal, the PSU would be cooled even better.
  • The Hybrid Synergy 12V Rail Design is supposed to ensure maximum compatibility with graphics cards. People at FSP don't seem to understand the meaning of this innovation themselves because this feature goes without a translation or explanation on the company's Russian website. In practice, although the PSU is declared to have and really has (at least, there are appropriate shunts on the PCB) four "virtual" +12V lines with a max current of 18A each, I could not trigger the protection. Any single line could work at a continuous load of 35 amperes as well as cope with almost instantaneous spikes from 0 to 35 amperes.
  • Active PFC, Japan-made capacitors rated for 105°C, a fan with fluid dynamic bearing, and a set of protection mechanisms are typical features of any high-quality PSU of the 2011 model year.
  • The efficiency is specified to be over 90%. I will check this out in my tests.
  • The noise level is 25 to 40 dB. That’s quite a lot. For example, Seasonic promises that its X Gold series makes only 16 dB of noise in quiet mode at loads up to 50% from the maximum. Cooler Master promises 20 dBA with its Pro Gold series under the same conditions.

The accessories are rather scanty.

We've got the following things here: an installation guide in multiple languages, four screws, three cable straps, a Power by FSP sticker, and a power cable. Well, what else could they have put with a PSU?

The PSU itself is even prettier than its packaging. It’s got a black case with a rough surface, a number of vent grids, including the Arrow Flow grid in the side panel, and a beige (this must be meant to be golden) plastic piece on the fan.

The back panel is blank except for the dozen vent grids shaped as arrows. Take note of the consistency of design: the plastic rim of the opening for cables follows the overall style with its angular shape and beige color.

The interior of the PSU makes it clear that it has nothing in common with the popular Epsilon series.

It’s quite roomy inside. The medium-sized black heatsink decorates the power components of the PFC device and main transformer whereas the tiny silvery one (higher in the photo) cools the transistors of the +12V synchronous rectifier. Well, I do believe in the efficiency of over 90% after seeing such heatsinks.

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