Midrange power supply units are always in demand because users of entry-level PCs often want to have some reserve of wattage in case of potential upgrades whereas midrange PC configurations such PSUs are specifically designed for are always popular and widespread, too.
In this review of six midrange PSUs we'll take a look at two pairs of products from Antec and Chieftec and at one model from HIPRO and OCZ each. Notwithstanding comparable wattage ratings, the most expensive of them (Antec EarthWatts EA-650 Platinum) costs more than twice as much as the most affordable (HIPRO HP-D5201AW). So, there’s something to choose from and we are going to find out if you can save some money without sacrificing much in terms of product characteristics.
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.
Antec High Current Gamer HCG-620M
We already tested a lower-wattage model from this series. It was the Antec High Current Gamer HCG-520. The model we’re going to take a look now differs in wattage and also has an additional letter M in its name which refers to its modular design.
The packaging is somewhat different from the junior model’s, yet Antec's corporate mix of black and yellow is unmistakable.
The PSU comes in a pouch but the latter’s quality isn‘t high. The material is cheap and there are no strings to tie it up. The rest of the accessories are perfectly standard: a user guide, some fasteners, a mains cord, and detachable cables in a plastic pack.
Except for the detachable cables, the HCG-620M looks just like the previously tested HCG-520 with its black and red color scheme and angular fan grid with Antec logo.
On the back panel we can see an On/Off switch and a sticker with the PSU’s wattage rating and the manufacturer’s name. The word “Antec” is also pressed out in the metal of one of the side panels. The PSU case lacks any other vents save for the fan cutout and the honeycomb mesh in its back.
The HCG-620M turns out to be very much alike to the HCG-520 inside as well. It shares the same Seasonic S12-II Bronze platform (the modular cables might suggest the M12-II Bronze series but the latter has a split +12V rail and a different design of the modular connectors).
So, like its junior cousin, the HCG-620M features active PFC and lacks dedicated voltage regulation.
It’s got the same controllers, too: a PS223 supervisor and a PFC & PWM controller Infineon ICE1CS02. Both chips reside on daughter cards, one of which is near the mains connector and another, behind the large input capacitor.
The quality of assembly is high as is typical of Seasonic.
The PSU employs capacitors from United Chemi-Con which enjoy a blameless reputation.
There is also a single capacitor from Rubycon, whose reputation is brilliant as well, in the output circuitry.
Cables and Connectors
The Antec High Current Gamer HCG-620M is equipped with the following cables and connectors:
- One mainboard cable with a 20+4-pin connector (54 cm)
- One CPU cable with a 4+4-pin connector (62 cm)
- Four universal PCIe/HDD connectors
- Two HDD connectors
The HDD connectors have one row of five pins whereas the PCIe/HDD connectors have two rows of five pins and, as their marking suggests, can be used for the power cables with SATA and PATA connectors, too.
Included with the PSU are:
- Two graphics card cables with one 6+2-pin connector on each (55 cm)
- One cable with three PATA power connectors and one floppy-drive plug (55+15+15+15 cm)
- One cable with three PATA power connectors (55+15+15 cm)
- Two cables with three SATA power connectors on each (55+15+15 cm)
So, the PSU offers a sufficient selection of cables which are all of adequate length. By the way, the CPU power cable of the HCG-620M is 5 centimeters longer than the original Seasonic’s, which can make a difference in a system case with bottom PSU bay.
Without any surprises the specifications coincide with those of the original 620-watt model of the Seasonic S12-II series. The specs are up to today’s requirements. The PSU can deliver over 90% of its full output power across the +12V rail while the load capacity of the +3.3V and +5V rails is limited to a rather modest level of 130 watts.
If you take a closer look at the specification block, you may notice a black sticker covering one of the certification icons. We couldn't help removing it:
The black sticker above one of the certification icons covers the Russian Rospromtest badge. The PSU series must have not yet passed that certification when this sample was manufactured.