Chieftec Power Supply Units Roundup

In our today’s roundup we would like to talk about power supply units from Chieftec. We will discuss the features and performance of 10 models ranging from 400W to 1200W.

by Oleg Artamonov
03/25/2009 | 06:35 PM

This roundup covers ten power supply units (PSUs) from the well-respected Chieftec or, to be exact, selling under the Chieftec brand. The number of products sounds impressive but these PSUs are actually based on three platforms only. Therefore I will discuss them in three groups.

 

The first group includes the 400W, 450W and 500W models currently shipped together with Chieftec system cases. The second group consists of Turbo Power series PSUs that not only have higher wattage ratings but also sell as boxed products separately from system cases. And finally, the Super Power series includes the highest-wattage power supplies from Chieftec.

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, check out an appropriate section of the mentioned article for explanation.

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

Chieftec GPS-400AA-101A, GPS-450AA-101A, GPS-500AB-A

I will begin by discussing the power supplies you can find in Chieftec’s system cases. Currently, these models range in wattage from 400 through 500 watts. Although the 500W model has a different suffix than the other two, there are more similarities than differences between them.

The actual maker of these PSUs is Delta Electronics. Its “native” products have the same names.

Exterior Design


GPS-400AA-101A и GPS-450AA-101A

The first two models differ with the labels only. Each has a bare steel housing and is cooled with a 120mm fan.


GPS-500AB-A

The senior model can be easily confused with the junior ones: the external difference boils down to the use of a highlighted on/off switch and somewhat different positioning of the fan.

Circuit Design

The three power supplies are all based on the same platform. It is even hard to distinguish between the 400W and 450W models by their innards because most of their components are identical.


GPS-400AA-101A


GPS-450AA-101A

This is a perfectly typical design of a modern inexpensive power supply. You can see an active PFC choke on the right, next to the black pot of a high-voltage capacitor. A small additional card is installed at the edge of the main PCB – it carries a PFC controller. Power semiconductor components (inverter’s transistors and rectifier’s diodes) are placed on two aluminum heatsinks of a rather modest size. Two toroidal chokes of the output filter can be seen on the left. It means that the PSU has joint voltage regulation. Otherwise, there would be three chokes. A card with a fan speed controller and overload protection circuitry is on the far left and obscured by wires.

 The difference between the 400W and 450W units is in the ratings of their capacitors. They have 270µF and 330µF capacitors, respectively, at the input.

I can find no fault with the quality of assembly. Everything is neat and tidy here. Large components are all fastened with drops of white glue which prevents them from moving about during transportation or usage.


GPS-500AB-A

The senior model differs but slightly from the other two. Its heatsinks are larger and there is now a small new heatsink on the diode bridge (in the top right of the photo). The fan controller card on the right is different, too. You will see shortly if this makes any practical difference.

Cables and Connectors

The 400W and 450W models are equipped with the same set of cables and connectors:

That’s all rather disappointing, actually. Chieftec is known to produce big system cases intended for a large number of hard disk drives, something like a small-office server or a file server on a home LAN. However, the bundled power supply does not allow connecting many drives unless you use adapters. Moreover, you will be barely able to connect one HDD and one optical drive with SATA interface because both SATA connectors are on the same cable and at a distance of only 15 centimeters from each other.

Such PSUs would be appropriate in a microATX system case for an office computer, but not in a tower with detachable cages for HDDs. The 450W model can even be found in huge Big Tower cases with eight HDD bays, its two SATA connectors looking just like a bad joke then. And on the other hand, 450 watts of power should indeed be quite enough for a file server with half a dozen HDDs.

It is better with the GPS-500AB-A which has:

Well, this power supplies comes with Big Tower cases that have eight HDD bays and six 5.25-inch bays for optical drives. Does Chieftec mean that a huge system case (67 centimeters tall) is only good for installing one graphics card with two power connectors, one optical drive, and a couple of hard disks? I guess people who buy such a system case will have to replace the power supply.

I want to add a few words about the design of the cables.

As you can see, the mainboard cable is the only one in a nylon sleeve. The other cables are just a tangle of wires, the different wires even varying slightly in length within the same cable.

Specifications

The junior model has typical specifications of a modern ATX12V 2.0 power supply: a total continuous output power of 400W, out of which the PSU can provide 348W via the +12V power rail split into two “virtual” lines.

Interestingly, the 450W model has the same allowable load on the +12V rail, i.e. 348 watts. A modern computer consumes mostly from the +12V source, so there doesn’t seem to be much sense in purchasing the 450W unit. It just won’t have any practical advantage over the 400W model.

The 500W model differs but slightly. The load capacity of its +12V rail is only 12 watts higher, which makes almost no practical difference.

So, if you are choosing a Chieftec power supply basing on the wattage rating, there is no point in preferring the 450W and 500W models to the 400W unit because they have almost the same effective load capacity.

UPS Compatibility

Power supplies manufactured by Delta Electronics are notorious for offering poor compatibility with UPSes. The problem is in their active PFC device. It is designed in such a way that at the moment of switching to the batteries it creates high short-term load on the UPS, triggering the latter’s protection. You can only solve this problem by replacing the UPS with a more advanced one (over 1000VA).

These three models are an example: neither of them could normally switch to the batteries when working together with my APC SmartUPS SC 620 even at a load of 250 watts. For comparison, power supplies with another design of active PFC or with no A-PFC altogether are compatible with this UPS at loads up to 330-360W when powered by the batteries.

So, if UPS compatibility is important to you, you will probably have to replace the native PSU of your newly bought Chieftec system case with another model.

Voltage Stability

Since each of these PSUs has joint voltage regulation, every output voltage depends not only on the load on its own power rail but also on the load on the other power rails. Let’s check out this dependence now.

The junior model delivers good, stable voltages. The voltages only violate the allowable 5% deflection when the load is greatly misbalanced towards the 5V rail, which is an impossible situation for a modern computer. The +12V voltage is good, the PSU easily delivering the specified 348W across it.

The GPS-450AA-101A draws a similar diagram except that the vertical axis has a different scale. That’s normal since these PSUs only differ in their wattage ratings but have the same circuit design.

The GPS-500AB-A isn’t good in this test. Its +12V voltage goes through the entire range from ‑5% to +5%. The performance of the 5V rail is worse, too.

So I can say it once again: there is no point in looking for the highest-wattage bundled power supply in a Chieftec system case. The specifications of the different models are very similar while the instability of the 500W model in my test makes it equal to the 450W unit in terms of effective performance.

Output Voltage Ripple

If the PSU’s output voltage ripple is high, you computer may get unstable.

The junior model has no problems in this test. The output voltage ripple is within the norm (marked to the right of the diagram) on every of the three tracked power rails.

The diagram doesn’t change much for the 450W model except that the shape of pulsation is more conspicuous now on the +5V rail.

The 500W model has lower voltage ripple on the +12V rail than the junior models, but has periodic spikes on the +5V rail. They are not dangerous at such an amplitude, though.

Fan Speed Management

The three PSUs are all equipped with the same fans. It is the D12SH-12 model from Yate Loon.

As I noted above, the senior model has a somewhat different card of the fan controller. Does it affect its noisiness?

The two junior models show the same behavior of the fan. Its speed is growing up linearly, reaching the maximum at a load of 300W. Both PSUs are noisy. The fan is audible even at minimum loads and is going to become the noisiest component in most PC configuration at loads of 150-200 watts.

Fortunately, the 500W model has a different fan controller indeed. It maintains a constant speed of the fan (1100-1200rpm) at loads below 300W and then accelerates the latter in a linear manner. This PSU might be called comfortable, if not quiet, but one of its chokes would begin to “sing” at a load of 200W and higher, producing the characteristic electric buzz. I do hope this was just a problem of the particular sample of the PSU, though.

Efficiency and Power Factor

The two junior models have the same efficiency. They are less than 80% efficient, which is very poor for modern products. On the other hand, that’s just a trifle considering the other drawbacks of these PSUs such as a scanty selection of connectors, tangled cables and noisy fans. The power factor is no good, either, not reaching even 0.95, but this parameter is unimportant for the absolute majority of users.

The senior model is somewhat better in terms of both efficiency and power factor. It is far from breaking any records, but notches 80% at least.

Summary

The biggest problem with the bundled power supplies from Chieftec is that they are no match for the system cases they are installed in. These entry-level power supplies would be appropriate for inexpensive cases (including microATX cases) that might be used for office computers. But I don’t think it is right that a huge system case capable of accommodating a dozen HDDs comes with a power supply that offers only four SATA connectors. A handful of adapters won’t make the system case more reliable or easier to assemble. Therefore, I guess you will want a different power supply if you like Chieftec’s system cases. Or you will want a smaller case if these PSUs suit your PC configuration.

There is no point in distinguishing these PSUs by their wattage ratings because my tests show that they have nearly the same effective load capacity. The GPS-500AB-A has two advantages over the 400W and 450W models, though. It is quieter and offers a selection of cables that is sufficient for assembling a modern PC configuration without adapters. Alas, the GPS-500AB-A only comes in huge Big Tower cases as yet.

Summing it up, I would prefer to see Chieftec cases without any PSUs than with PSUs that match their format and purpose so badly.

Chieftec CFT-650-14C, CFT-700-14C, CFT-750-14C, CFT-850-14C

Now that I’ve done with the power supplies that come bundled with Chieftec’s system cases, I can describe individual products, i.e. power supplies that sell on their own. They start from a wattage rating of 650W and split into two series: Turbo and Super. I will discuss the Turbo Series first.

The Chieftec Turbo Series includes power supplies ranging from 600 to 1020 watts. I’ve got four models from 650 through 800W for my tests. They share the same platform and will be discussed all together.

The actual maker of these PSUs is the well-known developer Channel Well (CWT).

Exterior Design

The PSUs come in blue-painted housings. The case is somewhat longer than the standard 140 millimeters in order to accommodate a 140mm fan.

Every model in the series is equipped with detachable cables. To be exact, each of them has a few fixed cables (for the mainboard, CPU and graphics card) and seven connectors for peripherals.

They are Molex Mini-Fit Jr., quite a standard type. The connectors for peripherals and graphics cards have the same amount of pins but differ in color and the position of the keys, so you won’t be able to plug a cable in wrongly (unless you apply some very brute force).

Although two out of the four peripheral power cables are marked as S-ATA Connector and the other two as 4-pin Peripheral, they are actually absolutely the same. Every SATA or PATA power cable can be plugged into any of the four PSU connectors.

Circuit Design

The Turbo Series products discussed in this article are all based on the same platform developed by Channel Well.


CFT-650-14C

The interior layout may be called standard because the placement of power semiconductor components on three heatsinks is quite widespread already. Besides Channel Well, you can see this solution in power supplies from FSP and Seasonic. The first heatsink (the farthest in the photo) carries the diodes and transistors of active PFC, the second the power transistors of the main inverter, and the third the diode packs of the output rectifier.

The Turbo Series products below 850W use heatsinks made from aluminum bars with bent “fingers”. Those with wattage ratings of 850W and higher have more intricate extruded heatsinks.


CFT-850-14C

There are no other visual differences in the design of the PSUs of different wattage ratings. But if you take a closer look, you can see that the capacitance of the filtering capacitors grows up along with the wattage rating.


CFT-850-14C

Every product of this series features active PFC and dedicated voltage regulation. The regulator chokes are almost invisible in the photographs, being obscured by the branched heatsinks and bunches of wires.

A Champion Micro CM6800G chip is employed as the controller of both PFC and main regulator. It is installed on a small card fitted in between the PSU’s heatsinks.

Samxon heatsinks are used at the PSU’s output. You can see another additional card in the right of the photo: it carries a fan speed controller.

I have no complaints about the quality of assembly. The soldering is just an example of neatness.

Cables and Connectors

Turbo Series products with wattage ratings below 850W are equipped with the following cables and connectors:

Included with the PSUs are:

Well, this selection of cables and connectors differs dramatically from those of the above-discussed bundled PSUs that come in Chieftec system cases. Still, I wonder why there are more PATA than SATA connectors here. What will you plug them into? You need but one or two connectors for coolers – and only if you’ve got three or four coolers and have run short of the mainboard’s connectors.

Hard disk drives and optical drives with Molex power plugs are obsolete now. There won’t be such devices in a new computer assembled today. Therefore two cables with SATA connectors is already the required minimum because one cable goes to the optical drive and the other to the HDD. Many manufacturers equip even 400W PSUs with half a dozen SATA connectors (e.g. take a look at the Corsair CMPSU-400CX), but here the 850W model has only four of them, making you use adapters if you’ve got three hard drives in your system.

Note also that this PSU has detachable cables and it would only take including one extra SATA cable into the kit to offer the user a wide choice of connectors. I don’t think this would make the product far more expensive, but it is such small trifles that can affect the customer’s shopping choice when there are a lot of similar products on the market, all manufactured by CWT but selling under different brands.

Well, that’s all my gripe about the cables and connectors. The two junior models allow to connect one graphics card with two power plugs without adapters. The senior models (700W and higher) are meant for two graphics cards. Every cable has a neat nylon sleeve.

Specifications

According to the specifications, the PSUs meet today’s requirements perfectly. They can deliver almost all of their output power via the +12V rail which is split into four “virtual” lines. The peak continuous output power is mentioned in the name of each PSU model. It is also the effective output power of each model, considering the typical distribution of load among the different power rails in a modern computer.

When the PSU’s wattage rating is higher by 50W, the allowable load on the +12V rail grows up by 50W, too.

This proportion is only broken at wattages higher than 750W. The total output power is higher by 100W whereas the maximum load on the +12V rail is higher by only 24W. Well, the 850W model has another interesting feature. The +12V rail is split into 18A lines in the lower-wattage models while the 850W model has 30A lines for graphics cards.

On one hand, it means you shouldn’t worry that a top-end graphics card may overload the individual line it is connected to. But on the other hand, this problem can only occur with a couple of dual-chip monsters like ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 and such graphics subsystems don’t make much sense according to our tests.

In other words, the actual capabilities of the Turbo Series power supplies are up to their specifications, at least at first sight.

UPS Compatibility

The Turbo Series products did better in this test than the above-discussed bundled models, yet not without a hitch.

The four models all worked together with an APC SmartUPS SC 620 at loads up to 380W when powered by the mains. The UPS switched to the batteries normally at a load of 300W or lower but was not stable then: it would produce a characteristic gurgling sound and shut down in a minute, reporting overload. The UPS was only stable on its batteries when the load was no higher than 300W.

Thus, these PSUs have mediocre compatibility with UPSes. You should buy midrange or top-end UPSes for them with some reserve in terms of wattage.

Voltage Stability

The Turbo Series power supplies all have dedicated voltage regulation, so we can expect them to have green diagrams in this test.

That’s what we have with the first sample. The +12V voltage sags less than 3% even at the highest allowable load. The +5V and +3.3V voltages vary more, but do not leave the allowable limits at any loads, either. That’s an excellent result.

The 700W unit draws a splendid picture. None of the voltages deflects by more than 3% at any load.

The 750W model’s +3.3 voltage deflects by somewhat more than 3% (to remind you, 5% is the maximum allowable deflection), but the +12V rail keeps within a 1% deflection!

The 850W model is no worse than the others. Its voltages always remain within the allowable limits, the +12V rail keeping within a 1% deflection again.

Here, it is interesting to compare the different models between each other. As you can see, their parameters do not worsen as the load grows up. It means that the tested PSUs from Chieftec are indeed meant for loads up to 850W and you should not be set aback at the fact that the models with different wattage ratings are based on the same platform and use the same components.

Output Voltage Ripple

The junior model meets the high-frequency ripple requirements. The output voltage ripple is far below the permissible maximum even at full load.

It is interesting to note the difference between the 700W and 750W models: the oscillogram of the first unit resembles the one of the 650W model. The oscillogram of the second unit has a different shape of pulsation which is smoother, flatter. This is because these PSUs, although based on the same platform, have different output capacitors depending on the wattage rating.

The 850W model’s oscillogram is something in between: there are clear square impulses on the +5V and +3.3V rails like with the 700W model but the peaks of the “saw” are somewhat smoothed out on the +12V rail.

Well, these are all insignificant differences, actually. Like with the output voltage stability, the point is that each of the PSUs really copes with the load it is specified to support. Although each of them is based on the same platform, you can see that they are adapted to their specific maximum output power.

Fan Speed Management

The four PSUs are all equipped with identical fans (Yate Loon D14BH-12). About half of the fan is covered with a piece of plastic film near the external panel of the case. This film helps distribute the air flow inside the PSU in a better way. Without it, the back part of the PSU, near a blank panel, would be cooled worse than the front part.

The fan has 140x140x25mm form-factor and a rated speed of 2800rpm. That’s quite a high speed. Let’s see how the fan speed management works, though.

The fan of the 650W model starts up at a speed of 1100rpm and maintains it until a load of 350W. Then it begins to accelerate. At a load of about 600W, the fan reaches its top speed, which is lower than those 2800rpm specified at the Yate Loon website.

The 700W model behaves in the same way. The differences from the 650W unit are insignificant and due to variations in their component ratings.

The 750W model has the same correlation between the fan speed and load. Its fan reaches its top speed at a load of 600W, too.

The enlarged heatsinks of the 850W model do not affect its noisiness in comparison with the lower-wattage models in the series: the fan speed is somewhat higher than 1100rpm at low loads, then grows up linearly, and then reaches its maximum at a load of 600W.

Thus, the Turbo Series models are all average in terms of noisiness. They are comfortable, but not exactly silent, at loads below 300W and rather noisy at 400-500W. There is no difference between the different-wattage models of this series in terms of noise they produce.

Efficiency and Power Factor

After the previous tests it should be obvious enough that these PSUs are going to have identical efficiency. This is indeed so. So I will only show you one diagram:

The PSUs are more than 80% efficient, reaching 86% at the maximum. That’s a very good result even by today’s standards.

Summary

Chieftec’s Turbo Series products are very good overall. They deliver perfectly stable voltages, have low output voltage ripple, and boast excellent efficiency. The only downside is that they are not stable together with UPSes (but there is no total incompatibility), produce an average amount of noise, and have few SATA power connectors.

The actual maker of these power supplies is Channel Well, which also makes a considerable part of the produce of Thermaltake, Corsair, Hiper and many other famous brands. In other words, there are very many actually identical power supplies on the market today which only differ in packaging, accessories and connectors. Therefore it is unclear to me why Chieftec thinks it normal for its 850W model to have only four SATA connectors whereas similar products from the opponent brands have six or even eight.

Well, if you don’t plan to install more than two hard disk drives into your computer, Chieftec’s Turbo Series power supplies are going to be a good choice for a fast gaming station.

Chieftec CFT-850G-DF, CFT-1000G-DF, CFT-1200G-DF

Chieftec’s Super Series is comprised of over a dozen models but I will discuss only the top three of them, ranging from 850W through 1200W. They are made for Chieftec by Sirtec. These PSUs are all based on the same platform, so I will be discussing them all together, too.

Exterior Design

The PSUs have a rather rare dual-fan design with a main 135mm fan and an auxiliary 80mm fan. I can easily recall only one more such power supply I have dealt with – the Enermax Galaxy.

The dimensions of the case are rather large. It is 220 millimeters long, i.e. 80mm longer than the standard ATX power supply. But I don’t think anyone will be installing such high-wattage power supplies into compact system cases.

Like the models discussed above, these power supplies have detachable cables. That’s very handy considering the thickness of the bunch the cables of a high-wattage PSUs can form together.

The PSU’s connectors are of the Molex Mini-Fit Jr. variety. Surprisingly, the 6-pin connectors for graphics card and peripheral cables of the Turbo Series PSUs differed in the position of the keys that prevented you from plugging anything wrongly, but such keys are absolutely identical in the Super Series products!

It means you must be careful when attaching the cables: if you accidentally plug a HDD power cable into a red socket, your HDD will die.

It is good that the connectors scheme shows what voltages go where, including the specific lines of the +12V rail. If you use only two out of the four available graphics card connectors, you should choose connectors of different lines (12V1 and 12V2). This guarantees that the PSU’s protection won’t be triggered because of overload on an individual line even if you’ve got a very power-hungry graphics card.

Circuit Design

Notwithstanding the large housing, I wouldn’t call this PSU roomy.

The PSU has a dual-transformer design which is often employed in case when one transformer of the required wattage just doesn’t fit into the housing and has to be replaced with two half-wattage transformers.

Input noise filters and a high-voltage diode bridge with a small dedicated heatsink are located on a narrow separate card installed upside down. This position is understandable since the components must all be accommodated within the PSU dimensions but questionable in terms of cooling: the rather large chokes obstruct some air flow.

Otherwise this power supply is quite an ordinary product as today’s PSUs go. It is equipped with an active PFC device whose power components reside on an individual, third heatsink. And it also offers dedicated voltage regulation. The PFC device and the power transformers of the inverter do not heat up much, so their heatsinks are just simple aluminum bars painted black.

Talking about color, many reviewers write that the black color of heatsinks improves cooling, but that’s not exactly so. The color of heatsinks only matters with passive cooling when heat transfer is performed through convection and radiation (it is the efficiency of radiation that the color affects) but when a power supply has active cooling, its fan driving air through its entire case, heat transfer by means of radiation is absolutely unimportant, and the color of heatsinks plays no role whatsoever.

The PSU is based on a Champion Micro CM6800G chip that combines both PFC and main regulator controllers. The details marked around it on the PCB are not something the manufacturer has forgotten to solder. These are the elements installed on the other side of the PCB.

The PSU has Teapo capacitors at the output. These components have good reputation.

Cables and Connectors

The three Super Series models covered in this review all have the same selection of cables and connectors:

Included with each PSU are:

There are differences from the Turbo Series. Finally, there are three cables with SATA connectors, which allows using these power supplies without adapters for configurations with a lot of hard disk drives (note that one SATA connector goes to the optical drive and the other SATA plugs on the same cable won’t reach to the HDD cage in most system cases). There should be no problems with graphics cards, either. Each of these PSUs provides a total of six connectors for them, two of the 8-pin and four of the 6-pin variety.

The only downside is that, as I mentioned above, the keys in the connectors of graphics card and peripheral cables are identical, thus allowing inattentive users to plug something wrong.

Specifications

The junior model not only offers a high load capacity of the +12V rail but also a serious 200W on the +3.3V and +5V rails combined. Even though the combined load on the latter two rails is not going to be higher than 50-60W in a modern computer, there is nothing bad in having such a reserve of power.

The +12V power rail is split into four “virtual” output lines with different load capacities.

When the total output power is increased by 150W in the higher-wattage model, and the allowable load on the +12V rail is higher by an appropriate 100W. The other parameters are the same, including the limitations on the individual +12V lines. Therefore I must remind you that the total of the currents of the individual lines does not equal the overall load capacity of the +12V rail. The latter must be specified separately.

And finally, here is the senior model. The total output power is increased by 200W and the allowable load on the +12V power rail is higher by 180W. There are no changes otherwise.

So, there is only one thing I can tell you: the specified parameters of these PSUs match their wattage ratings, the latter coinciding with the number in each model’s name.

UPS Compatibility

Alas, this test was a complete failure. My APC SmartUPS SC 620 was not stable with any of the three PSUs even at a load of 200W only. When the load was 270W or higher, the UPS would shut down, reporting overload, at the moment of switching to the batteries.

Voltage Stability

Every of the three PSUs is declared to have a very high load capacity of the +5V and +3.3V rails but will they cope with such load in practice?

The 850W model boasts excellent stability of the output voltages throughout the entire load range. None of the voltages violates the permissible limits, and the +12V voltage even stays within a 2% deflection.

The 1000W model’s +5V voltage sags under load. Modern computers do not need a high load capacity of this power rail, though.

Judging by the result of the 1200W model, the previous model was just an unlucky sample. Here, everything is normal. The +3.3V voltage violates the permissible 5% deflection at extreme loads only.

Thus, Chieftec’s Super Series products cope with the loads specified for them, and do that quite easily.

Output Voltage Ripple

This is a really queer oscillogram: the power supply has almost no pulsation on the +12V rail which has almost 90% of the total load during the test. The ripple is far below the allowable maximum on the other two power rails, too.

The 1000W unit shows the same picture: very low pulsation on the +12V and +3.3V rails and notable, yet quite permissible, ripple on the +5V rail.

And we’ve got almost the same picture with the highest-wattage unit at full load. The +12V ripple becomes more conspicuous, yet far within the allowable limits. Moreover, the smooth shape of the pulsation indicates that the manufacturer did not try to save on the quality of the capacitors in the power supply’s output circuitry.

Fan Speed Management

The described PSUs come with dual fans as is indicated by the DF suffix in the model names.

The main fan is a Globe Fan with a form-factor of 135x135x25 millimeters.

The auxiliary fan is a Globe Fan with a form-factor of 80x80x15 millimeters.

The junior model has very good noise characteristics: both fans are rotating at very modest speeds until a load of 600 watts. This PSU can be considered as truly quiet.

The 1000W model behaves in the same manner. It is very quiet at loads below 550W. Then its fans accelerate quickly, resulting in an appropriate, but quite acceptable, increase in noise.

The 1200W model differs from the others. It has higher initial speeds of the fans. And while the previous two models get just a little bit noisier at loads higher than 600W, this one begins to produce a distinct hissing of the air then. There are no other sounds, however, so this noise is quite comfortable overall.

Thus, the Chieftec Super Series PSUs are very quiet, especially for their impressive wattage. And they also show that there is no point in choosing a higher-wattage PSU than you actually need in order to have less noise. This erroneous opinion is widespread among customers, but you can see that replacing the 850W model with the 1000W one won’t change anything in terms of noisiness. And the 1200W model will produce even more noise.

Efficiency and Power Factor

The three models all have similar results in this test, so I will again limit myself to one diagram only.

The PSUs are very efficient, reaching an efficiency of 87% at loads of a few hundred watts. The graph declines towards the right part of the diagram, but does not cross the 80% line.

Summary

The only drawback of these three PSUs is that they cannot work normally with UPSes. Otherwise, Chieftec’s Super Series products are top class. They boast high quality of manufacture, excellent electrical parameters, a sufficient selection of cables, and quiet operation even at high loads.

Conclusion

Now I will briefly outline the highs and lows of the Chieftec power supplies I have tested in this review.

The models that come bundled with Chieftec system cases are rather typical entry-level power supplies. The biggest problem with them is that they do not match the class of the system case they sell together with. These PSUs would be perfect in cheaper and compact system cases for office computers, but it is ridiculous having four SATA power plugs in a huge Big Tower case. If such a power supply suits you fine, there is no point in buying a Big Tower. But you will probably have to replace the bundled PSU if you’ve bought the system case for an appropriate configuration.

Besides, the three models are all based on Delta Electronics’ platform which is known to be incompatible with UPSes (this was confirmed in my test, too). And the junior two models (400W and 450W) also proved to be quite noisy.

The Turbo Power series products are based on a widespread platform from Channel Well. It is good indeed, and the PSUs have excellent electrical parameters and reasonable noisiness, but this platform actually sells under about half the brands present on today’s PSU market. The manufactures can only distinguish their products with design and functionality, and Chieftec is no good in this respect, equipping its expensive 850W power supply with only four SATA connectors. Why? I just don’t know. An extra cable included into the box would cost a trifle. And the user would have the choice of using or not using it since the PSU has detachable cables.

Of course, you can always use adapters, but why if the opponent products cost the same money and offer six to eight SATA connectors?

Thus, it is only the Super Power series that I can find impeccable, except for UPS incompatibility (but not all users have UPSes). These PSUs are very good, delivering high output power and excellent electrical parameters. They are quiet and have a normal selection of connectors which will suit not only a home/gaming PC but also a workstation or even a small file server.