by Oleg Artamonov
11/19/2008 | 09:08 AM
This roundup covers five power supplies from Hiper. One of them is based on the HPU-5M730-SK but the other four are not only new in terms of parameters and functionality but are even made by a different manufacturer. Hiper has changed its supplier to the well-known Channel Well Technology (CWT).
The functionality of the new PSUs shouldn’t disappoint you, though. Three of them feature an integrated USB hub, for example.
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 Unit Testing Methodology In-Depth. If you feel overwhelmed with the numbers and terms this article abounds in, check out an appropriate section of the mentioned article for an explanation.
You can also check our Cooling/PSU section for more reviews of power supply units.
The first PSU to be tested today belongs to the simplest series of Hiper products. There is nothing extraordinary about its accessories or functionality.
The PSU comes in a plain-looking gray cardboard box. The PSU model and wattage are reported by a white sticker. Besides the PSU, the box contains a user manual, a few adapters (see below) and a special power cord.
The power cord consists of two parts connected via a round 3-pin connector. You can change its plug when necessary. The practical purpose is rather vague, though. Few people carry power supplies with them from one country to another as most of us use notebooks on voyages. Then, if you are going to another country where different wall outlets are used and you can’t leave your favorite PC behind, it is simpler to change the whole cord, especially as the PSU’s connector is perfectly standard.
This design doesn’t provoke any problems, though. The two sections of the cord use a threaded connection which is absolutely reliable.
The PSU is somewhat larger than standard. Its length is 180 millimeters as opposed to 145 millimeters of typical ATX power supplies. The HPU-4M630 won’t suit a small system case, but can be easily installed into a full-size one.
The PSU case is covered with black matte paint that is somewhat rough to the touch. The side panels are perforated and the manufacturer mentions this among the PSU’s features although such perforation produces neither positive nor negative effect. Some air is driven from the PSU back into the system case, but not much of it. About half of the perforation area is blocked with insulation from the inside.
You can see this in the photo above: the white plate is insulation that isolates the heatsinks of the PSU’s high-voltage section from the panels of the case.
The interior design is typical of PSUs manufactured by Channel Well Technology (CWT). I have seen this design, with minor variations in the shape of the heatsinks and the color of the shrinkable pipes on the chokes, in PSUs selling under the brands of Thermaltake, Corsair, Gigabyte, etc.
So, Channel Well is quite a well-known maker. Interestingly, Hiper used to have another supplier, the less known Andyson, and I noted some problems with soldering quality of Hiper PSUs and the overall archaism of their architecture in my earlier reviews. Of course, that was the real manufacturer’s fault because it was Andyson that assembled and developed the PSUs. Hiper must have come to the same conclusion and changed the supplier.
On the circuit level, the PSU is a regular modern model of an upper mainstream class. It features dedicated voltage regulation and active PFC, supports a full range of input voltages (from 100 to 240V) and boasts high efficiency. I will check all this out in my tests, of course.
Capacitors from Samxon are installed at the PSU’s output. Their reputation is good, but the brand is not as famous as United Chemi-Con or Rubycon, so I don’t know them well enough. If you are not versed in electronics, I can tell you that failed capacitors are a common cause of death for a PSU. The service life of a capacitor depends on its temperature. And its temperature depends not only on how hot the surrounding components are but also on the manufacturing quality of the capacitor itself. The capacitor is getting hotter at work due to nonzero internal resistance. Better capacitors feature lower resistance and heat-tolerant electrolyte. As a result, their service life is longer than the typical period of use of a PSU whereas low-quality capacitors may die in 12 to 18 months. Besides, the lower the capacitor’s internal resistance, the better it filters out interference and voltage pulsations.
The PSU has an original design of the back panel. The cables go out in a few bunches rather than in one thick bunch.
The cables are divided into groups basing on the consumer: mainboard, CPU, PATA or SATA drives, graphics cards. This division doesn’t make the process of assembly much easier, though. You just save the half a minute that you’d otherwise spend to untangle the cables.
The PSU is equipped with the following cables and connectors:
The cables for PATA drives are somewhat odd as they only offer one connector each. Hiper suggests that you use splitters of a specific design:
Included with the PSU are two Molex→2xMolex splitters (one is shown in the photo above) and two Molex→2xMolex+1xFDD adapters (you can use them to power up your floppy drive).
These splitters help avoid the mess of cables for unnecessary devices (a modern computer system doesn’t have any PATA drives at all), but it is just a compromise in comparison with fully detachable cables. The splitters make it handy to connect drives located no closer than one bay apart from each other as shown in the photo above.
Besides everything else, the box contains an adapter from an 8-pin to a 6-pin connector for graphics cards.
The PSU is cooled with a 140x140x25mm fan (Yate Loon D14SH-12).
The PSU has four “virtual” +12V output lines with a combined load of 50A (600W). The load capacity of the +3.3V and +5V rails is also high (it is usually no higher than 130-140W with other PSUs). Well, the practical load on these rails should not be higher than 50-60W unless you install the 4M630 into an archaic computer that is powered mostly by these two rails.
Besides continuous, the peak output power of the PSU is also specified. It equals 870W. This parameter is not explained, so I guess this is the output power the PSU can yield for no longer than one minute.
The PSU worked under a load of 615W continuously without problems. Together with an APC SmartUPS SC 620 the power supply worked at loads up to 375W (from the mains) and 330W (from the batteries). There were no problems when the UPS switched to the batteries.
The output voltage ripple is only half of the permissible maximums. There is no low-frequency ripple at all.
The output voltages boast excellent stability. The +12V differs from the nominal value by no more than 2%. The +5V keeps within a 3% deflection. The PSU proves the high specified load capacity of the +5V and +3.3V rails in practice: it can yield 170W across these rails while keeping every voltage within the permissible limits. This is a perfect implementation of dedicated voltage regulation.
The PSU is 80% efficient at loads from 100W to maximum, reaching 86% at the peak. This is not a record-breaking but good result even for a modern PSU. The power factor is increasing along with load, reaching 0.99 at the maximum.
The fan is rotating at 900rpm at loads below 350W, i.e. over half of the full load, and is nearly silent then. Its speed grows up linearly afterwards, reaching 1600rpm at max load. Thus, the HPU-4M630-PE is quieter than most other PSUs.
I did not measure the temperature of the outgoing air due to the specific design of the front panel (it has a blank top and a mains connector in the center) as the thermometer would have been in the cord’s way, producing inadequate readings. Anyway, I didn’t note any sign of overheat.
Summing everything up, this model is a good one. It proves that Hiper was right in changing its supplier. The PSU is stable, powerful and quiet and has all the connectors you may need. I just can’t even think of any improvements to request from the maker. This model meets its specifications as well as consumer expectations from a PSU of this class. It might have detachable cables, but it would be a different model then.
I want to note the fact that the HPU-4M630 works well under high loads on the +5V and +3.3V rails. If you need a power supply for an old computer with an advanced CPU and multiple hard drives that is powered mostly by these rails (newer computers have transitioned to +12V), the Hiper HPU-4M630-PE will do the job. But you’ll have to use a 24→20-pin adapter or cut the extra part of the 24-pin connector off in order to power your mainboard because the mainboard connector of Hiper’s PSUs is non-splittable.
The next model belongs to the same 4M series as the previous one, but its wattage is higher by 200W.
The packaging and accessories do not differ: a gray cardboard box containing the PSU, a user manual, a power cord of the intricate design with changeable plugs (as shown in the photo in the previous section), and a set of adapters and splitters.
The PSU has a matte black case with meshed side panels and a nonstandard design of the front panel. The mains connectors and the On/Off switch are in the middle while the top 35 millimeters of the panel are blank, without vent holes. Why did the manufacturer worsen the cooling of the PSU in such a way? Why is not the entire external panel perforated? It’s because the housing is unified for different PSU models. The 5M series I am going to discuss later on puts this part of the panel to an unobvious use.
The internal design is not much different from that of the 680W model except that the heatsinks have got more serious and ribbed. The PSU’s electronics is based on a Champion Micro CM6800G controller that combines an active PFC device with a main regulator.
The capacitors at the PSU’s output now belong to the KZE series from United Chemi-Con. The brand is well-known and enjoys good reputation for its high-quality products.
Like in the previous model, the cables are divided into groups depending of their purpose (mainboard, CPU, drives, graphics card). The PSU offer the following cables and connectors:
Included with the PSU are Molex→2xMolex and Molex→Molex+FDD splitters as well as two adapters from graphics card’s 8-pin into 6-pin connectors. Thus, the PSU can power up any modern system, even with two top-end graphics cards in SLI/CrossFire mode, easily and without any additional adapters. You may only run short of SATA connectors if you are going to assemble a computer with more than two HDDs (plus one optical drive).
The PSU is cooled by a 140x140x25mm fan (Yate Loon D14SH-12).
Like the above-discussed HPU-4M630, the HPU-4M880 has four “virtual” +12V lines but two of them are rated for a current of 30A rather than 18A. The graphics card cables are connected to these 30A lines. Each such cable has two connectors and should be able to power up any graphics card which may require as much as 260W, e.g. the Radeon HD 4870 X2. The combined load of the 12V rail must not be higher than 64A. So, this PSU should be enough for a system with an advanced processor and a couple of 4870 X2 cards.
The PSU worked normally at loads from 50 through 860W. Together with an APC SmartUPS SC 620 the power supply worked at loads up to 380W (from the mains) and 340W (from the batteries). The UPS switched to its batteries and back to the mains without problems.
The output voltage ripple fits within the permissible limits, but by a narrow margin on the +12V rail.
The output voltages are very stable. The +12V voltage keeps within a 1% deflection from the nominal value. The +5V voltage is within a 2% deflection. The +3.3V voltage deflects by 4% at an extreme load (but the permissible maximum is 5%). Thus, the 4M880 can work under any combination of loads within its specified load range.
The PSU is 87% efficient. Its power factor is 0.99. It is good that the efficiency doesn’t change much at loads of 150W through maximum.
The PSU is not noisier notwithstanding its higher wattage. The fan speed is no higher than 900rpm at loads below 450W. Then it grows up linearly up to 1600rpm. Thus, the HPU-4M880-PE is average in terms of noisiness.
Summing everything up, the HPU-4M880-PE has all the advantages of the HPU-4M630-PE model I have discussed above. It is a well-assembled, stable and quiet PSU. Its wattage and cables should suffice even for a computer with two top-end graphics cards like Radeon HD 4870 X2 or GeForce GTX 280. The number of SATA power connectors is the only thing you can gripe about. I guess a modern PSU of this class should have about six of them since hard and optical drives have already transitioned to the SATA interface.
This PSU differs from the previous models with its packaging in the first place.
Instead of a boring gray box, there is a plastic case with a lid and handle. Once you’ve installed the PSU into your computer, you can use the case to store your tools or something.
The accessories are the same as included with the previous models: a power cord with changeable plugs, a user manual and a few adapters. The adapters are packed into a neat pouch (in the above-discussed kits they were packed into ordinary plastic bags).
The most exciting thing about this PSU can be founded at the top of its external panel. There are as many as nine USB connectors here!
Opening the PSU up, I found a small card with two 4-port USB hubs based on NEC’s chips. They provide a total of eight USB ports. The ninth port is connected to power supply only. Hiper suggests that you use it to recharge your cell phone or MP3 player. Some external HDDs may also need additional power from a USB port. This ninth port supports a load current up to 1A whereas an ordinary USB port, no higher than 0.5A.
Of course, I checked out how well the USB ports operated in the vicinity of the PSU’s electronics that generated a wide range of electromagnetic interference and found no problems whatsoever. USB flash drives and a Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini worked normally. There were no errors when I copied large files to them and between them. And the maximum speed was over 30MBps just as you could expect from a USB 2.0 interface.
Otherwise, the PSU electronics copy the HPU-4M630-PE model.
This model is developed and manufactured by Channel Well. It features active PFC and dedicated voltage regulation. A CM6800G chip is employed as a PWM controller.
The PSU has capacitors from Samxon at its output.
The PSU is cooled with a Martech DF1352512SEHN fan. The brand is known far less than Yate Loon. It is a 140x140x25mm thing with a metallized coating of the impeller. The fan is highlighted with four blue LEDs.
As opposed to fans made from translucent plastic, the metallized coating reflects lights but does not diffuse it. As a result, the PSU is not so much shining itself as illuminating the innards of your system case.
The cables are organized like in the previous two models. They are sorted by application. This may save you a few minutes which you’d otherwise spend to untangle the cables before assembling your computer.
The PSU is equipped with the following cables and connectors:
Thus, this PSU has the same cables and connectors as the 4M630 model. And it comes with the same set of adapters: one adapter from a graphics card’s 8-pin into 6-pin connector, two Molex→2xMolex splitters, and two splitters with a floppy-drive connector.
The PSU has four “virtual” +12V lines with a max current of 18A on each, but not more than 52A in total. The combined load capacity of the +3.3V and +5V rails is high at 180W. The latter is not demanded by today’s computers, though. Modern systems load the +12V rail the most.
The PSU worked without overheat or instability at loads from 50 through 660W. Together with an APC SmartUPS SC 620 the power supply could work at loads up to 385W (from the mains) and 335W (from the batteries). The UPS switched to its batteries and back to the mains without problems.
The output voltage ripple is within the norm even at full load.
The circuit design of this PSU is identical to the two previous models’, so there should be no big difference in their characteristics. Indeed, the voltages boast superb stability. The PSU can work at any balance of loads without violating the permissible deflections of the voltages.
The PSU is 85% efficient through a wide range of loads. Its power factor is 0.99 at the maximum.
This model proved to be somewhat worse than the previous ones in terms of noisiness. Its fan is rotating at about 1000rpm under low loads. When the load grows up, the fan speed changes in two steps for some reason. Anyway, although this PSU is somewhat noisier than the 4M630 and 4M880, it does not get uncomfortable on your ears.
Of course, the main and the only difference of the HPU-5M680-PE from the 4M series models is the integrated 8-port hub plus the ninth port for powering USB devices. This functionality is not redundant because nearly every modern peripheral device – drives, printers, scanners, web-cameras, keyboards, mice, joysticks – has transitioned to the USB interface. As a result, the mainboard’s default four or six external USB ports may not be enough and you have to use a USB bracket (two or four ports per bracket) or an external hub. An external hub often has one limitation. The total consumption of all the connected devices must not be higher than 500mA or the hub has to be plugged into a wall outlet. And wall outlets may often be as scanty as USB ports. The hub integrated into the Hiper HPU-5B680-PE solves this problem in an obvious way: its gets its power right from the PSU it is located in.
Of course, an integrated hub is not a killer feature you can’t live without. But this functionality distinguishes the Hiper HPU-5B680-PE from its opponents many of which are manufactured at Channel Well’s facilities, too.
The fifth series of Hiper power supplies includes high-wattage models, too. For example, it is the 800W HPU-5K880-PE. The letter K in its name denotes the color of the case: brown as opposed to matte black (denoted with the letter M) or blue (B).
Like the 5B680, the 5K880 is shipped in a plastic box.
The two models do not differ externally save for the color of the housing. The top 35 millimeters of the external panel are occupied by an 8-port USB 2.0 hub and a ninth port for powering or recharging USB devices.
The hub had no problems working with external drives (flash drives and HDDs). The maximum data-transfer rate was somewhat higher than 30MBps. This is the practical limit of the USB 2.0 interface as you can learn from any of our reviews of external drives.
The interior design of the PSU is the same as that of the HPU-4M880 model I have tested above, excepting the additional card with the USB hub.
The PSU employs KZE series capacitors from United Chemi-Con.
The PSU is cooled with a 120mm Yate Loon D14SH-12 fan that has a metallized impeller and is highlighted with four blue LEDs.
The impeller is opaque and reflective, so you can only see four streaks of light opposite the LEDs as opposed to PSUs in which the fan is made from translucent plastic.
The PSU’s cables are grouped into five bunches depending on their purpose. These are:
Included into the box are 8→6-pin adapters for graphics cards and Molex→2xMolex splitters. The cables near the SATA power plugs are wound with nylon tape for some reason. It may prove to be difficult to connect them to HDDs that are installed crosswise in the system case and nearly touch the side panel with their connectors. You can cut the tape with small pliers, though. This won’t do any harm to the cables.
The PSU’s load capacity matches that of the above-described HPU-4M880 model: it has four +12V lines, two of which (with a current of 30A each) are wired to the graphics card cables, and rather powerful +5V and +3.3V rails.
The PSU worked without overheat or instability at loads from 50 through 860W. Together with an APC SmartUPS SC 620 the power supply worked at loads up to 375W (from the mains) and 335W (from the batteries). The UPS switched to its batteries and back to the mains without problems.
The output voltage ripple meets the requirements of the industry standard.
+3.3V is the only imperfect voltage out of the main three. It deflects by slightly more than 5% at a near-maximum load. Well, this defect is negligible just because such a balance of loads cannot occur in a real computer. The +5V and +12V voltages are superb. The former deflects from the nominal value by no more than 3% whereas the latter keeps within a 1% deflection.
The PSU boasts high efficiency. Its maximum efficiency is over 85%.
The Yate Loon fan does its job well: the fan speed is but slightly above 900rpm at low loads, making the HPU-5K880 a rather quiet power supply. The fan only accelerates much at loads higher than 500W.
It is hard to say anything new about the Hiper HPU-5K880-PE. I didn’t find any serious defects in it whereas the advantages of the new series of Hiper’s PSUs have already been listed above. In brief, it is a high-quality, high-wattage, stable and low-noise product with one special feature. It’s got an integrated 8-port USB 2.0 hub.
The HPU-5M730-SE is a close relation of the HPU-5M730-SK we tested earlier, but it has nothing to do with the other models covered in the present review. Its component layout and electronics differ considerably.
There is one common trait, though. The 5M730-SE has an integrated USB hub, too. It offers only four ports (and there is one more port for powering USB devices). As opposed to the above-discussed models, this one is cooled with an 80mm fan and there is just no place on its external panel for an 8-port hub.
The component mounting is very dense on the inside: the PSU’s electronics reside on two PCBs facing each other. It is now clear why an 80mm fan is used here.
The PSU is not superior to the above-discussed models functionally, i.e. in its specifications. Like them, it has active PFC and dedicated voltage regulation. In my review of the 5M730-SK I complained at sloppy soldering, but the 5M730-SE is free from this problem.
The USB hub card is located next to the external panel of the case and protected with a copper screen. The high-voltage and high-frequency electronic components located nearby would have affected the stability of the USB interface without the screening. The component mounting is very dense indeed.
The PSU is cooled with one 80x80x25mm fan (Martech DF0802512B2UN). The fan needs only 5 watts of power and should be quiet.
The cables of this PSU go out in one bunch:
As you can see, the 5M730 differs from the above-described PSUs in one thing only. It lacks “native” 8-pin connectors for graphics cards. Included with the PSU are Molex→2xMolex splitters and a couple of adapters for floppy drives.
Take note that the limit of current is set at 16A for every 12V line. So, although the PSU has two connectors on each graphics card cable, you should connect plugs from two different cables to your top-end graphics card to avoid stability issues.
The PSU worked normally at loads from 50 through 715W. Together with an APC SmartUPS SC 620 the power supply worked at loads up to 340W from both the mains and the batteries. The UPS switched to its batteries and back to the mains without problems.
The output voltage ripple is so low at full load that can be barely observed in the oscillogram.
The +12V voltage boasts perfect stability but the other two voltages are worse. The +3.3V voltage goes through the entire range from -5% to +5% while the +5V voltage sags suddenly at high load. As a result, the PSU cannot deliver the specified 170W across its +3.3V and +5V rails. However, the HPU-5M730-SE will have no problems powering a typical modern computer in which the +12V rail is the most important one.
The PSU is not very efficient by today’s standards. Its efficiency drops to 80% at full load and is not higher than 83% at the maximum. That’s just a normal result.
The fan is rotating at an acceptable 1800rpm until a load of 450W. Then it accelerates steadily to 2800rpm. Such speeds are not too high for an 80mm fan, so the 5M730-SE is a quiet, though not silent, power supply. The fan speed might be lower at minimum load.
On the whole, this model is definitely inferior to every other PSU covered by this review. The HPU-5M730-SE is not better than them in any of important parameters. It is not much inferior, though. The difference can hardly be felt in practice.
It is the first four models that are the most interesting products from Hiper in this roundup. They are manufactured by Channel Well Technology, a renowned maker who has but recently begun to work with Hiper.
Before the tests I had expected to see ordinary power supplies from CWT, like many similar models selling under other brands. But I was surprised twice. First, some of Hiper’s PSUs have such a unique feature as an integrated 8-port USB 2.0 hub with dedicated power supply. It may come in handy as USB is the most widespread peripheral interface nowadays. You surely won’t run out of free USB ports with such a power supply.
And second, the PSUs proved to be good in terms of noisiness. For example, they are somewhat quieter than Thermaltake’s Purepower RX and Toughpower PSUs that are manufactured on CWT’s facilities, too. And the difference grows larger in favor of Hiper’s products as the PSU wattage rating gets higher.
Thus, the new PSUs from Hiper pleased me a lot. They feature neat assembly, high wattage, stable operation, comfortable noise level and a good selection of connectors. I can recommend them for any PC configuration including advanced gaming stations with two top-end graphics cards.