Bang For Your Buck: Four 500 W Power Supplies Reviewed

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insightdriver

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In all my years of building my own, building in a job, building for other, systems. For all my years in production, testing and engineering power supplies, this is the one single area in the computer enthusiast market that people are most ignorant of.

Power supplies are a commodity market. There are a lot of major computer power supply makers. They have to meet agency safety and performance ratings to be able to be sold worldwide.

Unless a power supply engineer, what benefit is there to looking inside a power supply? Many of the parts are just black boxes to most folks as it is. As far as having adequate power to run a load, how many enthusiasts calculate the power requirements and buy a power supply that meets them.

This is an ok article for at least it compares the power supplies to each other. Its a basic informational article.
 

hunter315

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The load tables kinda sucked, they were hard to read, and there is no reason to use bar graphs for the efficiency a table would be just as good, the bars end so close together. More pictures of the units would be good too as you dont really show off what they look like.

Oh and who in their right mind pays $150 for a 500W PSU??? Pick a reasonable top price next time, hell you can get the Seasonic X650 inside that price range and i bet it would blow all of them away.
 

iam2thecrowe

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This review doesn't give me all the information i need to make a proper educated decision as to which of these power supplies is best. Voltage stability, noise and voltage drop at different loads would be nice. The efficiency tests are about the only useful part of this article.
 

Userremoved

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No rifle/voltage tests!? I tough you said these were going to be complete reviews. Any of these PSUs could have horrible voltage regulations and/or high ripples. I'm not trying to insult anyone but this review is lacking data.
 

hangfirew8

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Ripple@load? Hot Box? Power-on transient overshoot? OCP? When will Tom's get around to those serious P/S tests they promised us? Why did they waste their time with this? Unless a bad P/S was delivered, verifying 80+ certification doesn't add much data to a buyer's decision.
 

rockyjohn

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I wish they had selected more mainstream products for the comparison. It seems their objective was to show that "one does not have to spend more than $150 on a very good mid-range power supply". One can spend a lot less and find better power supplies.

First, several internal issues with their list. They only list - or at least I only saw listed - the price for one unit - the Enermax Pro87+ at $140. I tried to look up prices for the FSP Everest 85Plus 500 and Cooler Master Silent Pro M500 and could not find it at newegg, Tiger Direct, or Amazon - although they did list prices for larger capacity units of the same model. I think they should pick units more readily available and tell us what current prices are to aid in the comparison.


Second, I think there are a lot better models - some for substantially less than $140 - to compare. These include:

Antec EarthWatts EA-500D Green $65
Antec Earthwatts EA500 - $70
OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W $60 - $40AR
OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W - $65 - $50AR
SeaSonic S12II 520 Bronze 520W - $70


Finally I am perpelexed by the apparent objective to find medium quality units for less than $140 since one can find them for much less. I can only see this as an attempt to include the Enermax for some reason. Why even consider the 500w Enermax at $140 when you can get a good 650w Corsair for $70:

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W - $90 - $70AR
 

hangfirew8

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[citation][nom]digiex[/nom]be paBe patient guys, this is the first time, right?[/citation]

Does it count as a first time, if nothing happened?
 

lauxenburg

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[citation][nom]raclimja[/nom]why no seasonic?according to most people that i know, seasonic is the very best brand that make quality psu for the moneynewegg has a Seasonic S12ii Bronze 520w for just $69.99http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Productand according to reviews it is the very best power supply in its price range(it even beat the Corsair HX 620w)http://www.pcstats.com/articleview [...] 162&page=4[/citation]

I agree and they aren't terribly overpriced. Proud Seasonic owner here. :)
 

ctmk

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[citation][nom]SpadeM[/nom]It might be just me but the ripple/noise test wasn't performed on these PSUs. Also, at what temperature did you guys test for the efficiency? I'm hoping u tested it over 30 degrees Celsius.Other then that, it's a pretty quick analysis. Wish you'd open them up to actually see what components they used in their primary and secondary circuits.[/citation]

well, it looks like a bench marketing to me. I have silverstone and cooler master PSU. Silverstone PSU tends to make a lot of "noise" not from fan but from the electronics and the silverstone tech reply and say this is normal. Therefore personally i am more intrested on comparing what component they use and how safe is it. like for example, will it give unstable DC voltage and kill your HDD on 24/7 running?
 

lauxenburg

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[citation][nom]gellert[/nom]Its great that Tom's is finally reviewing PSU, and I hope that you guys do an enthusiast 800W-1000W review soon becuase thats what us enthusiasts really need. Btw Patrick, how would you comment that a rig running an i7 & GTX 280 draws about 380W under full load? Do we really need such big PSUs?[/citation]

No we don't. You could easily run a AMD quad and a 5850 from a 400W PSU.
 

lauxenburg

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I liked the review. It was a good review, but I did not like the product. The 500W level [citation][nom]JonnyDough[/nom]The review you posted is from 2007...that power supply unit is old tech. Get with the times.[/citation]

Quality doesn't change buddy.
 

cutterjohn

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I've had pretty good luck with ODM/OEM PSUs given that most tested here are actually made by them anyways w/the only difference possibly being slightly different component specs v. the generic version.

Last 550W PSU that I bought(forget the ODM ATM), I started off on newegg(and elsewhere) looking at the more common brand names, e.g. Antec, Coolermaster, Silverstone, etc. but found almost the same ratio in reviews(when available) of dead or spectacularly failing PSUs v. MOST of the ODM/OEM PSUs. Some of the ODM/OEM PSUs had some spectacularly poor reviews though which I just eliminated out of hand. With all of this is hand I picked out the candidates, checked the prices and ended up with another ODM PSU as the price differential was HUGE and there was nothing to warrant spending more for a brand name given the data that I could get, budget, and entire lack of reasonable testing equipment at home to buy and check various supplies out personally.

As I mentioned in another comment, the only brand name PSU that I ever ended up with was an old 350W Antec PSU which happened to come with the case that I wanted to buy.

I too was surprised at the lack of more temperature, ripple, and noise data.
 

frazik

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how about this one: CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W its around $80 and its corsair so im just wondring how it may stand up against the $140 enermax

.. (* yes i know its unlikely that a full comparison will be made ; but cant hurt to ask =) )
 

NucDsgr

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The best performance, reliability and longevity for a power supply are achieved when a power supply with double the rating of the average power draw for your PC is used. The highest efficiency occurs at 50% of rated load. Most mainstream PCs draw about 250W with a mainstream graphics card so a 500W power supply is optimum. Choosing a power supply with double the average power load of your PC solves about 3/5 of the performance, reliability and longevity problem.

The other 2/5 of the problem is grounded in the design and build quality of the power supply. Modular cables are indispensable for good case air flow because only the needed cabling is used. The power supply needs to be quiet so a large 120mm fan is necessary. The power supply needs to be well ventilated unit with good thermals. And the power supply needs to be built with quality components.

I would not have purchased any of the power supplies in this article because they are too pricey for the additional efficiency. Besides, most of these power supplies are made by SeaSonic.

In my opinion, the best 500W power supply for the money is the SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze 520W. It has 80 PLUS BRONZE Certification and modular cables. Build quality is exceptional and it runs very quiet and cool during operation. This power supply is an upgrade to the Seasonic M12II 500W power supply available 2 years ago.

I would have liked to see this 520W Seasonic power supply featured in this article.
 

anamaniac

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I'm thinking I may actually do some custom cables with a modular PSU for my next build.
Cable management is annoying. Some cables are too short, some are too long...

Can't wait until we see some 95% efficient 500W power supplies. :D
I'd actually like a PSU that sucks air in, not blows out (like the real old school ones), as long as it's 90%+ efficient and bottom mounted. Directly feed the fan on my graphics. I already have enough air exhaust in my case, but the intake isn't enough (due to the dust filters on the intakes).

I've already learned my lesson, the PSU and MOBO are the most important parts, and I've learned I'm willing to put an addition 20% to my budget for reliability and peace of mind.
 
G

Guest

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Not to nitpick, but I see a couple minor errors in the charts above. In the first chart "Hold-Up Time" the Silverstone 115 V is listed twice....I think that second one is supposed to be 230V. Yes, that is obvious and very minor.

But the other mistake is less obvious and not quite as minor....on the "Inrush Current" table, the ATX 2.2 spec for 115 V is shown as 50 Amps and the 230 V is shown as 100 Amps. I'm pretty sure that's backwards. Another page on your site seems to confirm that:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/psu-test-equipment,2657-3.html
 
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