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Old 9th August, 2006, 11:42 PM
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PSU Buying guide

After seeing many people asking for opinions on PSU's I've decided to write up a list of units I would feel comfortable using. I'll keep this terse and short, so if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

I did a lot of research about this, so I'd like to share my experience with you guys. I learnt a lot from Okhlahoma Wolf about PSU's so its best if I start off with what is on his list. My Edits are in Red.
  • Okhlahoma Wolf's List of recommended OEM's in order of reliability
  1. Zippy (Superb regulation, good efficiency and exceptional built quality!)
  2. Etasis (Silverstone fanless, ST56ZF, ST75ZF, ST85ZF)
  3. Win-Tact (PC P&C Turbocool)
  4. Lite-On (Supermicro/Ablecom) This is my current unit. You can find a small review of it HERE (link).
  5. Delta (some Chieftec units)
  6. Seasonic (PC P&C Silencer, Corsair, Antec Neo HE).[ The silencer series brings PCP&C's superb QC at a budget price, to the table. Starts at $140]
  7. AcBel Polytech (some Coolermaster)
  8. Enhance (Akasa, Silverstone except fanless, ST56ZF, ST75ZF, ST85ZF)
  9. Seventeam (some Thermaltake and MGE units)
  10. Jou Jye (AMS)
  11. Wintech (Ultra except X-Connect)
  12. Andyson (Hiper, AC Ryan, Aerocool - these get overrated sometimes)
  13. Topower (Tagan, BeQuiet, Mushkin, Epower, A+GBP) [The Mushkin 550W is just crap.]
  14. Heroichi/HEC/Compucase (some Thermaltake)
  15. CWT (Antec except Neo HE)
  16. Enermax
  17. Superflower/TTGI
  18. Inwin/Powerman

I would characterize a poor design as follows (or things one should look for, in no particular order):-
  • Quality of Caps. Cheap caps imply shorter life span. Higher the ESR, more likely the impact on regulation.
  • Size of the Caps. Most complaints with regulation and ripple are due to undersized primary or secondary caps.
  • Insufficient cooling. This is a biggie. You would want to keep the unit cool for obvious reasons (i.e keep components within their working temps).
  • Poor quality Voltage regulators. Although this issue is almost a non-issue these days, you still find the occasional burn out.
  • Poor quality inductive elements i.e chokes and transformers. Imporoper winding or using smaller guage wires as the winding. Rare.
  • Poor soldering. This is very very common.
  • Bad circuit design. Really, there is not much you can do here, unless you are willing to do a complete rebuild.
  • Poor PCB's being used as the logic board. This is not critical, but worth a mention.
  • Under sized rectifier diodes. I don't understand why didoes are still being used instead of composite bridge rectifiers. Diodes also need to be cooled.
These are the points I think are pertinent.

Points to note before you buy a PSU:
  1. Figure out what you intend to power. This is very important if you are on a tight budget.
  2. Do NOT skimp on quality. Poor PSU's would just hose your entire rig.
  3. Look for a beefy single 12V rail (> 30 A) if you plan on running SLI or CF
  4. Try to identify the OEM of the unit. You cannot go wrong if you pick a good OEM.

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