Death of a Gutless Wonder III: The Labors of Hercules

It’s late. You’re looking at your online bank balance, feeling discouraged. All you want to do is finish your computer build, but you forgot to budget for a new power supply. You have thirty dollars you can spend. What to do? You scour vendor listings. You hit eBay. That’s when you find it… a twenty-dollar Hercules 500 watt power supply. You think to yourself, “Hey, there’s an idea. I could run that one for a little while until I can afford something better.” But is this a wise move? What could go wrong if you only have to depend on the cheap one for a week? Come inside, and be enlightened.

PRICE: $19.95 @ eBay
Price is at the time of testing!

Greetings, fellow power supply enthusiasts, and welcome to the latest in my series of gutless wonder articles. You may be wondering what I’m doing sitting outside the Parthenon in Athens, today. Well, today we’re going to look at a legendary figure in power supply mythology. That’s right, today I’m reviewing a Hercules 500W power supply…

Wait. Something’s already amiss. I ordered a Hercules from that guy on eBay, but this is the box for one of his Powork units. Yeah, I know… who comes up with a name like Powork.

“Guys, we need a name for our stuff. Help me come up with something.”
“Power Mad?”
“No, because I don’t want them confusing the power supply with me.”
“Wait… what about Powmax?”
“No, that one’s already taken. We need a name that people associate with Powmax, but is not actually Powmax. We all know how popular they are.”
“Pow… work?”
“I don’t…”
“Because it’s a power supply and it works?”

I guess we’ll just have to go with this for now. Let’s look at the box.

Speed fan, super cooling. Uh, whatever you say, Mr. Box. Super quiet bandwidth regulator. Wait, what? Energy efficient, eco-design. I find that a little unlikely, but ok… we’ll go with it for now.

Looks like someone’s riffing on the name of Seasonic’s S2FC fan controller. Intelligent silence temperature control, eh?

Why look, this thing is supposedly good for servers. Let me ask you this – are you going to put a $20 power supply in a server? If so, come over here so I can smack you. Better yet, wait for the load testing pages so I can show you the consequences of such a deed.

Okaaaaay. Let’s get this box open now.

Oh, I see. He just used a Powork box to ship something so all fired cheap it doesn’t have a box of its own. Folks, meet the mighty Hercules!

You know, I’m not letting it rest here. I want to show you the marketing behind this unit. Let me get a few screenshots from the online listing.

Now, let’s not be hard on my seller. Likely, these marketing points were dredged from the supplier’s own info page on this unit, and my seller’s just passing it along to us. I’m going to tell you right now I don’t have any beef with the seller… it’s just likely that he’s turning these loose on the world without giving a lot of thought to what’s actually in the housings of units like this. While you and I know better, let’s face it… for every one of us, there’re a thousand people out there assuming their 500 watt power supplies can really safely do that number.

If you know such a person, go ahead and send them the link to this article, or any of the other gutless wonder reviews I’ve done over the years. We still need to educate the average Joe, people.

Ok, features. Wait, underload protection? Are you serious? Yeah, no… that’s not how computer power supplies work. As for the rest of the protections… we’ll see. I have my doubts.

This unit has no -5V rail, like that matters at all in 2012. Wait, a 500W unit with a 22A 12V rating? That tells you you’re dealing with something either severely overrated, or it’s an old design from back before we had 12V based CPUs. Since the unit claims no -5V rail, it shouldn’t be an old design, so why the ultra-low 12V rating then? Gotta be overrated. We’ll see.

Look at all the regulatory approvals. Wonder how many of them are legit. Wait, no I don’t. Power supplies that cost as much as a new Blu-Ray are unlikely to have proper certifications.

Next page, please.