Death of a Gutless Wonder III: The Labors of Hercules

REVIEW INFORMATION
SUPPLIED BY: Hercules
MANUFACTURER: Hercules
PRODUCT: HRC512F 500W
PROD LINK: N/A
PRICE: $19.95 @ eBay
Price is at the time of testing!

Performance (40% of the final score) – this isn’t going to be very difficult, will it? This unit is junk. Absolute junk. It did make a halfhearted attempt at being decent in a couple of ways, but those ways are completely offset by sucking out loud in most other ways. I’ll start from a perfect ten and see where I end up. Failed the standby test, so a point off. Failed the overshoot transient test in three ways, so I’ll do half a point each for 1.5 points total. It did do ok in the hot box for regulation, which averaged just under 3%. I’d normally only dock a point and a half for that, but then the failboat set sail into the nearest volcano and it died. So, it loses all possible points for regulation under my current scoring system, which is 2. Added to this, Hercules went out of spec twice in the cold tests for high and low voltage… one point off for each. Efficiency was below 80% at all times… normally I’d leave that alone unless the unit had an 80 Plus cert, but I was promised high efficiency and didn’t get it. A point off. Last but not least, all three rails went completely out of spec for ripple, so it loses all possible scoring points for THAT section. One point for the minor rails, two points for the 12V rail. That gives us a total performance score of… let’s see here… oh, we’re actually below zero. So… 0.

Functionality (20% of the final score) – not modular in the slightest. One point off. Cables not sleeved. One point off. No PCI-E connectors appropriate for the power level. One point off. No allowances for EPS12V connectivity. One point off. Low SATA and Molex counts for the power level. Two points off (one each). No fan speed controller. One point off. No power factor correction. One point off. I’m going to stop there… I’m getting nauseous. 2.

Value (20% of the final score) – You can get one of these for $19.95 on eBay right now. Don’t do it. Just don’t. Your safety is worth spending more money. 0.

Build Quality (20% of the final score) – can you see me rubbing my hands in anticipation right now? All right, let’s get this done. One point off for substandard capacitors. One point off for inadequate line filtering. One point off for the two transistor design in the 5VSB. One point off for the thin gauge wiring. Two points off for the bad grounding idea. One point off for the missing pi filter components. One point off for the soldering… it’s good but not great. And finally, ten points off for the hot spot issue on the secondary that creates a fire hazard, though really… I don’t think I can remove enough points for putting people’s safety in danger. Can’t go lower than zero, so… 0.

HRC512F 500W – Scoring
Performance 0
Functionality 2
Value 0
Build Quality 0
Total Score 0.4

SUMMARY

I’ve tested a few cheap units during my time here at the site. Each time I do it, I’m amazed by how much corner-cutting goes on out there. Last time, with that Sunbeam unit, I really thought we’d hit bottom. We’d sunk to the lowest level. Seen the worst of the worst. I was wrong. This is, to date, the worst unit I’ve ever seen. And I do not type those words lightly. It is dangerous to use one of these, and not just to your system… it’s dangerous to you as a human being as well. And the sad part is, I thought I was starting to make a difference in things when I began doing these reviews, educating people about what to look for in a good power supply. I was hoping that the quality of all units in general was starting to rise. Guess not.

If you have one of these, shut your system down and throw it away. NOW.

The GOOD:

  • cheap

The BAD:

  • voltage regulation
  • efficiency
  • poor power on transient suppression

The MEDIOCRE:

  • thin wiring
  • ripple suppression
  • incomplete output filtering
  • overrated
  • poor quality capacitors
  • 5VSB design depends on the poor quality capacitors to keep the output voltage in check
  • no over/undervolt protection on the 5VSB rail

The DEADLY:

  • hot spot on the secondary creates a fire hazard
  • improper grounding to the case

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