Reviews - Death of a Gutless Wonder II: The Best of the Bestec
(By OklahomaWolf on Sun, Jun-21-2009)
Page 1 -
It's a familiar story: you woke up in the morning, grabbed yourself a coffee, and sat down in front of the old eMachines to check your email. Five minutes later, you were cleaning up the remains of a shattered coffee cup, muttering four letter words under your breath, and trying to figure out what you were going to do now. See, the old eMachines decided it wasn't going to power up for you today. It's just sitting there by the desk mocking you, daring you to try and figure out what's wrong with it.
Well, I'm going to help you with that. Take the side panel off your case, and see if it has this week's review sample in it, a Bestec ATX-250-12E. Do you see one in there? You do? Well, I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is, these power supplies are infamous for taking out motherboards. In fact, that's how I got my review sample - it was in a dead eMachines rig. The good news is, you've almost got all the coffee out of the rug and you have the perfect excuse to upgrade the computer.
Now, normally I don't go around testing used power supplies because... they're used. I'm making an exception today, though, because I want y'all to see exactly why one shouldn't buy cheap designs when it comes to power supplies.
And here's our test subject now in all its drab gray splendor. I'm told this puppy is many years old now and responsible for killing not one but two FIC AU31 nForce2 motherboards. As you can tell from the little red switch under the AC receptacle, and I can tell from the featherweight construction, this unit has no PFC circuitry whatsoever.
Cabling for the unit is done in an array of thin gauge multicolored spaghetti.
There's a fair bit of dust in the fan, but surprisingly there wasn't as much as I was expecting on the inside of the unit.
As mentioned, this is the dreaded ATX-250-12E model. Bestec does have other models out there that don't tend to fry mainboards - it's this 12E model in particular that has single handedly flushed their reputation down the commode.
As is typical for an ancient ATX1.3 design, this unit has not a lot of gumption on the 12V rail, and a fair bit on the two minor rails. Despite this, it was indeed powering a 12V oriented mainboard by way of its one ATX12V connector. You may recall that back when the Pentium 4 came out, all the power supply manufacturers did was take an old ATX1.3 unit and slap that ATX12V connector on it without doing much to the basic design, and this is one of those units.
In terms of connectors, the Bestec doesn't have a lot to brag about, does it? The cables are rather short too. Here, let me show you a table:
Type of connector:
ATX connector (335mm)
4-pin ATX12V connector (380mm)
5.25" Drive (230mm+100mm)
5.25" Drive (350mm+100)
3.5" Drive connectors (+100mm)
Unit Dimensions(L x W x H)
140mm x 150mm x 86mm
Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "How on Earth is he going to load test a dead power supply?" Well, it's a lot easier if the unit is actually not dead at all. Only the system this one came out of is dead. The power supply itself still fires up like there's nothing wrong. But that can't be right, can it? After all, the AU31 is toast. Did it toast itself, or did the infamous Bestec 5VSB rail spike happen to it? Let's get the load testing going, and we'll see what's what.
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