Reviews - Pico PSU Round Up
Sample Provided by: Logic Supply (By jonny on Wed, Nov-10-2010)

Page 1 - Introduction

Today we're going to do a round-up, but a very different kind of round-up for jonnyGURU.com. The popularity of mini-ITX continues to grow as people build media centers and in car entertainment systems that don't require as much power as a standard, full sized ATX computer needs, and doesn't have the room to accommodate a full sized ATX power supply. Also, mini-ITX platforms are getting more powerful with new processors from Intel (the Atom), Nvidia (the Ion) and even VIA (the Nano, C3 and C5). We're also seeing more powerful mobile processors used in small footprint desktop PC's (Intel's Penryn and AMD's Turion). This means that basic, yet powerful PC's can be built for office tasks and Internet use using very small PC's. But how does one power these small PC's?

With the help from the folks at Logic Supply and donations from some very gracious forum members, we have obtained a number of "PicoPSU" power supplies, all manufactured by Mini-Box. These are the type of power supplies one would use when building a small mini-ITX computer. These power supplies are DC to DC, meaning that they convert DC power of one voltage to DC power of another voltage or voltages. The DC power for these DC to DC power supply units comes from either a car's electrical system or a power brick, similar to what one would use to power their laptop.

The first PSU Logic Supply sent us was the PicoPSU 120W. This PSU currently sells for $37 and is integrated into a 20-pin ATX power connector and offers one peripheral power connector, one SATA connector and one floppy power connector.

This PSU takes a +12V input and converts it to +3.3V, +5V, -12V and +5VSB.

Let's have a look at the output capability:

PicoPSU
120

+3.3V

+5V

+12V

-12V

+5VSB

6A

6A

7A

.05A

1.5A

Max Power

19.8W

30W

84W

.6W

7.5W

120W

The values in the table above are continuous power ratings. The unit is capable of slightly more power as defined as "peak" power, but the PSU can only sustain peak power for 60 seconds.

The next PSU we obtained from Logic Supply is the wide input range PicoPSU 120W, model number 120-WI-25. It too is incorporated into a 20-pin ATX power connector and comes with a peripheral, SATA and floppy power connector. This one sells for $52.50. Considerably more than the regular PicoPSU 120, but you may save money on the power brick used to power this unit due to the availability of a wider range of power bricks.

This PSU, on the surface, looks to have a couple more coils, but one less capacitor. Then again, all of the PicoPSU's are a pair of dual layer PCB's with components on both sides, so there may very well be more components on the inside of this unit that we can't see here.

This PSU differs from the previous in that you can use any kind of DC input from 12V to 25V. This can be convenient when shopping for a capable power brick as most notebook power bricks on the market are 19VDC.

Here is this units output capability:

PicoPSU
120-WI-25

+3.3V

+5V

+12V

-12V

+5VSB

6A

6A

6A

.1A

1.5A

Max Power

19.8W

30W

72W

1.2W

7.5W

120W

This unit is a little less capable on the +12V and, for some reason, has more power available on the -12V.

The above two PSU's came with the above adapter. The PicoPSU's have a 4-pin female connector hard-wired to them. The same kind of connector that a motherboard uses for CPU power. This adapter adapts that 4-pin power connector to a female size N coaxial power connector which mates up with the male power connector on most notebook power bricks.

The third PSU that came from Logic Supply, the PicoPSU M3, is also has wide range input, but it's range is even wider: 6V to 24V. This makes it ideal for automotive use where voltages normally range between 10 to 14VDC. This particular unit is currently selling for $69.

This PCB is more jam packed than the other two. You have more coils and more capacitors. There is also a jumper block that allows you to define off-delay and hard-off delay. Off delay is how long after the car is shut off before the PC is turned off through the "soft off" function (or, preferably, sent into hibernation). Hard-off is when all power, including the +5VSB, is cut from the motherboard.

Here is the output capability of this unit:

PicoPSU
M3 ATX

+3.3V

+5V

+12V

-12V

+5VSB

6A

6A

6A*

.15A

1.5A

Max Power

19.8W

30W

72W

1.8W

7.5W

125W

Note the little asterisk I placed next to the 6A rating for the +12V. This PSU is only capable of 6A ouput on the +12V if the input is between 11 and 16VDC. If the input is 8 to 11VDC, the PSU can only do 5A on the +12V. If the input is 6 to 8VDC or 16 to 24VDC, the +12V output capability is only 4A.

The final PSU in this round up is one of the biggest of the Mini-Box PicoPSU's: The PW-200-M.

This unit doesn't require an adapter to get power from a power brick. The DC input wires were already outfitted with a female N-type power connector:

This unit is supposed to be capable of up to 205W of continuous output:

PicoPSU
PW-200-M

+3.3V

+5V

+12V

-12V

+5VSB

6A

6A

12A

.1A

2A

Max Power

19.8W

30W

144W

1.2W

10W

205W

Like I said before, these PSU's convert DC power to DC power. So for you to use these units to power your PC, you need to either convert your home's AC power to DC power, using a power brick, or, if the power supply is made to accept a wide input voltage range, wire it into your car's electrical system.

We'll cover powering these DC to DC power supplies with a car in part two of this review, which should happen in a couple of weeks. For today, we're going to power our units with power bricks.


 

JonnyGURU Feeds
Add our RSS feeds to your favorite RSS Reader or homepage.

JonnyGURU Reviews
AddThis Feed Button

JonnyGURU News
AddThis Feed Button

JonnyGURU Articles
AddThis Feed Button

JonnyGURU Forums
AddThis Feed Button

Follow us onFollow Us!
 
Site-Info | Affiliates | Contact Us | Site-Map
Copyright © 2012 - JonnyGURU.com