Reviews - Tagan EasyCon 530W
Sample Provided by: Tagan (By jonny on Tue, Sep-05-2006)

Page 2 -

Speaking of load tests, what do you say we get things started?

For testing power supplies, I use a SunMoon power supply tester. Essentially, it's a machine specifically made to put up to 10 different static loads on up to 10 different rails of an ATX12V PSU at one time.

The first test is done with the power supply sitting in an open case, so it's running at room temperature. And just like how your PC is going to increase your room temperature, the load tester putting a load on a power supply is going to increase the temperature in the room I do testing is, so it's not unusual to see a slight climb in intake temperatures.

Results from Tagan 530W COLD load tests
+3.3V +5V +12V1 +12V2 Watts Efficiency P.F. Intake Exhaust
Simulated system load tests
2A 4A 4A 4A 137W 77% .66 21°C 24°C
3.38V 5.15V 12.00V 12.00V
4A 8A 8A 8A 258.4W 79% .72 21°C 28°C
3.37V 5.13V 11.90V 11.88V
5A 12A 12A 12A 373.8W 76% .75 22°C 32°C
3.35V 5.12V 11.76V 11.74V
6A 15A 16.5A 16.5A 508.4W 72% .76 22°C 37°C
3.33V 5.11V 11.62V 11.59V
7A 18A 25A 8A 499.5W 72% .76 22°C 40°C
3.33V 5.11V 11.57V 11.70V
7A 18A 33A 0A 506.2W 71% .76 23°C 42°C
3.33V 5.11V 11.45V 11.72V

The voltage regulation on the 12V rail was horrible, dropping from 12V to 11.59V going from test one to four on the 12V2. The 12V1 faired a little better, only dropping to 11.62V, but that was primarily because there was less resistance on the 12V1 (more connectors to spread the load across.)

Once I pushed a 12V rail past 20A, the power supply shut off and the blue LED on the back lit up. It was time to test the "combine rail" switch. I flipped the switch and proceeded to put 25A load on the 12V1 connectors and 8A on what would be the 12V2 connector via the 8-pin EPS+12V connector. Obviously, combining the two 12V rails worked, although voltage certainly wasn't improved any. Later, we'll take a look at how the switch works.

Efficiency was mediocre and there is no power factor correction on this power supply. You'll also notice that the temperatures coming out of the back of the power supply were very hot. This is because the fan on the Tagan barely moves. The upshot of this is that this power supply is very quiet.

I also like to see how a power supply handles being hit with a maximum load on the 12V rails while the 3.3V and 5V have relatively low loads. This is called a "crossload." Whenever you have a lop-sided load on a power supply, it's a "crossload." To do the crossload test, I put 16.5A on each of the 12V rails, reduced the 3.3V rail to only 3A and reduced the 5V rail to only 4A.

Results of the crossload was horrible. Each 12V rail dropped to 11.2. Decreasing the 12V rail load to 15A each only raised the voltage to 11.27. I took the 3.3V and 5V rails up to 5A and 6A and the 12V rail was still only at 11.37. It took putting a minimum of 5A on the 3.3V rail and 8A on the 5V rail, for a total of 56.5W on the combined 3.3V and 5V rails, to get the 12V rails up to just 11.4V.

Now for the hot box tests.

The "hot box" is nothing more than the power supply running in a sealed up Ultra Wizard case. Only the side panel CPU vent has been replaced with an intake hose and an 80MM intake fan. On the other end of the hose is the exhaust of the load tester.

Results from Tagan 530W HOT load tests
+3.3V +5V +12V1 +12V2 Watts Efficiency P.F. Intake Exhaust
Simulated system load tests
2A 4A 4A 4A 137W 77% .63 31°C 42°C
3.38V 5.15V 12.00V 12.00V
4A 8A 8A 8A 258.4W 79% .71 31°C 42°C
3.37V 5.13V 11.90V 11.88V
5A 12A 12A 12A 373.8W 76% .74 38°C 46°C
3.35V 5.12V 11.76V 11.74V
6A 15A 16.5A 16.5A 507.4W 72% .76 36°C 51°C
3.33V 5.11V 11.59V 11.59V
7A 18A 25A 8A 498.8W 71% .76 38°C 55°C
3.33V 5.11V 11.53V 1167V
7A 18A 33A 0A 505.8W 71% .76 39°C 59°C
3.33V 5.11V 11.43V 11.71V

Voltages hardly changed at all while the PSU ran in the "hot box," but the temperatures got very high, very fast. Although this didn't have an affect on the Tagan in the short period I ran it, one would have to wonder what the long term effects would be.

Now we've come to the part of the review where we test ripple. Ripple is what you call the small fluctuations in voltage that happens every ms or so that may not affect performance, but may kill your components in time.

Ripple is measured at the load by an USB Instruments Stingray DS1M12 . Instead of using the Stingray with probes to measure ripple, I actually use the Stingray as a medium between the data being spit out by the SunMoon load tester and my laptop. Each change in voltage is collected and reported every .2ms. The time divide on the graphs is 2ms (every square being 2ms) The voltage scale on the graph is .05V, or 50mV.

Tagan
530W
+3.3V +5V +12V1 +12V2
Test 1
Test 2
Test 3
Test 4

The Tagan certainly looks very good here. The lack of ripple is phenomenal.

Now that the testing is done, let's take the power supply apart and look at the insides...

No doubt, the Tagan has some serious heatsinks. This is necessary for the power supply to function properly with a fan that spins as slowly as possible.

Apove we see the primary side of the power supply uses Matsushita capacitors, while below we can see Jenpo caps in use.

Above we see the back side of the modular interface. There's a whole lot of solder going on here.

The label says "Tagan" but the part number says Globe Fan 120MM X 25MM.

Below is the back side of the "combine rail" switch. Essentially, all of the 12V leads go to a single PCB located in the back of the PSU. The switch toggles a bridge between keeping the wires on their separate leads going back to the front of the PSU, or putting them all together into one rail.

Let's get to scoring now...

Performance (weight of 40%) gets a 5. The voltage dropped .4V going from test one to test four. Even by test two when I had seen a .12V drop I knew I was dealing with a PSU with poor voltage regulation. Add to that, it failed the crossload test. Efficiency was mediocre, it got hot as hades and there's no power factor correction. The only thing that looked really good here was the lack of voltage ripple on the rails and the fact that the PSU is dead silent.

Aesthetics (weight of 10%) is 7.5. The flat black finish... I get the "joke", it's "stealth" and that's Tagan's whole "trademark" thing. Yes, the PSU is quiet, and therefore "stealth," but I think it makes the PSU look cheap. There's no lights or anything like that, but the modular cables will make the REST of the insides of your computer look good, so that's worth something.

Value (weight of 30%) score is a 6. The price of this unit is typically right around $100. For $100 you can buy something that's almost as quiet that actually has decent efficiency, voltage regulation and maybe even power factor correction if that's what you're looking for. Can you find all of that in a modular power supply? Perhaps not unless you spend a few coins more, but it seems that almost anything would be better than this power supply at this price range, unless you're looking for a power supply that makes almost zero noise.

For functionality (weight of 20%,) I'm giving this power supply a 9. It's modular and compact and comes with all of the connectors that you might need making it very easy to use.

Overall, the Tagan 530W manages to score a "6.5"

Performance 5
Aesthetics 7.5
Value 6
Functionality 9
Total Score 6.5

SUMMARY:

Simply put, I don't recommend this product. I realize that low noise is a top priority for many people, but this power supply offers low noise in favor of everything else. Outside of the crossload issue, was it the high heat, caused by the poor air circulation inside the PSU that caused the poor voltage regulation? Hard to say without modifying the fan and trying it again. But why bother?

The Good....

  • Modular
  • Nice cables
  • Very, very quiet
  • Very good ripple results

The Bad....

  • Voltages not stable
  • Totally failed crossload tests
  • Hot as hades

The Mediocre....

  • No PFC
  • Mediocre efficiency

 

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