Performance (40% of the final score) - the EA650 did very well in the cold tests and fabulously well in the hot tests. In nearly every way I can think of, this new Delta platform is a worthy and improved successor to the older Earthwatts designs. It's better designed, regulates better, and is more efficient in general than the EA500 we last tested in January of 2007. I've heard a lot of people complaining about the move to Delta, wondering if perhaps Antec was somehow doing them wrong again, perhaps going back to the time when Antec units used to cut some corners. Well, wonder no more - if the EA650 is any indication at all, Antec has in fact improved their offerings again. Run out and get one if you've been eyeing one, because I'm giving this puppy a 9. Better ripple and noise suppression would have added another half point, but as is it's not too shabby.
Functionality (20% of the final score) - lack of Timbits aside, the EA650 has all the features you'd be expecting from a midgrade unit like this. Enough connectors to do the job, enough power to run a single high power video card, a quiet fan, and a decent warranty. That said, I'm going to take a couple points off. Both of them for cabling. While I do like the sleeving on the main ATX cable, and don't mind so much the lack of it on the other cables due to the simple fact that they weren't a tangled mess, I did find some inconsistency with the cable lengths. Some were too short, leading to connector chains that had some cables stretched tight while others were slack. Some were 510mm to the first connector, others were 500mm. So, the EA650 only gets an 8.
Value (30% of the final score) -SecureMart.com is listing this unit at $72.51. The cheapest price I can find is around $65. Friends, that's an excellent value. Aside from the plain grayness and non sleeved cables, I daresay this unit would keep up very well in a race for performance against the Corsair TX650. If it were the same price as that unit, it would only be a so-so value due to the lack of sleeving and whatnot. But it isn't the same price (unless you consider the rebates)... it's a little bit cheaper than the Corsair by almost a twenty dollar bill. So, the EA650 gets a 9.5 from me.
Aesthetics (10% of the final score) - well, she's gray, she's only sleeved on one cable, and she's just not much to look at. But I have a confession - I'll take a plain gray box with purple/pink labels any day over a pretentious mirror coated off color gaudy Christmas tree ornament any day. While I like matte black best for my power supplies, I don't really mind plain vanilla that much. Especially for the prices these are going for. 7.
The EA650 came to me looking to impress, and impress it did. Those of you looking for a good, reliable, cheap unit that just gets the job done should take a good long look at this unit and maybe buy one. Heck, buy two - they're cheap.
very good voltage regulation
only adequate ripple and noise suppression
doesn't come with a free box of Timbits
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