Reviews - The Bargain Basement Power Supply Roundup
  (By Oklahoma Wolf on Fri, Sep-14-2007)

Page 4 -

Real PC Power Silence Blue

This attractive looking unit is probably tied with the Chiefmax for the lightest power supply in this roundup. But, who cares about things like weight and clean power - just look at those LED fans! Clearly, good looks matter the most to Real PC Power, which is as it should be. Right?

Ugh... this doesn't look so good. Not to me anyway. Another Leadman unit staring me in the face. An LP-8860, going by the silkscreening. And folks, like its cousin in the Chiefmax unit, this here unit cuts corners in every way possible. Except the metal casing - I can't bend it as easily. But, we have the four diode treatment on the primary, tiny heatsinks, questionable caps, missing OCP (OVP and short protection only), miniscule regulators and switching transistors, and tiny transformers. Speaking of the capacitors, this unit employs Chmec, MK, and Yihcon for those. Who comes up with these capacitor names?

Silence Blue +3.3V +5V +12V -12V -5V +5VSB
30A 45A 20A 0.8A 0.5A 2A
Max Combined Watts   9.6W 2.5W 10W
550W

Where do they get these numbers, pull them out of a hat? Based on the very similar Chiefmax's performance, I'm going to call this thing out now. There's no way this thing does 550W. But, let's just make sure.

Results from Silence Blue COLD load tests
Test # +3.3V +5V +12V DC Watts/
AC Watts
Eff. P.F. Intake/
Exhaust
Simulated system load tests
Test
1
10A 11A 8A 198W/
279W
71% .62 25°C/
28°C
3.36V 5.06V 11.97V
Test
2
13A 14A 10A 246W/
351W
70% .65 25°C/
29°C
3.35V 4.98V 11.93V
Test
3
13A 14A 14A 291W/
419W
69% .67 26°C/
29°C
3.35V 4.98V 11.78V
Test
4
19A 15A 17A FAIL N/A N/A N/A
FAIL FAIL FAIL

I had a new nickname for this unit after test three. Based on its behaviour therein, I hereby call the Silence Blue "Sparky." Because of the fireworks that went off in it when it died. Honestly this thing lit up faster than Kleenex roasted by a flamethrower. But it did surprise me somewhat, making it all the way to 291W before bucking the kicket. The Chiefmax didn't do nearly as well.

Topower TOP-300SSA

This plain gray casing contains the rather substantial (for a 300W) Topower TOP-300SSA. It's an old beastie, having been purchased long ago by its former owner. Of all the units, this was the one I thought would keep up the best with the Delta, as Topower has in the past turned out some decent units. But, this is probably the oldest Topower I'd ever seen; so I was anxious to see how it did. But before we go too far, we'll toss up a spec table and take a look at it with the cover off.

Topower TOP-300SSA +3.3V +5V +12V -12V -5V +5VSB
14A 30A 12A 0.8A 0.5A N/A*
Max Combined Watts 150W 144A 9.6W 2.5W N/A
300W


*label lacked a 5VSB rating

Nice big heatsinks here. Some of the sharper eyes reading this might have spotted the faint bulge atop the lower of the two primary filter capacitors. That's not a good sign. Capacitor complement is all Viva, a brand I last saw in the old Deer I tossed in the garbage way back when. I quickly found another bad capacitor on the secondary side, which appeared to have been bad for a while. How will these affect our testing? Let's find out.

Results from Topower TOP-300SSA COLD load tests
Test # +3.3V +5V +12V DC Watts/
AC Watts
Eff. P.F. Intake/
Exhaust
Simulated system load tests
Test
1
10A 11A 8A 195W/
272W
72% .63 25°C/
37°C
3.29V 4.95V 12.05V
Test
2
13A 14A 10A 243W/
354W
67% .67 26°C/
42°C
3.26V 4.89V 12.09V
Test
3
13A 14A 14A FAIL N/A N/A N/A
FAIL FAIL FAIL

The first thing noticed when the unit was turned on was a buzz whenever it wasn't running (standby mode). Already, this is a pretty clear indicator that this unit wasn't going to behave itself. Sure enough, as soon as we hit test three it quietly shut down, never to run again. While regulation was ok, efficiency took a massive nosedive between tests one and two, again most likely due to the sorry state of the primary capacitors. This so far has turned out to be the only PSU in the roundup that has made me feel sorry for it.

But, given the state of those Viva capacitors, I think we're going to want to see ripple charts on this one.

Topower TOP-300SSA

3.3V

5V

12V

test
1

test
2

Wow. Just... wow. What's a bad capacitor capable of? Take a look at the 12V scope shots. That's what ripple exceeding 400mV looks like. 210mV on the 3.3V too. That's not just outside the ATX specification, that's not even in the same city. For years I have been telling people that if their power supplies contained bulging or leaking caps, those caps have already failed, and here we have the proof in spades. No wonder poor old Mr. Topower died.



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