Performance (40% of the final score) - let's see if we can't get some scoring done. First, let's look at the ripple suppression. We had a couple rails that were very good, and one that was excellent. Only the excellent one gets out of here without points coming off... the other two are in the next bracket down from there, which means a half point off for each. Next, the average voltage regulation, hot. Again, not excellent. And thanks to the 3.3V rail, not very good either. We are into the average bracket in this category, which means a full one point deduction. But there I stop, because the last area of performance I look at is efficiency. Not only did this thing pass Bronze, it passed Silver as well. In both test sessions. That's fantastic! So, our total score for this area is 8.
Functionality (20% of the final score) - a half point comes off right away for not being fully modular. Only fully modular units can get all the points in this category, the way I score things now. But there are more deductions to be made, yet. I have to take another half point off for the manual missing some critical info, like rail distribution on the hardwired cables and that infamous Cougar "point 2" omission. And... I think I'll take a half point as well for the cable sleeving. I can see the flexibility of that sleeving being a problem. No points off for omitting a 3.5" connector or adapter... I want that connector to just die already, and am thankful for Cougar's support in my cause. Finally... another half point off for the nonsensical 50A x2 rail distribution. There's no point making something dual 12V if you're just going to set the OCP close to the max combined limit anyway. 8.
Value (20% of the final score) - MSRP on this unit is $129.99. Silver efficiency gives it a bit of an edge here, but not too much of one considering the performance we saw. I mean, it's competing directly against the Seasonic M12 II and Antec HCG-900 at that price. There's a Silverstone Silver unit for five dollars cheaper. I'm going to go with a 7.5 here, I think. That price will probably go down a bit once we can buy these... I can't find any for sale yet.
Build Quality (20% of the final score) - HEC build quality, being what it is, is a little bit of a step down from the best on the market. I saw solder issues, which means a half point comes off. I'd do more, but the one heatsink screw I saw in this thing was very well soldered down. In addition, I think my scoring rules are pretty clear about this... I have to take the whole point off reserved for capacitors. Just on the back of that one Su'scon I saw in there. Otherwise, I'm pretty satisfied with the build quality. That gives us a total of 8.5.
Cougar's latest unit is a pretty good unit in general. It's reasonably stable, does fairly well for ripple suppression, and represents a good overall value in the market place. Unfortunately, only a couple things about it ever really reach that next level up that makes me start feeling truly excited about power supplies. We had excellent ripple suppression, but only on one of the minor rails. We had 80 Plus Silver efficiency, just barely. Finally, we had the unit doing full power above forty degrees. But even with these things, it can't quite make up for some pretty average voltage regulation. Good unit, just needs a little work to hit the next level.
very good ripple suppression
did 80 Plus Silver on both test sets
lots of included goodies
very good 5V and 12V voltage stability
soldering needs work
only two token Japanese caps on the secondary
below average 3.3V voltage regulation
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