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Review: 400-500Watt PSU shootout

by Steve Kerrison on 15 August 2006, 08:32

Tags: NorthQ, FSP Group (TPE:3015), be-quiet

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qagee

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Introduction


Over the past few years PC power supplies have become more of a concern for enthusiasts. We went through a phase where any old PSU would do, then as PCs started to draw more power, we bought the cheapest PSU with a nice big number on it. That turned out to be a bad idea.

We soon all learned that one PSU's 500W is another PSU's 300W and so quality became an issue. Just once we'd got in our heads who makes good PSUs and who makes bad ones, the power wars kicked off again, and now we're seeing PSUs in the range of 1kW. Where will it end?

Of course, with graphics card and other component manufacturers cramming ever more current-sucking components onto their cards, it might not end any time soon, despite efforts to reduce device power consumption. A super-high-end system really does need a super-high-end PSU to power it. Luckily for most, however, something a little more modest will probably suffice.

We've recently been testing a handful of PSUs. Some quite powerful, some very powerful, but none that you might call 'silly'. In this review we have tested four PSUs, all within the range of 400W to 470W and so competing for the same kind of users, or thereabouts. Let's see how they compare.