Clever Power SPS-400

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The Clever Power is an interesting mix of past and present styles. The glowing orange power switch is a throwback to the time when the home computer industry was dominated by electronics geeks and computers were bought in kits at hobby shops. The AC pass-through is also an old idea; power supplies for computer terminals often included an outlet for the monitor. On the other hand, the polished chrome finish is strictly a fashion statement, which dates this PSU to our modern era in which power supplies can make fashion statements. Of course, the most interesting parts of the power supply are under the casing. Let's take a look...

The blower on the right is the reason why the vents can be so small without compromising airflow. (NOTE: The red wire running out the exhaust vent was added by us for testing purposes -- fan voltage monitoring.)

The positioning of the intake grill against the heatsinks is an attempt to manage airflow within the power supply.

The size and location of the vent holes on the Clever Power are unusual enough to warrant a second look. Clever Power appears to be trying to direct airflow rather than just force as much air as possible through the case. To this end, there are three possible sources of airflow: The main intake through the back and two small intakes near the bottom middle of each side. This arrangement guarantees a direct airflow path across the heatsinks, with auxiliary cooling provided by the two side vents.

Clever Power's patented blower-style fan.

Unlike most power supplies, the Clever Power uses negative pressure airflow to suck air through the unit rather than blow it into the power supply.

The result is that the exhaust air is focused, meaning that the exhaust vent need only be as large as the mouth of the fan.

The focused airflow that Clever Power utilizes is made possible by the use of a fan that sucks air through the power supply along specific paths rather than simply blowing it in and letting it find its own exhaust route. This means that the components that are directly in the path of the airflow will be better cooled than usual, while the rest of the power supply will have less airflow overall. Hopefully the design engineers have paid enough attention to design to place the hottest components in the airflow. Ultimately, the best test of this will be how stable the unit is under a high power (and thus high heat) stress test.


There are a total of six cable sets.

  • 16" sleeved cable for main 20-pin ATX connector
  • 16" 4-pin auxiliary 12V connector for processors that require it
  • 16" 6-pin auxiliary connector for older Pentium 4 motherboards
  • 2 x 32" cable with two 4-pin peripheral connectors and one SATA connector
  • 32" cable with two 4-pin peripheral connectors and one floppy connector

Only the cable for the ATX connector has a sleeve.

With the exception of the main ATX header, the cables are both unsleeved and untwisted. This allows the individual wires to become tangled quite easily; not good for cable management.

The individual wires are tangled even as they leave the housing of the power supply.

Another issue related to cables is that no 20-24 pin adaptor is included, so some of the latest motherboards will not be fully supported by the Clever Power. There is also no 6-pin auxiliary cable or any support for PCI Express. Because the Clever Power conforms to an older version (1.3) of the ATX12V standard, it is designed for higher on the 5V and 3.3V lines than is normal for the most recent motherboards.

The practical consequence of this is that the Clever Power is well suited for use in a system in which the processor draws primarily off the 5V line, such as an Athlon XP. The 12V line capacity of 20A is quite good, however, and it should also do well with more modern processors such as the Pentium 4 and the Athlon 64.

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