Cooler Master Real Power 550

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July 18, 2005 by Devon Cooke

*POSTSCRIPT added Oct. 22, 2005*

Cooler Master Real Power 550 RS-550-ACLY ATX12V 2.01 / EPS12V 2.1 550W Power Supply
Cooler Master

Market Price


The two major markets in the computer industry, desktop and server, have traditionally been quite separate. For the most part, they have different requirements, use different products, and are marketed separately. The only crossover between the two is where high-end desktop or workstation products meet entry-level server products. Some power supplies fall into this category; the similarity of the ATX12V (desktop) and EPS12V (server) power supply specifications makes it possible for a PSU to conform to both.

Most manufacturers seem to prefer to keep their products to one market or the other, or to "unofficially" support EPS12V by supplying the 8-pin EPS connector but not complying with other EPS12V requirements. However, this is not true of Cooler Master, which has chosen to support both standards in the Real Power 550. The previously reviewed Cooler Master Real Power 450 did not support EPS12V.

The most obvious differences between the 550W and 450W version relate to the 550's support for EPS12V: The +12V output is split across three separate rails, and a workstation power connector is included for use with high-end workstations. There is a also a 6-pin PCI-e plug for use with power hungry video cards.

A fairly compact but colorful box provides a good idea of the Real Power's features as well as the usual marketing fluff.

The connectors are listed on the outside of the box, so you can tell at a glance whether it has what you need.
The length of the cables would have been nice as well...

Inside the accessory box: Power supply, AC cable, manual in eight languages, 24 to 20 pin ATX adaptor, screws, and something called a "Human Computer Interface".

A considerable amount of effort has been put into the presentation of the retail package. For once, the printing on the retail box is actually useful: It shows exactly how many and which connectors are provided. Inside the box, the individual pieces are packed in a form fitting recycled cardboard tray, a step above the usual bubble-wrapped packing job.

The manual is also impressively thick at first glance, although in reality it's no longer than usual. Its 64 page length comes from the fact that it is repeated in eight languages.

There is also an external power meter that can be installed in a spare 3.5" bay. It appears to be identical to the one that came with the Real Power 450W, and comes with both a black and a silver faceplate. Our test of that device showed that it approximates AC power draw, although the rough markings do not permit precise readings.

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