FSP Green PS FSP400-60GLN 400W PSU

Power
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November 7, 2005 by Devon Cooke

Product
FSP Green PS FSP400-60GLN
400W ATX12V 2.0 Power Supply
Manufacturer
FSP Group
Market Price
~US$70 (on line, EU)

The FSP Green PS is an environmentally friendly power supply manufactured from recyclable and nontoxic materials, and it's supposed to be highly efficient. It's utilitarian in appearance, and there is little to distinguish it visually from the dozens of OEM power supplies. It's about as free of bling as any PSU we've reviewed.

Examining the FSP Green PS is a little like chatting with the class nerd: The other power supplies are bigger and prettier, but you can't deny that there's intelligence beneath the skin. Like most nerds, the FSP is well known but mostly ignored: It has no shortage of press coverage, but very hard to find it for sale anywhere. (At least in North America.)

What we really want to know is whether the Green PS has some other nerdy attributes: Will it be well behaved and sit quietly in the corner of the computer case, or does it act up and draw attention to itself? Sure, the attention seeking power supplies may be more fun, but do you really want to put that kind of power supply in charge of your computer? Not if you want a quiet computer.

For the record, FSP stands for Fortron-Source Power, and they're a pretty big PSU manufacturer, not just a brand that slaps its badge and marketing spin on PSUs made for them. FSP Group is a major OEM/ODM supplier, in fact. Many well known brands — even in the quiet PC sector — actually have their PSUs made by FSP. The list includes AOpen, Zalman, Nexus and SilenX, to name just a few. FSP has an extensive line of power supplies under the Fortron-Source brand, and their products are also sold under the name of Sparkle.

FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS

The retail package for the Green PS is made from unbleached, recycled cardboard — fitting for an environmentally friendly power supply. Our test sample was even more environmentally friendly: It arrived unpackaged except for the shipping box and a small amount of bubble wrap to protect it.


Standard publicity photo from FSP; retail package emphasizes its "greenness".

The development of an environmentally friendly power supply is more than just goodwill on the part of the FSP-Group. Sooner or later, all power supplies (in the EU at least) need to meet standards that dictate the amount of toxic and unrecyclable materials that can be used in manufacturing electronics. According to this press release from FSP, "In order to reduce the effects of both heavy metals and chemical pollution on the environment, the EC (European Commission) has stipulated explicitly that no electrical and electronic equipment put on the market throughout the EU may contain lead after 2006".

There are two major parts of the legislation, which appears to come into force on 1 July 2006:

  1. There will be maximum allowable limits for the following substances:
    • Lead
    • Mercury
    • Cadmium
    • Hexavalent chromium
    • Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
    • Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE)
  2. Electronic equipment will be subject to a "recycling tax", much like the bottle deposit found on recyclable drink containers. These taxes will go to the manufacturers, who will be required to facilitate the recycling of old electronics.

Specific details about the legislation can be found buried on the EU web site, and much more information can be found by looking up WEEE, the industry group behind the legislation, and RoHS, the part of the legislation that applies particularly to restrictions on hazardous substances. The precise nature of the regulations and who is going to enforce them varies from country to country within the EU, and there does not seem to be a centralized source of information about them. Our contact at FSP in the US said that their entire production is scheduled soon to adopt the environmental guidelines and practices outlined above.

Other environmentally friendly aspects of the Green PS include active power factor correction and, of course, high efficiency. These features are becoming more common, but they are veritable requirements of any power supply that claims to be environmentally friendly.

Feature Highlights of the FSP Green PS FSP400-60GLN (from FSP's web site)
FEATURE & BRIEF COMMENT
High Efficiency exceeding 85% (at full load)
An impressive, but increasingly common claim.
Low power consumption on standby (<1W) Standby power consumption depends on the motherboard and peripherals as well...
Under 30dBA low noise design
Unlikely at full load, but certainly possible at lower loads.
Low on heavy metal compounds
The Green PS raison d'être: Environmentally friendly.
Reduced weight (from 2.5kg reduced to 1.9kg) for less recycling tax (EU)
Good for portability.
PCI Express Connector for graphic cards Standard issue.
Environmentally friendly PSU
No details here...

OUTPUT SPECIFICATIONS

SPECIFICATIONS: FSP Green PS FSP400-60GLN
AC Input
VAC ~ 265 VAC / 47 Hz ~63 Hz
DC Output
+3.3V
+5V
+12V1
+12V2
-12V
+5VSB
Minimum Output Current
0.5A
0.3A
1.0A
1.0A
0.0A
0.0A
Maximum Output Current
30A
30A
14A
15A
0.8A
2.0A
Maximum Combined
152W
168W
180W
9.6W
10W
400W

The electrical specifications for the Green PS are quite run-of-the-mill. As with any ATX12V 2.0 power supply, most of the available power is on the +12V rails. There is enough output capacity to handle the vast majority of systems.

The most interesting specifications are not electrical:

  1. Operating temperature is rated from 0°C to 50°C.
  2. No less than eleven safety certifications are listed, along with compliance with five EMC standards and two EMI standards.

The specified operating temperature is a relevant piece of information that many companies forget to mention. It is important because temperature affects the output capacity of the power supply. The maximum operating temperature of 50°C shows that FSP has confidence in the reliability of the Green PS and its ability to output its rated power in realistic conditions. 40°C or more is a realistic ambient temperature for a high powered system.

CERTIFICATIONS: FSP Green PS FSP400-60GLN
Safety
UL, CB, CE, CSA, TUV, Nemko,
FCC, BSMI, CCC, C-TICK, GOST-R
EMC
EN61000-4-2, -3, -4, -5, CE approval
EMI
FCC Class B, CISPR 22 Class B


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