Antec TruePower 2.0 430 power supply

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ANALYSIS

1. VOLTAGE REGULATION was excellent, staying within the specified ±3% rating, and was often within ±1%. The most significant change occurred at full load, when all three main voltages sagged significantly. In ordinary use this will not be an issue, as it is nearly impossible to generate a load of 430W in an ordinary system.

2. EFFICIENCY was surprisingly low, although it was better than the NeoPower 480. The peak efficiency of 76% is below Antec's newer "budget" power supply line, the SmartPower 2.0.

3. POWER FACTOR

Except for the European model, which we did not test, the TruePower 2.0 does not come with any form of power factor correction. Taking this into consideration, the power factor was relatively good, but it was still well below the ideal value of 1.0 which can be approached using active power factor correction.

4. TEMPERATURE AND COOLING

The temperature rise was around 10-12°C throughout the test. There's no question that the TruePower 2.0 runs hot. However, even though the thermal performance was poor at lower loads compared to many other tested power supplies, it did not change much as the output increased. Thus, the performance was not actually that bad when the output neared full load.

5. FAN, FAN CONTROLLER and NOISE

As noted, the TruePower 2.0 uses the same fan as the NeoPower, so it's no surprise that it sounded very similar when it started. The noise level was fairly quiet, although not quite the quietest we've heard. Even at the lowest speed, there was a distinct hum that never dropped away: It exhibited a dull "chugging" sound, perhaps because it was running close to its stall speed.

As the load increased, the dominant noise slowly changed from a faint hum to a low growl that gradually increased in pitch and volume. The noise became bothersome somewhere around 200W output, which corresponded to an intake temperature of 36°C, which is quite high for this noise level. Changes in fan noise were gradual enough that they are unlikely to be noticed unless specifically listened for.

Overall, the fan is above average and the fan controller is quite good. Together, they make for a power supply that is likely to be quiet in most systems. A truly silent system may require a more exotic solution, but many users will be happy with the level of noise offered by the TruePower 2.0.

MP3 Sound Recordings of Antec TruePower 2.0 430

Antec TruePower 2.0 430 @ <90W (23 dBA@1m)

Antec TruePower 2.0 430 @ 150W (24 dBA@1m)

Antec TruePower 2.0 430 @ 200W (28 dBA@1m)

There was no need to make recordings at higher power levels; it's simply too loud.

Sound Recordings of PSU Comparatives

Seasonic Tornado 400 @ 65W (19 dBA/1m)

Seasonic S12-430 @ 150W (19 dBA/1m)

Antec Neo HE 430 @ 200W (26 dBA@1m)

Nexus 92mm case fan @ 5V (17 dBA/1m) Reference

HOW TO LISTEN & COMPARE

These recordings were made with a high resolution studio quality digital recording system. The microphone was 3" from the edge of the fan frame at a 45° angle, facing the intake side of the fan to avoid direct wind noise. The ambient noise during all recordings was 18 dBA or lower.

To set the volume to a realistic level (similar to the original), try playing the Nexus 92 fan reference recording and setting the volume so that it is barely audible. Then don't reset the volume and play the other sound files. Of course, tone controls or other effects should all be turned off or set to neutral. For full details on how to calibrate your sound system to get the most valid listening comparison, please see the yellow text box entitled Listen to the Fans on page four of the article SPCR's Test / Sound Lab: A Short Tour.

CONCLUSIONS

The TruePower 2-430's numerous strengths are countered by a few weaknesses that prevent it from being ranked with the best. It is most at home in the middle market where price requires some concessions from performance. It is a solid unit that is fine for first-time system builders who need a modestly priced, reliable unit that gets the job done.

It is possible the TruePower 2.0 line is a descendent of Antec's NeoPower 480. The two are physically similar, and they also share a number of performance traits. Like the NeoPower, the TruePower 2.0 has efficiency and cooling that's lower than the norm for the best PSUs these days, but makes up for it with fairly good noise performance and stable voltage regulation.

The good news is that the TruePower 2.0 improves on both the weaknesses and the strengths of the NeoPower. Although efficiency is still not great, it is better than the NeoPower. Furthermore, the fan controller appears to have been tweaked enough that it is now one of the better ones on the market. The price of the TruePower 2.0 430 is less than half of the NeoPower 480. [Editor's Note: Of course, the TP2-430 lacks the modular detachable cables of the NeoPower.]

However compared to the Seasonic S12-430, the top rated, quiet fan-cooled PSU in our recommended PSU list, it suffers, as do most competitors. Admittedly, it's more costly. Similarly, the 80mm fan Antec NeoHE outdoes the TP-II in both efficiency and noise, and the market price is not much different. (This assumes the compatibility issues with Asus nForce4 boards and the NeoHE PSUs are resolved.)

In conclusion, the TruePower 2.0 is a solid but unremarkable performer. It delivers stable voltage performance, is quiet enough that a single stock VGA card will drown it out, and costs little enough that it won't break your bank account.

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Much thanks to Antec for the opportunity to examine this power supply.

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