Antec EarthWatts 430: Green Computing Hits Mainstream

Power
Viewing page 2 of 5 pages. Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next

EXTERNAL TOUR

The unfinished exterior of the Earth Watts is unusual for a brand name power supply, but the bare steel appearance bolsters the sense of being environmentally friendly. Paint is not exactly good for the environment, and it's hardly necessary on a piece of equipment that is not meant to be seen. On the other hand, even "unfinished" steel has been treated with an anti-corrosive agent, so it's not clear how much the lack of paint benefits the environment.

Aside from the finish, the exterior casing seems to have been taken from the Neo HE. Most of the air is designed to flow in through the inner panel of the power supply, not the bottom as is the case with the conventional 120mm fan. The back panel is stamped full of square holes that provide ample space for air to flow. There is also a smallish vent on one side that provides spot cooling for a small secondary PCB.


Straight-through airflow makes the Earth Watts a good choice for building a PSU duct.

Airflow is generated by a single 80mm fan that blows directly out the back of the power supply. It is guarded by a wire grill that provides a good balance between safety and open airflow. The straight-through airflow design of the Earth Watts is somewhat uncommon these days, and is not designed to help with CPU cooling as units with bottom-mounted fans are. That said, many silencers prefer this style of airflow, as the layout makes it easy to duct fresh air directly to the power supply — allowing the fan to spin more slowly under load.


Cooling is provided by an 80mm fan.

FAN


The fan comes from well-known manufacturer, Adda.

The fan is a high speed, sleeve bearing model from Adda. Adda makes the fans found in many of the quietest power supplies we know of, including Antec's own Neo HE, so we have hopes that the Earth Watts will be a quiet performer. However, the fan is not identical to the one in the Neo HE, which used a medium speed, ball bearing fan. A direct comparison between the two will be instructive...

CABLES AND CONNECTORS

There are a total of seven cable sets:

  • 19" cable for main 24-pin ATX connector — sleeved in black & red vinyl
  • 19" cable for AUX12V 4-pin
  • 19" cable for 6-pin PCIe connector
  • 33" cable with three 4-pin IDE drive connectors
  • 38" cable with three 4-pin IDE drive connectors and one floppy connector
  • 2 x 27" cables with two SATA drive connectors

Cables are not especially long or short, and while some people may have difficulties in larger cases, most people should be fine.

Users who consider appearance important (if any are still reading after seeing the unfinished exterior) will be disappointed that only the main ATX cable is sleeved. Given the environmental focus of the Earth Watts, we shouldn't expect much in the way of bling though — it's designed for a different crowd.

Gamers will want to take note that only the 500W model comes with two PCIe connectors. The two lower-end models come with only one. We hope that most readers will appreciate the irony of providing these high power plugs in a "Green" power supply — nobody with an interest in conserving power should choose a graphics card that is power hungry enough to require one of these connectors.



Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next

Power - Article Index
Help support this site, buy from one of our affiliate retailers!
Search: