Antec EarthWatts 430: Green Computing Hits Mainstream

Power
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INTERIOR

Inside the Earth Watts is a surprisingly sparse PCB cooled by surprisingly small heatsinks. Knowing that this PSU is made by Seasonic, whose PSUs usually have fairly hefty heatsinks, this was especially surprising. The Seasonic-sourced Neo HE series have considerably more substantial heatsinks, for example. They're not quite as small as the heatsinks found in FSP's Green PS, but they may have been inspired by it. Presumably, what is lost in heatsink area is supposed to be compensated by a lack of airflow impedance — but we'll see how things work in practice. [Editor's Note: The reduced HS size and slightly higher speed might be considered part of a greener approach, a desire to use less material — aluminum in this case.]


Much of the PCB is visible thanks to smallish heatsinks that provide plenty of room for airflow.


The heatsinks divide the interior neatly into separate channels.

The wisdom of the small secondary vent in the external casing becomes apparent by examining where it is located. The position of the fan means that most of the airflow will be drawn between the two outer heatsinks, leaving the rightmost third of the power supply with only a little residual airflow. Additionally, the large bundle of wires mean that this portion of the power supply has less intake area than the rest of the power supply.

The Earth Watts deals with this in two ways. First, most of the heat sensitive components are located centrally, where there is plenty of airflow. The output wires may block airflow, but they don't require much cooling compared to the major electronic components. Second, the secondary vent provides a little extra airflow that is directed over a small secondary PCB just in front of it. This PCB is visible in the bottom section of the photo below.


This side is away from the fan, and is less well cooled than the rest.
Fortunately, it's mostly wires, and the secondary vent provides a little extra airflow.



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