Antec TruePower Trio 550

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TESTING

For a fuller understanding of ATX power supplies, please read the reference article Power Supply Fundamentals & Recommended Units. Those who seek source materials can find Intel's various PSU design guides at Form Factors.

For a complete rundown of testing equipment and procedures, please refer to SPCR's PSU Test Platform V.4. The testing system is a close simulation of a moderate airflow mid-tower PC optimized for low noise.

In the test rig, the ambient temperature of the PSU varies proportionately with its output load, which is exactly the way it is in a real PC environment. But there is the added benefit of a high power load tester which allows incremental load testing all the way to full power for any non-industrial PC power supply. Both fan noise and voltage are measured at various standard loads. It is, in general, a very demanding test, as the operating ambient temperature of the PSU often reaches >40°C at full power. This is impossible to achieve with an open test bench setup.

The 120mm fan responsible for "case airflow" is deliberately run at a steady low level (~6-7V) when the system is run at "low" loads. When the test loads become greater, the 120mm fan is turned up to a higher speed, but one that doesn't affect the noise level of the overall system. Anyone who is running a system that draws 400W or more would definitely want more than 20CFM of airflow through their case, and at this point, the noise level of the exhaust fan is typically not the greatest concern.

Great effort has been made to devise as realistic an operating environment for the PSU as possible, but the thermal and noise results obtained here still cannot be considered absolute. There are too many variables in PCs and too many possible combinations of components for any single test environment to provide infallible results. And there is always the bugaboo of sample variance. These results are akin to a resume, a few detailed photographs, and some short sound bites of someone you've never met. You'll probably get a pretty good overall representation, but it is not quite the same as an extended meeting in person.

REAL SYSTEM POWER NEEDS: While our testing loads the PSU to full output (even 600W!) in order to verify the manufacturer's claims, real desktop PCs simply do not require anywhere near this level of power. The most pertinent range of DC output power is between about 65W and 250W, because it is the power range where most systems will be working most of the time. To illustrate this point, we conducted system tests to measure the maximum power draw that an actual system can draw under worst-case conditions. Our most power-hungry Intel 670 (P4-3.8) processor rig with nVidia 6800GT video card drew ~214W DC from the power supply under full load — well within the capabilities of any modern power supply. Please follow the link provided above to see the details. It is true that very elaborate systems with the most power hungry video card today could draw as much as another 60~100W, but the total still remains well under 400W in extrapolations of our real world measurements. As for high end dual video card gaming rigs... well, to be realistic, they have no place in silent computing today.

SPCR's high fidelity sound recording system was used to create MP3 sound files of this PSU. As with the setup for recording fans, the position of the mic was 3" from the exhaust vent at a 45° angle, outside the airflow turbulence area. The photo below shows the setup (a different PSU is being recorded). All other noise sources in the room were turned off while making the sound recordings.

INTERPRETING TEMPERATURE DATA

It important to keep in mind that fan speed varies with temperature, not output load. A power supply generates more heat as output increases, but is not the only the only factor that affects fan speed. Ambient temperature and case airflow have almost as much effect. Our test rig represents a challenging thermal situation for a power supply: A large portion of the heat generated inside the case must be exhausted through the power supply, which causes a corresponding increase in fan speed.

When examining thermal data, the most important indicator of cooling efficiency is the difference between intake and exhaust. Because the heat generated in the PSU loader by the output of the PSU is always the same for a given power level, the intake temperature should be roughly the same between different tests. The only external variable is the ambient room temperature. The temperature of the exhaust air from the PSU is affected by several factors:

  • Intake temperature (determined by ambient temperature and power output level)
  • Efficiency of the PSU (how much heat it generates while producing the required output)
  • The effectiveness of the PSU's cooling system, which is comprised of:
    • Overall mechanical and airflow design
    • Size, shape and overall surface area of heatsinks
    • Fan(s) and fan speed control circuit

The thermal rise in the power supply is really the only indicator we have about all of the above. This is why the intake temperature is important: It represents the ambient temperature around the power supply itself. Subtracting the intake temperature from the exhaust temperature gives a reasonable gauge of the effectiveness of the power supply's cooling system. This is the only temperature number that is comparable between different reviews, as it is unaffected by the ambient temperature.

TEST RESULTS

Ambient conditions during testing were 21°C and 19 dBA. AC input was 121V, 60Hz. Note that the "+12V3" line was not measured separately. Antec's manual and technical notes say nothing about which of the output leads correspond to which 12V lines, so it's a bit of a moot point; users will not be able to pick and choose the loads for each line, anyway.

OUTPUT & EFFICIENCY: Antec TruePower Trio 550W
DC Output Voltage (V) + Current (A)
Total DC Output
AC Input
Calculated Efficiency
+12V1
+12V2
+5V
+3.3V
-12V
+5VSB
12.20
0.97
12.20
0.00
5.03
0.97
3.30
0.94
0.1
0.1
21.5
37
58.6%
12.22
0.98
12.22
1.75
5.03
0.97
3.30
0.95
0.1
0.2
43.6
61
71.0%
12.20
1.86
12.20
1.73
5.00
1.94
3.30
1.82
0.1
0.4
62.7
84
74.6%
12.20
1.86
12.20
3.47
5.02
2.89
3.30
1.8
0.1
0.5
90.0
113
78.9%
12.20
3.73
12.10
5.02
5.01
4.68
3.29
3.61
0.2
0.9
148.5
183
81.0%
12.15
5.50
12.12
6.73
5.00
5.53
3.29
4.49
0.3
1.1
199.9
240
83.3%
12.14
7.69
12.10
8.13
5.00
6.45
3.25
5.24
0.4
1.4
252.8
302
83.7%
12.07
8.70
12.12
9.78
5.00
8.10
3.29
6.19
0.5
1.7
298.9
358
83.5%
12.10
13.00
12.1
12.80
4.99
9.88
3.29
8.28
0.6
2.3
407.4
502
81.2%
12.04
17.00
12.1
17.00
4.96
15.2
3.29
12.1
0.8
3.0
549.2
717
76.6%
Crossload Test
12.10
17.00
12.10
16.40
4.99
1.92
3.38
1.79
0.1
0.2
422.1
520
81.1%
+12V Ripple: 4.8mV @ 65W ~ 14.1mV @ 550W
+5V Ripple: 3.1mV @ 65W ~ 5.0 mV @ 550W
+3.3V Ripple: 3.5mV @ 65W ~ 4.2 max @ 550W
NOTE: The current and voltage for -12V and +5VSB lines is not measured but based on switch settings of the DBS-2100 PS Loader. It is a tiny portion of the total, and potential errors arising from inaccuracies on these lines is <1W.

 

OTHER DATA SUMMARY: Antec TruePower Trio 550W
DC Output (W)
21.5
43.6
62.7
89.2
148.5
199.9
252.8
298.9
407.4
549.2
Intake Temp (°C)
23
22
23
25
28
28
27
28
31
35
Exhaust Temp (°C)
25
25
25
29
36
37
35
35
38
47
Temp Rise (°C)
2
3
2
4
8
9
8
7
7
12
Fan Voltage (V)
4.3
4.3
4.3
4.3
4.5
5.3
5.9
7.4
11.3
11.4
SPL (dBA@1m)
22
22
22
22
22
22
30
37
45
45
Power Factor
0.93
0.98
0.99
1.00
1.00
0.99
1.00
1.00
1.00
1.00
AC Power in Standby: 1.5W / 0.1 PF
AC Power with No Load, power On: 7.8W / 0.3 PF
NOTE: The ambient room temperature during testing can vary a few degrees from review to review. Please take this into account when comparing PSU test data.

ANALYSIS

1. EFFICIENCY is good with the TruePower Trio 550W model. We calculated over 80% efficiency from 150W DC output to over 400W, but it drops to 76.6% at maximum output. Peak efficiency is not as high as the Corsair HX520W we recently reviewed, but it is a respectable 83.7% at 250W output. Antec is making improvements in their efficiency; this model is better than the TruePower 2.0 or the "High Efficiency" Neo HE. Those who have 220~240V at their AC outlets can expect efficiency to be higher by 2~4%, with the greatest increase coming at high loads.

2. VOLTAGE REGULATION is excellent. Antec's claim of ±3% is definitely met. The maximum deviation from the nominal value of the 12V, 5V, and 3.3V rails is 1.83%, 0.8% and 1.82% respectively, a very commendable performance.

3. RIPPLE is very good. The RMS voltage ripple under full load was 14.1mV, 5.0mV, and 4.2mV.

4. POWER FACTOR is excellent, near unity under nearly all loading conditions. The active power factor correction on this model is definitely working.

5. LOW LOAD PERFORMANCE is good, with almost no power consumed on standby and consistent startup with no load, and very little power consumed in that state.

6. LOW AC VOLTAGE PERFORMANCE

Low AC input voltage testing was performed to obtain some idea of how the PSU would behave under brownout conditions. A load of approximately 75% of the maximum rated power was used, and the AC was adjusted downwards in 10W increments with the lab's hefty 20A Variac. As the table below shows, the Trio was perfectly stable. Ripple stayed very low throughout this testing — under 10 mV on the 12V line and under 3 mV on the other lines.

Low VAC Test: Antec TruePower Trio 550 @ 417W Output
VAC
AC Current
AC Power
Efficiency
+12V
+5V
+3.3V
120
4.25A
515
81.0%
12.08
4.98
3.29
110
4.67A
520
80.2%
12.08
4.98
3.29
100
5.17A
525
79.4%
12.08
4.98
3.29
90
5.86A
532
78.4%
12.08
4.97
3.29
80
6.70A
542
76.9%
12.08
4.97
3.28



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