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Jan 2, 2008 by Devon Cooke
| Seasonic Eco Power 300
300W SFX12V 80-Plus Power Supply
(Also compatible with ATX12V 2.01)
Green tech has taken off. In recent months, SPCR has reviewed a
Green drive, a Green monitor,
a Green laptop, and more
than one Green power supply.
We also launched our sister site, Eco
PC Review, which focusses specifically on Green computing. Despite all this
attention, few of these so-called Green products have done more than tweak power
consumption and rewrite the product's PR to tout its Greenness. But, as our sister site Eco PC Review discovered, there is far more to environmentally-friendly
computing than knocking the power consumption down by a couple watts.
As it stands today, it would be a stretch to call even a solar-powered laptop
Green because the vast majority of a laptop's energy footprint is expended in
the manufacturing process, not everyday operation. The same applies to just
about every piece of consumer electronics on the market. Europe's
RoHS initiative, which, among other things, banned the use of lead in electronics,
will arguably do much more for the environment than the
far-better publicized 80-Plus program. In fact, insofar as the 80-Plus program
stimulates the sale of new power supplies as replacements for older, working
power supplies, it is responsible for a certain amount of environmental damage
Barring a major change in the way electronics are manufactured, we're never
going to see a truly Green power supply, but that doesn't mean some manufacturers
aren't making an effort to clean up their acts. The latest to the market is
Seasonic with the Eco Power 300. Seasonic has a long history of building highly
efficient power supplies, so they will need to do something special to set the
Eco Power apart from their regular models.
Simple, unbleached cardboard packaging.
The Eco Power starts with RoHS compliance (required) and 80-Plus certification
(standard for Seasonic), but this is the bare minimum we'd expect of an ecologically-friendly
power supply. For that matter, we expect these features of just about any power
supply, not just Green ones.
The most obviously Green feature is apparent without even opening the box because
it is the box itself. In contrast to the usual brightly colored retail packaging,
the Eco Power comes in a plainish brown cardboard carton printed with monochrome
black ink in a style reminiscent of Thermalright's
packaging. The only splash of color is a label that advertises a five year
warranty. Seasonic's words on the matter do a good job of highlighting how far
the electronics industry has to go: "Innovative use of 100% recycled cardboard
has eliminated all packaging plastics, placing Eco Power 300 at the forefront
of green electronic design." Cardboard packaging seems indeed to
be the forefront of green electronic design, so clearly there is work to be done!
Nevertheless, every little bit helps, and we're not about to knock their effort.
Recycled cardboard is widely available, though it can be difficult to verify
just how much post-consumer waste is actually present. Seasonic also notes that
the ink is non-toxic, though it's not clear whether this also means environmentally-friendly.
We were almost able to verify the lack of plastic there was no sign of
the usual plastic bags or bubble wrap around the power supply; however, a pair
of small ziplock baggie containing the mounting screws proved that ditching
plastic entirely is harder than it seems. (Come to think of it, "ditching
plastic" seems like an unfortunate choice of words we'd rather keep
the plastic out of the ditch entirely.)
Things stay simple and unbleached inside as well...
...with no sign of the usual plastic padding.
The contents of the package are fairly minimal, though not quite bare-PSU-minimal.
A small, single-sheet warranty card is included, plus "extras" including
an AC power cable and adapters for floppy and PCIe connectors, as well as mounting
screws and an SFX to ATX adapter plate that allows the oddly-shaped SFX-power
supply to be installed in standard ATX cases. With the exception of the warranty
card and the PCIe adapter (high power graphics cards have no place in a Green
PC), all of these are necessary for regular operation of the power supply. The
PCIe adapter is probably a compromise, given how difficult it is to sell a power
supply without one.
Several adapters for wide compatibility.
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