Signature 650 PSU: Antec's Challenge

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Opening up the unit required the removal of six screws, not the usual four: Two on the bottom, two on top, and two on the back. This is not the usual clamshell design. It is quite simply the most impressive PSU I've ever examined. The execution is second to none, with mechanical fit and precision beyond reproach. The Signature exudes quality.

The PSU split into three parts.

There are two printed circuit boards, one mounted on the top, one on the bottom.

The two PCBs are mounted top and bottom, with the components filling the middle air space. All the heatsinks are arranged to present the smallest impedance to airflow, yet benefit from the airflow along their length. By using this arrangement, the 80mm fan is able to blow air around every component for maximum cooling with minimum turbulence, at least, as far as possible, given the large number of components. The only issue might be a bit of a dead zone just behind the AC socket. Still, you should be able to see that there are no components so tightly packed in that air cannot flow around it. This design should provide more thorough cooling than any standard single PCB design using either 80mm or 120mm fan. It has to cost more to implement than the standard single-PCB design. On the other hand, with such effective cooling airflow, it is probably possible to use larger components which cost less than similarly rated miniature ones. This makes clear the mention of large, heavy components in Antec's features summary.

The two beautifully executed PCBs communicate via two cable sets.

12V primary transformer on top right, two heatsinks strapped with copper plate, fan controller board on bottom edge.

The other board has most of the primary components, the rectifier circuit, the big caps (all caps are either Rubycon or Nippon Chemi-Con - high quality names), the Active PFC circuit.

The fan is a Nidec 80x25mm with a 4-pin PWM connector visible on top.

We're always interested in the details of the fan, the primary noise source. This is a Nidec D08A-12PS3 rated at 12VDC / 0.5A. After hunting through the more complete Japanese Nidec web site, I could not find any fan of this model number. Furthermore, I did not find a single fan with a current rating anywhere close to the 0.5A of this model. Implication? It's a custom-made speedster, guaranteed, probably capable of 4000+ RPM at some ungodly noise level. But with a good PWM controller, it could still be a very quiet performer.

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