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 Post subject: Signature 650 PSU: Antec's Challenge
PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:29 pm 
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Signature 650 PSU: Antec's Challenge

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:35 pm 
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Must admit, i was expecting better results. If you're to charge a price premium, i'd expect that you'd be able to beat the silence results of it's competitors - ie the enermax modu 82+.

I suppose it's not all about that, as you've said the power quality is better than it's competitors, but to my liking it's just not good enough without the dB level coming down as well.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:36 am 
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Thanks Mike for another great quality review, nice to see the chamber is getting plenty of use. Looks like a lovely PSU, if you can afford it. For most of the world this is a very high quality PSU, priced to match, for those that want it. That the acoustics are good even by SPCR standards is a bonus!

While this Antec PSU isn't as quiet as some others at high load I doubt it would be a problem for most people. By the time you've got the 300w+ plus load on the PSU cooling the video card(s) and CPU(s) more quietly than the PSU is going to be a challenge. Further more if you have that kind of level of power draw in your PC you'll probably have greater exhaust than the SPCR test bed. This would reduce the temp of the air the PSU intakes and reduce the fan speed/noise it needed to run. As Mike pointed out in the review run in a P180 the PSU will be quieter to a higher load as the PSU is getting "fresh" air rather than heated air from the rest of the PC.

I was thinking about it and think that to some extent SPCRs test bed slightly disadvantages 80mm fan PSUs as they tend to have less airflow than 120mm fan PSUs for a given noise level. With less airflow the intake temp of the PSU is going to be higher so it’s going to find it harder to keep itself cool. If in your PC build the airflow through the PSU is a part of the exhaust strategy then the SPCR test bed is absolutely fair and accurate. If on the other hand you thermally separate the PSU then I think the SPCR test is harder on 80mm fan PSUs than would be seen in that PC. For most people’s PC builds SPCRs testbed is representative and you can just read off the numbers and make a good choice.

I don’t mean this as a criticism of SPCRs reviews, which are widely regarded as some of the best on the Internet. It’s more a case of there has to be a test methodology and the reader has to make a judgement of how closely this relates to their intended usage and what it’s telling them. As with all statistics you have to look past the headline numbers and THINK about exactly what they are telling you.
Regards, Seb

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 3:26 am 
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This layout would be great for P182's since the air enters through the back rather than the bottom, a much smoother pathway.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 4:50 am 
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Thanks Mike for your review. Nothing new for me, just sound measurements which are awesone.
Probably the best consumer PSU in the world.

Mikey for Modu/Pro82+ we all hope that are not a failure on long term like other series.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:33 am 
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That PSU looks pretty damned good, and I only have one negative thing to say about it, it could be cherry picked.

I know this has been discussed at length over a period of years, but this product more than any other needs to be verified that it has not been cherry picked. The fact that Antec have actually sent a load out to reviewers in special boxes with aditional information enclosed is if anything a sign that the PSU's themselves have been cherry picked. I would really like to see that every Signature PSU is as good as the one that has been reviewed by SPCR, but I am dubious in this instance.

Would SPCR be able to swap their PSU for another with a reseller/distributor and give it a test for noise, efficiency and voltage regulation. A single wattage would do just fine to verify that everything is in order, and if it is then Antec really need a big pat on the back for making an excelent PSU.


Andy

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:11 am 
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andyb wrote:
That PSU looks pretty damned good, and I only have one negative thing to say about it, it could be cherry picked.

I know this has been discussed at length over a period of years, but this product more than any other needs to be verified that it has not been cherry picked. The fact that Antec have actually sent a load out to reviewers in special boxes with aditional information enclosed is if anything a sign that the PSU's themselves have been cherry picked. I would really like to see that every Signature PSU is as good as the one that has been reviewed by SPCR, but I am dubious in this instance.

Would SPCR be able to swap their PSU for another with a reseller/distributor and give it a test for noise, efficiency and voltage regulation. A single wattage would do just fine to verify that everything is in order, and if it is then Antec really need a big pat on the back for making an excelent PSU.


Andy

Firstly, Antec is not at all unique in sending extra info to reviewers. It's the norm. I think this might be the first time they actually went as far as providing a reviewer's guide, which some companies have done routinely -- Intel, AMD, Corsair are names that come quickly to mind. The PR guys have jobs to do, and this has become one of the things they do -- "added value info & data" so reviewers can be "guided" to look at the product in the most positive way. It's usually just more pointed and comprehensive versions of the standard marketing materials for the product, tho sometimes even detailed instructions about how to test are included. I have to say some of those instructions are probably very useful for less experienced reviewers.

Do I think engineers or techs ever get involved to tweak the individual samples just for the reviewer? I've said this before, and I'll say it again: NO!

In over six years of rubbing shoulders with umpteen reviewers and journalists at multiple trade shows and tech events. I've never seen or heard anything that points to this practice, despite my openness to all kinds of conspiracy theories. :D

It would not pay anyway -- imagine a superlative review causing thousands of people to rush out and buy who then become disappointed because the products they got is not what the reviewer described. The returns would be catastrophic, especially with the power of negative viral communications on the web.

If anything, it's the biggest players like Intel that are guilty of any real tweaking of products for reviewers. I'm talking about the tweaking of CPUs prior to launch, performance tests conducted in the mfg's own facilities under their tight control, etc. And there, everyone knows that the tweaking for better PR is going on.

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Last edited by MikeC on Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:26 am 
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SebRad wrote:
I was thinking about it and think that to some extent SPCRs test bed slightly disadvantages 80mm fan PSUs as they tend to have less airflow than 120mm fan PSUs for a given noise level. With less airflow the intake temp of the PSU is going to be higher so it’s going to find it harder to keep itself cool. If in your PC build the airflow through the PSU is a part of the exhaust strategy then the SPCR test bed is absolutely fair and accurate. If on the other hand you thermally separate the PSU then I think the SPCR test is harder on 80mm fan PSUs than would be seen in that PC. For most people’s PC builds SPCRs testbed is representative and you can just read off the numbers and make a good choice.

I don’t mean this as a criticism of SPCRs reviews, which are widely regarded as some of the best on the Internet. It’s more a case of there has to be a test methodology and the reader has to make a judgement of how closely this relates to their intended usage and what it’s telling them. As with all statistics you have to look past the headline numbers and THINK about exactly what they are telling you.
Regards, Seb

We're on the same wavelength SebRad. I've come to the conclusion that the SPCR test rig may be too thermally rigorous in an age when an increasing number of cases are using separate intake vents for the PSU. Not only the aforementioned Antec cases, but Silverstone, CoolerMaster, and others offer such cases (rpobably more than a dozen altogether), and the vast majority of them are marketed to the enthusiasts, which is the same market as the -- typically -- higher end PSUs that SPCR reviews. When the new custom-made automated PSU tester is done, I may add a second round of tests (with abbreviated data) in a near-free air environment to simulate operation in those cases.

See this post I made in the Silverstone DA700 review discussion:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... 745#436745

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 9:22 am 
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Well...first many thanks for another great review.

I have a few considerations to add to the fact of considering the tendency to position a PSU down the case in order to achieve fresh air from the outside, so that may be time to reduce the severity of the tests or at least adding another one.
As your reviews and analysis are very well considered and read from an international public, I think you should give as well consideration to the problem of the temperatures you can reach in some countries during the hot season.

For instance I live in Italy where during the summer it is becoming very common to reach temperatures not far from 40°.
This is a factor that change completely the situation when dealing with PSU.
Having an ambient temperature of 37°/38° in the room with a pc running load means dealing with a very high temperature of the air that the PSU will be breathing.

And we aren't speaking of a period the length of a day, but we are dealing with an entire season.
So while I am used to reading your reviews with great interest, I sometime ask myself if it would be better to pay a surplus amount of consideration for the situation of countries like mine, but non only mine, may be Spain, Portugal, south France or Greece and all the other world countries with a very hot summer (and there are a lot worldwide).


Last edited by francis12 on Fri Oct 31, 2008 9:32 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 9:28 am 
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FartingBob wrote:
This layout would be great for P182's since the air enters through the back rather than the bottom, a much smoother pathway.


Yes. It's almost like a match made in heaven. Too bad it ramps up like crazy when >300W. With such a small temperature increase you'd think they wouldn't let the fan spin so fast.

A jump from 18 to 28dBA is just... wow! Still, could this be a better choice for a P182 than the Modu82+?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:01 am 
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francis12 wrote:
Well...first many thanks for another great review.

I have a few considerations to add to the fact of considering the tendency to position a PSU down the case in order to achieve fresh air from the outside, so that may be time to reduce the severity of the tests or at least adding another one.
As your reviews and analysis are very well considered and read from an international public, I think you should give as well consideration to the problem of the temperatures you can reach in some countries during the hot season.

For instance I live in Italy where during the summer it is becoming very common to reach temperatures not far from 40°.
This is a factor that change completely the situation when dealing with PSU.
Having an ambient temperature of 37°/38° in the room with a pc running load means dealing with a very high temperature of the air that the PSU will be breathing.

And we aren't speaking of a period the length of a day, but we are dealing with an entire season.
So while I am used to reading your reviews with great interest, I sometime ask myself if it would be better to pay a surplus amount of consideration for the situation of countries like mine, but non only mine, may be Spain, Portugal, south France or Greece and all the other world countries with a very hot summer (and there are a lot worldwide).

If I was in such a climate, there's no question that I'd choose a case with a separate PSU intake. It'd be a basic necessity -- no other type of case would be recommended (unless you have a super low power mITX or smaller type system). Then, current SPCR's reviews would already be about the same condition -- the intake temp routinely jumps to >30C around 200~250W load. At lower loads, even with high room temps, most of the top ranked PSU would not ramp up in a system / case that has a separate PSU intake.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:45 am 
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I can vouch the packaging is the norm, I just got a 650 and it came with all the bells and whistles I've ever seen it with in reviews. I have never heard it ramp up because to be honest, if your system needs that much draw it would probably not be the loudest thing in it and usually that high a draw would be for something like gaming where the game noise will also drown it out some.

Also, as I believe it said in the review, the fan RPM is controlled by temperature not load. Just before it went to 1220rpm the ambient temperature was 31c. I am not too sure about everyone else, but nearly 90f seems a little warm for a room. Granted, I am assuming that everyone who is using this either has it in a separate chamber or with decent airflow so the ambient temperature in the case doesn't get that high.

Do Europeans just not believe in air conditioning? It gets up into the high 30's c here for a good 5 months or so, but that is why we have AC. People don't let their house get that hot...

I know I sound very defensive in this, but I am just tired of everyone bashing 80mm PSUs when there is very little if any difference except at very high stresses. I personally have a 650 in a P182 and I have yet to hear it at all, I am very happy with it. I think the biggest difference between 80mm and 120mm is that 80mm benefit much more from having a system laid out well.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:44 am 
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Ch0z3n wrote:
Do Europeans just not believe in air conditioning? It gets up into the high 30's c here for a good 5 months or so, but that is why we have AC. People don't let their house get that hot...



While having an AC is the norm in North America, not having AC is the norm in europe.
It's mostly in working buildings that the AC has made an appearance the last 20 years, and only very recently have there been integrated ventilation systems installed in newbuilds, which are still getting lots of complaints, because people keep opening windows, making these systems not work.

I'd hate to see what widespread AC use would do to our energybills as well. It's no surprise I read the other day a country like mine, .NL, uses 2 x the earth, while the USA uses up to 5x the earth... That's including all the stuff we transport to the rest of europe.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:56 am 
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Uses 2x the earth and 5x the earth? Maybe there is some translation problem but that doesn't make any sense to me.

I knew that AC wasn't very common in the more northern parts of Europe, well Germany, France, and England are all I can really vouch for since I haven't been anywhere else since I was 5. I figured that farther south AC would be a little more common due to the length and heat of the summers.

Ah well, I guess I have become very spoiled since I have been to college, my parent's house is 100 years old (which is more or less ancient for most of the states) and in the summers it would get to about 85f in my room since it was upstairs. My room was also the last off the AC upstairs (1 system downstairs and 1 upstairs) so that didn't really help, but luckily there is a massive fan in the hall ceiling that you are supposed to open the windows and it pulls air through any open window in the house to at least give me moving air.

Now on the other hand, I split a 1200sq ft apt with 1 other person (soon to be 2) so we mostly keep the blinds closed and the AC to about 72-74f.

I might have to get used to not having AC again soon though, depending on the outcome of the election.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:21 pm 
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Quote:
Uses 2x the earth and 5x the earth? Maybe there is some translation problem but that doesn't make any sense to me.


it means if everyone used the same amount of energy and resources as those living in North America, you would consume 5 times as many natural resources as the Earth actually holds.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_footprint
Quote:
Using this assessment, it is possible to estimate how many planet Earths it would take to support humanity if everybody lived a given lifestyle


==============================================
Quote:
I figured that farther south AC would be a little more common due to the length and heat of the summers.


most of the Southern Mediterranean countries have evolved adaptations to the hot climate long before AC was invented, for example the traditional Spanish siesta at the hottest hours of the day, and for example in Greece houses are traditionally painted white to reflect the heat of the sun. in many ways these are more sustainable and energy-efficient responses to a hot climate than AC.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:53 pm 
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Which Delta designed PSU's are Antec planning to release next?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:02 pm 
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They switched the EarthWatts line over to Delta already.

(hint hint MikeC, at least make note of that on the recommended PSUs if you don't wanna test one)

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:09 pm 
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Ch0z3n wrote:
They switched the EarthWatts line over to Delta already.

(hint hint MikeC, at least make note of that on the recommended PSUs if you don't wanna test one)

Apparently, all except the 380W model.... strange.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:11 pm 
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Really? thats odd, maybe they just had a bunch of extras sitting around when the line changed? Because I know the PSU that came with my Sonata III is Delta, but yeah, it is a 500w.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 4:24 am 
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I think my stance on buying monitors is common: Buy the best you can afford. A nice one will last a long time, while other part of your computer will be come obsolete much faster. This is still my problem with these "all-in-one" PCs (iMac, for example) that are trying to make a comeback. You want to spend a lot on a nice monitor, but in a year or two the rest of your components will be obsolete.

It seems like Antec is shooting for the same philosophy for this this power supply. Upgrade your hardware, but keep your Signature 650.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 5:15 am 
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MikeC wrote:
Ch0z3n wrote:
They switched the EarthWatts line over to Delta already.

(hint hint MikeC, at least make note of that on the recommended PSUs if you don't wanna test one)

Apparently, all except the 380W model.... strange.


Well, IMO it's not strange, it's either stupid or stingy. The 380W is the one used in the NSK3480 and 2480.
I've read quite a few complaints about the loud fan in the Earthwatts 380W PSUs and quests for a good 80 mm fan with low starting voltage.
If Antec would listen to it's customers, instead of the bean-counters, the switch to the Signature series should have started with the 380W one.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 5:50 am 
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Ch0z3n wrote:
I knew that AC wasn't very common in the more northern parts of Europe, well Germany, France, and England are all I can really vouch for since I haven't been anywhere else since I was 5. I figured that farther south AC would be a little more common due to the length and heat of the summers.
I can only speak for Austria, but we insulate our houses quite well, which mean they also stay cool in Summer. We easily get heat-strikes of several weeks beyond 35°C in the Pannonian Basin (that's the big plains which reaches from the alps through Hungary to Bulgaria). Yet - also thanks to cooler basements - the houses stay at pleasant temperatures.

The Italians have a completely different attitude to life. They just evade the heat by shifting everything to the later hours of the day/night.

Sorry for this little off-topic journey to European culture and building standards.

Nice review. I'd like to see more low-wattage devices though (I know, not your fault MikeC).


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 6:08 am 
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andyb wrote:
The fact that Antec have actually sent a load out to reviewers in special boxes with aditional information enclosed is if anything a sign that the PSU's themselves have been cherry picked.


Like Mike said, it's common to get extra review related info. My first Signature review unit had the extra info. The second one did not. They both still performed excellently. Antec isn't cherry picking... these things really are that good ;)

I've never found evidence of any unit being cherry picked for jonnyGURU.com either, and I've probably gone through several dozen review samples by now. I had one questionable unit from a company that rhymes with Hera, and scored it accordingly, but the rest of them were all retail samples.

Back to topic, it's good to see that fan really is as quiet at low speeds as I suspected it was :)


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 7:31 am 
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They didn't change the fans when they switched the EarthWatts over, maybe the 380 has a different fan than the 500, but my 500 still had the same fan it did when Seasonic made them.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 10:31 am 
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I have to agree with francis, ambient temperatures can be an important factor. AC is not always desirable. While aircon is the norm over here, most people don`t keep it on all the time. When the ambient is in excess of 40 degrees (which is often is summer) you`re almost guaranteed to get cramped muscles by moving from a warm room to a cooler one (that could be elimintated with central aircon though). Plus many aircon units are noisy while smokers will always want to keep a window open. This is not only true for the south of europe, but also for big parts of asia and latin america, a significant part of the global population.

I remember reading some guidelines for system builders: keep the cpu cooler intake below 40 degrees celsious. A little tricky if ambient is already that hight ain't it? At least psu manufacturers usually rate their products for operation
under 50 degrees. In the same fashion I think that SPCR testing methadology is very useful for those having to deal with high ambient temps.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 10:45 am 
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Cistron wrote:
Nice review. I'd like to see more low-wattage devices though (I know, not your fault MikeC).

OK, over the next few months, I will try to get samples of <400W bronze 80 Plus models... and post reviews of the ones with at least a decent fan controller.

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 Post subject: Re: Signature 650 PSU: Antec's Challenge
PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 2:38 pm 
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MikeC wrote:


newegg 159 to 249. Wow. Off my list now. Thats 2 Corsair 620s after rebate.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 4:13 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:18 am
Posts: 503
Location: London, UK
MikeC wrote:
Cistron wrote:
Nice review. I'd like to see more low-wattage devices though (I know, not your fault MikeC).

OK, over the next few months, I will try to get samples of <400W bronze 80 Plus models... and post reviews of the ones with at least a decent fan controller.
*bows* merci


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 2:08 pm 
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Posts: 294
I'm just curious to know if it work with a simulated-sinewave UPS like my Back-UPS RS 500 :roll:


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 5:35 am 
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Posts: 206
ntavlas wrote:
I have to agree with francis, ambient temperatures can be an important factor. AC is not always desirable. While aircon is the norm over here, most people don`t keep it on all the time. When the ambient is in excess of 40 degrees (which is often is summer) you`re almost guaranteed to get cramped muscles by moving from a warm room to a cooler one (that could be elimintated with central aircon though). Plus many aircon units are noisy while smokers will always want to keep a window open. This is not only true for the south of europe, but also for big parts of asia and latin america, a significant part of the global population.

I remember reading some guidelines for system builders: keep the cpu cooler intake below 40 degrees celsious. A little tricky if ambient is already that hight ain't it? At least psu manufacturers usually rate their products for operation
under 50 degrees. In the same fashion I think that SPCR testing methadology is very useful for those having to deal with high ambient temps.


Heh... don't smoke? ;) Air conditioning really is nice, though I can make do without, since I grew up without it. Even now, having it in my apartment, we usually turn it on for a bit during a hot day and then shut the windows and blinds and it stays reasonably cool until evening, when it's fine anyway. A lot of people leave it on all the time, though.

As for how many Earths it would take to support everyone living a given lifestyle, let me say that it is not incumbent upon me to reduce my lifestyle to the point where everyone in the world can live equally, when certain countries have experienced ridiculous population explosions over the past few generations. If China and India added another billion each, should we all reduce our consumption so that everyone could still get the same?

Very nice PSU though. I'd be very interested to see how the lower-end models do when they are released, if that could be arranged, because if a ~400w model has the same curve, an HTPC might experience a ramp-up into the noisy range of the fan during certain conditions. That's one reason I usually use rather higher-wattage PSUs than necessary: to ensure my peak load is below the ramp-up point. Love the build quality though!


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