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Antec TruePower Trio 550

Jan 3, 2007 by Kelly Stich with Mike Chin

Product
Antec TruePower Trio 550W
/ 650W

ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12Vcompliant power supply
Manufacturer
Antec
Market Price
US $100 / $120

Antec has developed a strong following at Silent PC Review, and rightfully
so. They've offered many successful cases, including the P180 and the NSK2400
/ Fusion which our own editor Mike Chin helped to create. Antec also has a strong
showing with power supplies as well with three PSU's on SPCR's recommended
quiet PSU list
. Hopefully Antec will keep the ball rolling with the Antec
TruePower Trio, the latest PSU models we have received from them.

The TruePower Trio comes in 430W, 550W and 650W power ratings. This article
will focus on the 550W model. We received a sample of the 650W version as well, but
it is here for reference only. The quality of these models should be very similar.

The TruePower Trio's are the next generation up from the Antec
TruePower 2.0
(reviewed)
and given that there are three models, the name seems fitting, although we're
not sure that's what the name refers to. Perhaps it comes from Antec's claim
that there are three +12V power supply rails. While the TruePower 2.0 was an
adequate power supply, it did have some noise issues that were undesirable.
Hopefully Antec got it right and the third time really is the charm.




The TruePower Trio models come in nice retail boxes.



Somewhat ecologically friendly packaging

(not shown is a plastic bag the PSU was wrapped in).

FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS AND SPECIFICATIONS

With the power ratings, styling and features of the TruePower
Trio, Antec appears to be trying to extend its reach into the gaming market.

Ante TruePower Trio 550W / 650W Feature Highlights
(from
Antec's
web site)
FEATURE & BRIEF OUR COMMENT
Nvidia SLI certified
To be expected
with these output ratings.
Universal Input, automatically
adjusts for 100V to 240V power grids
Fairly standard 100V
to 240V input range.
Active Power Factor Correction
(PFC) for environmentally friendlier power
PFC reduces the apparent
power drawn from the wall.
Three 12V output circuits
provide added system stability
This is beneficial given
the high demand for 12V current in modern computer systems.
Accurate power rating allows
TruePower Trio to deliver its full rated power, 24 hours a day rated at
50ºC
This is good, but honestly,
it should be expected.
Up to 85% efficiency Higher efficiency means
less power wasted in the form of heat, but this doesn't specify what range
of outputs will result in the stated value.
120mm low noise cooling
fan
Standard.
Fan Only power connectors allow TruePower Trio to control case fan
speeds, reducing total system noise
This is a
nice feature that can save some money on fan controllers.
Dedicated outputs for stable
output and less ripple noise
Dedicated outputs are
preferred. A PSU with non-dedicated outputs will have only the highest output
rail regulated and the lower output rails tied to it.
Feedback loop circuits for
tighter load regulation (±3%) to maintain accurate voltage to all
components
Good.
Heavy duty protection circuitry
prevents damage resulting from short circuits (SCP), power overloads (OPP),
over voltages (OVP), and under voltages (UVP)
About par for the high
end.
4 SATA connectors for Serial
ATA drives
Standard.
Two PCI-E connectors for
PCI-Express video cards on 550W and 650W models, one connector on 430W model

Related to the SLI statement
made above. Mostly irelevant when considering a silent PC since it will
be hard to silence a dual video card system.
MTBF: 80,000 hours at 25°C

80,000 hours is over
nine years; a very long time in the life of a computer.
Safety approvals: UL, CUL,
FCC, TÜV, CE, C-tick, CCC, CB
The more the merrier.
Power Factor value up to
99%
Related to the power
factor statement made above. 99% is well above the Intel specifications.
Gold plated connectors for
superior conductivity
An esoteric feature of
questionable merit.
AQ5 - 5 year warranty A five year warranty
is very good.

OUTPUT SPECIFICATIONS: Antec TruePower Trio 550W
AC Input
100-240V, 9A @ 115V, 4.5A @ 230V, 47/63 Hz
DC Output
+3.3V
+5V
+12V1
+12V2
+12V3
-12V
+5VSB
Maximum Output Current
24A
24A
18A
18A
18A
0.8A
3A
Maximum Combined
N/A
504W
N/A
N/A
550W

OUTPUT SPECIFICATIONS: Antec TruePower Trio 650W
AC Input
100-240V, 10A @ 115V, 5A @ 230V, 47/63 Hz
DC Output
+3.3V
+5V
+12V1
+12V2
+12V3
-12V
+5VSB
Maximum Output Current
24A
24A
19A
19A
19A
0.8A
3A
Maximum Combined
N/A
624W
N/A
N/A
650W

EXTERNAL TOUR

The TruePower Trio case has a no-frills metal finish. The only styling feature
worthy of note is the gold-plated fan grill.



No-frills styling from this angle of the TruePower Trio.



The gold-plated fan grill is the same as on the TruePower 2.0.



The label.

OUTPUT CABLES



The main output cables are sleeved; the rest are not.

Permanently connected:

  • 20" cable for main 20+4-pin ATX connector
  • 17" cable for 4x12V EPS12V
  • 20" cable for 2x12V AUX12V
  • 2 x 19" cable for 6-pin PCIe connector
  • 1 x 35" cable with three 4-pin IDE drive connectors and one floppy
    connector
  • 1 x 30" cable with three 4-pin IDE drive connectors
  • 1 x 17" 4-pin IDE to two 12V only 4-pin IDE connectors (meant for fans)
  • 1 x 25" cable for internal fan RPM sensing
  • 2 x 24" cables with two SATA drive connectors

The Antec TruePower Trio cables are all firmly affixed to the PSU. Worth mentioning
is that the only cable that has a protective sleeve is the main 20+4-pin ATX
cable. A nice feature of the Trio is that it has fan outputs connected to the
internal fan controller. If the fan controller is good, this would eliminate
the need to purchase additional fan voltage regulators. There is also a 3-pin
connector meant for monitoring the RPM of the 120mm fan.

INTERIOR

The interior of this model closely resembles other models that we have seen
lately in the SPCR lab. Antec has released several models produced by Seasonic,
and this model looks like another one. What grabs our eye are the heatsinks,
transformer brand and placement, and the general layout. All of these shout Seasonic
as the OEM of this power supply. As Seasonic has ranked at the top of our PSU
recommendations for years, this is definitely not a bad thing. However, just
because it is produced by Seasonic doesn't mean it will be as good as the best
the Seasonic makes.

The internals of the TruePower Trio reveal a very clean design with good airflow.
As typical with 120mm bottom mount fans, the air flows into the unit, across
the heatsinks, and exhausts through the rear grill. The rear grill has the square
holes stamped into it, not quite as desirable as the hexagonal grills, but it
still allows for good airflow. This model has no side vents to draw in (or expel)
air.



The TruePower Trio opened for all to see.



Airflow on this side is impeded by the input connector and output wires.



The heatsinks used on this model are smaller than on some other Seasonic-made
PSUs we have seen recently.

FAN

The fan used is ADDA model AD1212HB-A73GL, described as a high
speed, low noise fan. While we typically prefer to see the lower speed models,
this fan has been used on the Seasonic M12 and the Corsair models with very
positive results. Used correctly with a high quality fan controller, or with
undervolting, it can be as quiet as the lower speed models.



This is the same fan used in the Seasonic M12 and Corsair models.

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 ([email protected])
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

7. TEMPERATURE & COOLING

The temperature rise in the PSU was very good for the load range it is specified
for. The maximum difference between the intake and exhaust was a fairly low
12°C at 550W. Once the fan started to ramp up at around 200W, the PSU temperature
rise responded in kind and we are able to see a dip in the recorded values.
The high speed fan played a key part in the cooling. Another aspect may be the
lack of any other air escapes except the rear exhaust. All air blown into the
PSU by the fan has to circulate across the heatsinks and out the back of the
unit.

One word of warning: Due to recent changes in our test bench, thermal results
are not perfectly comparable to many of the earlier tests that we have done.
Our new test bench uses a larger 120mm fan that provides a more realistic simulation
of the kinds of low-noise systems that are in use today. Earlier tests used
an 80mm exhaust fan which means the newer PSU cooling data may look a bit better;
it may stay cooler to a higher load point.

8. FAN, FAN CONTROLLER and NOISE

The fan voltage started out at 4.3V which is a little higher than other (Seasonic)
controllers with this fan (3.9 - 4.0V). At startup, the PSU measured 22 [email protected]
The fan speed/noise remained unchanged until the load was increased to 250W,
when the fan voltage rose to 5.3V. The fan ramped up quickly beyond the 250W
load, and by the time we reached 400W, the fan was at maximum speed. The maximum
speed would most likely have occurred between 350W-375W had we tested in that
range.

When we took load off of the power supply, the fan speed stayed high for about
a minute and then ramped down slowly. For the crossload test we let the PSU
cool down for a few minutes under minimal load (~65W). When we loaded up the
PSU again the fan speed increased quickly. Between the regular and cross load
tests this gives us an indication that if you were to be using the PSU at the
200W range in idle (a little high for a typical SPCR computer) you would be
able to hear the fan ramp up and down with variations in load.

In the lab we were wanted to be surprised by the way this PSU ramped up, but
honestly I think we were expecting it. The build quality did not seem as high
as the best on our recommended PSU list.
Comparing the TruePower Trio to the TruePower 2.0 it seems like Antec has reused
the fan controller, but this time with a slightly higher ramp point to match
the higher power output.

Power Supply SPL (in [email protected]) Vs. Power Output
Model
65W
90W
150W
200W
250W
300W
400W
Antec TruePower Trio 550W
22
22
22
22
30
37
45
Corsair HX520W
22
22
22
22
22
22
29
Seasonic S12 Energy Plus 550/650
20
20
20
20
21
25
38
Silverstone Element Plus ST50EF-Plus

23

23

23

25

34

41

43
Antec TruePower 2.0 430W

23

23

24

28

36

39

~40-42
Antec Neo HE 430W

20

20

21

26

31

37

~38-40

The table shown above compares the Antec TruePower Trio to recently reviewed
models with similar power output capacity as well as a couple of other Antec
models. You can see that compared to the Corsair and Seasonic, the Antec becomes
noisier at a lower power output. Compared to the Neo HE, the residual noise level
is a bit higher, but actually ramps up in noise less quickly. This may be an
effect of the recent change made to our PSU test box, from an 80mm exhaust fan
to a 120mm exhaust fan. In the newer version of the test box, the NeoHE (and
other PSUs tested earlier) would probably ramp up at higher power loads.

MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

Sound Recordings of PSU Comparatives

HOW TO LISTEN & COMPARE

These recordings were made
with a high resolution, studio quality, digital recording system, then
converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard
to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files
to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during
the review. Two recordings of each noise level were made, one from a
distance of one meter, and another from one foot
away.

The one meter recording
is intended to give you an idea of how the subject of this review sound
in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between
a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains
stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness
of the subject. For best results, set your volume control so that the
ambient noise is just barely audible. Be aware that very quiet subjects
may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances
are we couldn't record it either!

The one foot recording is
designed to bring out the fine details of the noise. Use this recording
with caution! Although more detailed, it may not represent how the subject
sounds in actual use. It is best to listen to this recording after you
have listened to the one meter recording.

More details about how
we make these recordings can be found in our short article: Audio
Recording Methods Revised
.

CONCLUSIONS

As with the TruePower 2.0, the Trio is a very capable PSU, but it's not remarkable
by today's SPCR standards. (Yes, they keep going up as PSUs improve.) This unit
is a step up from the previous generation, though; it is fairly efficient and
has excellent voltage regulation. The power supply looks good in all tests except
those regarding the fan controller and noise. The noise rose at a somewhat lower
power load than the best, but not until 200W was exceeded, which is still pretty
good. It's fairly quiet, certainly better than much of the competition, but
it's not quite up to the best, including Antec's own NeoHE series.

This PSU would shine in a gaming system where the purchaser wants to save some
money on the power supply while still getting a good quality unit. It will be
very quiet at low to middling loads, and ramp up only when the computer is pressed
harder. For a typical gamer (with all the sound effects in most games), this
will hardly be an issue.

The TruePower Trio is approximately $20-40 cheaper at the time of writing than
many of our recommended products at comparable output power ratings. Is this
a worthy savings? Well, you be the judge of that. In the gaming world an extra
$40 on a video card can make a big difference in performance. The same could
be said about silent computing as well.

* * *

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Power Supply Fundamentals Units

Recommended Power Supplies

Power Distribution within Six PCs

SPCR PSU Test Rig V.4

Corsair HX520W and HX650W

Seasonic S12 Energy Plus 550 and 660

Silverstone Element Plus ST50EF-Plus


Antec Neo HE 430

Ante TruePower 2.0 430W

* * *

Discuss
this article in the SPCR Forums.

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