Specifications and Features

**UPDATE**
After reading this review and receiving some feedback from people interested in the PowerONE, SkyHawk has responded. I received a few emails from their rep that addresses some of the short comings that I had pointed out.

This is from the Beverly's email, slightly modified for readability only.
1. The Warranty is 3 years. (originally i was told by them 1 year)
2. Cable length, I already spoken to our factory to enlarge the cable length.
3. Longevity of electrical components. Because we have higher heat resistance components, so you don?t have to worry that it will damage the cable around it. Our heat resistance components can hold up to 40 degree, then the Fan will spin.
4. The MTBF can reach to 100000HOURS.
5. Because this is a test sample, the factory forgot to glue the SLIICA_GET. But I already told them to be careful on this.
Thanks,
Beverly

I love the fact that she took the time to make sure that the silica gel packages get into the retail boxes. Let this be a lesson, manufactures do listen to the needs and wants of their buyers. Based on the revised warranty and MTFB, and the response to my suggestions I am upgrading my recommendation to a strong buy.
**/UPDATE**

If you know Skyhawk then chances are you know of them as a computer case manufacture. What you may not know is that they actually produce a whole line of computer related items, from rack mount cases, pc cases, power supplies, and even networking gear. Today we have the Skyhawk PowerONE 620w modular power supply in our socket A testbed. I first found Skyhawk a few years ago when I was looking for an aluminum pc case. What attracted me to their products was the value offered. Manufactures like Lian Li make great pc cases; however the cost was somewhat prohibitive at the time, which is where Skyhawk came in. They offered a case with similar styling and size to the Lian Li PC-60. The best part was if you looked you could get it for under $50. At the time that was nothing short of amazing, while it did have some limitations due to cost cutting, I am to this day using the case and I still find it an excellent case to work in. So can Skyhawk offer the same value and maintain their quality when it comes to power supplies? I hope to find out during the course of this review.

Features:

Output
 
+5v
+3.3v
+12v
+12v
-5v
-12v
+5v SB
+12v SB
Max. Load
50A
45A
20A
20A
1A
1.5A
2.5A
50w
Load Reg.
5%
5%
5%
5%
10%
10%
5%
Ripple
50mV
50mV
120mV
120mV
50mV
120mV
50mV
Wattage
 
250w
300
5w
18w
12.5w
600w to 640w Peak
 

SkyHawk seems to have done a decent job putting together a solid package. The burning question is how the PowerONE stacks up against the dominant players when it comes to price, features and most importantly power. To get a good idea I will be testing it agains the OCZ PowerStream reviewed previously, and I will be comparing its features and price to the Fortron Blue Storm and Antec NeoPower.

So let?s talk about power. A quick test of a power supplies quality is its combined 3.3v and 5v wattage. The PowerONE has a combined 3.3v and 5v of 250w according to the sticker and documentation. This is lower than the OCZ but not in a detrimental way. When you add in the three remaining advertised 12v rails you end up with lots of power, especially for newer processors like the Prescott and Winchester which can tax even the strongest 12v rail. There are two areas where the PowerONE seems to really take a cost cutting hit and that is in the warranty and in the mean time between failures. What is Mean Time Between Failure, according to Wikipedia, "in engineering and telecommunication, the mean time between failures (MTBF) is the average time a system will operate without a failure. The MTBF is a commonly-quoted reliability statistic, and is usually expressed in hours (even intervals on the order of years are instead typically expressed in terms of thousands of hours)." (Wikipedia) Comparing against the OCZ the SkyHawk PowerONE comes with a meager 1 year warranty to OCZ 5 year, and an 80,000 MTBF raiting to OCZ 140,000 hours. Even the more moderately priced Fortron Blue Storm has an industry standard MTBF of 100,000 hours. If SkyHawk really wants the PowerONE to fly off the shelves they might want to look at improving the number of hours to failure and give at least a three year warranty as both are a testament to the quality of the product. To put the 80,000 hour rating in perspective it suggests that the mean time to failure is around 9 years. I think its safe to say that you will likely need to upgrade well before this power supply gives out.

Packaging and Impressions

The SkyHawk PowerONE came in a simple box that as usual touts its features. To again save on costs SkyHawk has printed the box in both English and I believe Chinese (feel free to correct me if I am wrong). The sticker in the center clearly shows that this unit is the 570w with the audio standby feature. While the sticker on the side of the unit says it?s a 620w with audio stand-by.

Inside the box is the usual assortment of cables baggies and such with a few surprises. While it says on the box that the PowerONE is modular and comes with Easy connectors its not until you pull the unit out of the box that these features truly reveal themselves. It was also nice of SkyHawk to include a parelle ribbon cable for the Audio Standby feature. One of the biggest surprises was the lack of a silica-gel package, while this may not be a big deal to you; know that my fetish will not be satisfied until I get my silica-gel package.

The outside material of the PowerONE has a nice brushed look to it. I would wager that it is anodized aluminum from the feel and weight of the material. While it does not scratch easy I would suggest some care be taken to no scrape up the finishing, the PowerONE is not like a cheap generic power supply where the steal housing will withstand both nephews and atomic explosions. In these pictures you can also see the two clear fans that cool the unit, one 92mm and one 80mm fan both with simple chrome grills.


When the SkyHawk PowerONE is powered up the LED’s inside the case light up giving the clear fans a nice subtle blue color, I tried to show what they looked like with both the lights on and off so you could get an idea of the intensity. The two pictures below are of the exhaust fan on the rear of the power supply.

Cabling and Interior

So let’s talk about cabling for a little while. One of the main features of the PowerONE is its modular cables. On the back of the power supply there are five black six pin connectors, these connectors are keyed so you can not plug them in wrong. They are also all the same this means that you can plug the PCI-Express Graphics cable into any of the black connectors and same goes for the SATA cable. Now up until this time I have always thought that modular power supplies are for case modders and not overclockers. I mean why waste the money on something that just makes your case look good right? Wrong, overclockers should look harder at modular power supplies because you only use the cables you need, this clears up unnecessary wires that can impede air flow. From the second picture you can get an idea of how long the cables are. I will say that again cost cutting came into play with the cable length. The ATX power cable seems a little short to me, while I had no problems with length in my case but people with large cases might want to check to make sure they will reach before they buy.


While we are on the subject of cables lets talk about connectors. SkyHawk has done a nice job with the connectors the selected for the PowerONE. All the peripheral connectors are the new easy type. They are such an improvement over the old white ones I can not even begin to express how happy I was using these. The easy connectors were, well, easy to push in and pull out (get your minds out of the gutter). Also worth noting is the 20+4 pin ATX connector. If you have an older motherboard but want the latest power supply for future compatibility, all you have to do is slip the extra 4 pins off and pull the wires to the side and presto you get a 20 pin connector.

In side you can see the PCB that the modular connectors are soldered to. The connectors are well attached and the soldering looks to be decent, so not much chance of you breaking them off unless you’re the Hulk. I am a little disappointed by the small size of the heat sinks. One of the features that SkyHawk promotes is the fan control, when the PowerONE is less than 40 degrees C the fans do not spin, this is nice as it makes the PowerONE silent, but I worry about the longevity of the electrical components. Larger heat sinks would cost more money but would also ensure that components never overheat when the fans are not spinning.


One of the other features that the PowerONE came with is a third 12v rail and Audio Standby. SkyHawk accomplishes this with a secondary board attached to the bottom plate next to the 92mm intake fan. The three wires pictured on the left are the power leads for the secondary PCB. Just for fun I stuck my multimeter into the connector to see what kind of voltage/signal was powering the secondary PCB, when I first looked and it was reporting something like 2300v I freaked out then I switched to VAC and it showed 12v AC. This voltage is then rectified to 12v DC and 5v DC for the standby peripheral connector.


I think the Audio Standby while an interesting marketing touch is worthless. I have a few reasons for feeling the PowerONE would be better off without the Audio Standby. First the provided cable has two audio plugs one for the CD-ROM drive and one for the motherboard. The cable then runs to a PCI slot cover with a 1/8 inch mini jack. The reason this is a problem is because the length of the cable going from the CD-ROM to the motherboard is far too short for most on board audio solutions and for all PCI audio solutions. My second issue comes with the control over the Standby device, unless you have an old style CD-ROM which has play, stop, track buttons then your out of luck, and as luck would have it my Sony DVD/RW drive only has an eject button. My third issue comes with the fact that you have to use a stereo set of speakers for the Audio Standby. I for one do not want to have to switch my 5.1 speakers from the plug they are in now to a single 2 channel every time I want to listen to music on my computer while it is off. If I want to listen to music that bad then I will turn the damn computer on. So if your looking to buy the SkyHawk PowerONE for this feature DON’T, get it for its dollar to watt ratio and its other features that work and are worth the money.

Testing

I tested the SkyHawk PowerONE power supply on the following setup using a multimeter, motherboard monitor, and my sound pressure level meter.


All voltages were taken from the ATX power connector and compared with voltages reported from Motherboard Monitor 5. They were taken without load (no computer connected), after the computer had idled for 30min, and again after 30min at full load. Load was achieved by defragmenting the Western Digital hard drive while rendering a 5min film in Vegas 4.0, and running folding@home in the background to use any spare CPU cycles. Vegas loads the system by reading large video files from a drive rendering a video effect frame by frame and then writing the frame to the hard drive again, this particular sequence taxed my system at 97-99% at all times, any remaining CPU time was used by F@H and the defrag utility.


**There have been no changes to my Socket A test bed and as such the results from the OCZ PowerStream tests are directly comparable with the new results from the SkyHawk PowerONE**


The SkyHawk PowerONE proves quickly that it does not take $140 to get a solid 3.3v rail. The PowerONE exhibited almost no voltage fluctuation under all three different test situations. The PowerONE’s voltages were also with in the OCZ personal bubble only differing by at most .06v and at lest .03v. The SkyHawk PowerONE also like the OCZ showed no change in voltage from idle to full load.

The PowerONE again demonstrates its stability and top quality voltage regulation. The PowerONE again differs by only hundredths of a volt and shows no change from idle to full load. It even beats the OCZ when going from no load to idle, showing only a .03v increase in voltage to the OCZ .06v increase.

When it comes to SkyHawk’s 12v regulation we see one of the largest changes and even that is still under a tenth of a volt, the change from no load to full load is a mere .05v. Not as good as the OCZ but the OCZ PowerStream is only .02v better. I can’t say I was excited to see under 12v in Motherboard Monitor but the voltage drop is consistent with that of the OCZ, both drop around two tenths of a volt when comparing the reading I took from the multimeter to that registered by Motherboard Monitor.

Here in the final graph from testing the SkyHawk PowerONE shines. All of the PowerONE’s voltages stayed well with in spec and were regulated very well with only two exceptions, the -12v and -5v. On the -12v the PowerONE jumped from -12.06v to -12.22v when I plugged in my computer and let it idle, while no big deal it is a difference between the PowerONE and the OCZ which did not have nearly as large a change. The same sort of thing happened on to the -5v rail which went from -5.16v to -5.26 after I attached my computer and let it idle. In both cases the change from idle to full load was minimal and inline with the OCZ, all the while the vCore and vMem were rock solid. When you step back from the picture the PowerONE is looking more and more like a decent quality power supply.

When it comes to acoustics there are a few things to take into consideration. First when the PowerONE is less than 40 degrees C then the fans are off. That’s right no spinning motors, which means no noise. When the PowerONE is more than 40 degrees C then the fans start to spin up. I recorded the sound presure level at less than 35dB when the fans were not spinning and around 36.5dB when they were spinning. In the room I test in the SPL is always under 35dB which is the threshold of my testing equipment. This means that the SkyHawk PowerONE is very, very quiet even when the fans are spinning, so quiet in fact that I highly doubt you will ever notice that the fans spun up when this is in a computer case.

Final Thoughts

Yves' Thoughts

The SkyHawk PowerONE is no slouch, it holds up very well against the 800lb gorilla that is the OCZ PowerStream 520w I compared it with. So the ultimate test, would I recommend this power supply to my friends? The answer is maybe, I would, but with reservations. I think that SkyHawk is offering a very good power supply that has excellent voltage regulation. The PowerONE also has amperage and wattage to spare weighing in at 620w you can hardly call this power supply weak. The PowerONE also has some nice features that you can not find on the PoweStream, such as its modular cabeling system with easy connectors, the 20+4 pin is much more elegant than the 24 to 20 pin adapter that OCZ supplies. The PCI-Express Graphics power connector is also a nice bonus; it would have been nice if SkyHawk included two since people looking at this wattage may also be looking into a SLI motherboard. The PowerONE is also noticeably quieter than the PowerStream, so if noise is an issue for you (I know it is for me when you have 7 computers running 24/7 in your room you notice every fan) then the PowerONE may be a better choice. Where I really feel SkyHawk lets us down is when it comes to the warranty and the mean time between failure. Both seemed low, when you compare to the OCZ 5 years vs. 1, 140,000 hours vs. 80,000. It can however be argued that nether of these matter much as most equipment fails with in the first few weeks it seems, so if its going to break it does well with in either warranty period. So to help sum up my review I wanted to create a little table showing the SkyHawk against its competition.

LegitReviews OCZ PowerStream Review
LegitReviews Antec NeoPower Review

The chart shows that SkyHawk has done it; they are offering a competitive product with comparable features for a reasonable price. If the price drops to the lower end of the MSRP or even as low as $75 then I say the SkyHawk PowerONE is an ok buy. If it stays around the top near $99 and up then I have a few more reservations about recommending it quite so strongly. The PowerONE may not be an OCZ killer but it does give the PowerStream a good run for its money literally as you could save as much at $50 and get a comparable power supply. What this power supply lacks in warranty and mean time between failure it makes up for it with options and features that will not break the bank. Pushing your computer to the extreme? Then take a look but it may not work for you. Looking for plenty of power but don?t need a 5 year warranty, and wouldn?t mind some of the handy features? Then this may be your power supply. Want one well SkyHawk claims that the PowerONE will be available from retailers the second week of March.

Legit Bottom Line:

Pending further research, at this time LegitReviews.com posted a follow up article located here!