Behind Closed Doors: Power Supply Pricing Guide

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Final Thoughts and Conclusions

Not many people like to admit defeat, but when it comes to pricing power supplies there is no clear cut answer on how the pricing is set. By looking at the charts I made the most clear cut answer to how prices are set is by the total power rating (Total Watts) for each power supply.  While that data set proved to have the best R2 value it isn’t accurate due to fact that not all power supplies are rated at the same temperature. This means that it is not fair to group power supplies together because of wattage.

Let me show you some examples…

Antec NeoHE550 – Rated at 50C
Corsair HX620W – Rated at 50C
AeroCool ZeroDBA 620 – Rated at 25C
Ultra X-2 550W – Rated at 25C

Once a power supply heats over 25C a “de-rating curve” appears and by 35C it is usually very apparent. This means that if a power supply like the 550W Ultra X-2 was tested at 50C it would be rated far lower than 550W due to the de-rating curve that takes place as the unit gets hotter. This also helps explain why the AeroCool and Ultra power supplies didn’t pass our testing in our 8-way power supply roundup.

One other thing that most review sites miss is the internal components of power supplies.  When you open a power supply you void the warranty and most people wont buy used power supplies with voided warranties. Since most review sites sell or e-bay their product samples after the review many won’t take the covers off things and miss an important part when it comes to power supplies.

Image Description

When we opened up the Corsair HX620W power supply we found it hard to miss the huge primary capacitor in the center. The above photo shows the 470uF 400V Hitachi AIC that comes rated at 105C. All of the secondary capacitors are Nippon-Chemicon and are also rated at 105C. What’s the big deal?  These components are all rated at 105C! Typical consumer grade capacitors are 85C, so these go beyond what is standard and are usually considered “industrial grade” components. Of the nine power supplies that we have reviewed only the Corsair HX620W, Mushkin XP-650 (secondary capacitors only) and Thermaltake ToughPower 750W power supply models use capacitors rated at 105C. All of the other power supplies use capacitors rated at 85C. We took pictures of the OCZ GameXstream 700W (here) and the Ultra X-Connect 2 550W (here) if you’d like to see some 85C parts. Since capacitors rated at 105C cost more to use it would only make sense that those power supplies cost more.  This is just one example how internal components will add to a cost of a power supply. Actually the three most expensive power supplies all have these 105C capacitors… Something to think about.

This article really doesn’t answer anything and I’m starting to wonder why I even started to write this.  I guess the point I am trying to make is that the power supply market is flooded with power supply companies now.  Many of them do honestly just re-badge another company?s product and call it there own.  It makes no sense to get upset and start bashing companies that do this as it happens in the hardware industry all the time. Paying more money doesn’t mean that you will bet a better power supply and if you walk away from this article let it be that. 

If you are an enthusiast that is looking to purchase a power supply we wish you the best of luck, because it’s a pain in the ass digging through the marketing fluff and getting the information you need.  If you are making a feature shopping list as you are looking for the ultimate power supply these need to be on your list.

  • Active PFC
  • 105C Capacitors
  • Make sure the total wattage rating is done at 50C
  • Quality Capacitors like Nippon Chemi-Cons and not Fuhjyyu
  • a 120mm (12cm) or 140mm (14cm) cooling fan

Right now only two of the nine power supplies we have recently reviewed fit that bill and they are the Corsair HX620W and the Thermaltake Toughpower 750W. If you have the money and are looking for a great power supply start with those two!

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