Antec EarthWatts EA 380D Green 380W

 

Antec has been around for nearly a quarter of a century, making them one of the grandfathers of the modern computer industry. Well known for their cases and power supplies, we've looked at the EarthWatts line a couple of times in years past. Antec has updated the EarthWatts line with their new Green models, sporting a dark green exterior and more environmentally friendly packaging—including the removal of the power cord, since most users already have a surplus.

Unlike so many other power supplies, it's nice to see a sensibly rated unit for a change. 380W is still plenty even for a midrange system, and with optimal efficiency generally coming at 50% load this is a power supply that should run closer to its "sweet spot" when idle as well as under load. There's still enough power on top to run a Core i7 or Phenom X6 processor and a discrete GPU, but you'll want to stick with graphics cards that only require a single PCIe power connection to err on the side of caution.

The EA-380D like any decent modern power supply also carries an 80 Plus certification, this time for the Bronze level. That means the PSU should run at 82% efficiency with a load of 20% (76W), reaching 85% efficiency or more at a load of 50% (180W), and still maintain 82% efficiency at the maximum 380W rated load. This is nothing ground-breaking in late 2010, but it does fit perfectly with moderate systems that can idle at under 100W. Just how green is the new EarthWatts? Let's find out as we explore some of the other features.

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  • GeorgeH - Sunday, October 03, 2010 - link

    "jensend" is absolutely correct. I'm sick and tired of trying to correct people that think they need a 600W PSU for their i5-750 + GTX 460 build. I'd say 90%+ of builds (yes, including your ever so awesome gaming machine) would be more than fine using this PSU.

    Unfortunately, finding reliable sources to link to can be difficult - and who is more reliable than Anandtech? How about a short "How Much PSU Do You Really Need?" article using modern hardware, done Anandtech style?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, October 03, 2010 - link

    My own gaming system:

    i7-920
    12GB RAM
    2 x HD 5850
    Two 120GB SSDs
    1TB HDD
    DVDRW
    500W Enermax Pro87+ PSU

    Power draw idle: ~125W
    Power draw load: ~350W

    Note that that is total system power draw at the outlet, so accounting for efficiency it looks like the whole system is maxing out at around 300W power output from the PSU. I'd still be hesitant to try to run such a system off a 380W PSU, because I like my safety margin, but a 500W PSU works admirably.
    Reply
  • cruisin3style - Sunday, October 03, 2010 - link

    One key to understanding things in life is not to think of how you cannot use something or how something doesn't apply to you, it is to think beyond yourself and how something might apply to others.

    I have not 1 but 2 Antec 380W psus (1 of which is this same version, the other an older one). I can say from experience that not only are they reliable but can handle pretty much anything you plan to do with them that doesn't require a serious graphics card.
    Reply
  • Allio - Sunday, October 03, 2010 - link

    Hi. I read Anandtech and already own this exact PSU (bought it about six months ago to go in my HTPC). Wish this review had been up before I bought it, but better late than never. Nice to see my decision vindicated somewhat... I've been very happy with it.

    Personally I am far, far, FAR more interested in a review of a PSU like this than of some $250 gold plated 1000W monster. Not only does this Antec capably power my HTPC, it'd also power my quad-core gaming rig without breaking a sweat. People grossly overestimate the amount of power their computers use.
    Reply
  • JGabriel - Monday, October 04, 2010 - link

    Allio: "Personally I am far, far, FAR more interested in a review of a PSU like this than of some $250 gold plated 1000W monster."

    Seconded. I hope Anandtech keeps publishing technical reviews of mid-range and lower end power supplies, especially inexpensive power efficient models.

    As JarredWalton notes above, a 380 watt PSU can power a pretty high end machine. Even at Anandtech, I'd guess something like 85% of the readers don't need anything better. In the general population, whom lots of us make recommendations for, that number is more like 99.5%.

    .
    Reply
  • Touche - Sunday, October 03, 2010 - link

    Your comment is quite a WTF. For HTPCs, non gamers AND for 99% of gamers this PSU is more than enough. It seems you haven't read much of anything on Anandtech. Reply
  • just4U - Sunday, October 03, 2010 - link

    I have to agree that for the most part we overestimate our power needs. As a side note this 380W PSU is a likely candidate for some of their case/psu combo's so it could be generating interest for that as well.

    I've had some problems with Antec of late though .. (I build 40+ computers a year) so overall this review is lukewarm for me.
    Reply
  • lyeoh - Sunday, October 03, 2010 - link

    Not everyone is like you. I bet most here don't need high power PSUs.

    In the old days even "normal" people were getting 400W power supplies because the P4s sucked (many had a TDP of 130W).

    Nowadays many PCs only use 100-200W. Using a >=500W power supply would be less efficient since most power supplies are less efficient at low loads or very high loads.

    My main desktop plays most of my games fine and I only have a 9800GT. Low fps for Crysis, but hey its Crysis ;).

    And my home server uses only 100W. So I'd be happy to buy a cheap/affordable, efficient and reliable 380W power supply for my next PC.
    Reply
  • mosu - Sunday, October 03, 2010 - link

    I do have one system with moderate power draw and one system with a little more power draw(900) but it makes no point to surf with this one.sorry, no crickets! Reply
  • Concillian - Sunday, October 03, 2010 - link

    I have 3 systems with 380W supplies. Overclocked i5 with overclocked 5770, overclocked i3 with overclocked 4850 and a fileserver.

    If you aren't playing games at 100 FPS on a 30" display you can get by with a pretty minimal power supply. I really appreciate some attention to the normal person.

    Why do we want a 500-700W supply when none of my systems use more than 250W, and that's only when I'm running Furmark and purposefully trying to max out power usage. 380W has plenty of headroom just about anyone using their machine for things other than just raw benchmarks.
    Reply

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