4-Way Power Supply Shootout: Vantec, Enermax, ThermalTake, Antecby Kristopher Kubicki on January 17, 2003 4:31 AM EST
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Incredibly, the power supplies on modern PC’s have been fairly slow to develop new technology. Often, diehard gamers will replace a motherboard, processor, ram, maybe even hard drive several times within the course of a year. On the other hard, other essential items such as the case and power supply become afterthoughts or items purchased only when completely necessary, like when a particular chipset (or two) deems it essential to increase the output wattage in order to support the processor core.
Over the course of a year, we have seen a lot of changes in the PC case market. Several companies are adopting aluminum and thin steel solutions as opposed to the bulky, heavy, thermal nightmares of several years ago. Recently, we have seen a few companies push real hard to refine the power supply market to the point where it is at today. Today we have four of the leading power supply manufactures put head to head with their best product lines.
Vantec, a company that traditionally brands fan and cooling technology has now stepped up to play in the power supply market. Their no holds barred approach to PSU design has gotten them a lot of attention in reviews, particularly when money is not important. Vantec was kind enough to send us their Aluminum Stealth 420W PSU. The next contender in our shootout is a former relative of Vantec; Antec. Antec is one of the oldest case and PSU retailers in the PC market, and we were fortunate enough to have one of their TruePower 430W power supplies around the lab. Like Vantec, Antec has also been attracting a lot of attention with their latest power supply, which happens to be one of the most widely available aftermarket PSU’s.
The third contender in our PSU shootout is the award winning Enermax. Even though Enermax has been in the power supply industry for a while now, they were one of the first companies to push active PFC (Power Factor Correction) into the mass audience. Our final contender in the 4-way high-end shootout is ThermalTake. Typically, ThermalTake has been known for its CPU cooling and fan solutions. Only recently have they produced cases, which we were able to take a look at several weeks ago in the Xaser II A6000B review. We were able to obtain a ThermalTake Silent Purepower 420W Active PFC supply to round off our shootout. Both of these supplies are unique because they employ PFC, which we will talk about more later on.
In this article, we will look at some PSU technology, where is has been, and where it is going. We have gotten a lot of requests from readers to demystify some of the technology behind these behemoth power supplies. Get ready to void some warranties, its time for a shootout!