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Reviewed by: Trevor Flynn [10.23.06]
Manufactured by: Antec, Thermaltake, NZXT, Silverstone, Coolermaster

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Testbed Setup

For testing purposes our testbed was setup with the following hardware configuration:

AMD Opteron Dual Core 165 (Zalman FS-CU77 CPU Cooler)
Asus A8N SLI-Deluxe Motherboard
2GB OCZ PC3200 EL Platinum XTC
2 x eVGA 7800GT CO PCI-E Video Cards in SLI configuration
2 x SATA2 Hard Drives (1 x 250GB, 1 x 80GB)
1 x ATA133 Hard Drive (200GB - System Drive)
1 x Sound Blaster Audigy 2 PCI Sound Card
1 x 16x Dual Layer DVD+/-RW Drive

Idle reading were taken 10 minutes after booting into Windows XP. To achieve full load we ran an instance of SuperPI, Copied 40GB worth of MP3s between the two SATA drives, watched a DVD movie on the DVD burner drive and looped the gaming portion of 3D mark at its highest settings.

Sound reading were taken using a dB meter placed approxiamately two feet from the rear of each PSU.

Power draw at both idle and load conditions was measured using a WattsUP meter. All voltage rails were measured using an EQUUS digital multimeter at both idle and load.

The Contestants - A Quick Summary

Maximum Rated Current (Amps)

  12V 1 12V 2 12V 3 +5V +3.3V
NZXT Precise 650W 20A 20A   30A 24A
Thermaltake TR2 550 14A 15A 28A 30A
Antec True Power 2.0 480W 18A 18A 38A 30A
Thermaltake PurePower 680 14A 23A 15A 30A 28A
Cooler Master Realpower 550 18A 20A 10A 30A 30A
Silverstone Strider ST56F 18A 18A   30A 30A
Cooler Master iGreen 430 19A 19A 15A 20A
Antec Neo HE 550 18A 18A 18A 20A 24A
In terms of raw 12V power, the NZXT Precise leads the pack with 20A on each rail.  By adding a third rail three other units look to gain by spreading the power distribution out. At 550W it is very surprising to see the Thermaltake listed below the 480W Antec True Power in terms of 12V rail power.

Maximum Rated Power (Watts)

  +12V +5V & 3.3V
NZXT Precise 650W 528W 170W
Thermaltake TR2 550 N/A N/A
Antec True Power 2.0 480W 396W 460W (includes 12V)
Thermaltake PurePower 680 N/A N/A
Cooler Master Realpower 550 360W 191W
Silverstone Strider ST56F 432W 180W
Cooler Master iGreen 430 324W 141W
Antec Neo HE 550 504W N/A
Here is perhaps the more important information in terms of available power.  As we mentioned in the introduction, 20A on the 12V rail doesn't mean anything if the maximum power load is limited to 200W.
The Precise again leads the pack here as it should based on it's two 20A rails. Both thermaltake units are limited only by the units maximum wattage overall which is either good or bad depending on how you look at it.  Trailing behind are the two Coolermaster units, however it should be noted that more efficient power supplies will require less power overall.

Next Page: (Drive Rail Stability)