Antec's Basiq 350W
A generic that's not
The Basiq is easily the cheapest PSU in this round-up, undercutting the cost of our lone generic entry. That's somewhat surprising, since one would think the only reason to settle on a generic PSU would be the fact that it's cheaper than one from a reliable brand name. Antec has been around forever, and we've been quite happy with the performance of the company's high-end PSUs. My own personal desktop has been running in an Antec-powered Sonata II enclosure for nearly two years without so much as a hiccup. The question, of course, is whether the solid performance we've come to expect from Antec trickles down to its cheapest ATX power supply.
Antec actually offers several Basiq models, starting with this 350W unit and reaching up to 550W. The line isn't much to look at, though.
Looks really don't matter, but Antec's use of an old-school 80 mm exhaust fan could create problems. Smaller fans need to spin faster to keep up with the airflow provided by larger units, and that generally leads to higher noise levels. The grill at the back of the Basiq is a little more restrictive than we'd like to see, as well. There's no point to limiting what little airflow the Basiq already has, but I suppose it's cheaper to use a cut-out grill than a much thinner wire one that must be screwed into place.
Cabling is the Basiq's real weakness. You don't get much reach, and even with a token SATA plug, the connector payload is pretty thin. Antec hasn't sheathed the Basiq's cables, either, which is to be expected given the PSU's bargain basement price.
Despite being the cheapest PSU in the bunch, the Basiq delivers steady voltages all the way up to 100% of its rated capacity. The 5 and 12V lines sag a little under load, but they're still well within acceptable tolerances.
The Basiq's AC ripple content also suffers under load, particularly on the 12V lines. However, we're at worst looking at less than 14 millivolts of AC content, which is actually quite good.
Efficiency is clearly a weakness for the Basiq, and it's no wonder the PSU doesn't carry 80 Plus certification. Although it's over 87% efficient under a 25% load, efficiency drops into the 70s when we crank things up.
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