Release roundup: Efficient power and a Z77 sneak peak

In this week’s look at miscellaneous press releases and product announcements, we have news from Antec, Biostar, NZXT, and Samsung:

  • Antec launches EarthWatts Platinum PSU series. High efficiency is a hot selling point for PSUs these days, and Antec’s new EarthWatts Platinum series delivers on that front. These units have purportedly received 80 Plus Platinum certification—that’s higher than 80 Plus Gold—and Antec claims they achieve efficiency as high as 93%. The units are otherwise fairly innocuous, cooled with double-ball-bearing 120-mm fans and featuring non-modular cabling. Prices are $109.95, $119.95, $129.95, respectively, for the 450W, 550W, and 650W models.
  • Biostar shows off TZ77XE4 motherboard. Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors may not be out yet, but motherboard makers are still eager to display their matching motherboards. Biostar’s TZ77XE4 looks like a high-end offering, with three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, eight Serial ATA ports, 13-phase CPU power, four display outputs (DVI, VGA, DisplayPort, and HDMI) wired to the LGA1155 processor socket, and onboard audio with THX TruStudio Pro technology and a 110-dB signal-to-noise ratio. Biostar has even added power, reset, and CMOS clearing buttons at the bottom of the circuit board. There’s no word yet on pricing, of course, and I wouldn’t expect to see this bad boy out for another couple of months or so.

  • NZXT announces the availability of Switch 810 Hybrid full tower. This sleek-looking enclosure is currently selling at Amazon for $164.99. That may seem onerous, but the Switch 810 Hybrid is packed to the gills with enthusiast goodies. It has room for liquid-cooling radiators at the top and bottom, space for Extended ATX motherboards, removable hard-drive cages that allow for the toolless installation of even 2.5" SSDs, a built-in hard-drive dock, and a whopping 10 fan mounts. NZXT also boasts about the 23-mm clearance behind the motherboard tray, which it says allows for "superb wire-tucks."
  • Samsung introduces stylish branded memory cards. There’s nothing terribly exciting about most SD cards, but Samsung’s new High Speed and Plus Extreme Speed series are a little different. Capacities start at 4GB with transfer rates of up to 24MB/s, and the cards are clad in brushed metal enclosures that are "waterproof, shockproof, and magnet proof." Samsung goes so far as to say these things can "withstand the force of a 1.6 ton vehicle (3,200 lbs)."

Kudos to Antec for making ultra-high-efficiency power supplies with low wattages and reasonable prices. All too often, 80 Plus Gold PSUs are monster offerings with close to a kilowatt of output capacity and price tags well over $200.

Comments closed
    • puppetworx
    • 8 years ago

    That’s some sexy efficiency. I wonder if it’s genuine.

    • sdghjyukty
    • 8 years ago
    • kilkennycat
    • 8 years ago

    “Antec launches EarthWatts Platinum PSU series. High efficiency is a hot selling point for PSUs ….. and featuring non-modular cabling. Prices are $109.95, $119.95, $129.95, respectively, for the 450W, 550W, and 650W models. ”

    Well, I’ll take my non-modular Antec HCQ-750, 750watt 80-Plus BRONZE (currently $85 after rebate and free shipping from Newegg) over any of these. Runs like a champ and my SLI pair of graphics cards puts out far more heat (and noise) than my PS.

    There is a lot of green slime in the so-called Green movement. The green of your money is what most interest them; the manufacturing cost difference between a 80-Plus Platinum and an 80-Plus Bronze otherwise functionally the same is less than $5 absolute maximum. Now, when the price of the Platinum gets within $10-$15 of the corresponding BRONZE, there is reasonable reward for the manufacturer and the customer gets to shed his/her sucker status.

      • Meadows
      • 8 years ago

      A PSU with 80% efficiency will take up 625 W at the wall only to provide 500 W to your PC, while a PSU with 90% efficiency will take 555 W to do the same.

      The difference is [b<]70 W[/b<]. Even if your PC only takes 300 W by itself, the difference would still be over 40 W in wasted power. We're not talking about a couple watts here, like with "Green" hard drives, you know.

        • Lazier_Said
        • 8 years ago

        Considering how few rigs draw even 300 let alone 500W at peak load, and how much time is spent at that load vs idle in a browser or Office app at 60-75W, we really are talking about a couple of watts.

        IOW, BFD.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 8 years ago

          You must not have read the post Meadows replied to, because he’s talking about a system with a pair of (some sort of nVidia) cards in SLI. That system is definitely drawing enough for it to make a difference.

      • Lans
      • 8 years ago

      I think you are implicitly saying that it doesn’t make sense to spend so much extra on platinum when a bronze PSU cost so much less but as always, these things are not so simple. It really depends on how much you use as well. Since you give 750W PSU as example, it really only makes sense if we are talking about ~150W DC idle (@~20% load) and ~375W DC load (@~50% load) which would mean a difference of 16W and 33W. Not a lot but if on average your computer spends 4 hours idle and 4 hours load then difference of $45 ($130 – $85) is recouped in a little over 3 years (Newegg currently got 650 platinum model at $120 + $10 shipping).

      If we talk about more mainstream systems with probably draw 200W DC load and maybe 75W DC idle give or take:

      [url<]https://techreport.com/articles.x/20957/9[/url<] Of course, it makes a lot more sense to talk about 400 to 450W PSUs for these power draw numbers and the difference is maybe 8W idle and 18W load. Probably doesn't make sense to spend $100 on a 450W platinum PSU when you can spend $40 for an Antec EarthWatts 430W bronze PSU (cheapest I see on Newegg) unless you go towards 24/7 powered on. But FSP 400W gold PSU is only $60 (and again, depending on usage and electricity cost, it might take 3 years or so to recoup difference). On a side note, I don't know about the platinum PSUs but I hope they continue the trend of having really good efficiency even for sub-20% load (e.g. Seasonic X-650 has 89% efficiency at 10% load/65W) while I haven't paid attention to bronze/silver PSUs to know how they generally fare at ~10% load, my impression of "older PSUs" generally aren't so great at that much below 20% load.

    • Farting Bob
    • 8 years ago

    Dang, i just for a gold rated 450w PSU and they bring out affordable platinum PSU’s at surprisingly sane wattages. 99% of people who buy a 1000w PSU are never going to need more than about half of it. Even high end SLI with big OC’s wont need anything close to 1000w, let alone the 1300w+ ones i see.

      • chuckula
      • 8 years ago

      Part of the issue with power supplies is that it’s now always the peak wattage that you care about, but the number of amps you can get on a particular rail. The current being sucked down an individual 12V rail is getting pretty high with bigger graphics cards, and if you throw a couple of them into a box, you can run into trouble.

      The problem is that you have to read the ultra-fine print to actually get the detailed information about how a power supply will perform when really stressed. The gross wattage number is becoming more and more misleading these days as it really doesn’t tell you the information you need.

      • Airmantharp
      • 8 years ago

      Three or four GTX580’s (or their 600-series replacements) along with the requisite X58/X79 motherboard, overclocked 6-core CPU, fans, pump(s), drives, and lights, and 1000w is well within range.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 8 years ago

        I would say that falls within the 1% which Farting Bob stipulated.

          • Airmantharp
          • 8 years ago

          +1, I didn’t really look at his 99% thing- heck, I even agree with it. Still,

          [quote=”Farting Bob”<]Even high end SLI with big OC's wont need anything close to 1000w[/quote<] I was mostly responding to this part of his post. Further, if I can hit 500w on a Z68 with a 4.8GHz 2500k and a pair of stock HD6950 2GB cards, then 1000w on a bigger CPU, hungrier core logic, more DIMMs,and more GPUs, shouldn't be out of the range. I can see 1300w easy with decent water-cooling rigs.

      • entropy13
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]99% of people who buy a 1000w PSU are never going to need more than about half of it.[/quote<] And that's all well and good since 50% is almost always when the PSU is at its most efficient.

      • rogthewookiee
      • 8 years ago

      Like my Dad, he built a system with a Q6600 and sli 9800 GT’s. He wouldn’t listen to me when I said he did not need the HX1000!

      • UberGerbil
      • 8 years ago

      The trouble with super-efficient PSUs at the more sane wattages is that it just doesn’t make all that much difference when the amount of power involved is so small to begin with, and existing PSUs are already reasonably efficient. Going from say 86% to 93% is great, but if your machine is only pulling a couple of hundred watts in normal usage it’s going to take a [i<]long[/i<] time to pay back on your electricity bill. Of course being more efficient in how you use resources is a virtue in itself (at least in most eyes), and if you need a new PSU anyway you might as well go this route if the marginal price delta isn't too great, but the real payoff is going to be for the few percent of folks who really need a continuous 500W+ delivered (most efficiently) from a kW PSU. But, naturally, those are the people who tend to care the least about saving a few $ on electricity.

      • bcronce
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah, 550-750 is the range I look for. I only care about which has the best stats for quality.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]Kudos to Antec for making ultra-high-efficiency power supplies with low wattages...[/quote<] Yes, kudos to that, but... [quote<]and reasonable prices.[/quote<] I can't agree with that. The fact that they even made a 450W version is very nice but at $110 you either have to run high loads 24/7 or pay a lot for electricity (or both) for it to make sense versus less expensive 80+ Bronze and Gold units. Then again street prices may be a decent amount lower...about $30-40 lower they'd be worth considering for sure assuming everything else is up to snuff.

      • Alexko
      • 8 years ago

      Well, the prices are reasonable compared to what Platinum PSUs usually sell for. Plus, with this kind of efficiency, they release very little extra heat, which is a nice bonus.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 8 years ago

        I wasn’t comparing them to other 80+ Platinum PSUs [quote<]you either have to run high loads 24/7 or pay a lot for electricity (or both) for it to make sense [/quote<] In other words, TCO (total cost of ownership) is what matters.

      • FuturePastNow
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah, $110 for a 450W PSU… ouch.

      You can buy a plain-old 430W 80+ Seasonic S12II for $60, on an 80+ Bronze Antec Earthwatts for $40. The premium over those is absolutely not worth it.

        • thermistor
        • 8 years ago

        Heartily agree and thumbed up.

        As a Zen master of cheap, the pickings are slim for lower Wattage, high efficiency PSU’s.

        I wish Antec, Seasonic, Corsair, whoever, would release 80+ in the 200-250 W range. There is nothing I can find below 300 W with 80+(a couple of Seasonics FTW). Been looking for years. They would have a customer right here.

        And I’m willing to pay more than the $20 Bestec price.

        BTW, today the Earthwatts 430 is on sale at the ‘egg for $40.

          • FuturePastNow
          • 8 years ago

          What about a PicoPSU? They go up to 160W.

      • Jambe
      • 8 years ago

      One wonders how much artificial markup there is on the higher-rated PSUs. I would be interested to know the price lists for all the components used in a Platinum PSU vs a Bronze one.

        • Chrispy_
        • 8 years ago

        The markup is insane, which is why there are now so many players in the high-rated PSU market. They all want a piece of the easy-pickings pie.

        I’m buying basic Antec and Seasonic units. I haven’t been stung by them yet, but I also think dual graphics cards is pointless, so I’m clearly not the target audience for these “over 500W” PSUs.

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