Cybenetics offers a second opinion on PSU efficiency

For some years now, the voluntary 80 Plus certification program has been a handy tool to guide consumers interested in purchasing efficient power supplies. A new group called Cybenetics has emerged to provide a competiting certification program that aims to not only rate the efficiency of power supplies more accurately, but also rank their noise levels.

The Cybenetics group includes the PSU reviewer over at Tom's Hardware. The group sees several issues with the 80 Plus certification program. In its opinion, 80 Plus demands an insufficient number of measurements, allows testing to occur in very low ambient temperatures, and provides no way for consumers to discern a fake badge from a real one.

Cybenetics offers a rating for PSU efficiency called Eta, and a rating for noise levels called Lambda. The ratings for power supplies are similar to high-school-English-teacher-graded essays, using five different levels ranging from A+ to D. The A+ level, for example, requires PSUs to have an average efficiency of 94% or higher, a power factor greater than or equal to 0.985, a 5V standby efficiency rating greater than 79%, and less than 0.10W of vampire power.

Consumers interested in deeper information or who want to verify that a badge is legitimate can go to a URL or scan a QR code to access a PSU's evaluation report in Cybenetics' database. Readers from the EU might be interested, for example, in the results from the tests using 230 V. About 40 PSUs have already been tested and certified through the program. Users can search for individual models or sort through the database by manufacturer. None of the PSUs tested so far have earned the A+ Eta certification, though units from Corsair, Seasonic, and Silverstone have earned an A rating.

For the Lambda certification, Cybenetics records a PSU's noise output throughout its entire operational range. There are seven rating levels in this program: A++, A+, A, B, C, D, and E. Intriguingly, Cybenetics wants to expand the Lambda certification program to other pieces of hardware. For example, gerbils who value peace and quiet might be interested in an easy tool for comparing the relative noisiness of different CPU coolers.

Finally, Cybenetics offers manufacturers beta evaluations of products still in development. The group hopes that this program will help manufacturers improve and troubleshoot their designs before putting them on the market. We'll have to wait and see if these companies are interested in working with a new certification program, or if consumers will start gravitating toward products with Eta and Lambda badges.

Comments closed
    • DrCR
    • 3 years ago

    If it had instead included MikeC of SPCR, I would have taken this a lot more seriously.
    [quote<]also rank their noise includes the PSU reviewer over at Tom's Hardware[/quote<]

      • EzioAs
      • 3 years ago

      Aris is a great reviewer as well. If it included (without ‘instead’) MikeC too, that would be even better.

    • I.S.T.
    • 3 years ago



      • Wirko
      • 3 years ago

      You want Crybenetics? “We listen benevolently to your crying little fans!”

      • Wilko
      • 3 years ago

      I had to look again after I read your comment. Now I’m annoyed!

    • slowriot
    • 3 years ago

    I see several issues that I believe will impact this being adopted in any meaningful sense.

    From an average consumer perspective how am I supposed to know a badge saying “ETA B” signifies power efficiency? The “LAMBDA” badge for noise is even more confusing. They’ve thrown away a major potential advantage here because the 80Plus badges are also confusing, but this isn’t meaningfully better.

    From the manufacturer perspective…. HAHAHAHA you want me to print literal grades on my box? i.e. you think any company in their right mind wants a badge giving their product anything less than an A or A+ on the box? Are they insane? The 80Plus badge goes in some degree to obfuscate and narrowly define one aspect of the PSU on purpose. Manufacturers don’t want what is basically a review grade printed on their box.

    From my own purposes… boy I just don’t care. I’m going to read the review on the PSU and go from there regardless of what badges are printed on the box.

      • blahsaysblah
      • 3 years ago

      I didnt think about the naming, but that is very very poorly thought out. Who would want to put a C rated PSU in their system. On other hand, my 80 Plus Gold is plenty efficient for me. (87% starting at 20% load…)

      Any new system would have to capture Jonnyguru level information, my Gold PSU was tested to provide extremely clean/stable power output. Thats whats missing from 80 Plus.

      So superficial. Maybe its first pass, they’ll improve with feedback.

        • morphine
        • 3 years ago

        [quote<]Who would want to put a C rated PSU in their system.[/quote<] That's kinda the whole point. Get people to pick the better units, thereby forcing the "worse" manufacturers to step up their game.

          • slowriot
          • 3 years ago

          There’s the whole factor of price I feel you’ve neglected. Seasonic generally makes great PSUs but their $60 units are never going to match their $160 ones and it will make no one happy that they’re getting the “C” rated option even if it was the best choice for their budget. And Seasonic certainly wouldn’t be happy slapping something that designates their product a “C” because they did they best they could while meeting a specific price point.

          • blahsaysblah
          • 3 years ago

          But their rating is misinformation. Its telling same information as 80 Plus, but using a grading system, to me, that conveys how clean the power is. 80 Plus was already about getting more efficient power.

          There are plenty of OK/good efficient power supplies that don’t provide pristine/clean power. That’s whats missing from 80 Plus.

          Now wasted energy is all good and well, but i also really care about how close and noise free to pristine 12V the output remains, under realistic/expected temperatures and loads for that PS wattage.

          They should have seriously got a 3rd party to vet their idea.

          Give us grades/tiers of clean power delivery, so we can decide between equally efficient PSUs.

          There are plenty of Gold, Platinum and Titanium PS, just no way to differentiate between them.

          Already had a good efficiency rating, give us a consistency rating…

      • Welch
      • 3 years ago

      You are spot on about manufacturers putting “grades” on their boxes. Seriously… A++ LOL

      • rechicero
      • 3 years ago

      Actually they already do exactly that in Europe, with energy efficiency

      [url<][/url<] What makes this new A+ more confusing, btw.

      • NoOne ButMe
      • 3 years ago

      why not just use percents:
      at least 80% at low loads, at least 85% on high load

      And obviously state percentage load instead of low/high.

        • blahsaysblah
        • 3 years ago

        [url=<]80 Plus[/url<], actually stands for at least 80% efficient, and that was for 20% through 100% load.

      • Generic
      • 3 years ago

      I’d be happy with an energy use label like major appliances.

      Friendly, common sense metrics such as:
      – “This PSU will cost you $35/yr to play Crysis.”
      – “This PSU’s coil whine will cost you your sanity after one year.”

        • blahsaysblah
        • 3 years ago

        -“This PSU’s janky power delivery will shorten your CPU/GPUs life by XXX years”.

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