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.