The comments section of our Walmart case review and system review tell the story of what people think of Great Wall: everyone is expecting a fire, as the shell of the PSU is uninspiring, its rating sticker is lacking some metrics (maximum 12V capabilities, for example), and the brand isn’t familiar to a western audience. The funny thing is that this would be sort of similar to hearing “Asetek” for the first time, then making fun of it for being foreign to the market. Asetek supplies almost all of the closed-loop liquid coolers currently popular in North America, but never sticks its own branding on those. Great Wall is also a supplier, including being a supplier to brands viewed generally positively in the Western market.
To be fair, everything about the Great Wall 500W 80 Plus PSU does look like a cheap power supply – and it is cheap – but there’s nothing that should indicate this is an exploding power supply. Great Wall’s association with Walmart here is probably hurting their brand more than the inverse, funny enough, but we’ll be digging into that today.
We previously mentioned that Great Wall actually is a supplier and makes PSUs for Corsair, for instance, as discussed in our Walmart case review. It’s uncommon to find Great Wall PSUs unbranded, and this one didn’t even have the maximum 12V capabilities listed, so this unit did attract criticism from the community. What we’re here to do is test whether it’s deserving of that criticism, using our power supply testing setup to benchmark efficiency, ripple, and over-current protections.
One of the best things that can be done for a PC is investing in a quality power supply, made easier with end-of-year sales. PSUs tend to get glossed over at times, as they’re a bit humbler than the latest CPUs or graphics cards.
While it’s true that PSUs may not be a glaring bottleneck like processors, GPUs, or storage can be, they are certainly the lifeblood of any rig and play a vital part in how reliable the system is. These days, all the big players have compelling options at the bottom end. So, there’s little reason to compromise on a PSU.
We could make the argument that buying a better PSU is worth it, even if it means dipping into the budget allocated for the GPU or CPU, as a good PSU will outlive both and can be transplanted into a new build down the road.
This hardware news round-up covers the past week in PC hardware, including information on AMD's Ryzen+Vega amalgam, CPU "shortage" sensationalism, Newegg commission changes, and more. As usual, our HW News series is written as a video, but we publish show notes alongside the video. We'll leave those below the embed.
The big news for the week was AMD's 2400G & 2200G APUs, which are due out on Monday of next week. The higher-end APU will be priced around $170, and will primarily compete with low-end CPU+GPU combinations (e.g. GT 1030 and low-end R3). Of course, the APUs also carve an interesting niche in a market with limited dGPU supply. Strategically, this is a good launch window for AMD APUs.
We’re revisiting an old topic. A few years ago, we posted an article entitled “How Many Watts Does a Gaming PC Really Need,” which focused on testing multiple configurations for power consumption. We started working on this revisit last week, using a soon-to-be-released Bronze 450W PSU as a baseline, seeing as we’ve recently advocated for more 400-450W PSUs in PC builds. We'll be able to share more about this PSU (and its creator and name) soon. This content piece shows how far we can get on lower wattage PSUs with modern hardware.
Although we’ll be showing an overclocked 7700K + GTX 1080 FTW as the high-end configuration, we’d recommend going higher than 450W for that particular setup. It is possible to run on 450W, but we begin pushing the continuous load on the PSU to a point of driving up noise levels (from the PSU fan) and abusing the power supply. There’s also insufficient headroom for 100% GPU / 100% CPU workloads, but that should be uncommon for most of our audience. Most the forum builds we see host PSUs ranging from 700-800W+, which is often overkill for most modern gaming PCs. You’d want the higher capacity for something like Threadripper, for instance, or X299, but those are HEDT platforms. For gaming platforms, power requirements largely stop around 600W, sans serious overclocking, and most systems can get by lower than that.
German manufacturer be quiet! has launched an update to the Pure Power series of entry-level PSUs: the Pure Power 10 and Pure Power 10 CM models (CM for “Cable Management”). We previously covered the new Pure Power PSUs at CES last year, where it was revealed that the series would be moving to 80 Plus Silver certification (for models at and above 400W) and that the cables would be changed to solid black by popular demand. In speaking with be quiet! at that CES meeting, we also learned that silver-rated PSUs are rough listing on Newegg, since there are so few of them; folks sorting by 80 Plus rating often skip over Silver.
The 300 and 350W supplies have one PCIe connector, 400-500 have two, and 600W+ have four. Modular cables are low-profile and fixed cables are (black) sleeved.
Enermax , known for PSUs, cases, and CPU coolers, brought a mix of their products to Gigabyte’s suite at this year’s CES 2017. Most notably, their PSU line will add some variations on old units, alongside a recently announced unit and at least one brand new unit. The company also had one new prototype case on display that could be promising.
The already known Platimax PSU, which was Enermax’s main offering in the 80+ Platinum category, now has a new variant called the Platimax D.F. The D.F. comes in 750W, 850W, 1050W, and 1200W power output and slightly smaller dimensions than its counterpart (15-20mm, depending on which models are being compared). Together, these specs make this the most compact kilowatt PSU on the market. The D.F. also uses the new Enermax sleeving system, SLEEMAX (yes, really), a tightly fitted sleeve that reduces the amount of space consumed when compared to custom sleeving. Finally, like several of their other models, Enermax’s D.F. supports semi-fanless operation below 30% load.
There are two ends to a power supply cable: The device-side and the PSU-side. The device-side of all PC cables is standardized. ATX 24-pin, EPS12V, PCI-e to the GPU, SATA—the wiring is known, and it doesn't change. What isn't standardized, however, is the layout of the PSU-side modular cable headers. Some vendors might use 6-pin connectors for their PSU-side peripheral headers (identical to what's found on PCI-e cables, because it saves cost), others will opt instead for a wide-format pin-out for the same. Another still could use a bulky 9-pin block for universal connectivity, like some of EVGA's power supplies.
What can't be done, though, is mixing cables between all these units. Or at least, it shouldn't be done. Mixing cables between power supplies can kill them or kill attached components. Not always, but it can -- and when the wiring crosses in exactly the wrong way, the failure will be spectacular. Like ESD, just because you've gotten away with mixing cables doesn't mean you always will. Electricity is not a mystery; we know well how it works, and crossing the wrong wires will damage components.
Almost every PC component comes decorated with RGB lights nowadays – it was only a matter of time before PSU manufacturers started incorporating RGB lights into their products. Thermaltake's doing that, following the success of the Riing RGB fans, and has recently announced the Toughpower DPS G RGB 650W PSU.
The new, colorful PSU is a modular 650W (and 850W) unit with an LED ring around its 140mm fan. The circular LED ring can output 256 different colors and can be changed with Thermaltake’s DPS G PC App.
The power supply comes with a 10-year warranty and an 80 Plus Gold efficiency rating. The long warranty challenges most PSUs, which usually only offer 3- to 5-year warranties. Thermaltake says the PSU is rated to be “91% efficient under real-world conditions.”
Back in the day – cue black-and-white flashback – computers used to take up entire rooms. Gradually, this has changed. Personal computers have become smaller and smaller, and now the SFX form factor allows PCs that are the size of consoles. The SFX PSU form factor was originally used for HTPCs, made possible by SilverStone’s high-wattage SFX PSUs; SFX options have evolved, and now SFX form factor cases like Fractal Design Node 202 and SilverStone RVZ01 support SFX PSUs and full-length GPUs. GPUs are placed horizontally to reduce the vertical height of the case and allow for small form factor gaming PCs that don’t have to compromise between high-end components or a small size.
Unfortunately, there are few SFX power supplies with enough wattage to comfortably run a system with both a high-end GPU and high-end CPU.
It's been a few months since our “Ask GN” series had its last installment. We got eleven episodes deep, then proceeded to plunge into the non-stop game testing and benchmarking of the fourth quarter. Alas, following fan requests and interest, we've proudly resurrected the series – not the only thing resurrected this week, either.
So, amidst Games for Windows Live and RollerCoaster Tycoon's re-re-announcement of mod support, we figured we'd brighten the week with something more promising: DirectX & Vulkan cherry-picked topics, classic GPU battles, and power supply testing questions. There's a bonus question at the end, too.
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