Having a 400W or higher power supply doesn't mean anything if the power provided isn't reliable. Most of the time, the big numbers thrown at us are theoretical peak voltages, and rarely do we see such performance in real-world situations. If you browse user forums where people are struggling with getting a piece of hardware to run reliably, in many cases, the power supply is the culprit.
Let's make this clear, just because you have a generic 400W PSU does not mean you'll be able to get all that power. Unfortunently, even the big companies who preach about getting beefier PSUs for their hardware don't make it clear exactly how much peak, and continuous power you really need. That is why we've always suggested sticking with brand name PSUs, and to read several reviews (including our own :P) where you can gather as much information as you can before making the plunge.
Cooler Master are well known for their cases and cooling accessories, but power supplies are a relatively new part of their portfolio. They've been packaging Cooler Master branded PSUs in many of their entry level cases as of late, but today we'll be taking a look at their top-of-the-line offering, the .
||ATX Form Factor
||90~264V (Auto-range) for Active
||8A @ 115Vac / 4A @ 230Vac
|Input Frequency Range
|Power Good Signal
||100 ~ 500 ms
|Hold Up Time
||> 75% Typically
||> 400,000 Hours
||Standard ATX 150 x 140 x 86 (mm)
Cooler Master Real Power 450W
One thing that grabbed my attention was the weight of the packaging. Recently, a few power supplies we've handled were a little on the "light" side. A heavier PSU is usually a good indication of the quality, though not the only factor. Inside, we have the Real Power 450W PSU, a power cable, a 24-to-20 pin ATX adapter, a manual, installation screws, and an Analog Wattage Meter.
The Real Power 450W is an ATX power supply, and our sample was painted black, which I believe is the only colour option. The drive is not modular, so everything you need is already pre-wired to the PSU. There is a specifications sticker on the inner side (the side that faces inside the case) of the PSU.
At first glance, we can see that a total of 191W is provided on the +3.3v and +5v rails, 264W on the +12v rail, and a total of 22W on the negative rails, giving us 450W total. Closer examination tells us much more though. To start, the Watts shown are continuous, and not at its peak, though in reality only about 75% of that is expected to be used at any given time. That's a lot of power still, and Cooler Master rates the Real Power at a life expectancy of about 400 000 hours, which is long enough for the majority of us.
The Real Power 450W also has dual +12v rails (peaks of 18A and 16A respectively). Dual rails will aid in keeping a system stable as you can separate devices based on power consumption into the rails of your choosing. This is extremely important these days with water cooling gaining popularity, and newer video cards demanding more power.
Cooling is provided by a 120mm fan, which is rated at ~2400rpm at 100% load. The fan is of the LED variety, and is auto-controlled based on temperature and load. At full speed, the fan is rated at less than 30db, which is very quiet. The gold fan grill is recessed into the PSU, making removal for installation unnecessary for the majority of cases.
Rather than adding a second fan, Cooler Master chose a different approach with their "Honey Comb" structure for the rear of the unit. The honey comb allows a fair amount of air to be exhausted (via the 120mm fan) and is less obstructive than traditional precut grill methods. I would have done the same for the front of the PSU (where the cables exit into the case), but my guess is Cooler Master tried that and this design forces the air to exit from only one spot.
There are a good number of power connections available for the user. Out of the box, we have seven four-pin molex connections, two SATA connections, one 24-pin ATX connection, one four-pin ATX12V connection, two floppy connections, and a connection for the Analog Wattage Meter, which we'll discuss shortly. Cooler Master planned for the future here in a couple ways. For example, the SATA connections are a nice touch as they become more commonplace.
Another looking forward decision is putting a 24-pin ATX connection which is used on the majority of most new Intel LGA775 based Pentium 4 motherboards. Although these motherboards can work with 20-pin connections, that may not always be the case as the CPUs get faster. For those of you with older Pentium 4 or AMD motherboards, Cooler Master includes an adapter to convert the connection to a more standard 20-pin.
The four-pin molex connections have push tabs that make removal easier when you're swapping devices. I'm not sure if I'm sold on the colour choice, especially when all the other connections are not coloured the same, but that's a minor nuisance.