In the past year or so power supplies have been getting more and more attention. In the past little to no thought was given to the type of power supply, or to the quality of the power it provided. Sure there have always been those few "in the know" but for the average PC user the power supply was just a little thought about piece of hardware. With today's faster CPU's, more powerful video cards and the abundance of modding add ons like LED fans, CCFL's etc. the need for an efficient power supply is more evident than ever.
is a name most people associate with cooling or enclosures, but they offer a pretty broad range of other components like fan controllers, keyboards, CCFL's and power supplies. The we have on the bench today is the follow up to last years Real Power 450. The 450 was considered an excellent power supply by enthusiasts everywhere, and found it's way onto several hardware sites top lists. With power needs increasing with each new release of hardware 550 watts doesn't seem as much like overkill as it used to, the question is will the 550 live up to the Real Power name?
||Intel® ATX12V V2.01 Form Factor / SSI EPS12V V2.1 Form Factor
||Active PFC (PF>0.99)
||90V~264V (Auto Range)
||10A at 115Vac / 5A at 230Vac
|Input Frequency Range
||47 ~ 63 Hz
|Power Good Signal
||100 ~ 500 ms
|Hold Up Time
||> 75% Typically
|Output Peak Capacity
||Standard ATX 150 x 140 x 86 (mm)
|120mm Exhaust Fan
||Dual Ball Blue LED
||CE / BSMI / FCC / CCC
||UL / cUL / TUV / NEMKO / BSMI
Cooler Master Real Power 550
The packaging gives you a good idea of what the power supply looks like as well as a HUGE list of features and specs. There is a significant amount of weight to it and this is usually a sign of good quality. The box itself is colorful and attention grabbing without being over powering, there is also a handle built in to it. Inside you'll find the power supply as well as a power cable, instruction manual, 24 to 20 pin ATX adapter, mounting screws, wattage meter and the screws for mounting it.
Taking the power supply out and unwrapping it for a closer look you'll find a glossy black finish (only color available) Unfortunately the Real Power 550 is not a modular power supply, all of the wiring is pre attached and permanent. Another thing that I was surprised to see was the lack of wire sleeving Cooler Master seems to know the value of great looks along with performance, so it seemed out of place to me for the wiring to not be sleeved.
Taking a look at the specs on either side of the power supply you'll see that a total of 191W is provided on the +3.3v and the +5v rails. 360W on the +12v rail and for the -12v and the +5vsb we have 12W and 10W. The wattage shown is not peak wattage, it is continuous, which theoretically means you will have that power available ALL of the time. Odds are you'll never need that much continuous power but it's a nice feeling knowing it's there is you do. It doesn't take a math genius to see that all those numbers add up to a little more than the 550W the 550 is rated for, maybe they just thought Real Power 550 sounded better than Real Power 573.
Another thing to note is the 550 has not one, not two, but THREE +12v rails! (rated at 18,20 and 10A respectively) what this allows you to do is split up all of your power hungry components giving you more options for increasing stability. You can have your HDD's on one rail, your new video card on another, and all of your CCFL's and LED's on yet another.
Cooling duties are handled by a 120mm blue LED fan rated at 2400 RPM at full load with a noise level of just over 35db. Under average use the noise level is rated less than 25db. The Real Power 550 also uses an "Intelligent fan speed controller" basically what this means is the fan auto adjusts its speed depending on the load placed on the power supply.
In order to keep the noise level down Cooler Master went with making the entire rear of the power supply a honey comb style grill rather than adding additional fans. Since there is nowhere for the air that is pulled in from the 120mm fan to go, it is forced out the back of the unit.
When it comes to connections for all of your devices Cooler Master went all out. Aside from the standard 4 pin Molex connectors (there's 6 of them) and the 24 pin ATX motherboard connector (20 pin adapter also included) you will find one 4 pin ATX 12V, one 8 pin EPS 12V, one 6 pin workstation connector, three SATA, one 6 pin PCI express connector, one floppy connector as well as a connector for the wattage meter.