Simply one of the most important decisions made when building your own system is the power supply you will use. Unfortunately, there are many of you out there that shoot your entire wad on the Video / Motherboard / CPU and minimize on RAM and PSU. You will pay the price as time goes on; there is a definite difference in PSU's and what they offer you in overclocking, dependability and stability.
Along with clean power delivery there has come to market the need (or desire) to have your PSU play a part in the overall scheme of the system design; to have it play a part in the cosmetics as it were. Finally, the latest trend has come to modularization (Ed Note: Is that even a word? :P) of the cabling to alleviate stuffing all of those extra cables in a tight spot to keep that clean look as well as to allow for that all important air flow.
Today I will be reviewing the AeroCool Turbine Power 550. The AeroCool Turbine brings all 3 of the above segments to bear, giving the end user a choice that should meet most if not all of their needs and wants in a PSU. Let's go over the specifications for the AeroCool Turbine Power 550:
Type: Intel ATX 1.3 and ATX 2.01
Input Voltage: 100-120VAC / 200-240VAC
Input Current: 10A / 6A
Input Freq range: 60Hz / 50Hz
Available Colors: High Gloss Black
Output Capacity: 550W Continuous
Features: Smart cable Management System, EMI protected cabling, BTX compatible, UV Reactive Cabling
The box for the AeroCool Turbine Power 550 has a carrying handle and a picture on the front to show off the Turbine 12CM fan used in this PSU. Opening up the box we can start to see what we have got.
The AeroCool Turbine arrives with a forward thinking BTX form factor power supply as well as support for the more common form factors. You don't have the need for a 24 pin connector yet? No worries, the last 4 pins simply disconnect from the main power connector and you are running with the ATX standard of 20 pins. The only downside is that the 4 pin section basically hangs there. The AeroCool Turbine has two 12V rails, one supplying 240W and the other supplying 216W. The 5V and 3.3V rail supplies a maximum of 270W. A nice benefit in that the 12V rails are separated, giving you the ability to determine which devices you want powered by which rail.
The overall aesthetics of the unit is very pleasing. AeroCool was somewhat progressive in its design however not to the point that it's detraction from other things you might have going on within your case. Who here wants their PSU to be the center piece of your case Mod? I would guess probably no one. AeroCool has designed the Turbine to fit in nicely and not overwhelm even modest customizations.
Cooling of the AeroCool Turbine is handled by 2 fans, positioned at the rear and bottom of the PSU. Typically you see the fans located front and rear, to allow air flow through the entire unit; this is not the case for the AeroCool solution. The fan on the bottom of the unit is a 12cm double layer designed to efficiently and quietly bring cool air in. Notice the density of the fan blades is greater than what you typically see in a 12cm design. This should more than alleviate any restrictions of blowing air into the unit from below instead of from the front.
The fan at the rear of the device pulls the heated air out of the unit. Once again the density of the blades is greater than what you would typically see. Although the intake fan is 12cm and the exhaust is 8cm, there does not appear to be any back pressure reducing performance. My guess would be that AeroCool has adjusted the Rpm's of each fan so that the outgoing CFM is similar to that of the incoming.
Looking at the protruding bubble on the underside of the unit, you see that it glows an electric blue, just enough to co-inside with the rest of your case, yet not to much to overpower it. One note of caution here, if you have a case that requires you to insert the PSU from the rear, it might not make it past this bubble.
I removed the "Warranty Void if Removed" sticker and popped the top to take a look inside. The internals appear to be well thought out with a design towards functionality rather than good looks. You can see the oversized Heat Sinks that gather up the heat to let the fans then actively cool it, which we all know active cooling is far superior to passive. This is appears to be a well thought out design, which in the PSU world is important. A unit that is producing too much heat is a unit that delivers dirty power.
The Smart Cable Management Power connectors are abundant and well identified; both ends are keyed to assist in ensuring that they are not plugged in backwards, as no one wants hot voltage on ground (or earth, depending on where you are reading this). There still is, however, a nice description and diagram on their website depicting what you should and should not do, although I feel this would be better served to be shipped with the product.
As to connectors that come with the unit, here is a full list:
• Three - 3 Pin cables for connecting your fans (yes, no more piggy backing them to a Molex).
• Four - standard Molex branches for a total of 8 devices, 2 of those branches have Floppy connectors.
• Two - SATA specific branches giving connection for up to 4 devices
• P8 to P4 and P8 to P8 (forward looking) for CPU supply
• P6 connector for directly connecting your PCIe video card.
• Main Cable Connector 20+4
As much as I came into this review with the opinion that these new PSU's with selectable cables was just a fad, there really is a lot of use in this design. I can now see through my own fog the advantages such a design brings. The main one, of course, is that I don't have a bunch of unused cables I need to tuck away in some small space to keep things tidy. Also included, which I found as a nice little thoughtful add on, is a PSU Chamois to help you clean off those fingerprints you put on it installing it into the system.