With all the power demands from an enthusiast class computer these days, it's no surprise that a good power supply is considered as important a cornerstone as a quick videocard, good memory, and a nice large screen monitor. Consumers are better educated about the qualities of a good power supply; ratings like 80+, Active Power Factor Correction, threshold amperages on certain rails, etc. Manufacturers for their part have introduced quieter power supplies, and some even rival the cases they go into for sheer visual eye candy.
Now more than ever, computers really have good power supplies backing up all that expensive hardware. As a reviewer, one of the things I'm most pleased about is the shift towards quoting "real world" power values, not the
inflated marketing department inspired peak figures which are artificially high. This issue rests with manufacturers testing power supplies at lower temperatures than are typically found in the operating environment. The
power efficiency of a power supply varies with temperature, so for example, a PSU tested at 20°C will achieve better results than a PSU operating within the +40°C environment of a computer. This approach inflates the power rating, makes the power supply look better on paper, but can be bad news for end users like you. Quoting real power values should help to ensure overloaded PSU's are a problem of the past.
The issue of how power supply manufacturers rate their
products has been a hot topic in enthusiast circles for quite some time.
Props go out to PC
Power & Cooling, Seasonic and
Antec (to name a few) for providing "real world" numbers. GlacialPower is a new
player on the power supply circuit, and is a division of thermal solutions provider GlacialTech. Instead of doing things the cheap way, GlacialPower has gone after the high end PSU market. It has taken a hint from the leaders and is advertising its PSU ratings at 45 degrees Celsius, in effect giving you the "real world" power rating.
With that in mind, GlacialPower's GP-PS550BP power supply
is looking mighty nice from the specs alone. It delivers 550W of real power, has
an energy efficiency rating of 78% and strong 12V rails. What more could you want? The GP-PS550BP PSU itself is nothing fancy to look at, it's encased in a grey steel casing with a single 80mm fan at the rear.... but it's what's inside that counts.
The GlacialPower GP-PS550BP PSU is standard ATX dimension
(139 x 150 x 85mm) and does not use modular cables. The GP-PS550BP supports the
ATX 2.0 standard, so
it has a 24 pin ATX main power cable. If your computer motherboard has a 20-pin connector, pins 21-24 are detachable to accommodate the reduced number required. GlacialPower does not equip the GP-PS550BP with an ESP12V connector, but that shouldn't be much of an issue with most desktop motherboards. The GP-PS550BP is SLI friendly, with two 6-pin PCI Express power connectors available.
Looking at the label, we see that the GlacialPower GP-PS550BP PSU delivers a maximum of 25 amps on both the +3.3V and +5V lines for a combined maximum power output of 130W. There are two 12V rails which both have 18 amps ratings, so there is a maximum output of 400W there. The latter is important if you plan on running a high end system with multiple PCI Express videocards!
The GlacialPower GP-PS550BP does not support
active Power Factor Correction, so check the 115/230 voltage
switch on the back before powering up the PSU to make sure it is correct for your region. It does support Passive Power Factor Correction, which delivers power efficiency to about 75%.
Next up, check out PCSTATS thoughts on this power supply's external features.