Antec Earthwatts Platinum 650W PSU Review


Antec have been selling power supplies now for as long as I can remember and their sales have been so strong that they claim they have taken the top spot worldwide. They have also announced that their return rate is the lowest in the industry.
Today we are looking at their latest Earthwatts Platinum 650 watt power supply, the highest output in a series of three, starting at 450W.
The Earthwatts power supplies are highly regarded in the industry and we have reviewed several in the past.
The latest range however builds on the strong brand name, but offers the highest possible levels of efficiency, having received 80 Plus Platinum certification. It retails in the UK around the £90 mark.
Specifications
Product DescriptionAntec Earthwatts 650W 80+ Platinum Continuous Power Supply Unit
Device TypePower supply
Power Provided650 Watt
Output Connector(s)1 x 20+4 pin, 2 x 6+2 PCI-E, 6 x SATA,
4 x Molex, 1 x Floppy, 1 x 4+4 Pin ATX/EPS
Cooling System120 mm DBB Silence fan
Dimensions (WxDxH)150 x 140 x 86 mm
Weight1.9 kg
Manufacturer Warranty3 years warranty
The box is very understated, which appeals to me, although a slightly nicer image of the unit itself on the front of the box would have enhanced the appearance. 80 Plus Platinum certification is clearly seen top right of the box.
The bundle includes a regional specific power cable, mounting screws, user manual and cable tidy.
The power supply is protected under a very thin, clear wrap and sandwiched between two cardboard protective side panels. A thick paper piece holds it all together. Not the most sophisticated packaging, I will admit.
The Antec Earthwatts Platinum 650W is not a modular design and there are two thick groupings of cables emerging from the chassis. The hole is rubber protected which is good to see.
CableConnectors
ATX Connector (20+4)x1 (540mm)
CPU 4+4 pinx1 (600mm)
PCI E 8 pin (6 pin +2)x2 (540mm + 155mm)
Sata power connectors3 (520mm + 150mm)
(+1 molex at end)
Sata power connectors3 (520mm + 150mm)
Peripheral 4 pin (molex)3 (+1 above)
Floppy connectorx1
A little disappointing in regards to PCI connectors. They only include 2 connectors, which would count it out for a mid range SLI or Crossfire system, needing four. The ATX cable could be a little longer also, meaning it often won’t stretch in a super tower case, without an extender.
The large fan rests off center at the top of the chassis. Along the side the rear panel is fully vented to aid air flow. There is a power connector and switch at the side.
Antec Earthwatts Platinum 650W
DC Output
+3.3V
+5V
+12V1
+12V2+12V3+12V4
-12V
+5Vsb
Max Output
20A
18A
30A
30A30A30A
0.3A
3A
Total Power105W576W3.6W15W
650W
The supply has a total of four rails with 30A rated specifications. The combined power between these however is 576W, which is a little low for a 650W supply.
Antec are using a Yate Loon fan, model number D12BH-12. This is a ball bearing fan which we have seen in several other quality supplies in the last year.
FSP are the OEM involved in the design of this power supply. Due to the rated efficiency, they have been able to use small heatsinks, which are scattered around the PCB in various positions. This uses the Active Clamp Reset Forward topology, in able to achieve Platinum efficiency.
The transient filtering stage uses two Y caps at the AC receptacle. Further down the PCB are two more pairs of Y and X caps and two CM chokes.
The primary capacitor is by CapXon, a reasonable quality company based in China. This capicator is only rated to 85c, 420V and 390µF. Antec and FSP could have used a 105c rated higher grade Japanese capacitor here, so again, a little disappointing. They are using two toroidal chokes on the secondary side.
On the secondary side, FSP are using several capacitors from CapXcon, Rubycon and Nippon Chemi-Con, these are all rated to 105c.
All the cables are fully sleeved into the chassis, which is reassuring as it will help negate long term concerns in regards to fraying.
On this page we present some super high resolution images of the product taken with the 24.5MP Nikon D3X camera and 24-70mm ED lens. These will take much longer to open due to the dimensions, especially on slower connections. If you use these pictures on another site or publication, please credit Kitguru.net as the owner/source. You can right click and ‘save as’ to your computer to view later.
Additional technical assistance: Peter McFarland and Jeremy Price.
Correctly testing power supplies is a complex procedure and KitGuru have configured a test bench which can deliver up to a 2,000 watt DC load. Due to public requests we have changed our temperature settings recently – previously we rated with ambient temperatures at 25C, we have increased ambient temperatures by 10c (to 35c) in our environment to greater reflect warmer internal chassis conditions.
We use combinations of the following hardware:
• SunMoon SM-268
• CSI3710A Programmable DC load (+3.3V and +5V outputs)
• CSI3711A Programmable DC load (+12V1, +12V2, +12V3, and +12V4)
• Extech Power Analyzer
• Extech MultiMaster MM570 digital multimeter
• SkyTronic DSL 2 Digital Sound Level Meter (6-130dBa)
• Digital oscilloscope (20M S/s with 12 Bit ADC)
• Variable Autotransformer, 1.4 KVA
We are combining 12V output into a single result.
DC Output Load Regulation
Combined
DC Load
+3.3V
+5V
+12V
+5VSB
-12V
A
V
A
V
A
V
A
V
AV
152W
2.05
3.33
2.04
5.02
10.12
12.23
0.50
5.03
0.20
-12.03
270W
3.01
3.30
3.03
4.98
19.14
12.19
0.50
5.01
0.30
-12.00
400W
4.03
3.27
5.03
4.95
29.17
12.05
1.00
4.98
0.30
-11.97
523W
6.05
3.22
7.01
4.92
38.19
11.97
1.50
4.96
0.30
-11.91
652W
8.07
3.17
9.02
4.90
48.00
11.89
2.50
4.93
0.30
-11.86
Voltage regulation isn’t the greatest across the +12V output, although it didn’t cause any problems in real world terms. +3.3V also dipped lower than we would have liked to see under full load, dropping to 3.17V.
Not quite what we had hoped for, before the testing started.
Antec Earthwatts Platinum 650WMaximum Load
704.7W
The power supply would shut down at 704.7W, gracefully. The protection circuitry worked well.
Next we want to try Cross Loading. This basically means loads which are not balanced. If a PC for instance needs 500W on the +12V outputs but something like 30W via the combined 3.3V and +5V outputs then the voltage regulation can fluctuate badly.
Cross Load Testing+3.3V+5V+12V-12V+5VSB
AVAVAVAVAV
590W1.03.321.05.0148.011.880.2-12.050.505.00
145W12.03.1815.04.912.012.190.2-12.030.504.99
The Cross Load results are far from class leading, although it held within safe parameters. The +12V rail dropped from 12.19 to 11.88 when hit with 48A.
We then used an oscilloscope to measure AC ripple and noise present on the DC outputs. We set the oscilloscope time base to check for AC ripple at both high and low ends of the spectrum. ATX12V V2.2 specification for DC output ripple and noise is defined in the ATX 12V power supply design guide.
ATX12V Ver 2.2 Noise/Ripple Tolerance
Output
Ripple (mV p-p)
+3.3V
50
+5V
50
+12V1
120
+12V2
120
-12V
120
+5VSB
50
Obviously when measuring AC noise and ripple on the DC outputs the cleaner (less recorded) means we have a better end result. We measured this AC signal amplitude to see how closely the unit complied with the ATX standard.
AC Ripple (mV p-p)
DC Load+3.3V+5V+12V5VSB
152W10152015
270W15152515
400W15203520
523W15255020
652W20306025
Ripple suppression won’t be winning any awards, however all output falls well within rated tolerance levels. The +12V output peaks at 60mV when placed under full load.
Efficiency (%)
152W
85.34
270W
90.61
400W
93.82
523W
92.23
652W
90.45
Efficiency is exceptionally strong, peaking just under 94 percent when placed under 50 percent load. At full load this drops to just over 90 percent efficiency.
We take the issue of noise very seriously at KitGuru and this is why we have built a special home brew system as a reference point when we test noise levels of various components. Why do this? Well this means we can eliminate secondary noise pollution in the test room and concentrate on components we are testing. It also brings us slightly closer to industry standards, such as DIN 45635.
Today to test the Power Supply we have taken it into our acoustics room environment and have set our SkyTronic DSL 2 Digital Sound Level Meter (6-130dBa) one meter away from the unit. We have no other fans running so we can effectively measure just the noise from the unit itself.
As this can be a little confusing for people, here are various dBa ratings in with real world situations to help describe the various levels.
KitGuru noise guide
10dBA - Normal Breathing/Rustling Leaves
20-25dBA – Whisper
30dBA - High Quality Computer fan
40dBA - A Bubbling Brook, or a Refridgerator
50dBA - Normal Conversation
60dBA - Laughter
70dBA - Vacuum Cleaner or Hairdryer
80dBA - City Traffic or a Garbage Disposal
90dBA - Motorcycle or Lawnmower
100dBA - MP3 Player at maximum output
110dBA - Orchestra
120dBA - Front row rock concert/Jet Engine
130dBA - Threshold of Pain
140dBA - Military Jet takeoff/Gunshot (close range)
160dBA - Instant Perforation of eardrum
Noise (dBA)
152W
28.0
270W
29.4
400W
30.3
523W
32.8
652W34.3
The fan in the power supply is quiet until it reaches the last 20% of power output. The fan spins up to cope with the rising ambient temperatures. Even at full load however it is reasonably quiet.
Temperature (c)
Intake
Exhaust
152W
36
39
270W
37
40
400W
38
44
523W
42
48
652W
45
56
The internal temperatures are very impressive, rising to an 11c above ambient threshold when placed under full load.
Maximum load
Efficiency
704.7W
88.4
Pushing the PSU above its rated limits generates an ultimate efficiency level of around 88.4%. This is not a viable ‘real world’ situation, but its interesting nonetheless.
The Antec Earthwatts Platinum 650W is a solid design by FSP and sure to catch the eye of the enthusiast audience hunting for a high efficiency power supply. The 80 Plus Platinum Certification is well earned in this case, as the Earthwatts Platinum peaks at around 94 percent efficiency at 50 percent load. This is an exceptional result for Antec and one any company would be proud to highlight.
Unfortunately it isn’t plain sailing from here on in, as voltage regulation is not at the level we would expect from such a premium product. There was substantial regulation droop via both +3.3V and +12V when heavily loaded, dipping to 3.17v and 11.89v respectively.
Noise suppression is acceptable, although again we would have expected slightly better results that those we achieved. All output fall within tolerance specifications, but 60mV at full load from the +12V rail is higher than many cheaper supplies we have tested in recent months. Not a concern under real world situations, but worth a mention.
The cabling is actually our biggest issue. Firstly, the Earthwatts Platinum is not a modular design, but there are only two PCIe connectors which will cause problems for many gamers looking for a reasonable power output unit for a new Crossfire or SLI system build. This supply will only handle two entry level cards with a single power connector on each. Not ideal.
When we look at UK retail pricing, we can see that it is available for £89.99 inc vat, which is fairly reasonable. The only problem is, Antec are facing stiff competition at this price point from many other companies.
If efficiency is a key prerequisite for a purchase this should make your shortlist. It is a great power supply for a high specified media center, it is both quiet, cool running and very efficient if you need to run many hours a day.
Pros:
  • Delivered over 700 watts.
  • Very high efficiency.
  • quiet.
  • cool running.
Cons:
  • Only 2 PCIe power connectors.
  • voltage regulation could be better.
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About Yomal Malinda

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