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Thirteen PSU Roundup
Date 30th March 2005
Author James "Agg" Rolfe

Three PSUs from HEC

HEC PowerOP 525W:
HEC is a brand I wasn't too familiar with until recently, but should be reasonably well known to OCAU readers now, given that we gave away a whole pile of their PSUs during our recent 5th Birthday celebrations. Thanks again to ServerBits, who distribute HEC in Australia, for organising that giveaway. However, these units were provided by HEC in Taiwan directly.

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This particular unit is their current top of the line, with 525W total wattage. It's a good looking unit, with a glossy black finish and metallic braid shielding around the cables. Gold fan grills top off the looks and it's worth noting that there's no bottom fan present on any of the HEC units. It's common nowadays to see an 80mm exhaust fan mounted on the back of a PSU, usually with a larger fan underneath, drawing air away from the CPU area and into the PSU. HEC have gone with the older style, drawing air from the front of the unit, which passes directly through and out the back. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and in fact means that in a 2RU, MicroATX or other narrow case you don't need to worry about the bottom fan being starved of air. This would have been useful when building our database server, for example. However a downward-facing fan intake is often a useful way to cool the CPU and video card area of a tower system. However it's worth noting that these two black units from HEC, the Super Flower and the Antec Phantom were all slightly longer than the other units on test. Because of the forward-facing fan on the HEC units, you should make sure there's room in front of them in your case, both for cabling (from CDROM's etc in high bays in a tower) and also for airflow.

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The sleeving really looks impressive, but it does make the cabling quite stiff. It can be a bit unwieldy to bend it around your case, but once in place it's a lot tidier than having individual strands of cable getting tangled in each other. 8 molex plugs are provided, with 2 floppy and 2 SATA, as well as 20-pin and 4-pin ATX power and the older AT style connector.

The HEC package contains the PSU, a 20-pin to 24-pin ATX power converter cable, a not particularly helpful manual and some mounting screws. The manual could really use some work - there are several features of this PSU that are named but aren't explained anywhere. It has thermally controlled fans and a "Fans Only" cable so it can control your other system fans according to PSU temperature as well - in use it's fairly quiet, but not completely silent. They rate it for a total of 525W, with a combined +5v and +3.3v rating of 230W.

HEC PowerOP 435W:
This is the little brother of the 525W and seems very similar at first glance. Interestingly, there were two converters provided, one for the large ATX plug and the other for the AUX12V plug, converting it from 4-pin to 6-pin for use on PCI-Express video cards. I would have expected the 525W unit to include one as well, but our sample didn't. This unit is rated to 435W overall with 220W available from the +5v and +3.3v rails. It's not ATX 2.0 compliant, but provides 8 molex, 2 floppy, 1 SATA and the usual 20-pin and 4-pin ATX power connectors, as well as the older AT-style connector. It has thermally-controlled fans and is fairly quiet during use, but doesn't have the ability to control other fans like the 525W unit.

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The interesting thing about this PSU is that, when overloaded, it simply switched off. During the Prime FSB testing for example, at 234MHz it would run for about 30 seconds and then the machine would power off. 2MHz FSB lower and it would complete our test fine. I suppose this saved us the trouble of observing the testing program but it's a little alarming. :) This feature is probably a good thing in terms of protection, but it does mean that this unit scored lower in our testing than some other units which are less eager to shut the system down.

This third unit from HEC is fairly unexciting. A grey box with a single fan, it really seems like a generic unit for someone who doesn't need any fancy features. It actually arrived without any retail packaging at all, and is marked "Sample Only", so I assume it's a pre- or early-production unit. Still, it has a SATA power connector, 6 molexes, 2 floppy connectors and the usual 20- and 4-pin ATX connectors.

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It's not ATX 2.0 compatible, but is rated to 220W on the +5 and +3.3 lines, with a total output of 400W. It wasn't particularly noisy during use - but then, none of the tested PSUs were.


All original content copyright James Rolfe.
All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.
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