Introduction, Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Antec is back on our test bench this time around with the newest addition to their EarthWatts series of power supplies.
The new EarthWatts series represents a huge step for Antec as these new units are their first 80Plus Platinum rated units to come to market. Antec currently offers the latest iteration of EarthWatts power supplies in 450W, 550W and 650W varieties.
Antec is hopping on the Platinum bandwagon strong with claims that the EarthWatts 650W Platinum unit can reduce power consumption by up to 25%.
That's quite a hearty claim so let's dig into the unit and see what it can really do.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Something that we aren't used to seeing in lower end power supplies anymore is the inclusion of multiple rails. The EarthWatts 650W Platinum unit has four 12V rails capable of 30A each and a combined maximum output of 48A total. The 3.3V rail is capable of 20A while the 5V rail is rated for only 18A. These two rails have a combined maximum output of 105W. Total output for the unit is rated at 650W.
The EarthWatts series of power supplies might not be the most feature-rich line of PSU's that Antec has to offer, but it certainly offers more than enough to get the job done. There are plenty of protections offered up with the EarthWatts 650W. The only one we found lacking was Over Temperature Protection. We also found that the unit wasn't rated for 100% continuous output at 50C either, but it is somewhat expected that you'll be using a higher end power supply if it is intended for such an environment. Lastly, the unit doesn't have any modular cables.
Antec has an MSRP of $129.95 on the EarthWatts 650W Platinum unit. A quick look around will yield cheaper results and the lowest we could find the unit for was for $115.49 shipped at SuperBiiz. Antec backs the EarthWatts 650W Platinum with a three year warranty.
Antec starts right off with the marketing on the front, throwing efficiency and energy savings information at you.
The back gives you a little bit more information about the power supply, but isn't overly crowded.
One side features of the box has all of the I/O specifications for the PSU.
The other side has a good breakdown of how you can save up to 25% on your energy bill. Most people don't know it, but the power supplies included in most PC's from Dell, Gateway and others have terrible efficiency and the 65% efficiency line in their chart is representative of that. This does assume 100% load 24/7/365, though. Nice marketing try Antec.
The top features a shot of the unit and dimensions.
The bottom is simply blank.
Inside the Box
Opening the box we find that the unit is protected by a small amount of cardboard and is wrapped in plastic to prevent scratches.
The top of the EarthWatts 650W Platinum unit is blank, but does give us a nice shot of the matte black finish on the unit.
One side of the power supply displays the I/O specification label.
The other side is completely blank.
On the back, we find the standard honeycomb mesh grill with on/off rocker switch and AC input.
The front is pretty plain as well since there are not any modular connections on the unit.
The Antec EarthWatts 650W Platinum unit utilizes a 120mm fan to keep cool.
Included with the power supply are a handful of Velcro cable ties, power cable, five mounting screws and a rather bland informational insert. Antec offers a full version of the manual on their website, but it is just as lackluster.
Cabling Arrangement and A Look Inside
Antec provides a rather decent selection of cables and connector availability for the EarthWatts 650W Platinum unit. Aside from the mandatory 20+4 pin Main and ATX4+4 connectors there are six SATA, four Molex, one FDD and two PCI-E connectors. It would have been nice to see another set of PCI-E connectors, especially since the power supply boasts the SLI ready logo on the back of the box.
Antec doesn't disclose the rail distribution anywhere that we could find, but it was rather easy to trace once we opened up the unit. Everything is divided up relatively evenly with all peripheral connections on 12V1, the ATX 4+4 connection on 12V2, 20+4 pin Main on 12V3 and two PCI-E connections on 12V4.
A Look Inside
Popping the bottom off, we find a very simple unit with little passive cooling.
A single Taiwanese made CapXon capacitor is utilized on the primary side of the unit.
Nippon Chemi-Con's can be found on the secondary side of the PSU.
Antec uses the Yate Loon D12BH-12 fan to cool the EarthWatts 650W Platinum power supply.
Test Results and Final Thoughts
Our load tests utilize a couple of FAST ATE active load testers and a variety of other equipment such as an oscilloscope, power conditioner, temperature probe and a power consumption meter. You can read more about our standard testing approach here.
The tests performed are based around six conceivable setups that are out there and progressively load down the PSU up to the power supply's limits or 1000W, whichever comes first. Since our test equipment's limits are higher than that of the Antec EarthWatts 650W Platinum PSU, we can test it to the maximum.
Let's start by taking a look at the voltages to see how well this unit did during testing. Starting with the 12V rails, we see 2% regulation across the board. 12V4 faired the best with a total drop of .13V from start to finish while 12V2 did the worst and showed a drop of .25V. The 5V rail also stayed within 2% voltage regulation and displayed a total drop of .10V. Moving towards the 3.3V rail, we see that regulation was again within 2% with a total voltage drop of .08V.
DC output quality was great from start to finish and just what we had hoped for. Starting out, we saw a ripple of 18mV on the scope. This slowly increased as we stepped up the loads. By the time we had reached around 50% load, the unit ripple had crept up to 21mV. Under full load, we saw that the noise on the 12V rail had crept up to 34mV.
The Antec EarthWatts 650W power supply is rated for 80Plus Platinum efficiency. This means that the power supply must perform at 90%/92%/89% efficiency at 20%/50%/100% loads respectively. As you can see, the EarthWatts 650W performed just as it should have, even if things were very close at the end.
The Antec EarthWatts 650W Platinum power supply is the first Platinum rated unit we have seen from Antec and it doesn't disappoint, especially for an entry level power supply.
Voltage regulation is within 2% across the board. DC output quality is great as well, with only 34mV of noise under full load. Efficiency was right on the mark to make it worthy of the Platinum rating.
The $129.95 MSRP does hurt the unit as it certainly makes it one of the more expensive 650W units on the market. The increased cost of the unit will be offset a bit by the increased efficiency, but will be negligible when compared to an 80Plus Gold rated unit, down to just a few bucks a year.
You may also find that the lack of additional PCI-E connectors limit the viability of the unit if you plan on using multiple GPU's.
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