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High Performance PC Ltd - PSU range
Product : Hiper PSU range
Available from : Hiper (High Performance PC Ltd)
Price : To be annouced (rumoured to be 25% cheaper than their comparitive Enermax counterpart)

A couple of days ago, our man at the Coolermaster's UK branch sent us an email in which he seemed rather excited about a new line of PSUs they are recommending. Not wanting to be spoilt sports we asked him whether we could review of these units, since he mentioned to us that these PSUs might be Enermax beaters. Fast forward to yesterday and we got a heavy box containing 3 PSUs.

Hiper - High Performance PC Ltd are a new name to the world of computer components. Whether they will stick to just providing PSUs or branch out into other components, only time will tell. Since their website is still under construction the only indication of prices was the quote "atleast 25% cheaper than Enermax" from our man at Coolermaster. Indeed they are pitching this product against Enermax in every way, shape and form.

  

So we were presented with three units, rated at different power output ratings. 350W, 420W and 520W. Initially we tested the 350W version so we could compare it directly against our Enermax 350W unit (after all, we were told that these might be Enermax beaters).

Initially the 350W unit looks like any other bog standard unit, with 1 fan at the back to expell air, however a nice touch is the gold plated grill which is placed in front of the fan. A sticker is present mentioning the fact that the fan will only work when needed to reduce noise levels. However, on the graph supplied it draws a line where the fan would still operate in 0 degrees centigrade, therefore the quote they make about operation only when can be misleading, unless of course you put your whole computer into a freezer and operate it from there.

The lack of bottom mounted fan will be seen as a corner cut by most people however if your cooling setup cannot cope without having two fans in your PSU then there is definetly something wrong with it. The fan supplied is quiet and you shouldn't need to rip the cover open (invalidating your warrenty as usual) to change it. The manual supplied with all Hiper PSUs is extremely well laid out, in a number of languages and has a good number of diagrams and technical details. Documentation is faultless.

One little note which amused us was the remark in the manual - "Keep the power supply from moistened or dusty places." Since we've only had these PSUs in less than 3 days, we can't say how they react to operation in dusty environments, but our guess is that they operate pretty much the same as any other PSU. As far as the physics goes capacitors don't care too much about having dust between the plates - not that you can get any dust in electrolitic capacitors since they are rolled and sealed.


The 350W unit comes with 6 Molex connectors, 2 floppy drive type (3 pin) connectors, auxiliary power connector and 4 pin Pentium 4 power connectors. Most important in all that lot is the Molex connectors. 6 should be enough for most people without the need for duplicators. These connectors are gold plated and show quality in manufacture. With all these cables it can get messy, and the 350W unit doesn't have the wrap-around that we usually find on Enermax units. This however isn't the case with the 420W and 520W units do have this. The number of Molex connectors on the 420W unit increases to 8 and the 520W unit has 10 - more than enough for most people.

Indeed, looking at the 420W and 520W units, you get the feeling that this, the 350W unit is somewhat more of a budget model. Infact they can even be classed as three completely different units, since the number of fans, molex connectors and ofcourse, price vary with each one. The 350W unit has 1 fan (as mentioned above), 420W has 2 fans - one at the back plus one at the bottom and the 520W unit has 3 fans - one at the front. The fans that are mounted on the 420 and 520W units are made from clear, frosted plastic (whereas the 350W has the more traditional black plastic unit) to give them a nice look and are finished off with gold plated grills.

     

The 420 and 520W units also feature active fan controls, so you are able to set the fans to operate with the built-in thermostat, or at two pre-defined modes, "Low" and "Middle", the former being defined as the "Silencer run". Indeed, when the 520W unit was under the "Silencer run" mode (such a cool phrase), the unit was hardly audible, and considering that three fans were still operating it is quite an achievement.

Since all three units can be considered seperately here are the specifications accordingly :

350W single fan unit

DC O/P Load
Max
+5V
35 Amp.
+12V
16 Amp.
+3.3V
28 Amp.
-5V
0.5 Amp.
-12V
0.8 Amp.
+5VSB
2 Amp.


420W double unit

DC O/P Load
Max
+5V
42 Amp.
+12V
16 Amp.
+3.3V
28 Amp.
-5V
0.5 Amp.
-12V
0.8 Amp.
+5VSB
2 Amp.


520W triple unit

DC O/P Load
Max
+5V
52 Amp.
+12V
20 Amp.
+3.3V
28 Amp.
-5V
0.5 Amp.
-12V
0.8 Amp.
+5VSB
2 Amp.


As you can see, everything in the Ampage department stays mainly static through the range except for the +5volt rail. If you've done GCSE physics you will know that there are a number of ways of increasing the current like this, but keeping the voltage the same. One way is to reduce the resistance, although this can be hard in something like a PSU. There are other methods however with my physics being rusty I cannot think the formulae (feel free to post them in our forums).

So, how do you exactly test a PSU? There is no definitive way in doing so. Some people believe that the heavier it is the better it is. Indeed, a heavier unit generally means better quality components have been used. Another way is to show the stability of the voltages produced. Whilst the best way to do this is to connect digital voltmeter, however we don't have one on site and much as we like to flex our electronics muscles, we feel that what we learnt in physics lessons at the age of 14 is lost on us on this day (on everyday pretty much).

We've included the voltages from a comparison of a 350W Hiper PSU and a 350W Enermax unit. Both PSUs were tested in the same computer with the internal components unchanged.


It's pretty close between the two units, and they both produce good steady voltages which is fairly important. We didn't post the results of the 420W and 520W units due to the fact that we didn't have units to compare them against. In the future we will update as and when we get new units.

Conclusion

We were presented with a completely new product and promised that it would be able to take on the might of Enermax and be cheaper by atleast 25%. So what are the impressions of what we had witnessed?

The 350W unit is pretty standard, with it's single fan and lack of fan controls. However it is quiet and if it retails for 25% less than Enermax's 350W unit then it would be good unit purchase if you want a simple, cost effective and well performing PSU.

The 420W and 520W units are very good units. They produce very good performance and the added bonus of having 2 and 3 fans respectively makes them extremely attractive units. Most people will want to purchase the 420W version since it should be less than 50 (which represents extremely good value), however people who want more juice will leap for the 3 fan 520W unit.

Enermax are certainly not the only company that can produce good quality PSUs anymore.

We will keep you up-to-date with the latest retail prices as they become available.