To the average computer user or the PC extremist who over clocks, consistent power is a necessity. Determining a good power supply usually depends on how consistent the +5volt and +12volt output is and if the power supply can actually power the system. Today, we are taking a look at PCToys? new 470watt Power Supply. Before we begin, PCToys is a fairly new company that is coming up quick. They are currently the case and case mod supplier for any participating CompUSA branches throughout the United States. As you should already know, reputation is not everything when it comes to performance. With this in mind, let?s get on with the show. Included in the shiny new box, was and instruction manual, the power supply itself , a power cord, 4 mounting screws and a "Universal Connector" which allows the powering of both AMD and Intel motherboards.
As far as quality, I was extremely impressed to see such a professional presentation with the Paint job and the thickness of the actual wires. The paintjob on the PSU is a nice jet black, but I must warn you it scratched easily when I put it back in the box because the 4 mounting screws got placed under it. The thickness of the individual external wires going to the molex and ATX power connector were just a tad thicker than the gauge on my Enermax Power Supply. The next thing I noticed were the sweet looking Chrome fan grills. This creates a great effect with the chrome on black scheme, not to mention the three clear fans behind the grills. That?s right- this power supply comes standard with three temperature controlled fans, one which can also be powered by a switch on the back from auto (temperature controlled) to low or even medium. All three fans in the case are globe brand, which are pretty widely used in all power supplies including the ever so popular Enermax. With this in mind, I had no doubt that these fans would not fail on me! The standard connector at the end of the ATX connector is built for the Intel style motherboards, but PCToys was prepared to support the AMD fans too with an adapter to make it fit the typical AMD ATX Connector.
Before continuing with installation and performance, the PCToys power supply had 10 molex connectors, 2 floppy connectors, the ATX connector and the three power plugs for the new p4 processors. In my opinion, this power supply has plenty of connectors and was definitely able to hold all my devices with (almost) one device on each connector without chaining.
Right as I was installing the power supply, I happened to notice a bulge on the under-side of the power supply. I am fairly sure this won?t affect performance, but it definitely wasn?t meant to be there! Aside from this, the installation continued. The thickness/gauge of the power supply wires really helped when it came to plugging in all those molex connectors for my cold cathode lighting, fans and Digidoc5. With my Enermax I usually have a hard-time installing power to new devices because the wires are so thin that the pins inside the molex move around! This drastically reduced the install time and I could definitely tell the difference when it was time to reinstall my Enermax. Once I finally plugged in the ATX power and all my devices, I simply plugged in the power and I was ready to do some business. Overall, the installation for this power supply was identical to installation of any other power supply ? no instructions needed.
When it comes to performance I was pleased, but not satisfied. I flipped the power on to the new power supply in hopes that PCToys had really delivered with the power I expected. Sure enough, my system was up and running without problems. I also dinked around with it for about 24 hours to make sure I was still getting the power I needed for my personal system below:
AMD Athlon XP 2200+
512mb Micron DDR PC2100
DUAL 80gig WD@7200rpm (8mb cache)
Nvidia GeForce3 ti200 (overclocked)
2 ? Antec Tri-Light 80mm Fans
1- 92mm Panaflo Fan
4 usb ports (in use)
I was pleased to surf the web and edit in Adobe Photoshop (at the same time) without a Blue Screen of Death. Being used to the usual stability of my system, I could almost be positive that the power supply was not supplying enough power if I was receiving lock-ups or BSD?s, but this wasn?t the case. So far the power supply was performing great ? running my system with no problem. To make sure I wasn?t hallucinating, it was time to consult my Digidoc5 with the +5 and +12 volt ratings? this is where it gets ugly. Unfortunately the "470watt" power supply by PCToys was no longer performing so great. The +5 was bouncing constantly between 4.85 and 4.88v and the +12 rating was between 11.95 and 12.05. Although it may not seem so bad, wait until you hear about how my Enermax 430 watt (40 watts lower) was getting +5 rating at 5.05 stable and my +12 was rated between 12.30 and 12.32. Although the new PCToy?s PSU +5 and +12 ratings were below par, this does not necessarily mean that it?s a terrible product. It was able to hold an incredible amount of hardware (test system) without a problem. While the power supply was on, I decided to play with the speed switch for the exhaust fan on the power supply. Stock, the switch was set at auto or temperature controlled, but I switched it to low first and next to medium. On both settings, the fan produced an incredible amount of noise, but with plenty of airflow. After this, I preferred the lowest setting and in this case, it was the auto setting.
Overall, I was fairly impressed with this product. Everything from the quality of the box to the actual product quality was more than exceptional! Installation was a standard breeze and the three-fan concept was ingenious. When it came to performance, I had no problems with it holding my demanding system, but the actual voltage ratings were somewhat discouraging considering that a 430 watt power supply unit had much higher ratings. Either way, I wouldn?t have a problem recommending this to anyone with the same or less demanding computer to avoid any power problems. If you?re interested, you can pick this product up from PCToys.com or your local CompUSA!