Antec is a very well-known manufacturer of cases and power supply units, with an excellent reputation among gamers and enthusiasts. A few years ago, Antec released their first power supply units aimed directly at gamers, the High Current Gamer series. Today, we are having a look at their latest revision, which sports an upgraded design and modular cables. It is the most powerful modular model which we will be testing today, the HCG-750M, a power supply capable of continuous 750W output.
Specifications and Features
- 750W Continuous Power – Guaranteed 750W of Continuous Power from Antec
- 80 PLUS® BRONZE certified – Up to 88% efficient, to reduce your electricity bill
- AQ5 – Antec Quality 5 year warranty and lifetime global 24/7 support
- 16-pin Socket – Industry-leading 16-pin sockets double the modular connectivity by supporting 2 different 8-pin cables per socket and allow for future connector changes
- 135 mm LED DBB Silence – Whisper-quiet high-quality LED double ball bearing fan with long lifetime
- Thermal Manager – An advanced low voltage fan control for optimal heat & noise management
- High Current Rails – 2 +12V rails with high load capabilities ensure maximum CPU & GPU compatibility
- 99.2% +12V – Output for maximum CPU & GPU support
- Multi PCI-E – 4 PCI-E connectors for multiple GPU support
- NVIDIA SLI®-Ready & AMD Crossfire certified – Tested & certified by NVIDIA® for SLI® & AMD for Crossfire systems
- CircuitShield™ – Full suite of industrial grade protection
- Japanese Heavy-Duty Caps – High-performance Japanese capacitors ensure tightest DC stability and regulation
- Stealth Wires – All wires darkened for minimal visibility in chassis
Packaging and Accessories
The HCG-750M came supplied in a large box, artistically simple, with large icons advertising the main features of the power supply. Inside it we found only a basic power cord, silver mounting screws and a simple manual. We also found the modular cables for the power supply, but there was no pouch or case for the unused cables. Antec is using standard black sleeving on all of the cables.
The Antec HCG-750M offers the following number of connectors:
|ATX 24 Pin||1|
|EPS P8, 8 Pin||0|
|ATX 12V P4, 4+4 Pin||1|
|PCI Express 6 Pin||0|
|PCI Express 6+2 Pin||4|
It is interesting to note that Antec supplies three cables which have three SATA connectors and one IDE connector each, as well as a cable which has three IDE connectors and one FDD connector. Having an IDE connector next to the SATA connectors can be really handy if you have an older HDD or a fan next to the SATA drives.
The Power Supply
The Antec HCG-750M is an all-black power supply with red/black stickers on the sides of the chassis. Instead of using a separate fan guard, Antec is using a perforated chassis cover, essentially integrating the fan guard onto the chassis. A badge with the company logo has been placed onto the engine of the fan, but beneath the cover. Antec moved the sticker with the specifications of the HCG-750M to the top of the chassis.
The front of the power supply would be entirely uninteresting if not for the red/black sticker, which Antec installed beneath the power cable receptacle and on/off button. On the rear panel of the HCG-750M we can see the modular cable connectors, a switch to turn the fan LED lighting on/off, and a hole where the two native cables of the power supply are coming out of. It is noteworthy to mention that the native cables are also sleeved, but Antec is using a black/red pattern sleeving that is not entirely black as are the modular cables.
The all-clear fan inside the HCG-750M is supplied by ADDA, model number ADN512UB-A90LD. It is a 135 mm fan with a ball bearing and a maximum speed of 2500RPM. It also has blue LEDs installed.
Antec’s HCG-750M is a power supply made by Seasonic. It is based on a modern design, which implements DC to DC conversion circuits and had a lot of potential. However, in order to keep the costs low, components of lower performance have been used that reduce the performance of the power supply. The filtering is very good with four Y capacitors, two X capacitors, and two coils before the two input bridges that are sandwiched together on the small heatsink before the PFC coil. The primary capacitors are supplied by Hitachi and the secondary side capacitors are supplied by Rubycon and Nippon Chemi-Con. The biggest hold back of this design is that the 12V line converter consists solely of passive transistors (barriers) instead of active ones (MOSFETs), which are much cheaper but also greatly less efficient.
Testing and Results
For the testing of power supply units, we are using specialized equipment, details of which may be found in this article: Power Supply Testing Equipment & Methodology. At this point, we should also stress that opening a power supply not only voids your warranty but also is very dangerous. Even if the power supply is not connected to an AC outlet, the capacitors of modern PSUs can easily store enough energy to kill any adult. There are no serviceable components inside a power supply and one can gain nothing by opening it, so just do not do it.
The performance of the Antec HCG-750M 750W PSU is excellent. Seasonic designs are renowned for their excellent regulation and filtering and this model is no exception. The HCG-750M has a regulation of 1.7% on the 12V line and 2~2.1% on the minor voltage lines. Voltage ripple filtering is fantastic with a maximum of 28mV on the 12V line, less than a quarter of the 120mV limit, and 12mV on the 5V line, a fifth of the 50mV limit.
The efficiency of the Antec HCG-750M is very high for an 80Plus Bronze certified unit, well above the 81%/85%/81% 80Plus Bronze requirements at 20%/50%/100% load respectively. If it would surpass 89% at 50% load, the HCG-750M could earn an 80Plus Silver efficiency certification but the maximum efficiency was 88.1%. Still, the minimum was 86%, meaning that there is a variation of just 2.1% across the entire load range.
The noise levels of the Antec HCG-750M are relatively small at low loads but the ADDA fan is slightly audible, even at 20% load. Up to 60% load the noise level is very steady and down to acceptable levels. That however changes quickly, with the fan speeding up dramatically at 70% load, making the power supply clearly audible from a meter away. At maximum load, the fan has nearly reached its maximum speed, generating over 45dB(A), an annoyingly loud level of noise.
The operating temperatures of the Antec HCG-750M are good for a power supply of such an efficiency and design. Apparently, the sudden temperature rise at heavy loads is due to the low efficiency of the transistors used, which also explains the behavior of the cooling fan.
Final Words and Conclusion
Antec released the modular versions of the High Current Gamer series to replace the aged, non-modular designs, and stay ahead of the competition. The new -M designated HCG series units are aiming to offer high power output and performance to gamers and other enthusiasts, for a reasonable price.
These new units are not only modular however, as they are made by Seasonic, an OEM who knows how to design and produce a high performance power supply. The results speak for themselves, as the electrical performance of the Antec HCG-750M is fantastic and would entice even the most demanding user. The company did not cut corners on quality either, using very high-quality components. However, in order to keep the cost down, Antec had to use passive conversion transistors and other low performance components, which reduced the efficiency of the unit and generate significant amounts of heat at high loads.
To summarize, the Antec HCG-750M is a very high-quality product, capable of exceptional electrical performance. However, on the other hand it is not the most quiet unit ever made, and tends to get warm if heavily loaded. The retail price of $119 + shipping at the time of this review is questionable, even considering the quality and performance of the power supply. We believe that it will be facing very strong competition, as there are 80Plus Gold certified 750W power supply units available today for the same or even a lower retail price. However, In the end it does perform as advertised at a price that might be a few dollars high, but certainly not outlandishly so.