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Can We Trust the 80 Plus Certification?

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Old Thrashbarg

Member
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Sep 26, 2007
The real question is, how much difference are we talking here? If an 80Plus PSU drops to, say 78% efficiency at higher temperatures, I wouldn't consider that a big deal. If it drops to 70% though, I wouldn't be too happy with it.
 

EarthDog

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My concern is who works in a room where the temp is 45C plus? I understand the PSU can get that warm internally (is that what they are talking about essenially?), but the intake air is still 23C or so, right?
 

RollingThunder

Destroyer of Trolls & Spammers
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Jan 7, 2005
My concern is who works in a room where the temp is 45C plus? I understand the PSU can get that warm internally (is that what they are talking about essenially?), but the intake air is still 23C or so, right?

EarthDog, cripes, I agree 100% on this. Test them where the mainsteam users are using them. Ever our great crew of overclockers here aren't living with their rigs in 45 C rooms fer chrissakes (are they?). I wouldn't know a drop of 2% efficiency if I tripped over it and I wouldn't know an 80% efficiency power supply from a 90% one. Anymore, and with a blessing from OW, I only want to turn it on and turn it off, I don't give a rat's a$$ what the efficiency is at 45 C. :)
 

tool_462

Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2009
Is there anything wrong of using a lower temperature to test power supplies? No. It is just our personal preference to test power supplies at real-world temperatures.

They are inferring that 45C is "real world" when 23C is not? Wow.

80 Plus isn't a holy grail of PSU requirement, but rather than modify a methodology that already encompasses thousands of power supplies, they chose to do a great move (from a marketing standpoint, and to push companies harder for quality) and added the Bronze, Silver and Gold certifications.

Don't mess with a good system.

The “problem” is that during our reviews we’ve seen several power supplies that received a certain 80 Plus certification but at a higher temperature they don’t achieve the same efficiency level. For example, some power supplies labeled as “80 Plus Silver” would need to be labeled as “80 Plus Bronze” if they tested the unit at a higher temperature range.

What? Obviously the efficiency drops at higher temps, the point remains that Bronze, Silver and Gold levels exist to differentiate the good from the great to the best at a baseline of 23C (real world ;))

Somewhat of an odd article.
 
OP
Evilsizer

Evilsizer

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well if the psu is rated at a 45c intake then that just means it will survive just about anything(in a way). i mean my room can get up to 80F, small room with rosie running on i7 plus a 47in tv for my monitor. it is bound that the air being sucked in by the psu might approach 45c. simply because the NB/CPU/GPU is heating up the air in the case. it isnt like the psu just pulls air in from the room by a side vent on the case.... imo that is why the intake temp used makes a big difference for the psu ratings and for long term usage.

the air in your case doesnt stay at 25c forever now does it?
 

tool_462

Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2009
The article should approach it from that viewpoint, not that 80 Plus is somehow a conspiracy or can't be trusted. Of course you can "trust" it, solid methodology and a standard testing setup provides precision. I'd rather they approach it objectively addressing the accuracy of the testing methodology, rather than the precision, and implying something underhanded is at work.
 

Zap

Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2002
The best thing about the Hardware Secrets' article is that it is making people think, however until something better comes along, 80+ as a "certification" is here to stay. People just need to realize a few things about it:

- It is an efficiency rating and has ZERO to do with quality (though usually "crap" PSUs are unable to pass).

- It is under "laboratory conditions" which may or may not mimic the conditions inside any particular computer. This is the main point of contention in the linked article.

- Companies have been known to claim 80+ without having passed testing, and companies have been known to send "golden samples" to 80+ that are not indicative of a unit available for an end user to purchase.
 

Sonny

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Is the ambient temp the same as the operating temp of a PSU? I am not commenting on testing done at 45°C ambient temp BUT I'm sure a PSU with an appreciable amount of load will be hitting 45°C internaly.
 

Sonny

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Maybe I wasnt being clear or I am misunderstanding this. Like a CPU the ambient temp is not the same as its operating temp, unlike a CPU there are numerous components to a PSU that do not operate at the same temp. How do you tell what the actual operating temp is then?
 
OP
Evilsizer

Evilsizer

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Maybe I wasnt being clear or I am misunderstanding this. Like a CPU the ambient temp is not the same as its operating temp, unlike a CPU there are numerous components to a PSU that do not operate at the same temp. How do you tell what the actual operating temp is then?

to me the operating temp of a psu is that of the vregs.. other parts will run hotter then the vregs so higher temp rated parts a must IMO.
 

Sonny

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Would it be fair to average out the readings of multiple components to give us an operating temp then? What would be the delta to ambient readings?
 

cyberfish

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May 23, 2008
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I don't see there's anything wrong with this. 80+ just means the efficiency is > 80% under the specified conditions. It's like saying Intel shouldn't label a chip at a certain clock speed because it can't achieve that speed at half the voltage and twice the temperature.

Intel only guarantees the rated speed at the rated voltage and the rated temperature, just like how they guarantee 80% at the rated ambient and other conditions.
 

Oklahoma Wolf

Senior Warranty Validity Sealed Stick Remover
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Mar 18, 2003
How do you tell what the actual operating temp is then?

There is no one single operating temp for a PSU. Best you can do is monitor the exhaust temp.

The ambient temp rating on a PSU is for the temperature of the environment the unit is installed into. If it's 50, that means the OEM has carefully designed it so the internal components don't fry when the incoming air is 50 degrees.
 

RollingThunder

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There is no one single operating temp for a PSU. Best you can do is monitor the exhaust temp.

The ambient temp rating on a PSU is for the temperature of the environment the unit is installed into. If it's 50, that means the OEM has carefully designed it so the internal components don't fry when the incoming air is 50 degrees.

I'b be about ready to pass out with 50 C incoming ambient while I was reaching for a cold Sam Adams. :)
 

Sonny

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There is no one single operating temp for a PSU. Best you can do is monitor the exhaust temp.

The ambient temp rating on a PSU is for the temperature of the environment the unit is installed into. If it's 50, that means the OEM has carefully designed it so the internal components don't fry when the incoming air is 50 degrees.

Thanks for explaining:beer:
 

CompuTamer

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I'b be about ready to pass out with 50 C incoming ambient while I was reaching for a cold Sam Adams. :)

let's say you put your comp in the middle of a desert, and then it's 40C 104F in that desert... your comp'll probably heat the air up to around 50C 122F

Though this is all highly unlikely lol
 

Neuromancer

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50C was the industry standard for PSU for a long time. Check out jonnyguru.com for those that pass 80+ cert in hotbox scenarios.

In industrial settings, 50C is not unheard of. When you are making PCBs for instance, the boards go through an oven and that oven is in the same room as the PCs that are driving it.


As for PC cases, those that slide their towers into a desk, know that heat can build up quick, and not everyone is as savvy as the members here to figure out an overheating problem.

50C in a case is ridiculous to us, not to most though.