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Enermax 450w, Sparkle 400W or Thermaltake 420W?

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chachmarach

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2002
Location
Canada
I can't make up my mind between these 3 power supplies.I would think they are all fairly equal but any opinions which one would be the best choice?Anyone using or heard anything about Thermltake?I know they are fairly new on the power supply scene.Thanks for any help with this.
 

nikhsub1

Unoriginal Macho Moderator
Joined
Oct 12, 2001
Location
Los Angeles
Don't have time right now to get into it, but out of those 3, get the Sparkle for sure. I'm sure larva will say the same. Antec True Power is also a good choice but not on your list.
 

advanR

Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2002
thank you, i feel the need to post a thread asking between the antec 400watt and the sparkle 400 watt. If I could throw that into this it would be great. at newegg they are both about $65.


thanks
 

larva

Inactive Moderator
Joined
Jul 12, 2002
check directron too

Directron has really good prices on the FSP (Sparkle) power supplies too. They list them by the FSP number, but this corresponds directly to the sparkle numbers found at:

http://www.sparklepower.com/prodatx.htm#12v

Newegg's prices are a few dollars higher but even a bad price on a sparkle is a good price :)

The true power Antec's are of equal power and quality, but cost more. The standard series of Antec or Enermax does not measure up to the output and value of the FSP/Sparkle units. I haven't seen the 400W FSP tested, but the 350W model produced 454W in the THG test at which point it overloads gracefully. I'm sure the 400W model is stouter, but I'm not sure it is necessary unless you have peltiers or other such accesories to power from the supply.
 

larva

Inactive Moderator
Joined
Jul 12, 2002
FSP

The two top rated supplies in that roundup are FSP (Fortron Source Power) units. These are sold under a myriad of names, including Sparkle. Sparkle Power Inc. is a wholey owned subsidiary of FSP. To summarize the findings in that test:

Total max output:

FSP-300-60ATV -390W
FSP-350-60BTP -454W
Antec True Power 380 -470W

There is no doubt the True Power series of Antec's are fine supplies, but the FSP 350W unit can be bought from directron for $38 (as a FSP) or from newegg for $42 (as a sparkle). This places it in a totally different value class from the True Power lineup. Compared to a True Power of similar cost, the FSP/Sparkle is a much beefier supply. The Smart Power series of Antec's are priced more similarly to the FSP/Sparkle, but don't deliver the output of their more expensive True Power siblings. True Power will certainly do the job, but drain your pocketbook at the same time.

There are also 400 and 460W FSP models, I have yet to see them tested. I find the 350W model to be plenty stout, but there are bigger models available for those that feel they are mandated.

Fortunately the FSP part numbers are consistant across the many names these supplies are sold under. The best reference for FSP produced supplies I know of is the sparkle website:

http://www.sparklepower.com/prodatx.htm#12v

Note that at times the final letter in the product designation is meaningless (FSP-350-60BN and FSP-350-60BNS are the same supply). The 3.3V+5V rating is the best way to spot lower output varaiants of FSP supplies constructed for OEM use by Acer or other case manufacturers. Generally deviation in the final letter is due to a differnent fan choice, and in most cases can be disregarded. Fortunately there are no warranty stickers on the lid of FSP units, so you are free to change the fan if you wish a quieter or stronger unit than the original fitment.

The FSP-350-60BN(S) is the current FSP 350W model. It superceeds the FSP-350-60BT(X) series and is the supply I personally own. It is a tank :)

I posted some linkage to the direction deal on the 350W FSP supply in the cyber deals section. I feel it is far and away the best value in ATX power supplies, and recommend it to all.

http://forum.oc-forums.com/vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=136160

The THG review of these supplies is one of the better comparisons I have seen. Most tests out there pit but a few of the available supplies against each other, while this one contains 21 relevent choices to overclockers. While it is somewhat revealing that THG doens't seem to understand what FSP is or how one buys these products it is the most definitive test I've seen to date, and well worth reading (if you haven't already).

http://www.tomshardware.com/howto/02q4/021021/index.html
 
Last edited:

advanR

Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2002
that post was awesome. you really know your stuff.

alright then, i need to decide between the 350 and 400 sparkle. they are $38-42 and $62. will the 350 really trustingly supply 450 for years to come? I have 8 fans(among them 3 120mm) in my case and plan on RAID in the future.

I have one more question. Were you implying that antecs not marked as true power are not high quality units? The 400 watt at newegg matches the sparkle in price and i would like to know how it compares. It isn't part of the true power line. before someone highly recommended it, and i would rather have 2 fans than 1. it also has adjustable rails i think.

thanks
 

larva

Inactive Moderator
Joined
Jul 12, 2002
The Smart Power series of Antec supplies are very ordinary. I hae heard reports of adjustablility in the 400W model, but I would not recommend it in spite of this feature. One area the manufacturer needs to take care of for you is the regulation of the output. Adjustablility only enters the ballgame if the output is incorrect to start with, and this is not an area in which I wish to tamper. I have used a lot of the Antec Smart Power supplies, and they have about 75% the output of the same wattage true power or sparkle counterpart. While not bad quality, they are lightweights by their own 3.3+5V rating as well as any more substantial judge of output.

I find the 350W sparkle to be plenty of output. Considering that its 3.3+5V output equals that of the 431W Enermax and 400W smart power, it might well be called a 400W supply if FSP chose to apply the rating. Bear in mind that the total wattage rating is somewhat arbitrary, as there is no standard for its application.

In my personal rig I have the following:

P4 1.6a at 2400MHz (1.6V Vcore)
GF4Ti4400 at 4600 clock rates
256MB ram
SB LIve Value OEM
adaptec PCI SCSI card
netgear NIC
Promise Ultra 100TX2 IDE controller
Pioneer DVD-ROM drive
NEC CD-RW
250MB Zip drive
floppy drive
WD 60GB hard drive
Maxtor 20GB hard drive
(8) 80mm fans

All this runs very comfortably off the 350W Sparkle, and I would not hesitate to toss more load on it if I had any reason to. I feel that unless you wish to power peltiiers, water pumps, toaster ovens or other inordinate loads from the primary supply this unit is strong enough. My supply is not even working hard with the above load, as evidenced by the temperature of its output (barely abouve room temp). I even replaced the original .3A NMB fan with a .15A unit to keep noise at an absolute minimum, and the supply is perfectly happy.

I use the 300W sparkle for the majority of systems I build where the budget allows me to. I only recommend the 350W model for users that have inordinate loads to drive or just want to error on the side of caution. While the 400W smart power, 431 enermax, or a small true power would also be suitable for the majority of these machines they all either cost more, have less output, or both.
 
OP
C

chachmarach

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2002
Location
Canada
Thanks very much Larva and everyone else for the information.It really sounds like you know your stuff especially Larva.That is exactly what I needed to know to make a decision.I might go with the 400W Sparkle though just to be safe for a while. I also am running an AMD processor so they seem to like their power a little more then Intel.Thanks again.
 

larva

Inactive Moderator
Joined
Jul 12, 2002
no problem

Glad the backround info makes the choice easier. Be sure to let us know your results with the your new supply, we all benefit from the experiences of others.
 

Radelon

Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2002
The 350w Sparkle also has a POT adjustment inside it. Believe me, I hooked everything that I could find into this PSU and the rails didn't even change .01 from having nothing plugged into it. Definitely a powerhouse that makes most 400w-450w psu's look like junk.

Before I adjusted the POT my numbers were:

12v - 11.54v
5v - 5.02v
3.3v - 3.28v
1.5v - 1.52v

After:

12v - 12.29v (I got it to exactly 12v but opted for a little extra)
5v - 5.35v (this went up with the adjustment but can't hurt)
3.3v - 3.28v
1.5v - 1.52v

The model I was supposed to get was the FSP-350BTS but I got the FSP-350BN. Was a little angry at first, but can't complain with the numbers this thing is putting out, not to mention the stability of the system now.