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Is PC Power & Cooling really worth the money?

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Tipycol

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2002
Simple question, is it worth it? I mean, I could get a 550W Antec True Power for about $105, while the 475W one from PC Power & Cooling costs $200+, so what do you think?


Thanks

Tipycol
 

larva

Inactive Moderator
Joined
Jul 12, 2002
What do I think?

You're crazy to buy anything but Sparkle. Until I see a failure or someone can show me where anyone else's supply offers as much for the money that's what I'll use. The 250, 300, and 350W units carried by newegg run my P4 fine, I 've never had to resort to the 400W model. Regardless of what claims are made for more expensive supplies I've not seen any limitation in these units that makes me see spending more as a necessary or beneficial use of my money.

I've used many hundreds of Sparkle power supplies in recent years. The oldest of the lot are now 4 years plus and still plugging along. At this point no other power supply in their wattage class attains either the 3.3+5V outpur or total max output of a given sparkle, quite a bonus in addition to rock solid reliability. Try one, and you will never contemplate either Antec or PC power and cooling again.

The True Power series of Antecs is a supply of comparable performance, but costs far more. The PC Power and Cooling stuff is so expensive I wouldn't even consider one unless units like the Sparkle didn't get the job done (which they do in marvelous fashion). Save that extra cash for the next (inevitable) cpu/mb/ram/hd/video card upgrade, you know you will need it.
 
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Tipycol

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2002
Re: What do I think?

larva said:
You're crazy to buy anything but Sparkle. Until I see a failure or someone can show me where anyone else's supply offers as much for the money that's what I'll use. The 250, 300, and 350W units carried by newegg run my P4 fine, I 've never had to resort to the 400W model. Regardless of what claims are made for more expensive supplies I've not seen any limitation in these units that makes me see spending more as a necessary or beneficial use of my money.

I've used many hundreds of Sparkle power supplies in recent years. The oldest of the lot are now 4 years plus and still plugging along. At this point no other power supply in their wattage class attains either the 3.3+5V outpur or total max output of a given sparkle, quite a bonus in addition to rock solid reliability. Try one, and you will never contemplate either Antec or PC power and cooling again.

The True Power series of Antecs is a supply of comparable performance, but costs far more. The PC Power and Cooling stuff is so expensive I wouldn't even consider one unless units like the Sparkle didn't get the job done (which they do in marvelous fashion). Save that extra cash for the next (inevitable) cpu/mb/ram/hd/video card upgrade, you know you will need it.

So I guess that's a big no :D
Anyone else with an opinion?
 

nikhsub1

Unoriginal Macho Moderator
Joined
Oct 12, 2001
Location
Los Angeles
I agree and disagree with larva to some extent. In my main rig with 4 HD's 2CD's, Floppy, AGP, and 5 120mm fans, I run the PCP&C unit. I tried Antec, Enermax, SPARKLE (which is now in a dedicated folder) and none of them were up to the task. Power requirements are different for Pentiums and AMD's. AMD's suck up the juice like nobody's business. Plus I am highly overclocked and the other PSU's 5V just sagged. I also run an Epox board, again known for sucking power. The 350W Sparkle that is in my folder does well, but the voltages are lower than I'd like, the 5V is at 4.9 and the 12V is at 11.91. All I have in there is one HD, CD, Floppy and 4 80mm fans. Now maybe the 400W Sparkle would be better for me but the machine seems stable so no complaints. I would stay away from enermax, high priced junk IMO. In terms of QUALTITY irregardless of cash, the list goes like this:
PCP&C
Antec True Power
Vantec
Sparkle

For the best bang for the buck the list is somewhat reversed:
Sparkle
Antec
Vantec
PCP&C

If you want a PSU that will run for years without a problem and you want definate solid rails, the PCP&C won't be beat. The only caveat with the PCP&C is the fan, it is LOUD. 48dBA, I swapped mine out for a 36CFM 30dBa Sunon sleeve fan, the best $5 I ever spent. How important is top notch PSU to YOU? That is what you need to ask yourself, once you figure that out, the answers are before you.

And to answer the threads main question,YES.:D
 
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Tipycol

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2002
nikhsub1 said:
I agree and disagree with larva to some extent. In my main rig with 4 HD's 2CD's, Floppy, AGP, and 5 120mm fans, I run the PCP&C unit. I tried Antec, Enermax, SPARKLE (which is now in a dedicated folder) and none of them were up to the task. Power requirements are different for Pentiums and AMD's. AMD's suck up the juice like nobody's business. Plus I am highly overclocked and the other PSU's 5V just sagged. I also run an Epox board, again known for sucking power. The 350W Sparkle that is in my folder does well, but the voltages are lower than I'd like, the 5V is at 4.9 and the 12V is at 11.91. All I have in there is one HD, CD, Floppy and 4 80mm fans. Now maybe the 400W Sparkle would be better for me but the machine seems stable so no complaints. I would stay away from enermax, high priced junk IMO. In terms of QUALTITY irregardless of cash, the list goes like this:
PCP&C
Antec True Power
Vantec
Sparkle

For the best bang for the buck the list is somewhat reversed:
Sparkle
Antec
Vantec
PCP&C

If you want a PSU that will run for years without a problem and you want definate solid rails, the PCP&C won't be beat. The only caveat with the PCP&C is the fan, it is LOUD. 48dBA, I swapped mine out for a 36CFM 30dBa Sunon sleeve fan, the best $5 I ever spent. How important is top notch PSU to YOU? That is what you need to ask yourself, once you figure that out, the answers are before you.

And to answer the threads main question,YES.:D

Thanks for the info. Hmm, is it worth it to me? I think so, just based on people having problems with most psu's after a while. I plan to use this psu for at least the next 5 years, so I guess paying the $200 all at once instead of say, buying an Antec for $105, then buying something for the same price later for a replacement. I also like their warranty. I just hope that 475W won't become an underpowered unit 5 years from now, but hey, that's technology for you :D


Thanks

Tipycol
 

larva

Inactive Moderator
Joined
Jul 12, 2002
The 12V on my 350 sparkle also runs 11.91V, but as this is within 1% of 12V I don't hold it against it. My 5V runs 5.13V howverver. I would worry if I saw any deviation with load on the 5V, but since your's is steady and only 2% low I woulnd't hold it against the supply. If you unhooked the fans or other parts of the load and the 5V increased to 5V or more I would see it as important indicator of overload. As long as it stays at 4.9V regardless of load the absolute voltage reading is not troublesome.
 

larva

Inactive Moderator
Joined
Jul 12, 2002
Tipycol said:


Thanks for the info. Hmm, is it worth it to me? I think so, just based on people having problems with most psu's after a while. I plan to use this psu for at least the next 5 years, so I guess paying the $200 all at once instead of say, buying an Antec for $105, then buying something for the same price later for a replacement. I also like their warranty. I just hope that 475W won't become an underpowered unit 5 years from now, but hey, that's technology for you :D


Thanks

Tipycol

If you think the ATX power supply specification will remain unchanged for 5 years, guess again. You could buy a new Sparkle every year for 5 years before you approach the cost of the PC Power and Cooling unit. Not that you would need to, but you could if the goal was to spend $200 on power supplies over a 5 year period.
 

Johnny Knoxville

Disabled
Joined
May 29, 2002
the PC power and cooling power supplies are also very noise (especially the 500w+ something like 55dba if i remember correctly). Get a sparkle and use the money for something else.
 
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Tipycol

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2002
Sparkle huh? I gotta look into them then cause I already looked into Antec and Enermax, and found their share of lovers and haters :(
 

Tmod

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2001
I am another fan of the PC Power and Cooling. I have the Turbo 350ATX and it performs without a hitch.

I had to replace my Sparkle unit that died after about 3 days of use. It may not be normal for the Sparkle to die but it did and I told myself that I would not buy anything but the best in a power supply. So far I have not been dissapointed.

Is the PC Power and Cooling unit louder than the others? Probably but they also have a silent version available.

Compare the weight, warranty, temp that unit was tested at, and ripple of the other power supplies and make your own decision from there.
 
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larrymoencurly

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2002
Exact what are the functional differences between a PC Power & Cooling PSU made by Sparkle and a Sparkle brand PSU of comparable power? I don't need anything like super-high accuracy regulaton of the +12V
 

Tmod

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2001
I do not know the exact differences between the units you are referring to.

You are comparing two units from the same manufacturer but the vendors who spec these units could ask for different electronic componets inside the unit.

For instance the Power Man series is made by Sparkle also and it has low end specs.

I am not saying that every power supply that is not PC Power and Cooling is bad, It is just that PC Power and Cooling has a higher and tighter spec than the rest.

Will a normal midrange price unit work for you, That is solely your decision.

I have regular power supplys that came with my cases that haven't let me down yet. But I am not pushing them with several drives and overclocking.

Tmod
 

larva

Inactive Moderator
Joined
Jul 12, 2002
Tmod said:
I do not know the exact differences between the units you are referring to.

This is by design. If the differences (or lack thereof) where publisized it would be difficult to justify the price of the PC power and cooling units. I posses large load resistors and an oscilloscope from my days of testing audio amplifiers, and they can be used to demonstrate the regulation present in Sparkle power supplies is equal to the best available, regardless of rating or price.

Tmod said:
You are comparing two units from the same manufacturer but the vendors who spec these units could ask for different electronic componets inside the unit

For instance the Power Man series is made by Sparkle also and it has low end specs.

This is true to an extent, but this is not a good example and is easy to spot via the FSP part number all FSP produced supplies carry, regardless of brand name they are sold under. Power Man supplies are not made by Sparkle, rather by Fortron Source Power. Sparkle is a wholely owned subsidiary of FSP and used as a trade name for FSP units sold by FSP in this country. Power Man supplies are also made by FSP, and usually found as OEM fitment in better quality cases. As an example I purchase the (fine quality) In-Win J508P case fitted with a Power Man labled 300W FSP supply. It is the FSP-300BTV supply, and carries the same 200W 3.3+5V rating as the FSP-300-60BTV supply that is sold as a Sparkle. I find no difffernce between these two supplies, they are both solid as a rock. I purchase the Sparkle branded version as an upgrade and replacement supply for lesser units, but would not care if the particular 300W supply I got was branded Power Man, as long as the 3.3+5V rating was equal and the FSP number corresponded closely to the Sparkle version.

A better example is the supplies fitted to Acer cases. They are FSP units, and carry the Acer name. They have lower 3.3+5V outputs than the sparkle units, and are definately cost engineered down to a lower level of output. For instance a 250W FSP unit in the Acer KF45a is only 150W 3.3+5V, rather than the 175W of the Sparkle FSP-250-60ATVS supply. Fortunately all current FSP supplies carry the 3.3+5V rating, making it easy to spot lesser types.



Tmod said:
I'm not saying that every power supply that is not PC Power and Cooling is bad, It is just that PC Power and Cooling has a higher and tighter spec than the rest.

Higher spec, yes, just not higher output nor tighter regulation in practice.

Tmod said:
I have regular power supplys that came with my cases that haven't let me down yet. But I am not pushing them with several drives and overclocking.

Tmod

I have used examples of just about every "regular" power supply you could name, and all pale compared to top line FSP units such as the permium Sparkle selection at newegg. Any of the Sparkle units they carry, right down to the 250W model have successfully driven multiple drives, fans, and overclocked Athlon XP and P4 cpus in conjunction with thirsty graphics cards such as the GF4 Ti family for myself and my customers. These supplies are a cut above, and if you have a FSP number and a high 3.3+5V output you needn't look for a replacement. PC Power and Cooling supplies are certainly the equal of Sparkles, but as they are also produced by the major makers FSP and HEC they really aren't worth the premium PC Power and Cooling places on them.
 

Tmod

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2001
larva

It is obvious that you prefer Sparkle and I have no problem with that.

The warranty of the Sparkle is 1 year as opposed to the PC Power and Cooling which is 5 years.

The MTBF of the Sparkle is 50,000 hours as opposed to the PC Power and Cooling's 100,000.
 

larva

Inactive Moderator
Joined
Jul 12, 2002
It's all good

It is nice that PC P&C stands behind their product with a 5 year warranty. This certainly is beyond what other makers provide on a power supply.

If I was going to buy just one supply I might evaluate things in different terms. But as the supply is only one component of the systems I construct I have to go with the best value in order to allow freedom in the selection of the other components that make up a system.

Not everyone has exactly the same prioriities, but everyone's viewpoint is important for them. I'm glad we are able to disagree without holding each other's viewpoint as invalid.

When I first heard the name "Sparkle", it did not convey the image of the best in my mind. Continued exposure to these supplies has changed that. At this point I wish nothing less nor nothing more for my customers. It is nice when the best supply I can recommend is within a few percent cost wise as the worst, it is a value point that pleases both my liability concerns as well as my customer's pocketbook.
 
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Tipycol

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2002
Re: It's all good

larva said:
It is nice that PC P&C stands behind their product with a 5 year warranty. This certainly is beyond what other makers provide on a power supply.

If I was going to buy just one supply I might evaluate things in different terms. But as the supply is only one component of the systems I construct I have to go with the best value in order to allow freedom in the selection of the other components that make up a system.

Not everyone has exactly the same prioriities, but everyone's viewpoint is important for them. I'm glad we are able to disagree without holding each other's viewpoint as invalid.

When I first heard the name "Sparkle", it did not convey the image of the best in my mind. Continued exposure to these supplies has changed that. At this point I wish nothing less nor nothing more for my customers. It is nice when the best supply I can recommend is within a few percent cost wise as the worst, it is a value point that pleases both my liability concerns as well as my customer's pocketbook.

Just curious, what exactly do you do, or where do you work?
 

larva

Inactive Moderator
Joined
Jul 12, 2002
I build PC's

I have built custom clone PC's for the last decade. I have worked for 3 mom and pop type PC stores, the most sucessfull of which sold 750-1500 PC's of my design and construction for 5 years running. I now am employed by a smaller concern, but still get to select, test, price, and build all new PC's sold by my employer. While not as lucrative as it was in the past, selection of PC components and integration into complete systems is still the work that I find most satiisfying. When I started a PC was a $3000 dollar proposition, and of course now they cost 500-1000 in most cases, leaving less profit for my employers as well as limiting the salary I can command.
 

BaldHeadedDork

Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
I have tremendous respect for Larva's knowledge and opinions, on power supplies and just about everything else. (I also have to respect any guy with the stones to run an avitar of a man with curlers in his hair.)

But I'm still a PCP&C guy. The box I'm using at this minute has a Turbo-Cool 300 that is going on seven years old. As of last weekend the outputs (measured with my Snap On multimeter, another piece of kit with questionable value) were within 0.2% of the spec.

Can other brands do this? Perhaps. Larva makes a strong case for Sparkle and if you absolutely can not afford to spend more than $50-70 on a PSU, I would pass on his advise.

But I know PCP&C products can do this. My experience isn't unusual. I've been hanging around sites like this for almost a decade, and I don't think I've ever seen a PCP&C owner complaining about their PSU. Hell, I've never heard of one dying.

With the escalating cost of other "premier" models, the price of a PCP&C PSU isn't as much as it was when I bought my Turbo Cool 300. If you're going to spend something like $120 on an Antec (choke) True (choke) Power or one of those stooopid "premodded" anodized PSU's, dropping $150 for a PCP&C Silencer 425 isn't so outrageous.



BHD
 

CrystalMethod

Senior Band Wagon Jumper
Joined
Jun 9, 2001
Location
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
A better example is the supplies fitted to Acer cases. They are FSP units, and carry the Acer name. They have lower 3.3+5V outputs than the sparkle units, and are definately cost engineered down to a lower level of output. For instance a 250W FSP unit in the Acer KF45a is only 150W 3.3+5V, rather than the 175W of the Sparkle FSP-250-60ATVS supply. Fortunately all current FSP supplies carry the 3.3+5V rating, making it easy to spot lesser types

Not so fast there...
The Acer (Aopen) power supplies aren't all the same, and not always manufactured by the same company. The 250W PSU's that you will find in the Aopen KF and HC series of cases are not the same as the 250W PSU's you will find in the Aopen HT, HQ or HX series cases.
 
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Tipycol

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2002
Hmm....so another vote for PC Power & Cooling. Still, Larva has a point about the price/package issue, but I still don't know which one to get yet.

Still open to more opinions.


Thanks

Tipycol