Business, Hardware

Hiper’s 25 Euro PSU powers 1800 Euro machine

Last week, I took a trip up to Munich to visit Nvidia’s Graphics Plus event, but also to see valuable partners. The time of launch for the new site is approaching, and with five labs worldwide, we’re putting a considerable effort to offer best possible insight into real-world experiences. During the trip, I received a 425 Watt power-supply unit from Alexander Mast, Marketing Director of Hiper Group. This PSU represents a new entrant into the heated battle of cheap (should I use politically correct term – “affordable”?) power supplies. Hiper is certain that the company can make the difference in the entry-level arena which is occupied by numerous power supply manufacturers from Taiwan and mainland China.

Main argument in this area is the price, performance comes second – thus, you’ll see dozens of videos where colleagues from other sites take 400W PSU for 20-30 Euro, load it to 400-500W and hear it pop or goes “ka-boom”. Hiper’s 425W PSU comes at MSRP of 26 EUR or 21 GBP in Europe/Bligthy (ex. VAT), while the price in US is yet unset. However, our method of testing was more subtle – using real-world components with whom this power supply should not work. My assistant assembled an 1800 Euro machine using that PSU, and we wanted to see will the computer perform stable or not.

For starters, we really like the packaging, tagging along in the green scheme of things, because Hiper decided to use recycled cardboard. PSU is nothing special, your regular SECC metal with a very fine finish (something we haven’t seen in this price level). The whole PSU is perforated to enable better airflow, but also shows just how small the PCB is.  The components used are following:

  • Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6800 2.93 GHz
  • Noctua NH-U12P cooler
  • Biostar TForce P35 (prototype) motherboard
  • 2GB Corsair Dominator DHX DDR3-1333
  • ATI Radeon 4870 1GB
  • Hitachi Deskstar 400GB SATA
  • Sony BWU-100A Blu-ray Burner
  • 2x 120mm case fans
  • Hiper HPU-4S425-PU and MSI/MS Industrial Pro-550W

According to eXtreme Power Supply Calculator, this system should eat up 391W under full load. To test the power supply, we loaded up FurMark and let the screen go at 1920×1200 8xAA 16xAF, while the CPU was tortured with four iterations of CPUburn, loading the whole system close to theoretical maximum. 120mm fan is really quiet, even after we loaded all four cores and GPU… and yes, the system worked with no issues for 12 hours straight. For comparison sake, I looked at my stash of el cheapola PSUs and took MS Industrial 550W. This PSU comes with interesting fan, two 80mm located on the outside of the case, thus we can say that it is truly an el cheapo PSU. This is a price competitor to this 425W, since it retails in Croatia for 30 Euro, and offers 125W more. On paper.

Changing the PSU was a no biggie, even though I had to remove the CPU cooler and make some adjustments to make the external fan fit inside the case… in any case, this is “OMG, here we go Chinese again”. I didn’t felt comfortable at booting the computer, but 125W more juice should be more than enough to start up a computer that can suck a maximum of 391W. 80% efficiency for both PSUs is a pipe-dream, with Alexander telling us the efficiency is somewhere in the 77% range. MS Industrial one does not have any power efficiency ratings, but 550W at 70% should be good.

Well, it wasn’t. The computer loaded Windows fine, but even BIOS claimed 5V rail is suspiciously fluctuating… loading the FurMark didn’t ended well and we witnessed a BSOD. Loading the CPU with all four cores caused another BSOD (graphics card didn’t do jack), and loading the both tests caused… well, another BSOD. Overall, three BSODs and my time to play with expensive components and cheap PSUs were almost done. To see if previous PSU, the Hiper 425W damaged the components in any way, I placed the Hiper PSU once more into the case and started the computer. Another 60 minutes passed under CPUburn+FurMark torture, and no system instabilities appeared.

Biostar’s monitoring utility showed no fluctuations in BIOS, even though I would like to see more juice on the 12V rail – the PSU comes with one 24-pin, one 8-pin and one 6-pin PEG connector, several Molex and SATA connectors.

Overall, I would not advise that you put 1800 Euro worth of components on a 25+VAT Euro power supply, but if your top notch expensive 800-900W goes to crappers and you have to wait for an RMA, this could be a really good stop-gap. If you’re building a regular computer without a 130W processor or a 225W graphics card, you might want to consider this one.