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Lightning test: Chieftec Smart Series - power supplies from the lower category

It’s not a very rewarding thing to write an article about power supplies, especially when it’s not high-end pieces, as we can’t hope for anything other than completely average knowledge, parts, and construction. But is that wrong?

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If I have already asked the question this way, it is clear that the answer will not be one. Writing is not exactly a fun task, but for you and your readers, such a presentation can be even more useful than an article about many tens of thousands of forints. Unfortunately, there are many more people in Hungary who can afford this price category.
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In this article, we take a look at Chieftec’s wild new power line, which can be found on store shelves under the name Smart Series. We received a 400, 500, 600 and 700 watt unit. The pictures in the article, at least the inside ones, were taken from the 700 piece. Whenever possible, we look at the highest power supply, especially at the entry level, because their power is already sufficient for a more powerful machine and some tuning. Smaller pieces usually end up in office or other general-purpose machines where they don’t have to sweat to death.
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We don’t write about Chieftec separately now, we’ve done it many other times. The point is that it is a well-known manufacturer whose power supplies, with a few exceptions, are good. As with almost all competitors, most of the power supplies are not self-designed, the PCB and components are sourced or assembled from the OEM market. Of course, this is not a problem if the immersion and quality are good.
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As always with lightning tests written on power supplies, we look at the inside as usual, starting with the fan.
The Yate Loon brand air mixer is a plain bearing solution. It operates at a voltage between 6,5 and 13,8 volts, with a maximum speed of 2200 rpm. This is a fairly high value, and compared to this and the plain bearing, it is not surprising that it can produce up to 40 dBA of noise. Of course, at lower speeds, the noise is also smaller, in our case, at least in the ear, it didn't really cross 20 dBA. Another important data is the rate of air transport. The manufacturer shall also specify this at maximum speed and not less than 88 cubic feet per minute.
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As noted, the fan did not sound during the test, though, we tried it on a table, not built into a machine. The speed is regulated dynamically and automatically, so you will always produce the quietest possible operation.
Looking at the PCB, we don’t see much interesting. The identification numbers show that the interior, but at least the PCB design, is the work of a Chinese company called DONGGUAN Shijie NEW ENERGY ELECTRONIC FACTORY. Let's not get caught up in this, of course, almost everything is made in China today, so why not do it with a power supply, even if it has the name Chieftec on it.
The PCB design is completely standard. The size of the heat sinks can be said to be small compared to the power of the power supply, but the fact that the fan did not spin a thousand during the test is suspected that they did not overheat.
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The standard design for us means that the placement of the primary and secondary side is the usual right-to-left layout. You may have remembered that this year we had a unit with the input side on the side of the power connector and the output side on the back side, so much shorter and fewer cables were needed inside the power supply. True, at least three Chieftec would come out of the price of that food. The standard arrangement also means the amount of components on the primary and secondary sides, and the modular arrangement already experienced with more expensive units, i.e. no traces of circuit boards soldered perpendicular to the motherboard.

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On the input side you will find a Toshiba 85 microfold capacitor certified to 390 degrees. 85 degrees cannot be called high, nor is a capacitor certified to 105 degrees on the primary side.

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On the input side we also find the unit of the active PFC and the single-phase rectifier bridge, which is the four-legged, hole in the middle in the pictures.

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The output page has no surprises either. Here we find electrolytic capacitors manufactured by Samxon and Aishi, these are certified to 105 degrees.

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While we’ve repeatedly highlighted that we’re dealing with an entry-level solution, power services promise more than that. In addition to the active PFC, we get low and overvoltage protection, short circuit, overload and overcurrent protection, the already mentioned automatic fan control.

Although we have not emphasized it so far, it is very important that all members of the power family have received the 80+ rating, which is not unusual nowadays, but we are not talking about the top category here, these are the solutions representing the entry level of Chieftec!

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As mentioned at the beginning of the article, we received 4 members of the feed family, the relevant data of which are included in the table below.

ModelCHIEFTEC GPS-400A8CHIEFTEC GPS-500A8CHIEFTEC GPS-600A8CHIEFTEC GPS-700A8
Maximum power, W400500600700
Efficiency (%)> 80
Dimensions in mm140 x 150 x 87
Form FactorATX PS 2
Supported standardIntel ATX 12V version 2.3
Csatlakozók(20 +4) pin1111
4-pin 12V11--
4 + 4 pin 12V--11
(6 +2) pin PCI-Express1122
SATA3346
4-pin Molex2222
Power Factor CorrectionActive
Fan (mm)120

 

Test
As the title of the article shows, it’s a lightning test, which pretty much means putting together a configuration on a desktop and then measuring the different voltages of the power supply with a multimeter during use. Fortunately, we still have the hardware we used to measure previous, similar categories of power supplies, so the config hasn’t changed. The ingredients are:
  • Motherboard: GIGABYTE Z68X-UD7-XP
  • CPU: Core i5-2500K
  • RAM: Kingston HyperX 2 × 1 GB 2133 MHz
  • VGA: MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr
  • Mass storage: Kingston SSD 240 GB + Samsung HDD 320 GB
 
This configuration is neither weak nor very strong, just enough for a 700 watt power supply. The results of the measurements, as always, now show the current state, which means that we measured a unit that came out of a completely new, unopened box. Values ​​are likely to change over time, they will change from those who use the power supply for an extended period of time.
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The machine was loaded with 3DMark11 again because both the processor and the VGA are working in the meantime. At base load, it was 3,3 on the 3,31-volt branch, although it was 5 on the 5,05-volt branch and 12 on the 12,01-volt branch. Under 3DMark, the 3,3-volt branch had a maximum of 3,38 and a minimum of 3,33, although these values ​​were 5-5,20 on the 5,12-volt branch and 12-12,02 on the 12,55-volt branch. they were.
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Values ​​under load cannot be called good, but not really bad either. In a similar category, we have already experienced much larger fluctuations than this, so the largest difference, the 12-volt value measured on the 12,55-volt branch under load, cannot be called much.
overall
We would not drag the summary for long. In our opinion, the article reveals everything that needs to be covered and what is not, to be obscured by obscurity. 😉 Well, aside from the joke, you can see that while you don’t expect a big deal from the Smart series, the number of features is worthy of the manufacturer’s name. These units are not made for high-end machines, servers, but rather for those who work, and of course the more powerful pieces are for those who put together a mid-range machine for home use, possibly for gaming.
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We could praise the black finish and the beautifully shiny, chrome fan grille, but these “cubs” have no value to us. Of course, it is important for the one-time buyer not to take a simple metal cube home, to have some paint on it, but let’s face it, more importantly, what that particular unit knows.
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The Smart Series knows what’s needed in this price range, and even more with a little bit, just enough to keep the price affordable.

The members of the Chieftec Smart Series are again from the domestic distributor, the Kelly-Tech Ltd.They came to us from. Thanks for trying them out!

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Lightning test: Chieftec Smart Series power supplies from the lower category 1

About the Author

s3nki

Owner of the HOC.hu website. He is the author of hundreds of articles and thousands of news. In addition to various online interfaces, he has written for Chip Magazine and also for the PC Guru. For a time, he ran his own PC shop, working for years as a store manager, service manager, system administrator in addition to journalism.