may have noticed, high-output, high-quality
power supplies are becoming one of the most important components of modern computer
systems. Gone are the days when any computer could be relied upon
to run stably with a generic 300-Watt PSU. Today's dual-videocard, dual-core gaming
monsters have some heavy power requirements; up to 450Watts or more in some cases!
Here at PCstats, we've been focusing on
reviews high-output power supplies recently and today we have another for
your reading pleasure. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce the
Akasa PowerPlus AK-P550FF 550Watt power supply. This is the first
power supply we've reviewed from Akasa, a ten-year-old Taiwanese company that
previously specialized in heatsinks, cases and PC modding equipment.
This 550Watt peak power supply uses Active Power
Factor Correction (Active PFC) to increase efficiency, resulting in less
wasted power for a given workload. We've tested several Active PFC
supplies from other companies and found that to a unit, they decrease
wasted power considerably. It's good to see this
feature reaching a broader audience.
The Akasa PowerPlus AK-P550FF is advertised as a "server power
supply" and splits its 12V delivery into four discrete rails, which should lead
to more efficient and stable delivery of power. Dual-PCI Express video
card power connectors are also featured, making this PSU certainly suitable for SLI
(or Crossfire) systems.
The PowerPlus AK-P550FF uses
the newer 24-pin ATX connector to supply power to the motherboard,
but Akasa has provided for users with older motherboards by making the extra four pins
detachable. You can simply snap them onto or off the main ATX
connector depending on the type of motherboard you are using.
indicate that the Akasa PowerPlus AK-P550FF delivers 13A, 18A, 16A and 8A respectively on its four
12V rails, for a total of 55 Amps. The 3.3V rail can provide
33A, the +5V 24A, the -12V line 0.5A and the +5Vsb
line 2A. Those are some hefty numbers,
as you'd expect from a 550Watt power supply. The 12V lines have a combined power
of 456Watts, while the 3.3 and 5V lines combine
Akasa PowerPlus AK-P550FF uses active Power Factor Correction. A-PFC
circuitry eliminates the need for an external voltage level switch
(115/230) on the power supply since it works with a wider voltage range
(115VAC of North America to 230VAC of Europe) by default than PFC-based
More importantly, active PFC allows
power supplies to convert wall voltage to Direct Current (DC) much more
efficiently, reducing the load placed on power supply components as well as
wiring and even the city's power grid. Many countries require PFC in all new
electronic devices, and we're big fans of Active PFC here at PCstats.
The Akasa PowerPlus
AK-P550FF's box includes the PSU itself, a four-pin to eight-pin adaptor for the
secondary 12V connection to the motherboard, a fan plug adaptor, screws and a
standard power cord. No booklet or manual is included, but Akasa has
provided ample specifications for the PSU on the box itself.
Two small holes
on the side of the unit allow access to three small potentiometers which allow
voltage adjustments to the 12V, 5V and 3.3V rails. We found the fact
that Akasa chose not to document the function of these controls in any
sort of manual rather disturbing, since the voltages can be increased
enough to cause system instability, if not damage.
Akasa has opted to use easy grip heads
for the 5V Molex drive connectors used to power IDE hard disks and CD
drives. This is a great move, as it makes plugging and unplugging
these connections vastly easier.