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Switching Power Supplies A - Z, Second Edition
Switching Power Supplies A - Z, Second Edition, by Sanjaya Maniktala (Newnes), starting at $55.25
Home » Power
Arctic Cooling Fusion 550RF Power Supply Review
Author: Gabriel Torres 56,734 views
Type: Reviews Last Updated: May 6, 2009
Page: 1 of 10

To start off, we must say that we were really disappointed with the name chosen by Arctic Cooling for this product. 550RF leads you to believe that this is a 550 W product, when in fact it is a 500 W power supply. The 550 W on the name is the peak power, which according to the manufacturer can be sustained for only ONE SECOND. This kind of gimmick is typically used by low-end manufacturers and we wouldn’t expect this from a Switzerland-based company. But besides that, is Fusion 550RF a good product? Let’s see.

Fusion 550RF is in reality manufactured by Seasonic and it is internally identical to Corsair VX450W and Antec Earthwatts 500 W, two power supplies we reviewed and achieved excellent results. But here you can see how the same 500 W power supply can be labeled differently by three different brands (450 W vs. 500 W vs. 550 W), which Corsair being conservative, Antec being realistic and Arctic Cooling being exaggerated.

This model from Arctic Cooling, however, uses a high-end 80 mm ARCTIC F8 Pro fan, which is based on fluid dynamic bearing. Together with the rubber shock absorber it uses, it provides a lower noise level, according to the manufacturer. Unfortunately we don’t have a noise meter to test this. Inside the power supply the airflow produced by the fan is channeled through a “tunnel,” as we you show you later.

The reviewed unit is only 5 1/2” (140 mm) deep, however its fan is installed outside the housing, adding 1 inch (2.5 cm) to the total depth of the power supply.

Arctic Cooling Fusion 550RF power supply
click to enlarge
Figure 1: Arctic Cooling Fusion 550RF power supply.

Arctic Cooling Fusion 550RF power supply
click to enlarge
Figure 2: Arctic Cooling Fusion 550RF power supply.

A unique feature from this unit is the presence of two 3-pin fan power plugs coming from inside the power supply. These power connectors are connected in parallel to the unit’s fan, so fans installed to these connectors will have their speed changing according to the power supply internal temperature. This is a really nice touch.

As expected, this unit has active PFC circuit, auto voltage selection and efficiency between 82% and 86%, according to the manufacturer. Let’s see if this is true during our tests.

The main motherboard cable uses a 20/24-pin connector and this unit comes with only one ATX12V connector. No EPS12V connector is available, and this may be a huge drawback for you. And since this unit has four video card cables, not having an EPS12V connector is simply inexcusable, as if you are going to use two high-end cards with two auxiliary power connector each, you will be using a high-end motherboard that requires an EPS12V power connector. Both Corsair VX450W and Antec EarthWatts 500 W come with an EPS12V connector, so the option for not having it was made by Arctic Cooling and not by Seasonic.

This power supply comes with six peripheral cables: Two cables with a 6-pin video card auxiliary connector each, two cables with a 6/8-pin video card auxiliary power connector each, one cable with six SATA power plugs and one cable with three standard peripheral power plugs and one floppy disk drive power plug.

The presence of four individual auxiliary video card power connectors is a really good thing, as you can install two high-end video cards in SLI or CrossFire modes without the need of adapters. On the other hand, they all use 20 AWG wires, which is not the best option. The manufacturer should have used 18 AWG wires. The use of thinner wires can make the voltage on the connectors to drop when under heavy load.

The use of only one cable containing all SATA power plugs is questionable, as depending on the size of your case you won’t be able to have your SATA optical drive installed on the top-most bay (the distance between the first and the last connectors isn’t enough).

Other wires are 18 AWG, which is the correct gauge to be used nowadays.

Now let’s take an in-depth look inside this power supply.

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