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Switching Power Supplies A - Z, Second Edition
Switching Power Supplies A - Z, Second Edition, by Sanjaya Maniktala (Newnes), starting at $56.35
Home » Power
Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus 550 W Power Supply Review
Author: Gabriel Torres
Type: Reviews Last Updated: April 8, 2010
Page: 1 of 9
Introduction

We also like to review low-end products from time to time so people with a serious budget restriction can have an idea whether it is worthwhile to buy cheap products or not. Today we are going to take an in-depth look at eXtreme Power Plus 550 W (RS-550-PCAR-E3) from Cooler Master. Can it really deliver its rated power? Let’s see.

We’ve already reviewed the 400 W (RS-400-PCAR-A3), the 460 W (RS-460-PMSR-A3) and the 500 W (RS-500-PCAR-A3) models from this same series. The 400 W and the 500 W models were able to deliver their labeled wattages, but both presented very high noise and ripple on their outputs. And the 460 W model wasn’t capable of delivering its labeled capacity. Let’s see the fate of this 550 W model.

While other members of eXtreme Power Plus series are manufactured by AcBel Polytech, this particular unit is manufactured by Seventeam, just like members from an older series called eXtreme Power (without the “Plus”) - in fact it is a renamed Seventeam ST-500BAZ power supply. Our guess is that the "A3" at the end of the part number indicates the first manufacturer, while "E3" indicates the second.

By the way, like other members from this series the reviewed unit has the fantastic “As sealed stick was removed, lost or damaged, it shall be out of warranty validity” statement on its label. When Chinese manufacturers will stop using on-line translators and hire someone that can speak English to write their labels?

An interesting thing is that on the power supply label there is no information about the unit’s maximum wattage (the “550” number is printed without the letter “W” after it). Hum…

Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus 550 W RS-550-PCAR-E3 power supply
click to enlarge
Figure 1: Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus 550 W power supply.

Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus 550 W RS-550-PCAR-E3 power supply
click to enlarge
Figure 2: Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus 550 W power supply.

Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus 550 W is 5 ½” (140 mm) deep, using a 120 mm fan on its bottom. This unit does not feature a PFC circuit, as you can see by the presence of a 115 V/230 V switch in Figure 1, but at least it is being based on a more modern design than the outdated half-bridge topology, as we will show.

No modular cabling system is provided and only the main motherboard cable have a nylon protection that come from inside the power supply housing. All cables use 18 AWG wires, which is the correct gauge to be used and an improvement over the models with lower wattage from this series, which use thinner 20 AWG wires. The cables included are:

  • Main motherboard cable with a 20/24-pin connector, 17 ¾” (45 cm) long.
  • One cable with two ATX12V connectors that together form one EPS12V connector, 21 ¼” (54 cm) long.
  • Two cables with one six/eight-pin connector for video cards each, 18 1/8” (46 cm) long.
  • Two cables with three SATA power connectors each, 18 1/8” (46 cm) to the first connector, 5 7/8” (15 cm) between connectors.
  • One cable with three standard peripheral power connectors and one floppy disk drive power connector, 18 1/8” (46 cm) to the first connector, 5 7/8” (15 cm) between connectors.

This configuration is compatible with a product on the 550 W range and was overly improved in comparison to the 500 W model, with more connectors (especially a second video card connector) and greater length.

Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus 550 W RS-550-PCAR-E3 power supply
click to enlarge
Figure 3: Cables.

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

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