GP-PS550BP is a very simple 550 W power supply manufactured by GlacialPower with all sales handled by GlacialTech, featuring passive PFC and no extra fancy features, coming with a MSRP of only USD 65. We completely disassembled this unit to take a look. Is this a good buy? Let’s see.
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Figure 1: GlacialPower GP-PS550BP.
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Figure 2: GlacialPower GP-PS550BP.
As you can see on Figures 1 and 2 this power supply doesn’t bring any extra fancy features like a modular cabling system or a 120 mm fan, but it has two PCI Express power connectors for SLI or CrossFire, and also passive PFC, as we will show in the next page (power supplies with passive PFC still have a 110/220 V switch, as you can see in Figure 1).
According to GlacialPower, this unit has 78% efficiency at 230 V, which is a little bit lower than the 80%-85% efficiency that power supplies with active PFC have. On the other hand GlacialPower says that their 550 W power rating is labeled at 45° C, which is outstanding. Several power supplies on the market are labeled at 25° C, meaning that when the power supply is running on a real-world environment its maximum power is lower than the labeled maximum power, because the power supply capacity of delivering power is reduced as its internal temperature increases.
Efficiency means less power loss – an 80% efficiency means that 80% of the power pulled from the power grid will be converted in power on the power supply outputs and only 20% will be wasted. This translates into less consumption from the power grid (as less power needs to be pulled in order to generate the same amount of power on its outputs), meaning lower electricity bills – compare to 50% to 60% on regular power supplies.
PFC (Power Factor Correction), on the other hand, provides a better usage of the power grid and allows this power supply to be comply with the European law, making GlacialTech able to sell it in that continent (you can read more about PFC on our Power Supply Tutorial). There are three choices for PFC: none, active or passive. “Active” and “passive” refers to the kind of components used to make the PFC circuit: semiconductors (transistors and diodes) or just a transformer, respectively.
This power supply comes with five peripheral power cables: two PCI Express auxiliary power cables, one peripheral power cable containing two standard peripheral power connectors and one floppy disk drive power connector, one peripheral power cable containing three standard peripheral power connectors and one Serial ATA power cable containing two SATA power connectors. We think this power supply should have at least two more SATA power connectors.
The auxiliary PCI Express power connectors use separated wires coming from inside the power supply. On cheap power supplies these two connectors are connected in parallel to the same set of wires that come from inside the power supply.
Only the main power cable uses a plastic sleeving. This cable uses a 24-pin power connector that can be transformed into a 20-pin one if necessary.
The majority of wires used on this power supply are 18 AWG, which is good enough for this power supply class. The wires used on the PCI Express power connectors are 20 AWG, and we think that GlacialPower should have used 18 AWG here as well.
This power supply is really manufactured by GlacialPower, as we could find its name on all printed circuit boards inside the unit.