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Hardware Secrets Power Supply Test Methodology

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Introduction

We were one of the first hardware review websites to alert users that the vast majority of power supply reviews posted around the web and even on so-called “specialized” magazines were completely wrong. If you want to understand why, please read our article Why 99% of Power Supply Reviews are Wrong. This is recommended reading to understand why we are adopting the methodology described in the present article.

Our power supply reviews cover the following:

  • Completely disassembling the power supply for an in-depth analysis from its internal architecture;
  • Load tests to see if the power supply is able to deliver its rated power and if it can deliver even more power than labeled;
  • Protection tests to see if protections like over current, over power and short-circuit are working correctly;
  • Electrical noise tests to see how clean is each power supply voltage output;
  • Efficiency tests to see how much power is wasted by the power supply;
  • Stability tests to see if there is any voltage fluctuation on the power supply;
  • Power factor readings to test the efficiency of the PFC (Power Factor Correction) circuit (valid for tests published after 06/23/2009 only);
  • Temperature readings.

We will explain in details each one of these tests, the methodology we are going to use with each one of them, our criteria to label a power supply as “good” or “bad” and the equipment we are going to use.

The idea of this article is to be a reference for all our power supply reviews, so we won’t need to explain our methodology all over again in each review.