Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W Power Supply Review
By Gabriel Torres on January 20, 2012


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

The EarthWatts Platinum is the latest power supply series from Antec, and will be available in 450 W, 550 W, and 650 W versions, coming with the 80 Plus Platinum certification. This new series will reach the North American market next month; we were able to get a sample before its official release. Let’s see if the 650 W model is a good option.

The EarthWatts Platinum is manufactured by FSP.

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 1: Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 2: Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply

The Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W is 5.5” (140 mm) deep, using a 120 mm ball bearing fan on its bottom (Yate Loon D12BH-12).

This unit doesn’t have a modular cabling system, and all cables use nylon sleeves that come from inside the unit. This power supply comes with the following cables:

All wires are 18 AWG wires, which is the minimum recommended gauge.

The cable configuration is fair for a 650 W power supply, with long SATA and peripheral power cables.

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 3: Cables

Let’s now take an in-depth look inside this power supply.

A Look Inside the Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W

We decided to disassemble this power supply to see what it looks like inside, how it is designed, and what components are used. Please read our “Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies” tutorial to understand how a power supply works and to compare this power supply to others.

On this page we will have an overall look, and then in the following pages we will discuss in detail the quality and ratings of the components used.

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 4: Top view

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 5: Front quarter view

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 6: Rear quarter view

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 7: The printed circuit board

Transient Filtering Stage

As we have mentioned in other articles and reviews, the first place we look when opening a power supply for a hint about its quality, is its filtering stage. The recommended components for this stage are two ferrite coils, two ceramic capacitors (Y capacitors, usually blue), one metalized polyester capacitor (X capacitor), and one MOV (Metal-Oxide Varistor). Very low-end power supplies use fewer components, usually removing the MOV and the first coil. 

In this stage, the Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply is flawless. It has two Y capacitors and one X capacitor more than the minimum required.

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 8: Transient filtering stage (part 1)

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 9: Transient filtering stage (part 2)

On the next page, we will have a more detailed discussion about the components used in the Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W.

Primary Analysis

On this page we will take an in-depth look at the primary stage of the Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W. For a better understanding, please read our “Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies” tutorial.

This power supply uses one GBU15L06 rectifying bridge, which is attached to an individual heatsink. This bridge supports up to 15 A at 115° C, so in theory, you would be able to pull up to 1,725 W from a 115 V power grid. Assuming 80% efficiency, the bridge would allow this unit to deliver up to 1,380 W without burning itself out. Of course, we are only talking about this particular component. The real limit will depend on all the components combined in this power supply.

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 10: Rectifying bridge

The active PFC circuit uses two IPA60R125CP MOSFETs, each one capable of delivering up to 25 A at 25° C or 16 A at 100° C in continuous mode (note the difference temperature makes), or up to 82 A in pulse mode at 25° C. These transistors present a 125 mΩ resistance when turned on, a characteristic called RDS(on). The lower this number the better, meaning that the transistors will waste less power, and the power supply will achieve a higher efficiency.

The output of the active PFC circuit is filtered by a 390 µF x 420 V electrolytic capacitor from CapXon and labeled at 85° C.

In the switching section, the Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W uses the same unique design adopted by FSP on their 80 Plus Gold power supplies, called active clamp reset forward. The switching transistor is an SPA17N80C3 MOSFET, which is capable of delivering up to 17 A at 25° C or 11 A at 100° C in continuous mode (note the difference temperature makes), or up to 51 A at 25° C in pulse mode. This transistor presents a 290 mΩ RDS(on). A second transistor (resetting transistor) is used to turn off the switching transistor and is controlled from the secondary side. The transistor used for this function is an FQPF3N80C. This is exactly the same configuration used in the FSP Aurum Gold 700 W and the FSP Aurum CM Gold 750 W.

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 11: Switching transistors and active PFC transistors

The primary is managed by a custom-made PFC/PWM controller called FSP6600. Since this is a custom integrated circuit, no datasheet is available for it.

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 12: Active PFC/PWM controller

Let’s now take a look at the secondary of this power supply.

Secondary Analysis

This power supply uses a synchronous design in its secondary, meaning that the diodes were replaced with transistors in order to increase efficiency.

The +12 V output is rectified using two IRLB3036 MOSFETs, each one capable of handling up to 270 A at 25° C or up to 190 A at 100° C in continuous mode, or up to 1,100 A at 25° C in pulse mode. This translates into a maximum theoretical current of 271 A at 100° C or 3,257 W! These are the same transistors used in the FSP Aurum Gold 700 W and FSP Aurum CM Gold 750 W.

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 13: +12 V transistors

The +5 V and +3.3 V outputs share the same circuitry and are rectified by four IPD031N03L MOSFETs, each one supporting 90 A at 100° C in continuous mode and 400 A at 25° C in pulse mode, 3.1 mΩ RDS(on). The four transistors are located on the solder side of the printed circuit board.

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 14: The +5 V and +3.3 V transistors

The secondary transistors are controlled by an FSP6601, another proprietary chip from FSP.

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 15: Synchronous controller

The secondary is monitored by a WT7579 integrated circuit, which is manufactured exclusively for FSP. This chip supports over voltage (OVP), under voltage (UVP), overcurrent (OCP), and over temperature (OTP) protections. There are four +12 V over current protection (OCP) channels, matching the number of +12 V rails advertised by the manufacturer.

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 16: Monitoring circuit

Some of the electrolytic capacitors used in the secondary are Japanese, from Chemi-Con, and some are from CapXon.

Power Distribution

In Figure 17, you can see the power supply label containing all the power specs.

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 17: Power supply label

As you can see, the manufacturer lists this unit as having four +12 V rails. Analyzing the circuit, we could clearly see four “shunts” (current sensors), matching the number of rails advertised by the manufacturer, and the monitoring circuit really has four separate +12 V over current protection (OCP) channels. See Figure 18. Click here to understand more about this subject.

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 18: Shunts

The available +12 V rails are distributed like this:

This distribution is perfect, as it separates the CPU and the video card power cables on individual rails.

How much power can this unit really deliver? Let’s find out.

Load Tests

We conducted several tests with this power supply, as described in the article, “Hardware Secrets Power Supply Test Methodology.” 

First we tested this power supply with five different load patterns, trying to pull around 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and 100% of its labeled maximum capacity (actual percentage used listed under “% Max Load”), watching the behavior of the reviewed unit under each load. In the table below, we list the load patterns we used and the results for each load.

If you add all the powers listed for each test, you may find a different value than what is posted under “Total” below. Since each output can have a slight variation (e.g., the +5 V output working at +5.10 V), the actual total amount of power being delivered is slightly different than the calculated value. In the “Total” row, we are using the real amount of power being delivered, as measured by our load tester.

The +12VA and +12VB inputs listed below are the two +12 V independent inputs from our load tester. During this test, the +12VA input was connected to the power supply +12V1, +12V3, and +12V4 rails, while the +12VB input was connected to the power supply +12V2 rail.

Input

Test 1

Test 2

Test 3

Test 4

Test 5

+12VA

5 A (60 W)

10 A (120 W)

14.5 A (174 W)

19 A (228 W)

23.5 A (282 W)

+12VB

5 A (60 W)

10 A (120 W)

14 A (168 W)

19 A (228 W)

23 A (276 W)

+5 V

1 A (5 W)

2 A (10 W)

4 A (20 W)

6 A (30 W)

8 A (40 W)

+3.3 V

1 A (3.3 W)

2 A (6.6 W)

4 A (13.2 W)

6 A (19.8 W)

8 A (26.4 W)

+5VSB

1 A (5 W)

1.5 A (7.5 W)

2 A (10 W)

2.5 A (12.5 W)

3 A (15 W)

-12 V

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

Total

141.6 W

269.3 W

393.7 W

524.8 W

646.6 W

% Max Load

21.8%

41.4%

60.6%

80.7%

99.5%

Room Temp.

45.7° C

44.0° C

45.3° C

47.7° C

49.2° C

PSU Temp.

47.7° C

45.8° C

47.0° C

49.6° C

53.6° C

Voltage Regulation

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Ripple and Noise

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

AC Power

155.9 W

290.9 W

429.4 W

581.8 W

727.0 W

Efficiency

90.8%

92.6%

91.7%

90.2%

88.9%

AC Voltage

118.0 V

116.9 V

115.1 V

113.7 V

111.8 V

Power Factor

0.970

0.989

0.997

0.998

0.998

Final Result

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

The Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W passed our tests with flying colors.

Efficiency was between 88.9% and 92.6% during our tests, matching the values promised by the 80 Plus Platinum certification. At full load the 80 Plus Platinum certification promises 89% efficiency, and we can consider that this unit reaches this level since it was only 0.1% below this level.

Voltage regulation was very good, with all voltages closer to their nominal values than required (three percent regulation), for the -12 V output on all tests and the +3.3 V output at test five (+3.18 V). These outputs were still inside the allowed range. The ATX12V specification states that positive voltages must be within 5% of their nominal values, and negative voltages must be within 10% of their nominal values.

Let’s discuss the ripple and noise levels on the next page.

Ripple and Noise Tests

Voltages at the power supply outputs must be as “clean” as possible, with no noise or oscillation (also known as “ripple”). The maximum ripple and noise levels allowed are 120 mV for +12 V and -12 V outputs, and 50 mV for +5 V, +3.3 V and +5VSB outputs. All values are peak-to-peak figures. We consider a power supply as being top-notch if it can produce half or less of the maximum allowed ripple and noise levels.

The Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W provided very low ripple and noise levels, as you can see in the table below. Noise level at -12 V was a little high, but still inside the specifications.

 

Test 1

Test 2

Test 3

 Test 4

Test 5

+12VA

17.2 mV

16.4 mV

20.2 mV

24.6 mV

30.6 mV

+12VB

22.0 mV

21.8 mV

27.6 mV

32.8 mV

42.4 mV

+5 V

13.2 mV

13.8 mV

15.6 mV

18.4 mV

22.2 mV

+3.3 V

12.4 mV

14.8 mV

19.6 mV

20.2 mV

23.2 mV

+5VSB

9.8 mV

9.8 mV

11.6 mV

12.6 mV

15.2 mV

-12 V

49.8 mV

35.6 mV

55.6 mV

60.2 mV

70.2 mV

Below you can see the waveforms of the outputs during test five.

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 19: +12VA input from load tester during test five at 646.6 W (30.6 mV)

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 20: +12VB input from load tester during test five at 646.6 W (22.2 mV)

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 21: +5V rail during test five at 646.6 W (22.2 mV)

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply
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Figure 22: +3.3 V rail during test five at 646.6 W (23.2 mV)

Let’s see if we can pull more than 650 W from this unit.

Overload Tests

Below you can see the maximum we could pull from this power supply. We couldn’t pull more, as the power supply would shut down, showing that its protections are present and working fine. During this extreme configuration, noise and ripple levels were still very low. Voltages exited the three percent regulation we’ve seen before, but they were still inside the allowed range.

Input

Overload Test

+12VA

30 A (360 W)

+12VB

30 A (360 W)

+5 V

8 A (40 W)

+3.3 V

8 A (26.4 W)

+5VSB

3 A (15 W)

-12 V

0.5 A (6 W)

Total

776.7 W

% Max Load

119.5%

Room Temp.

49.9° C

PSU Temp.

53.6° C

AC Power

907.0 W

Efficiency

85.6%

AC Voltage

110.3 V

Power Factor

0.998

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W power supply include:

Conclusions

The Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W proved to be an excellent power supply for the user who wants high efficiency at a mainstream wattage. During our tests, efficiency was between 88.9% and 92.6%, noise and ripple levels were extremely low, and positive voltages were within three percent of their nominal values all the time (except for the +3.3 V output when we pulled 650 W from the unit, but it was still inside the allowed range).

The suggested price of USD 130 is not absurd for an 80 Plus Platinum unit, but we hope retailers sell it for less, making it more affordable for the mainstream user.

The only point we think Antec could improve would be to require FSP to use only Japanese capacitors in this unit. On the sample we received, only half of the secondary capacitors were Japanese. The other half and the main primary electrolytic capacitor are from CapXon, which is a Taiwanese company with factories in mainland China. Also, the main primary capacitor should be a 105° C model.

Although the printed circuit board for the Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650 W is different, this unit uses the same switching design and similar components as the FSP Aurum series.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Antec-EarthWatts-Platinum-650-W-Power-Supply-Review/1472


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