In Win Commander 650 W Power Supply Review
By Gabriel Torres on January 23, 2009
Commander 650 W is power supply from In Win that comes with an army-inspired looks, coming with a 14-mm fan, a modular cabling system and active PFC. Is this a good product? Can it really deliver its labeled power?
This power supply is relatively small, being 6 19/64” (160 mm) deep, featuring a 140 mm fan on its bottom and active PFC circuit, allowing In Win to market this product in Europe. According to the manufacturer this unit has at least 80% efficiency.
As mentioned Commander 650 W comes with a modular cabling system, which can be seen on the pictures below.
Only the main motherboard cable comes from inside the power supply and is protected by a nylon sleeving that also comes from inside the unit. This cable uses a 20/24-pin connector.
All other cables are available on the modular cabling system, and the product comes with seven cables: one EPS12V/ATX12V cable, two 6/8-pin video card auxiliary power cables, two SATA power cables with three SATA power connectors each, one peripheral power cable with four standard peripheral power plugs and one peripheral power cable with three standard peripheral power plugs and one floppy disk drive power plug.
The number of plugs is satisfactory for a mainstream PC, however since it comes with only two auxiliary power cables for video cards you will need to use adapters to convert peripheral power plugs into video card power plugs if you want to install two very high-end video cards in SLI or CrossFire modes, since this kind of card requires two auxiliary power cables each.
All wires are 18 AWG, which is the correct gauge to be used nowadays.
Even though In Win paid to have its own UL number, this power supply is really manufactured by CWT, which is the same manufacturer behind some power supplies from very well-known brands, especially Corsair and Thermaltake (notice that not all units from Corsair and Thermaltake are manufactured by CWT). In this review we were curious to see if this model from In Win used the same project as other CWT power supplies we’ve already reviewed (CWT-750VH, Corsair TX750W and Thermaltake Toughpower 750 W).
This unit is, in fact, a renamed CWT-650VH power supply.
Now let’s take an in-depth look inside this power supply.
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.
We could see here that the printed circuit board used on In Win Commander 650 W is identical to the one used on Corsair TX750W and CWT 750VH (“PSHxY-ZZ Y=S,Q,V REV: 0.4”). Thermaltake Toughpower 750 W is also based on the same project, but using a printed circuit board that is slightly different. So we expected to see the reviewed model using components with lower current limits compared to these other models, as it is a unit labeled at 650 W and not 750 W.
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, yellow component on the pictures below) and one MOV (Metal-Oxide Varistor). Very low-end power supplies use fewer components, usually removing the MOV and the first coil.
This power supply is flawless on this stage, providing four extra Y capacitors, one extra X capacitor and one extra ferrite coil.
In the next page we will have a more detailed discussion about the components used in the Commander 650 W.
On this page we will take an in-depth look at the primary stage of Commander 650 W. For a better understanding, please read our Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies tutorial.
This power supply uses one GBJ1506 rectifying bridge in its primary, which support up to 15 A at 100° C. This component is clearly overspec'ed: at 115 V this unit would be able to pull up to 1,725 W from the power grid; assuming 80% efficiency, the bridge would allow this unit to deliver up to 1,380 W without burning this component. Of course we are only talking about this component and the real limit will depend on all other components from the power supply.
For the active PFC circuit Commander 650 W uses two SPW20N60C3 power MOSFET transistors, each one capable of delivering up to 20.7 A at 25° C or 13.1 A at 100° C in continuous mode (note the difference temperature makes) or up to 62.1 A in pulse mode.
The active PFC capacitor is Japanese from Hitachi and rated at 85° C. All other CWT-based units we’ve reviewed to date also use a Japanese capacitor here.
In the switching section, two STW20NK50Z power MOSFETs are used on the traditional two-transistor forward configuration. Each transistor is capable of delivering up to 17 A at 25° C or 10.71 A at 100° C in continuous mode, or up to 68 A at 25° C in pulse mode. These transistors are different from the 750 W CWT-based power supplies we’ve reviewed, which use SPW20N60C3 transistors here, which have a higher current limit.
The primary is controlled by the omnipresent CM6800 PWM/PFC controller combo.
Now let’s analyze the secondary section from Commander 650 W.
Commander 650 W uses four Schottky rectifiers on its secondary.
The maximum theoretical current each line can deliver is given by the formula I / (1 - D), where D is the duty cycle used and I is the maximum current supported by the rectifying diode. Just as an exercise, we can assume a typical duty cycle of 30%. Of course the maximum current (and thus power) this line can really deliver will depend on other components, especially the coil.
The +12 V output is produced by two STPS4045CW Schottky rectifiers in parallel, each one supporting up to 40 A (20 A per internal diode at 130° C). This gives us a maximum theoretical current of 57 A [(20 A x 2)/(1 – 0.30)] or 686 W for the +12 V output. As we suspected, this 650 W product uses rectifiers with lower current limits than other 750 W CWT-based models we’ve reviewed (which use two 60 A rectifiers).
The +5 V output is produced by one STPS40L45CW Schottky rectifier, which has the same current specs as STPS4045CW but featuring a lower voltage drop (that is what the “L” in the name stands for), i.e., they waste less power and thus provide higher efficiency. So the maximum theoretical current the +5 V output can deliver is of 29 A [20 A/(1 – 0.30)] or 143 W. This is exactly the same rectifier used by 750 W CWT-based units we’ve reviewed to date.
The +3.3 V output is produced by another STPS40L45CW Schottky rectifier. So the maximum theoretical current the +3.3 V output can deliver is of 29 A or 94 W. This is exactly the same rectifier used by 750 W CWT-based units we’ve reviewed to date.
This power supply uses a PS229 monitoring integrated circuit, which is in charge of the power supply protections. Unfortunately the datasheet for this component isn’t available on the manufacturer’s website, so we couldn’t check what protections are really implemented on this power supply.
The electrolytic capacitors from the secondary are also from Samxon and labeled at 105° C, as usual. These are the same caps used by CWT-750VH and Thermaltake Toughpower 750 W, but Corsair TX750W uses Japanese models.
In summary this power supply, which is a relabeled CWT-650VH, uses the same project as CWT-750VH and Corsair TX750W, but with switching transistors and +12 V rectifiers with lower current limits.
In Figure 14, you can see the power supply label containing all the power specs.
This power supply features four +12 V virtual rails distributed like this:
Now let’s see if this power supply can really deliver 650 W.
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 how the reviewed unit behaved 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 power listed for each test, you may find a different value than what is posted under “Total” below. Since each output can vary slightly (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. On the “Total” row we are using the real amount of power being delivered, as measured by our load tester.
+12V1 and +12V2 are the two independent +12V inputs from our load tester and during out tests the +12V1 input was connected to the power supply +12V3 (main motherboard cable and video card auxiliary power connector) and +12V4 (peripheral power connectors) rails, while the +12V2 input was connected to the power supply +12V1 and +12V2 rails (EPS12V connector).
5 A (60 W)
10 A (120 W)
14 A (168 W)
19 A (228 W)
26.5 A (318 W)
4.5 A (54 W)
10 A (120 W)
14 A (168 W)
19 A (228 W)
22 A (264 W)
1 A (5 W)
2 A (10 W)
4 A (20 W)
5 A (25 W)
6 A (30 W)
1 A (3.3 W)
2 A (6.6 W)
4 A (13.2 W)
5 A (16.5 W)
6 A (19.8 W)
1 A (5 W)
1.5 A (7.5 W)
2 A (10 W)
2.5 A (12.5 W)
3 A (15 W)
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)
% Max Load
Ripple and Noise
This power supply could really deliver 650 W at 50° C, which is terrific.
The highlight from Commander 650 W is its efficiency, above 86% if you pull up to 80% of its labeled capacity (520 W). When pulling 650 W efficiency dropped a bit, but still well above 80% (83.7%).
Voltage regulation was also excellent, with all voltages within 3% from their nominal values – better than what is defined by ATX standard, which says they must be within 5% their nominal values. The exception was -12 V, which was however still within 5% from its nominal value (the tolerance for this particular output is 10%).
The only problem with this unit was noise level at +12 V when pulling 650 W from it, which was touching the maximum allowed. We’ve seen this same problem with all other power supplies based on this same CWT project, so this is a chronic problem from this particular design. This is the only reason we are giving this product our “Silver Award” seal instead of “Golden.” Noise levels at +5 V and +3.3 V, on the other hand, were amazingly low, far below the maximum allowed. Just to remember, the maximum allowed is 120 mV for the 12 V outputs and 50 mV for +5 V and +3.3 V outputs. All values are peak-to-peak. Below you can see the noise levels with this unit delivering 657 W (test number five).
Now let’s see if we can pull even more power from Commander 650 W.
Before overloading power supplies we always test first if the over current protection (OCP) circuit is active and at what level it is configured. For this test we installed only cables that were connected to the unit’s +12V3 rail (main motherboard cable and video card auxiliary power cable), turned the unit on with the pattern for our test number five and increased current at +12 V until we saw the unit shutting down. This happened when we tried to pull more than 31 A from +12V3. We think this value is too high, especially when the label says that the limit for each +12 V rail is of 18 A. We prefer to see OCP configured at a level closer to what is printed on the label.
The problem in overloading this unit was ripple and noise. Since when pulling 650 W from it noise was already too high, we could only pull a little bit more without surpassing the 120 mV limit set by the ATX standard. For example, we could pull 815 W from this power supply, but noise level at +12V2 input from our load tester was at 300 mV!
Below you can see the maximum amount of current/power we could pull from this unit with noise levels still inside ATX specs. During this overloading noise level at +12V1 input from our load tester was at 107 mV and at +12V2 input was 121 mV.
25 A (300 W)
25 A (300 W)
10 A (50 W)
10 A (33 W)
3 A (15 W)
0.5 A (6 W)
% Max Load
In Win Commander 650 W power supply specs include:
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
We always like to review power supplies from companies that we’ve never heard before to know if they products are good or not. And we were really happy to see In Win Commander 650 W surviving our tests.
Commander 650 W has two great advantages over other mainstream 650 W products. First, efficiency. We were really surprised to see efficiency of up to 87.8% with this product, and if you pull up to 80% from its capacity (520 W) you will see efficiency of at least 86%. Delivering its full labeled capacity (650 W) efficiency was at 83.7%, which is very good.
The second main advantage is that Newegg.com is offering a USD 50 rebate on this product, making it cost only USD 85, which is an unbelievable price for this product. Unfortunately if you live outside the USA you probably cannot get this benefit and will have to buy it at its regular price (which could be lower).
The warranty In Win is giving to this power supply is a little bit different from what we’ve been seen on the market. They give a “limited lifetime warranty,” which means that you get a full warranty for the first three years and after that if something goes wrong with your unit you will have to pay for them to fix it (the parts are free, however).
The number of cables that come with this unit is satisfactory for the mainstream user, with the advantage of the two auxiliary power cables for video cards coming with 6/8-pin connectors. However since it comes with only two auxiliary power cables for video cards you will need to use adapters to convert peripheral power plugs into video card power plugs if you want to install two very high-end video cards in SLI or CrossFire modes, since this kind of card requires two auxiliary power cables each.
The only drawback from this power supply is its high ripple and noise level at +12 V when delivering 650 W, touching the maximum allowed. This is a chronic problem with power supplies based on this particular CWT design and that is the only reason we are giving it our “Silver Award” instead of “Golden Award” seal.