From time to time, we like to buy power supplies below USD 30 to see how they stack up against more expensive models from better-known companies. The TiVECO TVPS450, which is also sold in the US as ePower TVPS450, is a 450 W power supply that costs only USD 20, with the manufacturer promising that it can deliver its labeled wattage at 50° C and 80% minimum efficiency. Is that really true? Let’s find out.
Let’s start with the product box. As we will discuss throughout this review, the feature list is the product of a very fertile imagination. In plain English, this manufacturer is a liar. For now, let’s discuss bullet number five in that list, “Auto switching circuitry provide (sic) universal AC input 90 ~ 264 V.” According to the product box, this unit wouldn’t have a 115 V/230 V switch, which is present, as you can see in Figure 2.
Now, to make things worse, the 115 V/230 V switch is located in the wrong place. This is the first time we’ve seen a manufacturer putting this switch on the front side of the power supply. To change the position of this switch, you will have to open your computer. It is just a matter of common sense that this switch must be located on the rear side of the power supply, so you can access it even with the computer closed. We speculate that the manufacturer wanted to deceive consumers. Most users nowadays know that if there is no 115 V/230 V switch on the back of the power supply, then the unit probably has auto voltage selection and an active PFC circuit. Since on this power supply you won’t find the switch in its usual place, consumers can wrongly assume that this unit has these features, which is not the case.
The TiVECO TVPS450 is 5.5” (140 mm) deep, using a 120 mm sleeve bearing fan on its bottom (model 12025BN from an unknown manufacturer).
This unit doesn’t have a modular cabling system. Only the main motherboard cable is protected with nylon sleeve, which comes from inside the unit. This power supply comes with the following cables:
- Main motherboard cable with a 20/24-pin connector, 13.4” (34 cm) long
- One cable with one ATX12V connector, 13.4” (34 cm) long
- One cable with two SATA power connectors, 12.6” (32 cm) to the first connector, 5.9” (15 cm) between connectors
- One cable with two standard peripheral power connectors, 13.4” (34 cm) to the first connector, 5.9” (15 cm) between connectors
- One cable with two standard peripheral power connectors and one floppy disk drive power connector, 13.4” (34 cm) to the first connector, 5.9” (15 cm) between connectors
Only the wires on the main motherboard cable are 18 AWG, which is the minimum recommended gauge. All other wires are 20 AWG, i.e., thinner than the minimum recommended gauge.
The cable configuration is bad, as all the cables are too short; there are only two SATA power connectors, which are too close to each other (you will have a hard time trying to install an optical drive and a hard disk drive that use this kind of connector in your system); and there is no power connector for video cards.
Let’s now take an in-depth look inside this power supply.