With computers (and users) asking for better power supplies, nothing more natural than reviewing websites publishing power supply reviews. But contrary to other hardware parts like CPUs, motherboards and video cards, one must have deep electronics knowledge in order to test a power supply. Since most reviewers are simply users with a above-the-average knowledge in computers – but not in electronics – almost all PSU reviews posted on the web are completely wrong and they do more harm than good, as some websites recommend products that are really flawed. We updated this article where we explain in details why 99% of power supply reviews posted on the web are wrong and we hope that reviewers learn more about the subject by reading this article and also that users learn how to identify a bad review.

Most hardware-reviewing websites do power supply reviews by taking several pictures of the product, installing it on the “reviewer” personal computer and, if the unit works (and it probably will), they say nice things about the product (just some examples: herehere, here, here and here).

Calling this kind of article a “review,” an “analysis” or a “test” is insulting to websites that do real power supply reviews. Websites can publish this kind of article but, please, call them what they are: “article,” “first look,” “first impressions,” etc. The problem is that some websites go one step further and even give “reviewed” products awards, and by giving awards without testing the product they are doing a lot of harm, as they may be recommending a flawed product. We think there is no better example of what we are saying than this review here done using the above “methodology” where the “reviewer” gave the product a “Gold Award” to a 750 W power supply that burns if you try to pull more than 450 W from it.

The ugly truth? Most hardware-reviewing websites are ran by amateurs that think they should get as much hardware parts they can get their hands on – either to upgrade their personal computers or to sell them on eBay –, even if they don’t have a clue on how to review that particular part. They simply can’t say no to manufacturers offering products. Worse than that, there are some editors that think that only because a manufacturer sent them a product “for free” they should only say nice things about the product. This is obviously a veiled form of payola and not only unethical but illegal (at least in the United States). First, getting a product for reviewing is not “for free.” The exposure the manufacturer will get on a particular website is worth thousands of dollars, since they are way more effective than traditional advertising – and reviews are posted free of change (we know of some websites that charge manufacturers to post reviews, either in cash or in advertising – DailyTech has published an excellent article on this a while ago). Plus the time and money that are spent of producing the review. Second, when sending a product for review, manufacturers are expected to get an unbiased review – i.e., the truth to be told, not mattering if the manufacturer is a personal friend of the reviewer and/or an advertiser of the website.

Now let’s talk about the next step on power supply reviews: using a multimeter.

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.