Posted: October 13, 2003
Author: Jason Kohrs
The power supply making its way on to the test bench today comes to BigBruin.Com from Apex Computer Technology, Inc. The model AL-B500E is the current top of the line offering in the ATX line up from Apex, and features a maximum power rating of 500 watts, a very attractive polished aluminum housing, and dual fans to keep the device nice and cool. For those not familiar with Apex, here is a blurb from their website with a little background information:
“Apex specializes in PC enclosures and power supplies. Although it was established just a few years ago, Apex has emerged as a top tier supplier to the Build-Your-Own (BYO) white box market, shipping over 5 million units of enclosure and power supply worldwide in 2000. Selling under its brand name "Super Case", Apex provides high quality products at extremely competitive prices.”
The AL-B500E is sold in the box pictured on the left. You get a good look at the physical features of the power supply, as well as some of the technical specifications by looking at the boxes various side panels. The box also makes mention of the 2 year warranty that accompanies this unit, which may not be as long as the Seasonic power supplies recently reviewed here, but it is still a respectable offering. Inside the box you receive a well padded psu and a power cord (no documentation or accessories).
The bottom of the power supply (pictured in the two images below) features a clear 92 mm that draws air in from your pc case, to be exhausted by the 80 mm fan on the back of the housing. Most dual fan power supplies feature a 80 mm fan in this position, but I like Allied’s use of the 92 mm fan as it is able to quietly move more air than a comparable 80 mm fan. The silence of the 92 mm fan, coupled with the variable speed 80 mm fan (detailed later) make the potential for near silent operation of this unit very feasible. The below right image shows the unique square perforation on the housing, which should allow decent ventilation in tandem with the two fans.
As you can tell from the pictures, the Allied 500W power supply features a polished aluminum housing that looks quite striking, especially in contrast with the drab Enlight 420W model reviewed here recently.
As pictured in the above left image, the back of the unit features a clear 80 mm quad-led fan to exhaust air from the case that is controlled by the small knob to the right of the fan. Speed can be controlled to your liking, which is an excellent feature, in my opinion. Other power supplies (i.e. Vantec) offer a speed control switch that offers 3 speed settings, but the variable speed approach taken by Allied is definitely a plus. The above right image shows the power supply all lit up in a darkened room, and the lighting of the 80 mm fan can be seen through the 92 mm fan opening, also.
Other features on the back of the power supply include the 110/220V power connection with switch and an illuminated power switch (shown in detail on the left). This is a nice touch over the standard black switch, because when in the ON position, the switch glows green, giving you the status of the power supply at a glance. Greater detail is also provided of the “small” fan speed control knob, which may make manipulation difficult for those that don’t quite have dainty fingers.
The Allied 500W power supply features all of the internal power connections pictured below. The ATX motherboard cable, as well as the 12V auxiliary connection are both sheathed in mesh, while the balance of the connections are just wires. The cables are all of ample lengths, with a few of the 4-pin Molex connections being more than long enough for use in even the largest of full tower cases. In addition to the standard connections one expects to find on a power supply, Allied also includes an adaptor that converts one of the standard 4-pin Molex connectors to a Serial ATA power connection. A nice inclusion, but being that its just an adaptor and not an integral part of the power supply, why not include 2? If a user is into computers enough to be using Serial ATA, there is a very good chance they might have more than one drive in their system.
4(8) 4-pin Molex connectors
4(2) 4-pin floppy connector
4(1) 12V P4 connector
4(1) Auxiliary connector
4(1) 3-pin fan speed sensing lead
4(1) 20-pin ATX motherboard connector
4(1) Serial ATA connector
The image on the left may be difficult to read due to all the shiny aluminum, but the technical specifications are all published there on the side of the housing. In person the specs are very legible, and the chromed sticker helps maintain the look of the unit, that a paper sticker would have detracted from. Full specifications can be found in a more readable format in this Acrobat file from the Apex website, and the main voltage rail specs are listed here: +5V @ 52A, +3.3V @ 28A, +12V @ 20A, -5V @ 0.8A, -12V @ 1.0A, +5VSB @ 2.5A.
The published specifications on the +3.3V and +12V lines are average, but the 52A +5V line is impressive. When we get to the testing portion of the review, we’ll see how well these published specs translate to real world performance. The following information is other data taken from the Apex website.
4Model # ATX-500W-P4
4Factory # AL-B500E
4Power Supply Type : ATX
4Dimensions : 5.5 x 6.0 x 3.3 Inches
4Cooling : 2 2x Ball Bearing Fans
4MTBF : 50,000 Hours
4Hi-Pot/Burn-In : 100%
4Protection : All output
4Warranty : One Year
4Approval: UL, FCC, CE, CB, TUV, VCCI, LVD
4Aluminum Casing for fast heat dissipation
4Super Quiet, Super Cool
4Ideal for Intel and AMD based systems
4Optimum balance between noise reduction and heat dissipation
4ATX 12V and auxiliary power connectors, 8 large and 2 small leads
4All wires & cables are cleanly tired up in net tube
4Two dual ball-bearing & thermally-controlled fans with tri-color illumination
4On/Off Switch with green LED indicator
4External Fan speed adjustable knob
4Serial ATA connector included
Taking a look inside this power supply proved to be easier said than done. Most power supplies have 4 screws holding a U shaped cover in place, which once removed allows unobstructed access to all internal components. With the Allied power supply, I removed a total of 8 screws, and still didn’t have access to the inner workings. The housing is constructed of 4 separate pieces of aluminum, and two of them are held together by the shiny sticker bearing the specifications. As pictured on the right, I was able to remove one end... everything looked robust and clean, although very tightly packed into the housing!
Please read on to page 2 for more on the Allied Power Supply Model AL-B500E... Next
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