Posted: October 13, 2003
Author: Jason Kohrs
Installation was a snap, and in addition to the power supply, the following components will be featured in the testing portion of the review:
4AMD Athlon XP2200+ Processor
4Shuttle AN35N Ultra nForce2 Ultra 400 Motherboard
4(2) Maxtor 40GB ATA-133 Hard Drives
4Lite-On CD-RW Drive
4Artec DVD Drive
4(3) 80 mm LED case fans and (3) 80 mm black case fans
4Thermalright SLK-800U with 80 mm Thermaltake SmartFan II
4(3) Cards: PCI Sound, PCI TV Tuner, AGP Video
The testing of the power supply will be focused on determining how much the main voltage rails fluctuate from idle conditions to full load conditions. I used a Radio Shack multi-meter (Cat. No. 22-810) to record all of my voltage readings, and compared the idle results from the multi-meter to results obtained from the BIOS. Results were recorded from the 5V, 3.3V, and 12V rails with the system idling, as well as with the system under full load utilizing SiSoft Sandra Max3!. The Burn-in Wizard of Sandra allows you to stress test various components in your system, which increases the power required by each. I allowed the tests shown below to run for a minimum of 10 loops, and monitored the voltage rails of the psu for spikes.
Physically, the multi-meter was connected directly to the back of the 20-pin ATX motherboard connector, with the black lead placed on a black wired socket. Separately I placed the red lead on a red wired socket for the 5v rail reading, a yellow wired socket for the 12V line reading, and an orange wired socket for the 3.3V line reading. For comparison purposes, these steps were repeated on the Allied 500W power supply as well as on the Enlight 420W power supply. Details of the results are provided in the table below for both units.
Other than the fact that my BIOS obviously isnít reading the +12V line properly, everything looked pretty good for all stages of the testing. It was surprising to see that the Enlight 420W unit actually provided stronger voltage rails than the Allied 500W, especially on the +5V line, where the Allied is rated at 52A and the Enlight is rated at only 40A. The Allied readings are all very good, well within the generally accepted range of +/- 10%, and should provide a user with confidence that they have enough power to spare.
For further data analysis, the chart below shows the fluctuations seen in the various lines when the Allied 500W power supply was taken from idle to load conditions. The change on the +5V and +3.3V lines are negligibly small, and the 0.14V swing on the +12V line is nothing out of the ordinary for these conditions.
The Allied AL-B500E from Apex is an excellent power supply on three levels... admirable performance, excellent appearance, and a very competitive price. Available online for $62.95, its price and performance are quite attractive as compared to some of the other brands that may have a more familiar name. Although I generally look at power supplies for their performance alone, the fact that Apex didnít comprise the technical specifications in order to make it visually appealing is just the icing on the cake.
The noise level of the Allied power supply is also very impressive. With the speed set to the highest setting it produced noise comparable to the Enlight 420W unit I have been using for several months. By taking this down just about 10%, the noise disappeared under the drone of my case fans, and I could feel that it was still moving more air than the Enlight unit. The only issue I have with the speed control on the fan is that the knob is quite small (in diameter and height), and can be difficult to manipulate.
Overall, I am very impressed with this power supply. I have seen ďAlliedĒ power supplies for sale around the web, but I wasnít overly familiar with their performance or quality until now. All of the positive features of this power supply make it worthy of a rating of 4 out of 5 stars...
4Variable speed fan
4Extremely quiet operation
4Ample number of connectors, including Serial ATA
4Speed control knob is too small
4Includes one Serial ATA connector, but two might be more practical
Special thanks to Apex for supplying the Allied AL-B500E to BigBruin.Com for review!
Please drop by the BigBruin.Com Forum and feel free to discuss this review.
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