Antec SmartPower 2.0 500 Watt review


What happened yesterday was that I got home on monday and tried to restore the pc from standby (where it had been since friday morning). I then went into the kitchen to get some food and when I came back it was off. So I powered it again and it went through a weird on off cycle that kept repeating until I switched off the powersupply with its button. I then unplugged and replugged powercable and checked everything else and powered on. Same thing. By this point I was quite certain the powersupply was toast and removed it from the case. I spent the rest of the evening reading a book and watching some TV, things I normally don’t do that often.

Today I bought a Antec SmartPower 2.0 500 Watt unit. It seems my first ever attempt at connecting it to various components was successful. At least, it’s been running for fifteen minutes now (while writing this) and everything seems OK. Quite a relief that everything is working again. I’ve so far shied away from constructing my own PCs since I prefer to get the thing pre-assembled, tested and with warranty. The latter had expired and the company that did the assembling no longer exists despite doing a fine job (PC has been stable for over a year until the hardware failed). So, I had no choice but to get off my ass and fix things myself.

Connecting things is not that hard as long as you know what is connected to what in the first place. This is reasonably fool proof since connectors come in various shapes that line up nicely in only one way. To make sure I wouldn’t miss anything, I shot a few pictures of the internals of my PC before disconnecting everything. I consulted these pictures a few times to ensure everything was connected correctly during the whole procedure. So, I guess that counts as useful advice for people in a similar situation. Disconnecting things was a bit cumbersome since the case is full of sharp bits and pieces that tend to get in the way when you try to unplug stuff. My right hand has a few scratches but otherwise, I’m fine.

The package the new unit came in was quite nice, for a power supply. It has two useful features: modular cables and a two fans for improved cooling of the unit and the rest of the machine. The modular cables connect to four sockets on the unit. Several cables are provided with the package for all the usual stuff. The nice thing about this is that it allows you to minimize the amount of cable and it also provides some flexibility with respect to how you route the cables. I used three of the four sockets. One for the video card (dedicated PCI Extreme cable provided), one for the sata drive and one with three connectors which I used for the dvd burner, the frontside of the casing (power button and some other stuff) and the floppy drive, which I’ve never actually used. Having a dedicated cable for the video card seems useful since it is a nvidia 7800 card. These are notorious for sucking a lot of power (hence the 500 watt) and having a dedicated cable ensures it doesn’t have to share the cable with other devices (which presumably helps keeping things stable).

Despite the two fans, noise is quite ok (about the same as before) since only the internal fan is active most of the time. Besides, my cpu fan and video card fan can be quite noisy too. I haven’t heard the second one yet but I’m sure I will once I do some gaming. If you are looking for noise free, buy another unit but otherwise things are quite alright. The reason I chose this one was because it had a nice package, more or less the same specs and the above mentioned nice features. There’s not much more to it. Without access to a PC I sort of omitted my usual routine of doing elaborate comparison of various alternatives and trusted the nice people at Verkkokauppa to put the good stuff on the top shelf. Besides, this was one of the few 500 watt units they had.