Bgears 550 Watt Tarantula Review

ccokeman - 2007-11-29 22:16:13 in Power Supplies
Category: Power Supplies
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: December 27, 2007
Price: $109.99

Introduction:

Power....it's what we need to power the wonderful toys we use on a day to day basis. Without it there is just a blank screen to look at which really is no fun. By the same token, a power supply that is not powerful enough or of a decent quality can wreak all kinds of havok on the system it is installed in. BSODs, lockups, random reboots and the one thing you fear the most, an acrid burning smell when something decided to die. Hopefully you will not need to have that concern after making an informed decision on the power supply wattage needed for your particular build. There are a few power supply recommendation websites, but those are a worst case guideline.

The BGears 550 watt Tarantula modular power supply features a semi modular design in which the ATX 24-pin and 8-pin auxiliary 12volt lines are hardwired back to the PCB while the additional connections are broken outside of the power supply case. Features include a 135mm cooling fan, up to 86% efficiency, Active PFC and sleeved cables. Will this power supply take care of the needs of your system? Let's find out.

 

Closer look:

The Bgears Tarantula packing is detail oriented and illustrates the features of the Tarantula. The front panel shows the Tarantula and highlights some of the features. The rear panel goes into greater detail about the modular connections, and highlights the oversized heatsink and 135mm cooling fan.

 

 

The right hand panel shows the amperage rating and load capacity of each power rail. The left hand side panel illustrates the ATX 20+4 pin and 4+4 pin configuration for the auxillary 12v line.

 

 

Opening up the Tarantula packaging, you can see that everything is packed tightly in place with the documentation right on top. The Tarantula is enclosed in bubble wrap to protect the finish on the case.

 

 

Closer Look:

Pulled out of the protective bubble wrap, we can get a little closer to the Tarantula. The main ATX power cord assembly exits on the left front while the modular connection exits on the right hand side. The modular design of the Tarantula differs from the traditional modular power supply that has the connections built into the case. The Bgears unit has the connections point just outside of the case with the wiring stubbed out roughly three inches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tarantula uses a 135mm fan on the bottom of the power supply enclosure to push a large volume of air through the enclosure to provide adequate cooling. The specifications of the Tarantula are listed on the case to provide a quick reference when the information is needed.

 

 

The Tarantula is adequately vented to keep the enclosed components cool. Most of the air is directed out the back of the housing via a honeycombed grill.

 

 

One thing you should never do is to open up your power supply. Several concerns are raised; first and foremost is safety and second is the warranty of the power supply. Just so you don't have to open this power supply up to determine the components, I will open her up. On first inspection, the unit features a large heatsink to effectively deal with the heat generated. The 135mm fan plays a huge role in keeping the components cool. The fan appears to be made or distributed by young lin tech. Looking at the power supply's heatsink, it was very similar to the Ultra 600 watt power supply used as a comparison for this review.

 

 

 

The primary and secondary sides of the Tarantula are viewed in detail here. The Tarantula uses a large Teapo filter capacitor rated to 85 degrees Celsius 420v 330µF.

 

 

Closer Look:

With any modular power supply, you will receive an assortment of cables to manage all of the connections in the computer. The Tarantula is no different in this respect. While it is not as expansive as a few of the modular power supplies I have used, it is enough however to get the job done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tarantula comes with mounting screws and documentation, so if there are any questions hopefully they can be answered in this document.

 

 

Bgears has a nice graphic that illustrates the connections capabilities of the Tarantula.


Image from Bgears website.

Installation:

Installing the Bgears Tarantula into the chassis of your choice is no different than any other power supply. Initially, you will need to power down and remove the old power supply or start from scratch with a new chassis. Insert the Tarantula into the chassis and attach it with the provided screws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thing to watch out for is to make sure that if you mod your case, make sure you have adequate clearance for that new blowhole fan. The chassis in this build was previously modded and provided some clearance issues.

 

The modular connections are simply a push together affair. You only need to use the connections you need and leave the rest of the connections alone. This way you have fewer cables to make a mess in your chassis.

 

 

After getting the motherboard and all of the peripherals in place, you can route all of the connections to their respective homes. Motherboard power, optical and hard drives, video cards, fans, they all need a connection.

 

 

 

Specifications:

 

AC Output

115 – 230 V / 8A ; 50-60 Hz

DC Output

+3.3V

+5V

+12V1

+12V2

-12V

+5VSB

550W Max

28A

28A

20A

20A

0.5A

2.5A

Min

0.5A

0.5A

0.8A

0.8A

0.0A

0.0A

Total Output

550 Watts ; Combined +12V = 30A

650W Max

28A

30A

20A

20A

0.5A

0.5A

Min

0.5A

0.5A

0.8A

0.8A

0.0A

0.0A

Total Output

650 Watts ; Combined +12V = 37A

 

 

Features:

 

 All specifications and features are sourced from Bgears website http://www.bgears.com/b-tarantula.html

Testing:

How will I know if this power supply delivers the watts? I need to test how it performs under load, verifying the voltages and airflow. With that being said, we can finally start testing this beast. To put this power supply through its paces, I will run a series of tests to load the Bgears 550 to simulate heavy gaming usage . The testing procedure will include running Stressprime 2004 Orthos Edition to stress the CPU and memory, HDtune to load the hard drives, and 3DMark06 Professional to stress both video cards. The test system includes five high CFM Silverstone fans to add additional load to the 12volt line. Additionally, I will check the airflow at both idle and load conditions to verify any increase in airflow through the rear of the power supply. Voltage measurements will be taken with my trusty voltmeter, while airflow will be tested using my Kestral 4100 pocket airflow tracker.

 

Testing Tools:

Testing Setup:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion:

So how did the big bad spider do in the testing? Pretty well, actually! When loading the system, the voltages rarely fluctuated from the readings at idle. The 12volt lines measured 12.10 volts each at idle and 12.09 volts under load. The 5volt and 3.3volt lines each had a fluctuation of only .01volts from idle to load. To say I was surprised is an understatement. The semi-modular design is different from other fully modular designs. The ATX 20+4 and 4+4 pin auxillary power are both non-modular connections. This is both a positive and negative in my opinion. Positive because there are no breaks in the wiring to cause power supply or regulation issues because of increased resistance. A negative for the fact that even with the breaks in the wiring with a fully modular power supply there have been no side effects from the break in the wiring to create the modular connections.

The finish appears to be baked on since I did not cause any damage while installing it or opening the Tarantula's case. With an efficiency rating of up to 86%, this unit could help out with the energy bills that only seem to be creeping upwards. If you need a power supply with tight voltage regulation, low noise (even under load) that can handle a newer rig with multiple video cards and a quad core CPU, you should give the Bgears Tarantula a look before you buy!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: