Tuniq Potency 550W Review

paulktreg - 2008-08-11 13:23:33 in Power Supplies
Category: Power Supplies
Reviewed by: paulktreg   
Reviewed on: August 24, 2008
Price: $85.99

Introduction:

PC components have changed rapidly over the last few years, becoming more and more powerful at an impressive rate - almost makes you wonder if Skynet is just around the corner! The introduction of dual and quad-core CPUs and power-hungry graphic cards in SLI and CrossFire configurations are great examples. All these things mean just one thing - more watts. Not too long ago, a 400W power supply would support your high-powered gaming rig, but not anymore. If you are running a dual or quad-core CPU, a single high-end - or dual mid-range graphics cards in SLI or CrossFire, the minimum you should be looking at is 500W. Some of you will say this isn't needed, but I say the power supply is one of the most important components in your PC. If you are going to spend hundreds of dollars on PC hardware, the least you can do is install a quality power supply that'll provide more than adequate power.

Tuniq, a division of Sunbeam Technologies based in China, has recently released the "Potency" line of power supplies in 550W, 650W, and 750W versions. This time around, we will be having a look at the 550W version and seeing how it performs. Could the Potency be a power supply capable of running most of the PC's out there? Let's find out!

 

Closer Look:

 

The Tuniq Potency packaging follows a very basic black and white theme, with a splash of colour on the lid's photograph. I haven't included any photographs of the sides, because to be honest, there wasn't a lot to see - model number on one side, and power supply features, mentioned later, on the other. The bottom panel included the specification table for the full Potency range, so I can only conclude that the same packaging is used for all units.

 

 

 

On opening up the box, you are greeted with what can only be described as basic packaging. The power supply is enveloped  in bubble  wrap, the power supply leads and mains chord held together with cable ties, the manual at the bottom, and the extras tucked down the side of the power supply. The packaging can really only be described as adequate, but this unit did make it from Hong Kong to the UK undamaged, snuggly tucked inside another cardboard box - so perhaps it's enough!

 

 

Along with the power supply, you get an instruction booklet, mains chord, cable ties, mounting screws, and a Molex "Y" cable, should you want an extra 4-pin Molex or to extend an existing one.

 

 

 

Closer Look:

 

The Tuniq Potency 550W is your basic black, no thrills, power supply. First impressions are good; the build quality seems excellent, and is of non-modular design. Cooling is taken care of by a large 120mm cooling fan covered by - you've guessed it - a black grill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One side of the unit sports the usual specification label, with all the information you are likely to need on power distribution limits. This is the only label on the case, except for four tiny stickers on the opposite side. You may very well see these on other power supplies, so I will give you a very brief explanation as to what they mean.

RoHS - Stands for "The restriction of use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment." If equipment is non-compliant, it cannot be sold in the European Union. The RoHS standard bans the placement of products onto the EU market containing more than agreed levels of lead, cadmium, and mercury, to name but a few.

ATE OK - The equipment has undergone testing on automatic test equipment. Usually in the form of a computer-controlled test bed, which runs a series of tests on the board, and ensures the correct responses are given.

HI-POT OK - A high voltage, or high potential, over and above the normal input voltage - typically 500VAC - 1500VAC - is applied between live and neutral connected together, and the case (ground), to ensure no path exists for current to flow, and hence no electric shock given.

BURN IN OK - The unit is run at a set load for a set period of time, based on the statistical fact that any new product is most likely to fail early in its life.

Note the inclusion of a mains On/Off switch, which is always welcome.

 

 

 

The photograph below shows the 120mm 12VDC 0.18A sleeve bearing fan by Globe, complete with a clear plastic baffle that I will mention again later. The printed circuit board is laid out well, allowing good airflow throughout the area. The two aluminum heatsinks are smaller than I expected, so perhaps this unit doesn't generate quite as much heat as one would expect. I could not find any markings on the printed circuit board that would indicate it had been built by a third party manufacturer. The manufacturer of the electrolytic capacitors also escaped me, as I was unable to find any brand or recognisable manufacturer's mark.

 

 

 

The last two photographs show the cables leaving the power supply, and a view of the mains input filtering components. The two single yellow wires on the left hand side are the 12V2 rail, which is exclusively used on the PCI Express graphic card connector.

 

 

Specifications:

 

AC Input
100V-240V 10A, 50-60Hz
DC
Terminal
Current
DC Terminal Current
+5V
+3V3
+12V1
+12V2
-12V
+5VSB
25A
25A
25A
25A
0.3A
2.5A
Maximum Combined Watts
150W
450W
3.6W
12.5W
Total Power
550W

 

Over/Under Voltage Protection (OVP/UVP)

When the output voltage exceeds the specification below, the power supply shall be latched into the status of shutdown.

 

DC Output
UVP(Min)
OVP(Max)
+5V0
3.9V
7.0V
+3V3
2.8V
4.3V
+12V
8.0V
15.6V

 

Over Current Protection

Overload current applied to each tested output rail will cause output trip before they reach or exceed 110%-150% for testing purposes. Overload current shall be ramped at a minimum rate of 10A/s starting from full load.

Short Circuit Protection

When any set of DC outputs is in short circuit, the power supply shall be latched into status of shutdown in order to protect the circuits and components from being damaged.

Overload Protection

When the total output exceeds 130%-150% of maximum load limit, the power supply shall be latched into the status of shutdown to prevent components from being damaged.

 

Power Supply Weight
Manufacturer/Model
Weight
Tuniq Potency 550W
2.0kg
4.4lbs

 

Tuniq Potency 550W Connectors
20 + 4 Pin ATX Motherboard Connector
1
PCI Express 6 Pin
1
PCI Express 6 + 2 Pin
1
EPS12V 8 Pin
1
P4-12V 4 Pin
1
4 Pin Molex Y Cable
1
4 Pin Molex
4
SATA Power
4
FDD 4 Pin Power
1

 

Features:

Testing:

For more information on our testing system, please browse our testing methodology.

Electrical Safety

 

Electrical Safety Test Class 1
Manufacturer/Model
Pass/Fail
Tuniq Potency 550W
Pass

 

Short Circuit Protection

Quote: "When any set of DC output is in short circuit, the power supply shall be latched into the status of shutdown in order to protect the circuits and component from being damaged."

In order to test this claim, I short circuited the 3V3, 5V0 and all four 12V lines in turn. The power supply did shut down, and once the short was removed and the unit switched off for at least one second, resumed normal operation. Although listed here at the beginning of the testing section, I tend to leave this test until the very end, in case it doesn't quite go to plan.

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation

This time around, I have tested at 240VAC and 110VAC. This will provide extra information for those of you using the lower mains input voltage. Before you say it should be 120VAC, all I can say at this stage is I haven't been able to lay my hands on a variac. The 110VAC test has been performed using a power tool isolation transformer commonly found on building sites up and down the country. The difference between the results at 110VAC and 120VAC will be negligible, as will the frequency difference of 50 or 60Hz. I have tried to space my load tests evenly over the full range, result tables below, and I have included the information in graphical form for the first time. The output voltages for the 12V1 and 12V2 lines are very close, and I have plotted an average of the two voltages for the graphs.

Testing @ 110VAC

 

110VAC - Total Load at 112W which is 20% of Rated Maximum Output Power.

PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.37
3.15
10.61
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
4.99
4.65
23.20
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
12.27
2.59
31.77
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.29
2.50
31.95
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
11.66
0.35
4.08
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.97
2.18
10.83
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
112W
 

 

110VAC - Total Load at 286W which is 52% of Rated Maximum Output Power.

PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.34
7.81
26.08
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
4.94
9.15
45.20
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
12.20
8.18
99.80
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.27
8.15
100.00
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
11.79
0.35
4.13
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.97
2.18
10.83
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
286W
 

 

110VAC - Total Load at 399W which is 72% of Rated Maximum Output Power.

PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.28
11.38
37.33
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
4.90
13.52
66.25
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
12.20
11.38
138.84
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.25
11.54
141.36
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
11.88
0.35
4.16
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.96
2.17
10.76
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
399W
 

 

110VAC - Total Load at 541W which is 98% of Rated Maximum Output Power.

PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.23
13.89
44.86
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
4.84
18.80
90.99
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
12.11
18.13
219.55
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.22
13.98
170.83
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
12.07
0.36
4.34
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.94
2.16
10.67
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
541W
 

 

Testing @ 240VAC

 

240VAC - Total Load at 113W which is 21% of Rated Maximum Output Power.

PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.37
3.15
10.61
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
4.98
4.67
23.26
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
12.27
2.59
31.78
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.29
2.60
31.95
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
11.66
0.35
4.08
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.97
2.20
10.93
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
113W
 

 

240VAC - Total Load at 286W which is 52% of Rated Maximum Output Power.

PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.34
7.83
26.15
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
4.97
9.16
45.52
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
12.20
8.11
98.94
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.26
8.17
100.16
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
11.78
0.35
4.12
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.97
2.18
10.83
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
286W
 

 

240VAC - Total Load at 400W which is 73% of Rated Maximum Output Power.

PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.28
11.51
37.75
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
4.83
13.66
65.98
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
12.20
11.40
139.08
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.26
11.57
141.85
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
11.88
0.35
4.16
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.96
2.19
10.86
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
400W
 

 

240VAC - Total Load at 547W which is 99% of Rated Maximum Output Power.

PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.22
13.88
44.69
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
4.80
19.14
91.87
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
12.09
18.58
224.63
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.19
14.00
170.66
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
12.02
0.36
4.33
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.95
2.18
10.79
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
547W
 

 

No problems there. All voltages held within the ATX12V specification at 110VAC and 240VAC. Ten out of ten so far.

Testing (Continued):

Efficiency and Power Factor

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Output And Efficiency At 110VAC

DC Load (W)
AC Load (VA)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
0 10
3
0.32
N/A
N/A
 112
146
142
0.97
79
Pass
286
361
357
0.99
80
Pass
399
536
539
1.00
74
Pass
541
776
781
1.00
70
Pass

 

Output And Efficiency At 240VAC

DC Load (W)
AC Load (VA)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
0
18
4
0.26
N/A
N/A
113
158
139
0.88
81
Pass
286
376
354
0.94
81
Pass
400
547
522
0.95
76
Pass
547
769
745
0.96
72
Pass

 

The 80 PLUS certification requires the Tuniq Potency to run at greater than or equal to 80% efficiency at 20%, 50%, and 100% of rated power output. While the specification has been met at 20% and 50%, the power supply failed to hit the 80% mark at 100% load for both 110VAC and 240VAC input. The power supply did, however, meet the ATX12V minimum required efficiency, and I have therefore given the power supply an overall pass in this section.

The 80 PLUS certification also requires the power supply to maintain a power factor PF of 0.9 or better, and again, one minor hiccup at 20% load on 240VAC. A minor failure that maybe we can forgive?

 

AC Ripple on DC Outputs

 

All AC ripple measurements are made at the maximum load, and were found to be virtually identical for 110VAC and 240VAC input. I have therefore included oscilloscope screenshots for 240VAC only.

 

 

AC ripple on 3V3 rail.

 

 

 

AC ripple on 5V0 rail.

 

 

 

AC ripple on 12V rail.

 

Tuniq Potency 550W AC Ripple/Noise Measurements

DC Output

+3V3
+5V0
+12V0(1)
+12V0(2)
-12V0
+5VSB

Ripple (mV p-p)

10
20
40
40
50
30
Pass/Fail
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass

 

No problems here. Onward.

Testing(Continued):

Temperature, Noise Levels and Fan Speeds

 

DC Loading
Temp In (°C)
Temp Out (°C)
Δ Temp (°C)
Fan Speed (RPM)
0
22.7
22.7
0
696
113W
22.3
27.5
5.2
712
286W
20.7
28.5
7.8
1526
400W
22.1
33.0
10.9
1700
547W
22.2
43.4
21.2
1702

 

I am not going to give a pass or fail in this section, as the ATX12V V2.2 does not really have any references on which to base a decision.

Temperatures are purely for information only, as there are too many variables involved when installed in a case, which, by the way, it wasn't. Ambient temperature, processor cooling efficiency and case cooling fans all play their part on the temperature of the air entering the power supply, and consequently the temperature of the air leaving it. No valid conclusions can be made from this test. One thing I will say about this power supply is the quoted operating ambient temperature for this unit is set at a very realistic 40 to 60 degrees Celsius. A common problem with low quality power supplies is their quoted operating temperature at a very low 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. This is misleading, and some people, looking at this figure, will no doubt think "Excellent!" and rush out and buy one. The problems start when it is installed and the operating temperature rises to 50 degrees Celsius, and the maximum available output power drops by as much as 50%.

One point I should perhaps mention is the inclusion of a clear plastic baffle just behind the large 120mm fan. This should ensure that most of the airflow from the fan is forced to the back of the power supply, over the printed circuit board, and out of the rear exhaust grill. The inclusion of this baffle must increase the cooling performance, and I will perhaps look into testing a power supply with one fitted to see what the difference is with and without.

There are no quoted noise level figures in the literature for this unit. Noise levels from the fan did increase at approximately 300W, as the fan increased its speed from 700 RPM to 1500 RPM, but this is to be expected. The noise level from this unit was at no time loud, and compared favourably with other high-end power supplies on the market. Noise levels are, of course, my personal opinion, and what I may consider quiet could quiet easily be considered noisy by other people.

Conclusion:

Environmental Factors:

With 80 PLUS certification, on which I have a few things to say later, and a high power factor, the Tuniq Potency will play a small part in cutting your energy bills. The packaging material usage is minimal, but I think this is more due to keeping costs down than a concern for the environment. Why use bubble wrap, though, when alternative bio-degradable materials are available?

Price Per Watt:

Power Supply Tuniq Potency 550W at $89.99 = $0.16/Watt (August 2008)

What disappointed me most with the Tuniq Potency 550W was its failure to comply with its 80 PLUS certification. The user manual for this power supply quotes, in black and white, a typical efficiency of 70%. This contradicts the 80 PLUS claim straight away, so what is one meant to believe? Additionally, it claims SLI Certification and claims support for an Nvidia 9800 GX2. I was, however, unable to verify this by cross-referencing Nvidia's list of certified components, although a 9800 GX2 technically has two GPUs that may qualify it.

All things considered, I would still recommend the Tuniq Potency 550W. The efficiency was still acceptable, and the DC quality was excellent. If you are in the market for a power supply in the 500-600W bracket at a reasonable price, then try this one out - I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: