Wednesday, November 25th 2020

80 Plus Hikes its Testing and Licensing Fees, Could Affect Prices of Low-Volume PSU Models

The 80 Plus logo program, by Plug Load Solutions, has become a ubiquitous means for consumers to grade the functional quality of their PC power supply units (PSUs). The PSU is a vital component, as a durable one ensures you needn't replace it for years; and it reliably powers all the components in your PC. 80 Plus confines itself to the electrical switching efficiency of the PSU as a unit of grading, and assigns one of six grades, which are probably easier for consumers to grasp than grading by technically-superior certification agencies such as Cybenetics. An investigative article by Igor's Lab uncovers that licensing body has apparently significantly increased its licensing fees, which PSU manufacturers could pass on to consumers, especially in case of some of the lower-volume models.

The Igor's Lab article cites an 80 Plus licensing and certification policy document to reveal the cost-structure for certification, including what it costs for a manufacturer to enroll (a one-time license fee), and testing fees per unit. The "unit" here refers to an individual SKU, it is a flat fee and does not apply on a per-unit-sold basis. Per-SKU would mean each variant of a model has to be separately certified as it's a different SKU (for example, Corsair's HX series would be a model, and HX750W and HX850W would be "variants", and treated as two separate certifications).
Plug Load Solutions has reportedly increased its per-SKU certification price by 3x. For a new model launched after 2021, this would mean an increase in flat licensing fees by tens of thousands of Dollars. If a manufacturer launched a PSU in 450 W, 550 W, 650 W, 750 W, 850 W, and 1000 W, they pay a flat $21,000. Interestingly, Igor's Lab reports that a manufacturer has to pay the licensing fees even for an OEM/whitebox PSU model that has already been certified by 80 Plus. The "OEM" here refers to the likes of CWT, Seasonic, HEC, Fortron, etc., who contract-manufacture PSUs for others. If a generic 650 W certified model is re-branded by a manufacturer, it incurs re-brand licensing fees. Find more interesting insights in the source link below.
Source: Igor's Lab
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75 Comments on 80 Plus Hikes its Testing and Licensing Fees, Could Affect Prices of Low-Volume PSU Models

#1
RAINFIRE333
It's not worth it anymore . . . I'm for anything that will lower the cost of Power Supplies. Their prices are getting ridiculous anyway. Brand name means more to me anyway, plus we still have independent reviewers.
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#2
ExcuseMeWtf
So I guess many brands will opt out of it instead.
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#3
Fourstaff
Lets see if 80 Plus certification is worth it to the masses. I personally don't care too much about it.
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#4
dinmaster
just get all the reviewers to come up with a system that works and replaces this "paid one", have the manufacturers agree with the reviewers on a ratings system similar to 80plus..
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#5
Vya Domus
It's kind of unfortunate because these would often indicate that the PSU wasn't absolute garbage but now they'll likely opt out meaning it will become more difficult to tell which PSU is more likely to be decent and which isn't.
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#6
Jism
So you pay a significant amount of $'s in order to legal use the 80 plus sticker onto your product?

I can understand back then there where PSU's that lacked any proper efficiency, like the more load you put into it the more the efficiency went out of the roof. But these days PSU's already have a high efficiency on it's own due to the build quality and R&D done into proper designing PSU's.
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#7
metalslaw
Monopolies always get away with stuff like this. 80 Plus needs competition it seems.

On another note, "Find more interesting insights in the source link below."

?
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#8
KarymidoN
80 plus rating is just a a**... everybody knows their testing does not certify the quality of the unity, so much "bombs" have been qualified in the past for "80 plus".

Cybenectics Testing metod is so much more complete, and even tho i dislike their naming for the ratings (bit confusing) their testing metodology its just perfect.
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#9
bug
I wonder if anyone remembers the days before 80 Plus. You know, back when you'd buy a PSU having about twice the wattage you actually needed, because peak efficiency was around 50% load. And knowing fully well your efficiency at idle will suck, because, obviously, idle is far from 50% load.
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#10
DeathtoGnomes
Vya Domus
It's kind of unfortunate because these would often indicate that the PSU wasn't absolute garbage but now they'll likely opt out meaning it will become more difficult to tell which PSU is more likely to be decent and which isn't.
That means we would have to rely on review sites and tier lists like LTTs more often, not that that would be a bad thing.
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#11
kapone32
dinmaster
just get all the reviewers to come up with a system that works and replaces this "paid one", have the manufacturers agree with the reviewers on a ratings system similar to 80plus..
While some reviewers actually are, the only people who should be giving us any kind of advisory on are those who are engineers and have the equipment necessary. The only thing I will say is my Corsair TX850 from 2011 is still going strong.
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#12
DeathtoGnomes
getting all manufacturers to agree with review/reviewers is a pipe dream. Many maufacturers do pay for favorable reviews but not all of them are greedy like that.
dinmaster
just get all the reviewers to come up with a system that works and replaces this "paid one", have the manufacturers agree with the reviewers on a ratings system similar to 80plus..
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#13
TheLostSwede
This is too funny, who do they think they are, the FCC? As they charge more for testing than the FCC certifications costs and those are must have.
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#14
crmaris
Reviewer
KarymidoN
80 plus rating is just a a**... everybody knows their testing does not certify the quality of the unity, so much "bombs" have been qualified in the past for "80 plus".

Cybenectics Testing metod is so much more complete, and even tho i dislike their naming for the ratings (bit confusing) their testing metodology its just perfect.
They are thinking of changing the naming scheme very soon.
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#15
bug
TheLostSwede
This is too funny, who do they think they are, the FCC? As they charge more for testing than the FCC certifications costs and those are must have.
Not necessarily funny, it could be a sign they have difficulties covering their costs. It will be our loss if they go down the drain :(
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#16
crmaris
Reviewer
Guys getting all reviewers (whoever is still active anyway in this field) on the same page is impossible for several reasons. First of all, they need to use similar and calibrated equipment. Not all people can afford this kind of equipment. Secondly, you have to be 100% sure that the provided results are unbiased. Finally, all should follow the same methodology exactly and have of course the required equipment to do so. All the above can be forced through an ISO 17025 certification which ensures that you follow the proper methodology and you have the proper equipment. This ISO also has mechanisms to ensure that your results are valid and unbiased.

All the above cost huge money and who will cover the cost?

A fully-featured lab has increased maintenance costs which cannot be covered by a 2k certification (although in this case they only take 3-5 readings at most so it is a 30-60 min job). Someone can argue here, though, that 80 P doesn't run any tests but still, they have to pay subcontractors to do their job and also make a profit.
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#17
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
At this point, a brand name can just list the efficiency and ignore the actual certification and I'd be fine with it.
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#18
TheLostSwede
bug
Not necessarily funny, it could be a sign they have difficulties covering their costs. It will be our loss if they go down the drain :(
How so? They don't provide a rating of how good power supplies are, just how efficient they are in terms of power conversion.
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#19
bug
newtekie1
At this point, a brand name can just list the efficiency and ignore the actual certification and I'd be fine with it.
At this point, yes. But do you expect everybody will keep up the good job 5-10 years down the road?
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#20
hurakura
Who cares about some certificate sticker, the review numbers will show what the PSU is capable of.
And they give 80plus to anyone willing to pay even if the PSU doesn't make the specs, not like they test or anything.
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#21
silentbogo
That's a bit weird. I thought with all the companies finally getting on board they make a lot more money than few years ago. This may undo everything they've achieved up to this point. Manufacturers may start using fake 80+ labels again (like Chieftec, which would certify a 500W model and "grandfather" a label across the entire range for that platform), or switch to ETA/Lambda certification instead (which by the looks of it is already cheaper than 80+, but offers a lot more meaningful data).
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#22
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
bug
At this point, yes. But do you expect everybody will keep up the good job 5-10 years down the road?
As long as they are giving efficiency numbers with their units, why not?

The whole charging for the certification and then charging to put the logo on the box it stupid. If you get the certification, you should be able to put the logo on the box. The 80+ certification is killing itself, and it's a perfect time for another organization to come in and start to do efficiency certifications.
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#23
silentbogo
newtekie1
The 80+ certification is killing itself, and it's a perfect time for another organization to come in and start to do efficiency certifications.
Cybernetics already does, and it looks like they are gaining traction, especially if you consider the fact that they've only started in 2017.
www.cybenetics.com/index.php?option=power-supplies
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#24
KarymidoN
crmaris
They are thinking of changing the naming scheme very soon.
thanks man, thats really cool.
I heard about the Cybenetics project and its testing methodology by Teclab (from Brazil). I thought the project was excellent, I already fell victim to a very bad quality "80 plus" bronze font (Cooler Master). Initiatives such as Cybenetics are very welcome and should receive more prominence from the community, especially by major influencers.
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#25
mechtech
Couldn't PSU makers get around this by just running the same model for 10 years instead of making new models all the time?
Posted on Reply
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