Enermax Triathlor FC 550 W Review 8

Enermax Triathlor FC 550 W Review

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Introduction

Enermax Logo

We would like to thank Enermax for supplying the review sample.

Enermax is, without a doubt, a key player in the PSU field. They make most of the units they sell themselves and do, on top of that, make their platforms available to a very few select companies out there, with the most significant being LEPA. They usually participate in the high-end category, and their products, as such, address users that want to spend a significant amount for a good and reliable PSU. However, the economic crisis that has plagued us for several years now had them revamp their whole strategy by delving deeper into the mainstream categories, given most users are currently budget-orientated consumers.

So far, Enermax had the NAXN series as their main representative in the mainstream and mid-end categories, but they recently introduced a new line called Triathlor. The line is made by them and is positioned a step above NAXN in Enermax’s portfolio of products. The Triathlor series consists of two sub-series, the plain Triathlor and the Triathlor FC, with the latter including modular and higher capacity units. Today, we will put the Triathlor FC 550 W through a thorough test (model number ETA550AWT-M). It features a semi-modular cabling design, 80 Plus Bronze efficiency, an Enermax twister bearing fan promising reduced noise and prolonged lifetime, and two +12V rails. It is also ErP Lot 6 2013 ready, which means that it consumes less than 0.5 W in standby mode. Although this unit has a price tag of $109.99, which is rather high for a Bronze PSU with 550 W capacity, it still looks interesting to users that can afford to spend a little over 100 bucks on a fully featured PSU made by a highly respected manufacturer.


Specifications

Enermax ETA550AWT-M Features & Specs
Max. DC Output550W
PFCActive PFC
Efficiency80 PLUS Bronze
Operating temperature0°C - 40°C
ProtectionsOver Voltage Protection
Under Voltage Protection
Over Current Protection
Over Power Protection
Over Temperature Protection
Short Circuit Protection
Cooling120 mm Twister Bearing Fan (ED122512H-DD)
Dimensions150 mm (W) x 86 mm (H) x 140 mm (D)
Weight1.6 kg
ComplianceATX12V v2.31, EPS 2.92
Warranty3 years
Price at time of review (exc. VAT)$109.99
Efficiency is only Bronze, and the maximum operating temperature at which this PSU can deliver its full power continuously is 40°C, while the ATX spec recommends 50°C. The specs on paper won't stop us from testing this unit at up to 45°C, as we do with all PSU samples.

Every protection feature, including our favorite, OTP (Over Temperature Protection), has been included; it is incredibly important to a PSU. Also, the cooling fan is equipped with twisted bearings in order to last longer and produce less noise than a sleeve- or ball bearings one. Well, we will see about the fan's output noise during our test sessions, since a 120 mm fan in a Bronze PSU with high heat dissipation will have to work extra hard once the ambient climbs above 40°C. A 140 mm fan, which would have been less noisy, apparently couldn't be installed due to unit's restrictive dimensions.

Finally, the two +12V rails and all the other features of the unit compound to meet the most recent ATX spec (v2.31) requirements, and the warranty period should, in our opinion, be longer given its price tag of over $100.

Enermax ETA550AWT-M Power Specs
Rail3.3V5V12V112V25VSB-12V
Max. Power24A24A25A25A2.5A0.5A
120W540W12.5W6W
Total Max. Power550W (600W Peak for up tp 60 sec)
The two +12V rails can almost deliver the full power of the unit by themselves, which is an indication that the minor rails—strong enough for a modern PSU— are generated by DC-DC converters. Finally, the 5VSB rail has the typical maximum current output, and do we really care about the -12V rail nowadays? The rail is a relic of the past, and we expect the next ATX spec to abolish it.

Cables & Connectors, Power Distribution

Native Cables
ATX connector (540mm)20+4 pin
4+4 pin EPS12V/ATX12V (610mm)1
Modular Cables
6+2 pin PCIe (500mm)3
SATA (500mm+150mm+150mm)6
4 pin Molex (500mm+150mm+150mm+150mm) / FDD(+150mm)4 / 1
The number of available connectors is adequate for the capacity of the PSU. We should also note that this is the first time that we see a PSU with an odd number of PCIe connectors (three), since most PSUs available on the market are equipped with an even number of such connectors. However, most 500-550 W units only have a couple PCIe connectors, so the inclusion of another is a very welcome feature—in case you want to use a strong VGA as the main workhorse and another low-end graphics card for physics.

The length of all cables is adequate, since this unit will most likely be installed into a small- or medium-sized chassis, and the distance amongst connectors, on cables that hold more than one, is good. All connectors also utilize 18AWG sized wires, which is the standard according to the ATX specification.


Enermax was kind enough to provide the rail distribution on the modular chassis. As you can see, almost half of the connectors are powered by 12V1, which leaves the others to the 12V2 rail. The native ATX 24-pin connector is fed by 12V1, and the EPS connector is fed by 12V2, which means that you will mix one PCIe connector with the single EPS connector if you use all PCIe connectors. This is by no means optimal, but the small number of +12V rails also makes such a setup unavoidable.

Packaging


The box that contains the PSU is small and white. The front has a photo of the unit along with the Enermax logo, the 80 Plus Bronze badge, the capacity description, and a mention of the fan model that is used for cooling.


This side has a table listing the available connectors of all modular Thriathlor units. Unfortunately, there is no mention as for the cable lengths. This side also displays the warranty period of three years.


The rear side has a lot of useful information including the unit's most crucial features, some illustrations about the TB fan, a graph showing the 80 Plus Bronze efficiency curve in comparison to the plain 80 Plus one, and, finally, the power-specifications table of all three Thriathlor FC models. The top-right corner also has Enermax inform us of the utilization of DC-DC converters for the generation of the minor rails, and a mention of the flat modular cables is made in the bottom-right corner on the rear side.

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Jun 29th, 2022 08:40 EDT change timezone

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