Pichau Gaming Nidus 500 W Review 19

Pichau Gaming Nidus 500 W Review

Load Regulation, Hold-up Time, Inrush Current, Efficiency & Noise »

Introduction


We would like to thank Pichau Gaming for supplying the review sample.


Pichau is a large distributor in Brazil, a country with more than 210 million people and, thus, a huge market for every brand out there. Like every significant distributor, why only deal with products from other brands and not create your own? Enter Pichau Gaming. Since power supplies, especially the affordable ones, are a crucial part of every brand, Pichau recently released its own PSU line, which, for the moment at least, only consists of a unit. That having been said, Pichau made the proper call by starting with a mainstream model because such models sell readily in high numbers for the necessary cash flow to develop other PSU models.




The Nidus 500 W is a non-modular unit with a platform by Channel Well Technology, the same brand behind some of the most popular Corsair units (e.g., the RM and RMx lines). Pichau didn't use a high-end CWT platform since it sought to keep the cost as low as possible. According to our sources, the platform also bears some notable changes compared to the original one to better cope with Brazil's harsh conditions (high temperatures and the 115 V and 230 V mains power grid). The original CWT platform with model number CWT GPT500S is a widely popular mainstream PSU (it is also used by the DeepCool DA500 available in the same region, for example).



However, taking a platform and relabeling it without making any changes at all to bring it closer to your needs also would not have been the proper way of going about a new product. With budget PSUs, most PSU manufacturers have keeping production costs as low as possible as their only goal, which naturally means attention to such details as the cable length or the quality of the bulk cap, cooling fan, and caps in the secondary side is absent as long as these parts can survive the rather short warranty. That having been said, making essential upgrades that boost reliability without adding a ton to the product's retail price is often also a necessity.



Specifications

Features & Specs
Max. DC Output500 W
PFCActive PFC
EfficiencyETA-S & 80 PLUS Bronze
NoiseLAMBDA-A-
ModularNo
Intel C6/C7 Power State SupportYes
Operating temperature0 °C - 40 °C
ProtectionsOver Voltage Protection
Under Voltage Protection
Over Power Protection
Over Temperature Protection
Over Current Protection
Short Circuit Protection
Cooling120 mm Rifle Bearing Fan (HA1225M12F-Z)
Semi-passive operationNo
Dimensions150 mm (W) x 85 mm (H) x 140 mm (D)
Weight1.56 kg (3.44 lb)
ComplianceATX12V v2.31, EPS 2.92
Warranty1 Year
Price at Time of Review (excl. VAT)$57 (239,90 R$)



The unit is certified by both 80 PLUS and Cybenetics. While it achieves the entry-level efficiency ratings in noise, it scores pretty high with a LAMBDA-A- rating by Cybenetics, meaning overall noise output is between 25–30 dB(A). Given efficiency is not that high, such low noise output is especially noteworthy for a budget PSU.

The warranty is very low at only one year, but this is typical for Brazilian house brands. I talked it over with Pichau, though, and its people informed me that due to very low RMA rates, they are thinking of increasing the warranty to two years.

Power Specs
Rail3.3 V5 V12 V5 VSB-12 V
Max. Power18 A17 A38 A2.5 A0.3 A
110 W456 W12.5 W3.6 W
Total Max. Power500 W

A group regulation scheme is used, so the +12V rail cannot deliver the PSU's full power alone.

Cables and Connectors

Captive Cables
DescriptionCable CountConnector Count (Total)GaugeIn Cable Capacitors
ATX connector 20+4 pin (670 mm)1118-22AWGNo
4+4 pin EPS12V (720 mm)1118AWGNo
6+2 pin PCIe (620 mm+150 mm) 1218AWGNo
SATA (520 mm+150 mm+150 mm) / 4-pin Molex (+150 mm)26 / 218AWGNo
AC Power Cord (1400 mm) - C13 coupler)1118AWGNo



Don't expect to find any modular cables, but all cables are long enough to help you avoid compatibility problems with large chassis. Moreover, the distance between peripheral connectors is also adequate at 150 mm. Finally, the number of connectors mentioned above is sufficient.

Component Analysis

Pichau Gaming Nidus 500 Parts Description
General Data
Manufacturer (OEM)CWT
PCB TypeSingle Sided
Primary Side
Transient Filter4x Y caps, 2x X caps, 2x CM chokes, 1x DM choke, 1x MOV, 1x Discharge IC
Bridge Rectifier(s)1x GBU1006 (600V, 10A @ 100°C)
Inrush Current ProtectionNTC Thermistor
APFC MOSFETs1x Champion GP28S50G (500 V, 28 A @ 150 °C, 0.125 Ohm)
APFC Boost Diode1x CREE C3D04060A (600 V, 4 A @ 155 °C)
Hold-up Cap(s)1x Nichicon (400 V, 270 uF, 2,000 h @ 105 °C GG)
Main Switchers2x IPS ITA13N50R (500 V, 13 A @ 25 °C, 0.5 Ohm)
Combo APFC/PWM ControllerChampion CM6800TX & CM03X Green PFC controller
TopologyPrimary side: Double Forward
Secondary side: Passive Rectification & Group Regulation
Secondary Side
+12 V SBRs4x PFC PFR30L60CT (60 V, 30 A)

5 V & 3.3 V

SBRs

5V: 1x PFC  PFR30L45CT (45 V, 30 A)
3.3V: 1x PFC  PFR30L30CT (30 V, 30 A)
Filtering CapacitorsElectrolytics: 1x Nippon Chemi-Con (4 - 10,000 h @ 105 °C, KY), 8x Elite (2 - 5,000 h @ 105 °C, ED), 1x Elite (3 - 6,000 h @ 105°C, EV), 2x Elite (3 - 6,000 h @ 105°C, EG), 1x Elite (3 - 6,000 h @ 105°C, EL), 1x Elite (2 - 5,000 h @ 105°C, EK)
Supervisor ICSitronix ST9S429-PG14 (OVP, UVP, SCP, OCP, PG)
Fan ModelHong Hua HA1225M12F-Z (120 mm, 12 V, 0.45 A, Rifle Bearing Fan)
5VSB Circuit
Standby PWM ControllerPower Integrations TNY176PN


The Nidus is based on CWT's GPT500S-A model with several important modifications and upgrades to survive Brazil's hot climate and both 115 V (actually it is 127 V) and 220–230 V mains. Brazil is among the very few countries with two different electrical systems. With 230 V input, the power supply is stressed less because of the lower amperage, especially in the APFC converter. With 115 V (or even lower) input, and the higher amperage, more stress is put on the APFC converter, so you need a better bulk cap. Well, this is one of the key changes in the Nidus unit compared to CWT's original platform. The other major change is Hong Hua's rifle bearing fan, which is way better than the original sleeve bearing fan. Finally, the caps on the secondary side are of good quality since they are from Chemi-Con and Elite. Elite caps are among the best non-Japanese caps and generally a safe choice when the budget is low.


The transient filter is complete and also uses a discharge IC to avoid energy losses on the X caps while the PSU is operating.


The single bridge rectifier is not bolted to a heat sink. This might look odd, but allows for higher efficiency since with higher temperatures, voltage drops on the diodes the bridge rectifier contains are lower. In the infrared shot provided above, you will see that with ten minutes at half load and 230 V input, the temperature of the bridge rectifier doesn't go above 85 °C, and it is rated at 10 A with 100 °C, so with the cooling fan in operation, there won't be any problems as long as you don't overstress the PSU.


A bypass relay does not support the NTC thermistor. Such a bypass relay would enhance the platform's protection features, but also increases the production cost. This is why it is usually absent in budget products.


The APFC converter uses a single FET and a CREE boost diode. The bulk cap is provided by Nichicon. It is of good quality, but its capacity is too low to offer a hold-up time of over 17 ms.


The main switching FETs and the primary transformer.


The combo APFC and PWM controller is a Champion CM6800. It is supported by a CM03X Green PFC controller.


Passive rectification is used on the secondary side, along with a group regulation scheme where the +12 V and 5 V rails are tied together, while the 3.3 V rail is rectified independently.


The filtering caps are mostly by Elite and belong to lines that are good enough.


The protections IC is a Sitronix ST9S429.


This is the standby PWM controller responsible for the 5VSB circuit.


Soldering quality is not the best I have seen from CWT, but you cannot call it bad, either.


The Hong Hua fan uses a rifle bearing, so it will have a long lifetime as long as you don't operate it under very high operating temperatures (>40 °C).
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