Every once in a while I get questions on what kind of power supplies to use for media center pcs. The answer is pretty much the same for most cases. Use enough power to run a simple pc. Let's face it, you are not going to be doing some heavy computing with a media PC so why throw your money a way on that expensive power supply which in the long run will result in to a higher electric bill. Today we are going to be taking a look at one of the newest power supplies by Cooler Master GX 450. The GX 450 is generally oriented towards media PC's and offers single +12V rail up to 35 amps along with efficiency of 85% and 5 year warranty. Lets take a closer look a this power supply and see what other helpful info we can get out of it.
About the Product
Following information is taken from the Cooler Master.
TUV / CE / UL / FCC / BSMI/ GOST / C-tick / CCC / KCC
20+4 Pin MB x1 4+4 Pin CPU 12V x 1 6 Pin PCI-e x1 SATA X5 4 Pin Peripheral x3 4 Pin Floppy x1
100-240V~ 7-3.5A 60-50Hz
Now that we got basic information out of the way, lets take a closer look at GX 450.
The GX 450 packaging is pretty simple but yet very informative. As always Cooler Master packaging is very clean and comes with a clear wrap around it. On the front of the packaging we found some signature features regarding GX 450. GX 450 offers Single +12 V rail for up to 35 Amp, High Efficiency of 85% and 5 year warranty. Most of the technical data we found on the back of the box.
On the back of the box we found some helpful information about GX 450 such as high reliability of mean time before failure which is greater that 100k hours. This means you can run your media server for about 11 years none stop. I can't imagine anyone doing that for any reason what so ever but its nice to know this unit is designed for maximum reliability. The total output of this power supply is 450Watts so don't expect to run and crazy computer graphics as you might be lacking in power.
Easy to open
Out of the box
It didn't take long to unpack the GX 450 as it only took few seconds and everything unveiled in front of us in a neat manner. GX 450 comes with instructional manual where you would find all of the detailed information about this unit as well as the installation guide of the power supply. GX 450 comes with a power cord and a set of four black screws for the installation of the unit. This power supply does not have module based connectors so all of the cables are nicely attached to the base unit itself.
There aren't many logos on this unit but we did found one big Cooler Master sticker on the side of the power supply. On the other side of the power supply we found some caution information and some detailed info about the specifications of GX 450. It is important to note that GX 450 is 80 plus certified.
120 mm fan
The construction of GX 450 is rather simple but yet its well build as it provides a solid structure for its components. On the back of the power supply as always we found the power plug and of and on switch for hard shut off. The whole unit is cooled down by a 120 mm fan which we look at closely in a bit. Lets take a look at some of the connections GX 450 has to offer.
As we have mentioned earlier all the cables are attached to the power supply so don't expect any modular cabling here. But not all is 'gray' here, all of the cables are neatly wrapped in to the meshed casting with heat shrink on the end of each spool.
CPU 12V connector
As you can see from the pictures the cabling is not that impressive but it definitely will get the job done in any media PC case. GX 450 comes with following connections: 20+4 Pin MB x1, 4+4 Pin CPU 12V x 1, 6 Pin PCI-e x1, SATA X5, 4 Pin Peripheral x3, 4 Pin Floppy x1.
PCI X Connector
So no matter what you are planning to run in your media server box, you will have enough connections for just about anything. Lets take a closer look at the some of the internal components in the GX 450.
GX 450 out of its shell
Internal heat sinks
Just a friendly reminder, by opening the case to the power supply you usually void any warranty that could be associated with the unit. In our case we are voiding warranty as well here. If you plan to open power supplies in the future please proceed with extreme caution as any error could cost you your life. GX 450 has few interesting features as we are going to look at the one by one.
First we would like to address the hybrid transformer. Hybrid Transformer is a special design transformer which improves thermal spread and efficiency. Patent design transformer mount with heat sink, the size of which was reduced by 25% is less than the traditional transformers. This new technology provides lesser energy consumption while conducting heat in much more efficient ways. What is worth of mentioning here is that GX 450 has Japan made capacitors.
Heat Transfer technology is another patent technology which could be found in GX 450. HTT or Heat Transfer Technology is an L shaped heat sink layout. This technology helps guide air flows along the heat sink to improve the air circulation with in the enclosure for maximum performance. Last but not least feature is Hyper Path. Hyper path is also a patent design which links between IC and the relative components. Patent energy conversion design path provides super efficient connection from the transformer to components. The signal can be transferred directly without any energy loss.
120 mm fan
Earlier in the review we mentioned that the GX 450 is cooler by a 120 mm fan. We took some shots of it to show you what exactly you could expect. This fan has brush less design which provides pretty decent cooling of the components while emitting very little sound. So you should expect a little or no sound while this unit is running. It is worth to mention that this fan is controlled via PWM which adjust fan speed depending on the load. The fan sits on a small rubber washers which helps to keep sonar levels down for the entire assembly.
Now that we got all of the pictionary information out of the way lets take a look at GX 450 under load.
ASUS P7P55D-E LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
XFX HD-477A-YDFC Radeon HD 4770 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
Here are UMLan we look at the power factors of the power supplies as we feel it is important to calculate it to get a close comparison to some of the other power supplies out there. If you are looking for a more detailed information on power supplies and their specific signals and power fluctuations you should look somewhere else. There are plenty of review sites which go in to the deepest details looking for that unstable spike and what not.
Our testing methods are simply but yet fair. We are going to be using Prime95 to load memory, cpu and power consumption of the motherboard to the max. Our reading are going to be presented to us by Seasonic PowerAngel. PowerAngel is a really helpful tool which helps to get pretty much all information about the current and power.
Power Angel Volts
Power Angel Amps
Maximum voltage registered was 115.5 volts and max current consumption was 1.33 amps.
Power Angel Watts
Power Angel Volt Amps
Total power consumption was registered at 143 watts and volt amps were registered at 154. Volt Amps calculated by taking total voltage and multipying it by total amps.
Power Angel Hertz
Power Angel Power Factor
Just as expected the frequency of the power is timed at 59.9 Hz. This is very common among every power supply. What is really helpful here is that Power Angel provides power factor of the unit which is connected to it. The power factor of GX 450 was recorded at 0.92pf or 92%. Power Factor is calculated by following formula: Power Factor = Watts/Volts x Amps
Power Angel Kilo Watt per Hour
So in the end the only question we had was how much money is this set up going to run us per month considering this media server would run at 100% load. With Power Angel help we found out that this set up uses around 336 KWH. Current energy price in our location is 0.031 cents per KW. So by doing a quick math we end up with 10$ 41 cents. Not bad if you think about it on a monthly basis.
Power Factor = Watts/Volts x Amps.
Volt Amps = Volts x Amps.
Ultra X3 600W
Antec Earthwatts 500W
OCZ ProXStream 1000W
Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro 750W 850W
OCZ GameXStream 850W
Seasonic M12 700W
Kingwin Absolute Power ABT 600CW
Seasonic S12 500w
We have also included a comparison graph of some of the power supplies and their technical readings for your pleasure.
Today we looked at Cooler Master's GX 450 power supply. GX 450 is what I like to call an entry level power supply. This unit would be perfect for desktop applications or media server as we found no issues with power or performance of this unit. As Cooler Master releases GX 450 in to the wild we also see some of the newest patented features. While testing the unit, GX 450 operated very quietly as it is cooled by a single 120 mm fan. It is worth to mention mean time before failure which is estimated to be over 100k hours. With 5 year warranty this unit should not leave anyone with a doubt as it will operate as designed for years to come. From our testing data we figured out that with current energy prices you should expect an over all increase in your electric bill of about 10$ USD considering this power supply has to run in a similar configuration as ours and being loaded at 100% all the time. One thing we found inconvenient is the cables. GX 450 doesn't have any modular cables so if using this unit in a small media pc configuration, you might want to spend some time optimizing cable with in the case for better air flow. Our over all experience with GX 450 was a pleasant one and we would like to award it a solid 9/10.