In a veritable sea of PC power supplies, what makes one better than another? The first step is to skip the bargain bin. There are plenty of cheap unbranded power supplies that roll the dice on performance. That still leaves you with plenty of choices. My next step is to rule out any PSU that doesn’t meet the 80 Plus certification. In 2010 and beyond, there is just no excuse for a 65% efficient power supply.
I refine my options even further by passing on any PSU that has the white 80 Plus logo. The white version is the basic certification, with Bronze, Silver, and Gold above it. The bottom tier is one I would relate to an ‘Honorable Mention’ award. I won’t purchase a power supply unless it’s at least 80 Plus Bronze. It just so happens, that the Antec EA430 is Bronze certified. The Antec EarthWatts line of PSUs have been a mainstay since 2006, promising efficient operation and clean power. Antec itself began in 1986 in Fremont, California. Both its cases and its power supplies have been top sellers for years.
Solid Tip: There has been at least 3 versions of the EA430. Make sure you get the “EA430D Green.”
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Antec EA430 Solid Review
While not so well suited for a gaming or development machine, the 430 watt Antec does its job quite well. The price for this model has become very modest, and is perfect for the average home computer or, in my case, an HTPC (home theater PC).
There have been various revisions to this PSU. We will be looking at the latest version of the EA430D, which is green. It also features updated connectors for the latest motherboards.
Beyond saving money on the power bill (which this will do at 82% efficiency or higher), I have two important criteria. They are the level of noise and the level of heat generated. This PSU features a single 80mm low-noise cooling fan and it produces very little sound. For my HTPC application, the last thing I want is noise from a computer filling my living room. I was pleased not to hear anything when I turned it on. Since the EarthWatts EA430 does not draw wattage like high-end power hungry machines, it operates at very cool temperatures.
This power supply is not modular. If you are on-the-fence about modular, then I’ll say that hardwired connections are more reliable. That should make you more comfortable.
Length of connectors is important depending on your enclosure. The EA430 connectors are long enough to work in a full tower. I bundled up the extra length in my mid tower using the fancy zip-tie it came with.
This PSU features 5 SATA connectors and 4 molex connectors. Strangely, they mix these up on the same branches. However, I only thought it was strange until I needed it. It actually saved me the clutter of using another entire branch for one connector. Beyond SATA and molex, the unit provides two 4-pin connectors for mainboards and 1 PCI-E 6-pin.
Solid Tip: This PSU comes with no power cord. It’s pure genius. Antec says it’s for green computing, but it also saves them some spare change. I have tons of cords.
The Bottom Line
We can talk specs all day, but that’s all secondary to this PSU’s key benefits. It’s efficient, reliable, quiet, cold, and doesn’t cost much. Having the #1 seller’s name on it is just icing on the cake.
If you are building a new non-gaming rig, this power supply is a great little investment. Not only is it a great product, but it also lets you sleep better at night because you went the route of Green Computing. You can get yours from the link on the right. Solid.