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Date: May 22nd, 2006
Article by: Mike Carter (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Cooler Master
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PRODUCT INSTALLATION AND TESTING


 
The testbed for this PSU is as follows:


Intel P4 2.8c

Chaintech 9CJS motherboard

1gb (2x512mb) Geil DDR400

Sapphire Radeon X800GT 256mb video

Maxtor DiamondMax9 200gb HDD

Maxtor DiamondMax10 300gb HDD

Samsung DVD drive

Cooler Master iGreen 430w PSU


Testing involved running 3DMark2005 for several tests, plus several hours of Star Wars Galaxies, F.E.A.R., and The Elder Scrolls V: Oblivion.


Let's touch on the installation first.


As I mentioned, the iGreen 430 has just 5 Molex connectors. While this might not be an issue for some, it can be a definite shortfall for others. For an average behind-the-curve upgrader, this might not be enough. Two PATA hard drives, two optical drives, and one video card that uses a Molex is the extent of your connections. This leaves no connectors open for case fans, forcing you to use an aftermarket splitter, which is far from ideal. If you happen to have a newer video card that uses the PCIe connector, you can free up one Molex, but that still leaves a shortage of power plugs for “legacy” gear. I would prefer to see the floppy drive power connector jettisoned in favor of another Molex, and have a Molex to floppy adapter included in the box. Since most new systems don't even have a floppy drive, this would make more sense than having a useless connector hanging around inside your case. As it is, I had to jettison one of my HDD's to test the PSU. Obviously, the Molex shortage isn't an issue if you have new-ish SATA drives.


Once powered up, the iGreen performed admirably. As I noted before, Cooler Master claims a noise level of 17dB, and the unit certainly is quiet. With my test machine idling, I had to put my ear right next to the PSU to hear it over the noise of my video card fan. Under full load, the fan spins up to full speed, increasing the noise level. Even then, the iGreen is quieter than most PSU's on the market.


I was expecting to have some problems, due to the low total power. I'm happy to report that, even under full load, the iGreen provided ample power for my test rig. Random checks with my trusty voltmeter reported excellent voltages across the board:


+12v = 12.1v
+5v = 5.1v
+3.3v = 3.35v


These numbers fluctuated a bit under load, but not by a whole lot.


+12v = 12.2v
+5v = 5.1v
+3.3v = 3.32v


These are impressive numbers, right up there with the best units on the market, and in fact, are better than some. If it weren't for the lack of Molex connectors, I would have no problems running the iGreen in my main machine.


ABOUT THOSE POWER RATINGS, AND THE ODD LED ON THE BACK……..


Everybody is familiar with EnergyStar, or at least the logo. In a nutshell, Energy Star is a US Government rating that applies to products that meet the US government EPA standards for energy savings. Energy Star was responsible for developing the “sleep mode” you are familiar with on your computer, as well as the WOL (Wake On LAN) feature, which would allow you to put a computer “to sleep”, while ensuring that it would “wake up” and perform a specific task if needed.


Blue Angel is a German specification, which is even older, and has stricter requirements, including longer lifespans for electronic equipment. Cooler Master has earned this rating, by certifying the iGreen for an amazing 400,000 hours, compared to the Energy Star EPA rating of 50,000 hours. While it might not save you energy, it does go a long way toward ensuring that this PSU should last a LONG time.


Oh, and about that LED.


Cooler Master included the LED as a simple diagnostic tool. It will light up in the event of an over-voltage, under-voltage, or overheating issue. While not exactly accurate, it will tell you for sure that the cause of your system crash was due to the PSU, and not another component in your system. While not exactly useful, it is a nice touch, and if you remember to look behind your system when you get a BSOD or random reboot, you'll know that it's a PSU problem.

 

 


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