What are Power Supplies?
The abbreviation PSU stands for Power Supply Unit and any PSU used in today's PC systems is a Switching Mode Power Supply (SMPS). A PSU is the vital part of a system, since it's the one that feeds power to the other components (CPU, VGA, HDD, etc.) If it stops supplying power, for any reason, then nothing else will run since there will be no power to the system. In case of damage to the PSU, there is a possibility that other components may be damaged, too. This is a fact that unfortunately many users ignore, otherwise they would first buy a decent PSU for their systems and then with the leftover money would invest on the rest of the components. Unfortunately, usually the opposite happens since many users acquire all other components and leave the PSU purchase for last.
What is Efficiency?
The efficiency of a PSU (and not only) is defined as useful power output divided by the total electrical power consumed. For example if a PSU "draws" 100 W from the socket and provides 90 W or power on its rails, then its efficiency is 90 W / 100 W = 90%. The efficiency in a PSU isn't constant through out its entire operational range, meaning that there is a significant efficiency variation depending on the load. Usually PSUs achieve higher efficiency under typical loads, which are within 40%-50% of their max-rated-capacity.
What does the ETA energy certification acronym stands for?
Eta (uppercase "Η", lowercase "η") is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet. The efficiency of a PSU is typically denoted by the Greek letter small Eta (η - ήτα). This is why we decided to call our efficiency certification program, ETA.
What does the Lambda noise certification stands for?
Nothing in particular. We just wanted to use a Greek letter to name our sound level certifications and we chose Lambda (uppercase "Λ", lowercase "λ"; Greek: Λάμ(β)δα lam(b)da), which is the 11th letter of the Greek alphabet.
Our Efficiency and Noise Level certifications are only for PSUs?
The efficiency certifications are only for PSUs and besides normal desktop units, we can also certify redundant server units. The sound level certifications for the moment are only for PSUs, however we plan in the near future to support other PC component categories as well (e.g. VGAs, NAS, cooling solutions, etc.)
Why somebody would want a silent PSU?
Many of you probably believe that a PSU's noise cannot affect the overall noise of a PC system, however our experience proves that this doesn't stand. Some PSUs are equipped with very strong and noisy fans and if the fan control circuit is badly tuned, then the outcome will be hard for your ears especially under tough conditions.
What are the benefits for manufacturers, retailers, consumers and environment?
An efficient PSU only lets small amounts of energy go wasted, something that is highly beneficial for the environment, besides the consumers' pockets. Moreover higher efficiency means that less energy is converted to heat, in the PSU's internals, so the cooling system has to deal with lower thermal loads.
Why someone should acquire ETA and LAMBDA certifications?
As we see it, through the ETA and Lambda certifications the manufacturers and companies are awarded for their efforts to create efficient and silent products. On the same time, the consumers are informed about the products that interest them, so they are fully aware about their efficiency and sound level outputs.
What testing equipment do you use?
We only use state-of-the-art equipment which is depicted in the corresponding scheme. We have invested in the same equipment that most high-quality labs around the wold use and besides upgrading it as often as possible, we also maintain it in frequent intervals. We don’t settle with anything that is second-class but we always thrive to use the best available equipment, since we do believe that besides knowledge and experience, good and reliable equipment is the key factor to accurate measurements.
How is it possible to run all your tests automatically and try so many different load combinations, while on the same time log all results?
Our high-end equipment is fully controlled by a software suite which was developed by the founder of the company several years ago. This piece of software went through many upgrades and countless hours of real-life testing till it reached its final stage, in which it allows every customization the operator needs and offers limitless abilities when combined with the proper equipment. While most labs are based on manual methods or in the best case scenario on commercial programs, we choose to write our own code that addresses our specific needs, something that allows us to be more productive and above all better in what we do.
How many connectors of a PSU do you use?
Our breakout boards allow the connection of up to ten (10) PCIe connectors and two (2) EPS ones, along with four 4-pin peripheral connectors and a single SATA one. This way we make sure that the voltage drops on cables are minimised even in high capacity units, so our results have increased accuracy.
Where do you conduct the Voltage measurements during the tests?
As the ATX spec defines, we take our voltage measurements directly on the PSU’s connectors (on the PSU's side) through a set of special designed probes. This way we are able to determine with great accuracy the voltage drops on the power cables. We connect the remote sense cables of our Chroma loaders the same way, in order to ensure that the applied loads are correct and consequently the efficiency readings are accurate.
How long does it take for a PSU to be tested?
The turn around time usually is 1-2 weeks, depending on the work load. In general we give our best to finish all tests the sooner the possible, but without compromising in any case our testing procedure's reliability.
How many evaluation samples you require?
We usually ask for two. In case we fall into any kind of trouble with the first one, to be able to continue the certification process without any further delays.
Why prefer ETA and Lambda certifications among other testing methodologies and why join with the Cybenetics.com?
While all the rest efficiency certifications are based on much simpler methodologies, we make sure to provide a PSU's overall efficiency through-out its entire operation range. This is something that nobody else offers. Moreover, we also test rigorously the 5VSB rail along with the standby power that the unit consumes. Finally, to the best of our knowledge we are the only lab so far that provides an overall noise rating for PSUs, through the corresponding Lambda certification. We believe that it is of high importance for any user to know a PSU's noise rating, besides its efficiency levels.
Do you plan to certify redundant PSUs in the future?
We definitely plan on doing this, once we prepare the requirements for the corresponding certifications and modify our control/monitor program according to the needs of redundant PSUs.
What about Efficiency & Noise Certifications with 230V input?
This is among our future plans as well.