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Does a Dual PCB layout have better airflow than a Single PCB?
Yes, it can. A Dual PCB layout usually features more internal space for components, creating a straight-through air tunnel with less air resistance.

Does capacitor mass affect the life span of a PSU?
Yes, capacitors are a major factor when it comes to the life span of your PSU. High-capacity, high-voltage, low-ESR capacitors can greatly improve your PSU's longevity. Also, Japanese capacitors tend to feature higher quality parts and build.

Does synchronous rectification to +12V increase overall PSU efficiency?
Synchronous rectification uses low-voltage MOSFET and, compared to general rectifiers, possesses lower on-state resistance. Therefore, synchronous rectification results in less loss and improved efficiency.

Does temperature affect your PSU's output efficiency and life span?
Temperate greatly affects the life span of many components in your PSU, including your capacitors, resisters and fans. Generally speaking, when temperature decreases 10°, your PSU’s life span will increase by about double. For example, if your output capacitor normally has a 3,000-hour life span at 105°, at 95° it will last 6,000 hours. However, for output efficiency, the same rule of thumb does not apply. Some PSU components achieve higher efficiency at lower temperatures, while others are the opposite.

For a copper cable's cross-sectional area of induction coil, is larger always better?
Generally speaking, yes. Induction coils are measured by inductance. With equal inductance, it is better to use thicker, enameled wire. And, similarly, with equal wattage, it is better to use a larger adaptor, larger induction coil or larger copper wire.

How can I be sure that a PSU with an 80 PLUS® logo really passed certification?
To avoid fraudulent certification, check the 80 PLUS® official website to see if the product is listed:

Sometimes, companies will change specs to pass certification. While it is difficult for users to identify these misleading PSUs, always choose well-known brands, do comparisons and read reviews.

How do I pick the right PSU for my project?
Numerous factors contribute to if a power supply is suited to a specific project. If you live in North America, you don't need a PSU with Active PFC. Your computer will draw a certain amount of power and need a certain amount of connectors and power rails, these things can all be calculated depending upon what hardware you are running. We recommend using the PC Apex PSU Calculator to determine how much power your setup will draw:

PC Apex PSU Calculator

How does a PWM fan affect PSU noise?
Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) fans can reduce maximum fan speed to within 15% and 100%. Meanwhile, traditional voltage-controlled fans only reduce to within 35% and 90%. Using a PWM fan at under 50% load will result in a significantly quieter PSU.

What are the benefits of a double layer PCB?
A double layer Printed Circuit Board (PCB) possesses several important benefits:
  • Increased copper foil area and decreased loss of mass current flow.
  • Wiring is made easier and components are better organized.
  • Protection against solder cracks from heavy components.
  • Lower EMI interference.

What are the benefits of DC to DC circuitry?
DC to DC modules possess important benefits regarding the stability of your PSU:

  • There is no minimum load for 12v, 5v and 3.3v. Since 5v and 3.3v are transferred from 12v, there is always indirect load to 12v from each. And because there is no min. load, there will not be compatibility issues with other systems.
  • The working frequency of DC to DC circuitry is higher than Magnetic Amplifier circuitry. Therefore, a PSU with DC to DC circuitry can provide more stable voltage to motherboard chipsets and memory.
  • The DC to DC module uses low voltage MOSFET which has low on-state loss. When transferring 12v to 5v or 3.3v, Magnetic Amplifier circuitry has 70 - 80% efficiency, while DC to DC can reach 90%.

What are the benefits of Double Forward Converter circuitry?
Double Forward Converter circuitry possesses several key advantages compared to Half-Bridge circuitry:
  • Higher Efficiency
  • Lower Failure Rate
  • Higher Wattage

What are the benefits of EMI filtering?
EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference) filters are a required circuit for PSUs, and in a good PSU the EMI filter is well designed. An EMI filter prevents PSU's electronic noise from interfering with other electronic devices, and vice versa. With poorer-quality PSUs, it is common for "noise" from the PSU to be noticeable computer monitors, TVs or radios in the form of static disruptions when turning on your computer.

What are the benefits of low ripple and noise?
Low ripple and noise have the following benefits:

  • Motherboard components are more stable; chip set and memory crashes are less frequent when interference of noise is lower.
  • Audio component output on your motherboard is purer when interference of ripple and noise is lower.
  • "Moire" and flicker effects on your display are minimal.
  • Disconnection and "choke" issues of WLAN/LAN are minimal.
  • For overclocking, the purer power from low ripple and noise is vital.

What are the different kinds of Cable Management?
There are generally three kinds of cable management systems a PSU can use, each with their own pros and cons:
  • Traditional PSU: All cables are connected directly to the PSU, including extra and potentially unused cables. The big advantage is these have the lowest wire-transmission loss. The disadvantage is cable clutter can be difficult to manage and causes a reduction in airflow that is crucial to system cooling.
  • Modular PSU: All cables can be unplugged from the PSU so only the necessary cables are routed through the case. Makes for the best cable management for the lowest airflow restriction but also causes the highest wire-transmission loss, meaning the voltage reaching the components might not be correct.
  • Hybrid Modular PSU: The latest layout looks for the best of both worlds by permanently attaching the core necessary cables (like the 24 Pin Motherboard cable) directly to the PSU and making the potentially unused cables modular. This usually allows for as good a cable management setup and easy airflow as fully modular PSUs since few projects don't require the core cables, but it also reduces wire transmission loss because of the directly attached cables.

What is "operating temperature" and how does this affect a PSU?
In general, a PSU's environmental temperature is around 25°C. Consequently that is the standard temperature at which most PSUs are tested and the rated power is determined. In a case, because of components like your CPU and video card, the operating temperature of your PSU will usually be higher. Therefore, unless otherwise noted, the actual wattage of your PSU will be lower. A good indicator of a quality PSU is if it has been tested and its power output rated at 50°C.

What is 80 PLUS® Certification?
80 PLUS® Certification is the most widely recognized independent standard in power supply efficiency. An 80 PLUS® certified PSU uses less energy and generates less heat to stay cooler, run quieter and last longer. 80 PLUS® certification lowers your operating costs and helps protect the environment. There are four levels of certification based on efficiency at varying operating loads:

Fraction of Rated Load:20%50%100%
80 PLUS Efficiency:80%80%80%
80 PLUS Bronse Efficiency:82%85%82%
80 PLUS Silver Efficiency:85%88%85%
80 PLUS Gold Efficiency:87%90%87%

What is Active PFC
Active Power Factor Correction improves the power factor value of the PSU by altering the input current wave shape. PSUs with Active PFC can achieve a power factor of 0.99, while PSUs with Passive PFC can only achieve 0.70, and PSUs with no PFC achieve less than 0.60. A higher power factor reduces transmission losses and improves efficiency for power companies, making Active PFC an important feature for the environment. Active PFC is crucial in countries outside of North America as it corrects unstable input power which can disrupt a computer system.

What is the easiest way to judge a PSU?
It's not always easy to tell whether a PSU is good or not, but here are a few tips:
  • Check for the unit's Maximum Output Wattage. If there is only a Peak Output Wattage, that is a sign it may not be a quality PSU.
  • Remember that the model number doesn't always correspond with the wattage, the listed Maximum Output Wattage is the only real indicator of that.
  • Look for both basic safety certifications (CL, FCC) and industry certifications, namely 80 PLUS®, NVIDIA™ SLI™-Ready, ATI™ CrossFire™, et cetera.
  • See if it has a strong manufacturer warranty that covers at least several years.
  • In what conditions was the PSU tested to determine its power rating? Most PSUs are tested at 25°C as the standardized temperature, but this is a far lower temperature than most PSU's will operate in and so their real world power output is lower than their rated output. If the manufacturer tests and rates the unit at 50°C, this will give you a better idea of the PSU's real performance. Also, the PSU should have been tested at 100% load, 80% load will give a very optimistic power rating that isn't accurate.

What is Universal Input?
Universal Input is another term for "full range". A PSU with Universal Input can be used in any country around the world within VAC90V~240V, without having to adjust the input power select switch.

When dealing with the cross-sectional area of your DC output cable, is larger better?
Generally speaking, yes. However, as with most performance products, cost/performance should be evaluated beforehand.

Will a DC to DC module at +3.3V & +5V stabilize the output voltage of +3.3V, +5V and +12V?
Yes, a DC to DC module can stabilize load regulation, and affects 3.3v and 5v more than 12v.

Will my PSU work outside of North America?
Yes, most power supplies will work outside of North America. All that is necessary is to change the 150V/220V switch on the pack to up to 220V and you should be all set. This is not a guaranteed answer but is known to work for most customers.