Today I want to shed some light into Antec’s power supply development and the ideas behind the series and products we have brought to market over the years. Antec has been the market leader in power supplies and computer chassis for a long time, and this is due to our wide range of products for every segment and budget.
Here’s a breakdown of our power supplies and the markets they cover.
A graphical representation of our PSU product lines and market segments. Click to enlarge.
We divide up the vast number of series according to application & customer base and of course performance & efficiency. Earthwatts Green, for example, is targeted at system integrators and is therefore equipped with 80 mm fans and boasts an efficiency rating of 80 PLUS® Bronze. The rest of the entry level power supplies come with 80 PLUS Standard certification or none.
The mainstream power supplies sport 80 PLUS Bronze certification throughout. The NeoECO series is targeted at entry-level retail customers and is only available in certain areas with certain customers. Even at its budget-friendly pricing, it comes with 80 PLUS Standard certification. The High Current Gamer series is our mainstream power supply series that caters to customers who want excellent performance but don’t need modular cables. The TruePower New series features rock-solid performance with hybrid cable management.
In the high-end segment we offer the High Current Pro series, which delivers maximum performance, highest efficiency and best compatibility. The entire High Current Pro series is certified 80 PLUS® Gold and was introduced in Q4 of 2010. The TruePower Quattro is the number one choice in 2010 for overclockers worldwide, featuring 80 PLUS efficiency and hybrid cable management.
Technologies and the choice of components
When Antec starts developing a new power supply series, the team first determines the segment in which the series will be located. The market segment into which the PSU will be placed determines what the product will look like and what technologies it will be based on. Antec operates a research & development center in Taipei, Taiwan where I am actually based as well. Besides local marketing and sales people, we also employ a few engineers here who work on new power supplies and ensure the quality of existing products. These engineers develop new power supplies for Antec together with the engineering teams at our contract manufacturers and exchange more than just a few capacitors. This gives us a huge advantage over the competition; we can directly work on making products more reliable while maintaining excellent performance.
In the development stage, we choose only the best components possible within the budget that the project allows. For example, we test different choices when it comes down to capacitors, and in most cases we choose Japanese brand polymer or electrolyte capacitors. Some of the entry or mid-level offerings sport Taiwanese brand capacitors. They offer, if well chosen and tested, the same durability and are then in no way worse than Japanese brand caps, while offering a much better pricing.
The internal components of a power supply. Don't try this at home.
Even after a platform is developed and equipped, we still test different options for components. When the power supply finally goes through the pre-production stage, we rigorously test each of these units again for any flaws and ways in which we could enhance the performance. For example, all of our high-end units feature 450V bulk capacitors. This is something you don’t often find in PC power supplies simply because it’s expensive and companies prefer saving cost on this end. Why are 450V capacitors important? The voltage at this point in the power supply is around 400 volts. You will mostly find 400V or 420V capacitors today, but what if the voltage fluctuates? This could happen in any country but is most prominent in countries with an unstable power grid. The capacitor would run on max all the time and would suffer a decreased life expectancy. Or take countries with a low input voltage like Japan or the United States for instance. Power supplies have an increased stress level in these countries, so a capacitor with higher voltage such as 450V will run the platform with ease.
This gives Antec a unique advantage over the competition, something we are very proud of.