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Spire Rocketeer 500 Watt Power Supply

Spire Rocketeer 500 Watt Power Supply Article Author : bigal
Date : 03-17-2006
 

Testing

Like we did with the Antec True 480W PSU, I took measurements of the 3.3V, 5V, and 12V rails (two rails in this case, but I only measured one) during boot and then I did a 12V rail load test with the defrag and optical drive action. This time, our stability measurements were not quite as good, and overall, the Spire Rocketeer SP-500W PSU measured high on all voltages - basically a "hot" PSU. I measured the 3.3V @ 3.43V, the 5V @ 5.05-5.07V, and the 12V @ 12.41-12.45V during the boot process. Under load, the 12V rail dropped to 12.38-12.43V, giving a 0.6% variation. Not bad really, but not as good as the Antec True 480W PSU. Here are the 12V boot and load graphs:




You can see that the Spire Rocketeer SP-500W is running higher voltages, and there is a little more variance (ripple) in the voltage regulation.

Here's a link to a PDF file containing the graphs: http://www.bigal-computers.net/velocity-reviews/Meter-graphs-Spire-SP500W.pdf


Look Inside

With the testing complete, I decided that it might be nice to take a peek inside the Spire Rocketeer SP-500W PSU. So I pulled it out of my Unreal case (yes, I put the Antec True 480W PSU back in) and popped the cover. This is a nicely built PSU, with good separation and insulation. Two fans ensure that it won't overheat. One thing though. There are no ventilation holes in the back of the case, so there is a potential "dead air zone" in one corner of the circuitry. I have no idea why Spire didn't cut a few holes in the back for proper ventilation, but maybe it's associated with the dual fan airflow.



Look how nicely laid out the circuitry is inside the Spire Rocketeer SP-500W PSU.


Conclusion

Spire did a good job designing and assembling the Spire Rocketeer SP-500W PSU. It is visually stunning, it handles a typical computer loading without a problem, and it's cost is reasonable (but not cheap) at approximately $100 USD. However, there are a few concerns. My biggest issue is with the cables, because while they may look very nice, they are a beast to install and you really can't tuck them out of the way. Face it, these are nicely dressed cables, and they are meant to be seen. Next up is the 120mm fan noise. If you switch the fan on manually (using the green button on the back of the PSU), it's quite loud. I understand that the 120mm fan will automatically turn on and increase in speed as needed, but it never did that during my test. At least, I never detected that it did. If you want a very quiet PSU, then look elsewhere. Overall, this is a decent PSU. I would like to thank Spire for sending us a review sample.




Overall, a very classy-looking PSU. When powered up, the Spire Rocketeer SP-500W PSU looks sweet with the blue LED fan.



Pros (+):
  • The case and cables look excellent
  • Cables are modular - plug in the ones you need
  • Fairly stable outputs
  • Active Power Factor Correction (APFC)
  • 20+4 Pin
  • Auto Fan Speed / manual fan speed switch

Cons (-):
  • Routing modular cables is a real pain
  • Better voltage regulation can be found for similar money
  • Efficiency is only 75%, prefer at or above 80%
  • Prefer fan speed rheostat for fine manual adjustments
Overall


Features: 9.6
Performance: 8.4
Value: 8.0

Final Score: 8.7





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