Tuniq Potency 550W PSU

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Product: Tuniq Potency 550W 80 PLUS Certified PSU
Provided By: Sunbeamtech/Tuniq
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Introduction:

While many readers of BCCHardware have some of the latest and greatest gear, there are probably many more readers that have mainstream hardware and don't need to power their systems with a 1000W PSU.  Many computers are built with mainstream components and can run just fine on a mainstream PSU.  Today we are taking a look at the Tuniq Potency 550W 80 PLUS SLI-Certified PSU to find out if it's solid enough to keep a mainstream system up and running.  As usual, we'll be loading up this PSU and reading rail stability with a Digital Scope so you'll know exactly what you're getting.  Let's jump right in!

 

Packaging & Bundle:

The Tuniq Potency 550W comes well packaged in a nice attractive box brandishing the 80 PLUS and SLI "Ready" logos.  While the specs of this PSU state that it is SLI Certified, the sticker only claims to be SLI Ready - we'll explore that in more detail later.  Although not pictured below, the box has the PSU specifications located on the back for the convenience of the consumer as well as a list of all the available connections on the PSU.  This is handy for anyone shopping for a PSU as you won't get as many surprises when you open the box.

Tuniq PSU Box
Tuniq PSU Box

 

This 550W PSU is one of the smaller units we've seen for a while and though it is smaller is output, it maintains a standard ATX PSU size.  It comes pretty well packaged and includes everything we've come to expect with a PSU.  It includes a power cable, some screws and even some zip ties.  Tuniq also throws in a Molex to SATA Y adapter if you need more than 4 SATA connections in your system.

 PSU In The Box
PSU In The Box
PSU Bundle
PSU Bundle

 

Tuniq Potency 550W First Look:

This PSU has a pretty standard appearance for today's PSUs.  It is cooled by a large 120mm fan that spins quite slow and is very quiet - near silent under all circumstances.  We couldn't detect any additional noise to the system when we added this PSU.  The backside has the traditional honeycomb grill over the entire unit.  There is a power switch and the standard PSU cable connection.  This PSU is auto switching and can operate between 100v and 240v so it should work in pretty much any country with "Hydro" (as they say out east). 

PSU Fan
PSU Fan
 PSU Rear
PSU Rear

 

Tuniq has opted out of the modular design and has all of the cables hardwired to the PSU.  They are sleeved with nice flexible material and all of the leads are quite supple.  When bundled up for shipping the cables look quite manageable, but when they are splayed out prior to installation, you get an idea of the rat's nest that has to be managed.  This can be difficult in smaller cases and is why I love modular PSUs now more than ever.

 PSU With Cables
PSU With Cables
 PSU Cables Strung Out
PSU Cables Strung Out

 

Before we tear this Tuniq 550W Potency PSU apart, we'll take a look at some of the features and specifications of this PSU.


Features & Specifications:

As of late there has been a few companies that have branded their PSUs with "SLI Certified" logos that weren't actually certified.  We decided to see if this feature was accurate so we went over to the SLI Zone and were not able to find the Tuniq Potency 550W PSU in any list for any SLI setups.  While I don't believe that an "SLI Certified" PSU is better than one that isn't actually certified, Tuniq either needs to remove the "Certified" sticker or make sure that NVIDIA puts it in their list.  On Tuniq's product page, they state that this PSU can handle a 9800 GX2 which is almost a real SLI setup, but nowhere on the SLI Zone is it mentioned that we can find.

 PSU Label
PSU Label

 

 

The values on the label look pretty good and Tuniq is quite conservative with their "Total Power" rating based on the amperage available to each rail.  Simple math says that the 3.3v and 5v rails should actually be capable of 207.5W.  The combined wattage of both +12v rails is 600W max and the -12v and +5vsb is 16.1W.  Total max output is theoretically 823.6W, and the conservative 550W rating of the entire unit should be pretty accurate.  Tuniq has rated this PSU at 80 PLUS and even it if is around 75% efficient, it should be able to fulfill the requirements on the 5v and 12v rails.  Even though we add the match to exceed 800W, Tuniq states that maximum total power is 550W and we have to treat and evaluation this PSU in this light.

Features:

  • 80 PLUS Certified
  • SLI Certified
  • Active PFC
  • Support 9800 GX2
  • Full Circuit Protection (OCP/UVP/OVP/SCP/OLP)
  • Silent 120mm Sleeve Bearing Fan
  • 3-year Warranty
  • Size:140mm * 150mm * 86 mm

 

Spec:

MODEL : PSU-POT550-BK PSU-POT550-EUAP-BK

AC input

100V~240V, 10A, 50~60Hz

DC Terminal Current(A)

DC Terminal Current

+5V

3.3V

12V1

12V2

-12V

+5Vsb

25A

25A

25A

25A

0.3A

2.5A

Max combined Wattage

150W

450W

3.6W

12.5W

Total Power

550W

 

Connectors:

1 * 20+4Pin Mainboard
2 * PCI Express (1 * 6Pin, 1 * 6+2Pin)
1 * 4Pin Molex Y Cable
4 * 4Pin Molex
1 * 4Pin FDD
4 * SATA
1 * 8Pin EPS12V
1 * 4Pin P412V

 

On the next page we'll dive inside this PSU to take a better look at what makes it tick.


Inside the Tuniq Potency 550W:

As I grounded myself and prepared to pull the cover off of this PSU, I discovered that there weren't any "Warranty Void if Removed" stickers on the case or covering the screws.  This is the first PSU I've pulled apart that didn't have such a sticker.  Even though there wasn't a sticker warning about electric shock, I still made a mental note not to discharge any large capacitors with my fingers.  Once the case was opened I got a good look at the backside of the fan and the main layout of the PSU.

PSU Opened

 

There are a couple of large choke coils inside this PSU and a nice fat capacitor to help smooth out ripple and noise.  The heatsinks are pretty lean however, but for a 550W PSU, there is really no point in overdoing it as PSU should remain cool with such a small load.  In reality,I was hoping for something a little beefier inside, but if the components are efficient they won't generate a lot of heat.  In fact, this PSU looks a little heftier that other larger rated PSUs we've looked at in the past.  Even though the heatsinks are little more that small blocks of aluminum the large fan should take care of things.

 Fan And Guard
Fan And Guard

 

Notice that a portion of the fan is covered by a clear shield.  This is to help funnel airflow to where it needs to be as well as protect areas of the PSU from coming into contact with the fan.


 Open PSU
Open PSU
Inside Action
Inside Action
   
 Regulators
Regulators
 More Regulators
More Regulators

 

While some companies slap gooey thermal paste between the MOSFETs and the heatsinks, Tuniq uses a cleaner, less messy solution - frag tape.  This seems to work well without the mess.

 

Test Setup & Info:

In the past, we've prided ourselves on real-world testing.  For graphics cards, CPUs and memory, what matters is what takes place in real applications and games.  We also held that philosophy for PSU testing, but after a while, we realized that there is more to a PSU that being able to run a machine stable over a few weeks or months.  In reality, if there is a lot of ripple, this can damage sensitive traces on your $700 graphics card or $1300 CPU.  A multi-meter alone is not good enough to check PSU voltage stability.  It's for this reason that we've updated our PSU testbed, and will continue to improve the detail and quality of our PSU reviews.  That being said, we will still be testing the PSU in a system and will be including stress tests from real components in the real world.

We recently purchased a Tektronics TDS2002 60MHz Dual Channel scope and it has already become invaluable around the shop here at BCCHardware headquarters.  I've used it to troubleshoot everything from PSU's to Radars, and we are using it today to check the stability of the Tuniq Potency 550W PSU on the next page.


Testing - 185W & 478W: 

We initially plugged the PSU into an EZ PSU Tester 3 in order to power it on for our "idle" measurements.  As noticed below, the voltage rails were fairly stable with no load, but these aren't necessarily indicative of overall load performance.  According to our Kill-a-Watt, the power draw was 7W.  We thought these results would be interesting to include and compare with other power supplies to see how they manage a non-load situation, and how much power the PSU itself will draw.  

Just before we jump into testing it would be helpful to know what each of the +12v rails do.  As near as we can tell, one +12v rail handles the 24-pin, Molex and SATA connections while the other +12v rail works with the 4-pin/8-pin power connector and the PCIe rails.  While we don't have any documentation to back this up, we noticed that these two groups followed the same ripple, noise and average voltage readings.

The test system consisted of a QX6850CPU coupled with 4GB of DDR3 Crucial Ballistix Tracer memory, a single 8800GT, tons of fans and the powerful Coolit Freezone Elite CPU Cooler running at maximum power for the loaded test.  While there are two PCIe connectors on this PSU, they are daisy chained on the same line and we weren't able to power an 8800GTX and the Freezone Elite off this line.

 12v Line
12v Line
3v Line
3v Line

 

All of the rails managed to stay above their rated level and the lowest +12v rail dipped to a mere 12.3 even with a 478W load. The 3.3v line dropped to 3.38v, while the 5v line stayed rock solid and never fluctuated more than 0.01v.  Click the chart below for full details.

Ave Voltage

While the +12v rails looks high at 12.5v, keep in mind that they are only about 4% high and are well within specifications.  From top to bottom the voltage on any of the 12v rails never moves more than 0.2v or about 1.5%.  It's a very solid showing at our tested loads.  The 5v and 3.3v lines are equally solid and never fluctuate more than 1%.  The voltages on all of the rails are a little high, but remains rock solid.

Tuniq doesn't provide any additional information as to the ripple and noise specifications on this PSU so we assume they plan to follow standard ATX specs.  Standard ATX specifications state that the 12v lines must not exceed 120mv while the 3.3v and 5v lines must not exceed 50mv.  With that in mind let's take a look at the noise and ripple measurement.

Ave Ripple

 

The 12v rails stay within ATX spec according to our strict testing methods, although the +12v2 line hits 100mV average noise at a 478W load.  The 3.3v and -12v lines also stay with specification even though the 3.3v line scrapes under the line by 0.5mV at the 478W load.  The 5v line however runs high at all tests and never actually makes it under the 50mV requirement.  The system remained stable throughout testing however.  I realize that our test equipment is very precise and when we measure a 60mV ripple other sites may only measure 30mV or less, but we are keeping our setup consistent with previous reviews as this method has proven accurate.

 

Conclusion:

The Tuniq Potency 550W PSU is an adequate PSU for many systems today, but it's certainly not for extreme gaming rigs.  It is meant to be an upgrade to the crappy little "400W" PSU that shipped with your cheap imported case.  It seems to be pretty solid though and it had no trouble powering a fast Intel Quad Core CPU, a single graphics card and a high-end cooler.  Because both PCIe connectors are on the same line, it may be limited as to what cards it can power.  I'm grateful for the 6-pin/8-pin configuration of the connector, and if you have pretty much any single card in your system, this PSU should be able to deliver.

That being said, the lack of modular connectors make this PSU somewhat difficult to manage in smaller cases - like the NZXT Rogue for instance.  Also the 5v line runs a bit high in terms of noise and ripple and prolonged usage - or higher usage for that matter could cause long-term instability.  Overall, it's a nice choice for entry-mid level systems, but should be avoided by enthusiasts.  My final beef with this unit is that Tuniq states that it is SLI Certified, but nowhere can I confirm this at the SLI Zone.  Either it isn't certified or NVIDIA has dropped the ball on posting this on their site.  Either way, this discrepancy should be fixed.

Pros:

  • Looks good
  • Quiet PSU
  • 6-pin and 6-pin/8-pin PCIe connectors
  • Provides ample power for older gaming systems

 

Cons:

  • 5v rail runs a little wild on the noise/ripple test
  • Not sure if it's SLI Certified or if Tuniq has just added a sticker to the box for fun.

 

BCCRating

 

Tuniq has delivered a pretty solid PSU that can be had for under $70 if you shop around.  For that price, it's a decent value and provides enough power for many systems.  At 550W, it's not going to break the bank, your ears, or any records, but it's a nice unit regardless.

I'd like to thank Tuniq for sending this PSU our way.  If you have any questions, comments or general feedback, please feel free to post it in the forum at the "Comments" link below.