June isn't normally
the time that I start planning the blue
print for my next system build. However, the release of the 200 series video cards from nVidia
got me a little anxious. My own plan is a pair of GTX 280's for some SLI action. As we've seen on the 9800 series cards, the power requirements
aren't exactly small and they've thrown yet another connector type at
us. The PCI Express plug has been given a couple extra pins bringing to total
now to eight. So far, only the high end video cards will need the extra 8-pin
connector, but if you're in the market for a new high-capacity power supply,
it's a good idea to future proof.
If you're still holding on to that sub-500
watt ATX original, it's probably time to start looking for a new power supply. Tuniq has a couple of units to choose from and we're going to look at this one
first. It's called the Ensemble and it's a 1200 watt unit with all the
latest in power supply alphabet soup.
These days, we demand more than just
power. Most of us prefer a quiet PC experience and the Tuniq aims to deliver
with 30dbA fan noise under 100% load condition. In addition, the Ensemble's fans
will continue to operate even after the PC is turned off which allows cooling of the power supplies internal components.
With the focus on
a Green PC and sky rocketing energy bills, High Efficiency power supplies are gaining
momentum. Manufacturers are highlighting their units abilities to maintain high
efficiency even under full load. Tuniq claims the Ensemble will achieve a
minimum of 82.3% at full load with an average efficiency of 86%. If
you're interested in the awards and certifications process for
appliances that can maintain 80% (or higher) efficiency,
over to the 80plus.org website.
Power Factor Correction (PFC) is a
very important component in a quality power supply. Active PCF is the most
desirable as it uses electronic components to monitor the utility voltage
and controls the load circuits accordingly to help reduce the bucks and the
boosts which would be evident with only simple passive filtering alone.