Antec 80 Plus Power Supply

My desktop computer at home for years has had an Antec True 380W Power Supply.  It’s worked well and I’ve never had any problems.  Recently, I became interested in 80plus Power Supplies, and wondered if I could save significantly with one.  I found that Antec is now producing a 80plus version of the same power supply I already had, so this made for a perfect comparison.  Last week, I upgraded to the Antec Earthwatts 380W Power Supply!

SilentPCReviews has a great review of the Antec True Power Supply.  Their tests show that it’s efficiency is somewhere between 65-68% for the loads my machine is currently using.  According to the 80plus report for the Antec Earthwatts, it is ~82% efficient.  Given that, I expected to see about a 20% improvement.

To measure, I bought myself a great tool, called the Kill-A-Watt.  I highly recommend you get one if you don’t have one already.  It cost about $23, and it’s been great for hyper-analyzing every appliance in the house. 

I then ran some basic tests and here is are the measurements  that my computer used at idle and peak loads:

  Antec 380W True Antec 380W Earthwatts Savings
Idle Load 120W 83W 31%
Peak Load 214W 156W 27%
For my final test, I used my computer normally for a week, and then measured the cumulative kilowatt hours consumed.  With the ‘normal’ 380W True power, I used 15.43KwH.  After a week with the Earthwatts power supply, I have only used 9.97KwH, a savings of 35%.  I didn’t keep track of the hours of usage, but I believe the two weeks were similar.  Certainly the savings is in-line with what I measured.
To conclude – I couldn’t be more pleased!  I’m saving significantly more than projected, and given that my price for electricity is at $0.22/KwH, I hope to save about $4.80/month.  And – given that the cost of the new power supply was only $5 – that’s the deal of the year!

3 thoughts on “Antec 80 Plus Power Supply

  • February 6, 2008 at 11:03 am

    One thing I’ve always wondered about energy efficient upgrades is what’s the best time to do them?

    Given that you now have to dispose of a perfectly good though less-efficient power supply, was it really worth converting an existing PC? Obviously, from a financial standpoint, this was the correct decision.

    But if your goal is to “Save the Environment”, is it better to use up what you already have and then replace it with something even better?

    Do you throw away all your incandescents at once and replace them with compact fluorescents? Or do you replace them as they burn out?

    (Personally, I’m having really bad luck with CFLs. Of the 19 I’ve put into service, 11 lasted less than one year. I’m replacing CFLs far more often than incandescents, even though my incandescents far outnumber my CFLs. Disposal-wise, an incandescent is a little bit of metal and a little bit of glass and they go in the regular garbage pickup for zero incremental cost. CFLs have more metal, more glass, plus ceramics and gases–including mercury vapor. I have to save them up, then drive them down to the hazardous waste center at the cost of a couple bucks of gasoline.)

  • February 6, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    Fair comments.

    Every product built has many effects on the environment:
    – energy & materials required to build the product
    – energy & materials required to dispose of the product
    – landfill artifacts if it goes to the dump
    – other environmental concerns for heavy metals or chemicals which require special disposal.

    I have no idea how to factor those into an overall “environment factor”. One of the big reasons I voted for McCain is because he is the one candidate that wants to ship the contents of American landfills to Iraq and then just nuke the whole place. Two birds, one stone.

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