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Power Supply Platforms Easily Explained


Manufacturers who build power supplies (Seasonic, CWT, Super Flower etc.) for companies who order them (Corsair, EVGA, others) usually don't spend their time and money to research an entirely new construction for every new power supply they are ordered to make. Instead, they often engineer just a few designs which perform on different levels, and try to reuse them in as many brands as possible, as far as the quality boundaries allow.

Example (fictional):

Let's say Corsair, EVGA and Rosewill order Seasonic to make one new semi-high quality power supply line for each of them. Seasonic may not design 3 new platforms from scratch. Instead, they can take one of their already-existing constructions (like Seasonic G) and use it in the new lines.

The result is creation of imaginary "Corsair GX", "EVGA SuperG" and "Rosewill Gsonic" lines. Each of them uses the Seasonic G platform inside, so it performs the same or very much similar. Corsair, EVGA and Rosewill can add their own ideas on top of it - a nice case, a different fan, braided or ribboned cables, semi fanless mode or what have you, but it's still going to be mostly the same power supply in different flavors.

Why it's useful + real world examples

Examining the power supply platform is essentially a way to quickly guess the performance of a power supply, if we don't have access to the tests. It can also serve as a way to see how many power supplies from different brands are, in fact, identical or very similar.
Take two power supplies, Rosewill Capstone 750M and NZXT Hale90. Some people may trust one more than another based on brand loyalty, recognition, price or other factors. When you see inside, you notice that these two units look pretty similar to each other.

Photo sources: Rosewill, NZXT. The overhead view hints greatly that they are both based on Super Flower Golden Green platform, so their performance should be very similar; it helps when you can't find any precise reviews at all. The platform is a very good hint, but can't entirely replace a full, standalone teardown and test. To determine the performance of this exact unit (and not base your judgement on the stock platform performance), as well as the exact components used, we'd have to find a complete teardown and accurate tests on good PSU review sites.
It's important to note that two power supplies utilizing the same platform don't need to be identical. To say that two units on the same platform are always "exactly the same" is a mistake. Companies that ordered a power supply on a certain platform have some wiggle room - they can change the capacitors, upgrade some components or modify the entire portion of the platform. Whenever possible, this website will inform if a platform is significantly modified.
Please be careful when saying that one power supply is "only a rebranded OEM unit" just because they utilize the same platform. Different units on the same platform may have modifications for reasons above. Sure, there are many cases when a unit is indeed a straight rebrand (and they are the majority), but many units have significant differences.

Isn't knowing the OEM name enough?

Is knowing who made the car ("Ford", "Audi"...) enough to evaluate its performance? Many people who want to identify a power supply simply stop on the OEM name, like "Seasonic" or "CWT" and make their opinion on that. It's not accurate to generalize "Seasonic makes better PSUs than CWT". To further help you with visualising how it works, here's a table with two easy to understand analogies with graphics cards:

Graphics cardsPower suppliesAccurate?
I can choose between ASUS Radeon X5 Turbo and Palit GeForce 123. Which one is faster?I can choose between XFX Core 550 and Thermaltake Gold X 550W. Which one is better?
ASUS is a better company than Palit, so it's faster.XFX is a better company than Thermaltake, it will be better.Wrong - company names tell nothing about performance
nVidia makes faster GPUs than AMD, so choose GeForce.Seasonic (XFX OEM) makes better PSUs than CWT (Thermaltake OEM), so it's better.Wrong - manufacturer name alone doesn't tell performance
ASUS Radeon X5 Turbo uses Radeon R9 280x GPU, while Palit GeForce 123 uses GeForce 660 GPU.XFX uses Seasonic GB platform, while Thermaltake uses CWT PUQ-G.Now we can guess the performance.
Radeon R9 280x is much faster than GeForce 660. Go for Radeon.CWT PUQ-G performs lots better than Seasonic GB. Go for Thermaltake. (but read a review first)
Graphics cardsPower suppliesUseful info?
Hey! How good is the new ASUS Venus R8 graphics card?Hey, how good is Corsair HX650?
No clue... who makes the graphics chip?I don't know, check the OEM.
It's made by AMD.It's made by Seasonic.Nothing specific!
Which graphics chip did they use?Which platform did they use?
The chip from Radeon R9 280X. Cool, it's fast!The Seasonic G platform. Great, it performs very good!Performance!
Great, now go check the reviews for the ASUS!Nice, now read a review about the HX650!
I see, ASUS just added a third fan!I see, Corsair added a semi fanless mode!Custom modifications!