Power supply manufacturing
To efficiently use this website, you need to know four things:
- The majority of PSU brands like EVGA or XFX don't manufacture their own power supplies, just like ASUS or MSI don't manufacture the GPUs they put on their graphics cards.
- Brands like these reach out to manufacturers like CWT or Seasonic, who have their own factories and production capabilities.
- OEMs like CWT or Seasonic usually don't design a completely unique project for every power supply they are ordered to make. They have many "prebuilt" designs for different target price points.
- As a result, many power supplies from different brands on the market are manufactured by the same OEM, and also use the same design inside. Oftentimes they use exactly identical components save for things like the fan, colour, or cable configuration, which means they are internally the same power supply in different flavours.
Every OEM has a line of designs made for different price points. "Platform" isn't an official term, but it's a popular name for a given design that gets copied over and over again at the OEM's factory to make units for themselves, as well as other brands who asked for it.
It's not accurate to declare one PSU better than the other just because it's made by a more favourably regarded manufacturer, because they might be using a lower-end platform than the competitor. Obviously you can't say that every AMD graphics card is faster than any nVidia's one, because it depends on the particular model - it's the same story with popular PSU OEMs.
Examining power supply platforms is useful for simple reasons: if two units from different brands use the same design and the same components, then they will also perform on the same level. Like in graphics cards, all GTXes 760 are based on the same chip and have roughly the same performance in games.
Some platforms are so famous and versatile that they can be seen reused in a lot of units, all with the same basic components on the PCB:
Sometimes the OEM or the target brand can ask for certain changes to be made to the stock platform, before having it used in their new PSU line. Sometimes these changes are minor - like adjusting the fan profile - and sometimes significant. When it's known that the resulting design differs considerably from the stock platform, this site will inform so.
These changes most often include:
- Tweaking the fan controller and/or the fan for quieter operation or including a semi-fanless mode;
- Extra heatsinks in any place;
- Choice of capacitors on the primary side, secondary side and/or +5VSB supply;
- Tweaking the primary side transistors to achieve higher efficiency (often done to create a series of similar platforms with varying efficiency, e.g. different PFC FETs for 80+ Standard, Bronze or Silver);
- Modifying the primary side to adapt the unit for different input voltages (i.e. upgrading a 230V-only unit to a universal one);
- Converting a multi +12V rail unit into a single-rail one by shorting the +12V traces together by solder, disabling OCP in the protection IC, removing voltage shunts from the PCB, or soldering all +12V wires to the same island;
- Changing the components on the secondary side or adding a custom part in that place (usually invalidates using the results of other units on the same platform to gauge the performance of a unit modified in this way)
Power supply companies can ask the OEMs for a custom fan controller, a specific high quality fan, and the obvious things like cable configuration or shape of the casing. If they have their own team of engineers (like Corsair does, for example), they can also work together with the OEM to create a new, custom design from scratch.