Buying a Power Supply? Check out these Tips! (feat. Cooler Master MWE Gold 1250 V2 Unboxing)
Those who follow the channel’s live streams may have already seen that the workbench has a new power supply unit (PSU). Yes, Cooler Master sent us a “MWE Gold 1250 V2 Full Modular,” which, as the name suggests, is a 1250W power supply unit with an “80Plus Gold” certification and modular cables! 😀
Given the complexity and cost of acquiring the necessary equipment to test power supplies, this article will be limited to an overview of this product, tips on buying a PSU for your machine, and a look at the results obtained by the Cybernetics team. So, let’s get started!
Regarding the packaging, Cooler Master has opted for a purple and gray box, which are the signature colors that characterize the brand’s products. On the front, the box features a photo of the PSU, model identification, and some key specifications, such as the “80Plus Gold” certification, use of high-quality Japanese capacitors, and a reassuring 10-year warranty.
On the back of the box, there is a comprehensive list of changes that the manufacturer has made to this second revision of the PSU. For instance, the “V2” features a quieter 140mm fan, more power connectors, and a slightly higher maximum operating temperature. Notably, Cooler Master guarantees that the fan will remain off up to 40% of the load, which may significantly reduces the noise levels during idle or low loads.
On one side of the PSU, Cooler Master has listed the specifications of the MWE 1250W, including the fan model, typical efficiency, operating temperature, protections, regulations, available connectors, and a table showing the maximum current that each of the lines can support.
As a tip for those who need to buy a PSU, it’s important to note that the importance of the +3.3V and +5V lines has been significantly reduced in relation to the +12V line, which is now the main power source for CPUs and GPUs. As a result, the “total” power labeled by the manufacturer is typically the maximum power provided on the +12V line.
It’s worth noting that if the PSU you are considering includes the +3.3V and +5V lines in the “labeled power” sum, then it’s likely an outdated model, or the manufacturer is misleading you. In either case, it’s best to avoid such PSUs.
As previously mentioned, Cooler Master has opted for a fully modular cabling system in this PSU, which means that all cables, including the ATX 24-pin, are detachable. As for the conductors used, the PCI-E cables use 16 AWG + 18 AWG wires, while the other cables use 18 AWG.
Another point to note is that higher wattage PSUs tend to be slightly longer, which can be a problem for some cases, especially compact ones. That being said, it’s important to mention that the MWE 1250 V2 has a length of 18 cm.
Lastly, the PSU’s label displays its specifications, including the Active PFC feature. This means that it doesn’t require a voltage selector switch and can work with input voltages ranging from 100 to 240V at 50 or 60Hz.
As mentioned earlier, we do not have access to power supply testing equipment, and the number of professionals who have them has been decreasing, either due to the complexity involved in the work or because manufacturers are hiring these experts. An example is Jon Gerrow, also known for the website “Jonny Guru”, who works for Corsair.
This is a problem because even reputable brands sometimes slip up and release PSUs that are far from being good products. Therefore, it’s crucial to look for tests and reviews from people who have both the necessary equipment and expertise.
“But if you just said that there is a shortage of people who test PSUs, how does that work?” Not all hope is lost, as there is now a certification known as Cybernetics, founded by engineer Aris Mpitziopoulos, who until recently also wrote reviews for sites like TechPowerUp and Tom’s Hardware.
Just like the “80Plus”, Cybernetics also has a certification for the power supply efficiency tier, called ETA, which ranges from Bronze to Diamond. However, unlike the “80Plus”, they tend to be much more rigorous in their testing, with their methodology clearly explained on their website. In addition to the efficiency certification, there is also one for the noise level, called LAMBDA.
Another interesting point is that they provide a PDF document for each of the tested power supplies, which contains all the information about the test conditions, equipment used, and a list of all the components of the power supply. This is something that would also be common to find in a professional review.
You might be wondering: ‘That’s all great, but you said they only certify efficiency and noise?’ The thing is, they go beyond that. In this document, you can find not only the certification results, but also load tests ranging from 10% to 110%, ripple and voltage regulation for all lines, all of which are conducted using input voltage of 110V and 230V. This means that you have access to all the information that you would typically search for in a review, but without the explanatory text.
Based on the results presented in the Cybernetics document, it can be concluded that the Cooler Master MWE Gold 1250 V2 Full Modular is an excellent power supply. It was able to deliver the labeled power with excellent noise suppression (“ripple”), good voltage regulation with little variation in the lines regardless of the applied load, and good efficiency. However, it can be a bit noisy beyond 70% load (~870W DC), and it does not follow the ATX 3.0 specification, so an adapter is required if you want to connect a GeForce RTX 4000 to this power supply.
In any case, the main recommendation when buying a power supply is to look for professional reviews that use appropriate equipment and are conducted by qualified people. These reviews typically provide a summary conclusion on whether the product is good or not, simplifying the life of those who are not proficient in interpreting these results. However, in the absence of reviews, it is possible to check if the model is among the 1194 in the Cybernetics database. If it is, it is a good indication that the power supply in question has at least a minimum level of quality to receive the rigorous Cybernetics certification, which is an excellent filter against dubious products.