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05-11-2014


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Power supply unit CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS: review and testing

After testing efficient power supplies of standard SFX manufactured by CHIEFTEC (CHIEFTEC SFX-350BS and CHIEFTEC SFX-450BS), we of course, could not ignore the less powerful models. After all, not every mini-PC is based on the top-end components. Many compact models cannot even include a discrete graphics cards or low-profile energy efficient options. In such cases the power of aforementioned solutions (350 and 450 W, respectively) would be redundant. It is advisable to use a power supply that can provide a load of 200 - 250 W, for example, CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS. Only recently it was joined to the lineup of CHIEFTEC, so did not had time to appear on the shelves of local stores. But, apparently, the price tag would be quite attractive.

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

The specs:

Model

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

Type

SFX

Nominal capacity, W

250

12V channel power, W

220

+3,3V and +5V lines power, W

80

Number of +12V lines

1

Outputs, А

+3,3V

14

+5V

15

+12V

18,5

-12V

0,3

+5VSB (stand-by power line)

3

PCIe-sockets

No

NVIDIA SLI Ready / AMD CrossFire Certified

No

Modular

No

Efficiency factor, %

>85

80 PLUS

No

Power factor, %

>90

Method of Power Factor balancing

Active

Input voltage, V

230

Frequency, Hz

50

Input current, А

3

Fan size, mm

80 х 80 х 15

Fan speed controller

yes

Noise level, dB

Up to 25,5

EMI/EMC

CB, TUV, CE, ErP 2013

Protections

OVP, UVP, OPP, SCP

Compliance of RoHS (low content in the solder of lead and cadmium)

Yes

Dimensions, mm

100 х 125 х 64

Packaging

No

Warranty, years

2

Producer’s website

CHIEFTEC 

Protections

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

Packing, delivery set and design

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

Power unit CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS is shipped in OEM-version, i.e. without packaging, which slightly reduces its final cost compared to the box version. The power cord and mounting screws should be purchased separately.

Like other solutions of format SFX, this model has a very compact size only 100 x 125 x 64 mm. Therefore, it is obvious that the main areas of use of this power supply will be a mini-PC, HTPC or modding projects. There are only several differences in design between CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS and senior units of the same series (CHIEFTEC SFX-350BS and CHIEFTEC SFX-450BS). It is still made of thick steel with a good processing quality and panels fit. In order to save the manufacturer it was decided not to cover it with an additional layer of paint that is characteristic of all OEM-solutions.

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

Configuration of vents also was not changed: perforation is present at the front and rear sides and at the cover, behind which is located a fan. All wires are soldered directly to the PCB and go out through a round hole. In principle, it does not create more discomfort when connecting devices inside the computer case. Moreover, the rejection of the modular system allowed a little more to reduce the final cost of the device.

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

Absence of braids on output cables also is not a surprise: it is a standard practice for OEM-solutions. Main power connector has the following configuration: 20+4-pin ATX and 4-pin ATX12V. PCIe connectors are available. We cannot say that that's a very big drawback for the device with capacity of 250 W, but the presence of at least one such connector obviously would not be unnecessary. On the other hand, we can understand the logic of the manufacturer. After all, most of the mini-PCs are not equipped with discrete video accelerator but use the capabilities of the graphic core. And if the user installs a dedicated graphics card, then in most cases it is energy-efficient solution, which would be enough to power through the PCI Express x16 slot on the motherboard.

 As for the other connector, they are enough to power the all the basic device within a compact housing. Although the presence of an additional pair of SATA connectors still would not be unnecessary. Still today they are more relevant than PATA. If we start from the capabilities and destination of the model CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS, then the configuration of its cables can be considered as good.

Socket type

Quantity

Cable length to socket (connectors), cm

Cables output directly from the power supply unit

20+4- pin power connector ATX

1

32

4- pin power connector ATX12V

1

32

Two sockets PATA and one FDD

1

32-47-62

Two sockets SATA

1

32-47

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

Now let's take a closer look at the technical characteristics of the power supply. Its rated power is 250 W. Channel +12V is performed as a single line with a load capacity up to 18.5 A (88% of total capacity). Obviously, with such indicators it is no sense to divide it into the virtual lines. And for modern components one powerful channel +12V is the preferred solution. Channels +3.3V and +5V have a maximum total power of 80 W and capable of withstanding a load of 14 A and 15 A, respectively. For components of mini PC this value will be sufficient.

Model CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS did not pass certification on compliance with Directive 80 PLUS, however, to supply systems with 230V the level of efficiency can reach 85%. At least, it can be learnt from the logo with the inscription «85+ 230V only» on the label.

Also worth noting is that the power supply unit is designed only to work in electric network with voltage 230 V. It is obvious that small deviations from this value will not affect the stability of its operation.

Internal device

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

The process of dismantling the power supply is the same as in the case with ATX-solution: you need to unscrew the two fixing screws on the top cover. Please note the presence of a special sticker with the inscription «Warranty void if removed».

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

To cool internal components is used low profile 80mm fan GLOBE FAN S0801512M. It is based on sliding bearing and it is a standard option for power supplies in this class. Recall that the fan is used in a more productive model CHIEFTEC SFX-350BS with capacity of 350 W. So there are reasons to believe that it will easily cope with the task. Although, of course, much still depends on the settings of the system fan control. In any case, the potential at the power supply unit CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS on the part of the cooling performance is definitely present.

Fan

GLOBE FAN S0801512M

Bearing type

slider bearing

Supply voltage, V

12

Current, А

0,13

Capacity, W

1,56

Max rotation speed, rpm

2500 ± 10%

Air flow, CFM

32,14

Noise level, dB

Up to 25,5

Dimensions, mm

80 х 80 х 15

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS is built on the common platform for models CHIEFTEC SFX-350BS and CHIEFTEC SFX-450BS (NO-754 REV-04). THe OEM-manufacturer is the company High Power (SIRFA). Therefore, in all three cases you can observe a general similarity in the internal layout. However at the level of the circuitry, of course there are differences.

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

It is noteworthy that despite such modest size of the device, it has a place for the input filter which smoothes the noise emitted by the network power supply, and a module for active power factor correction. All components are reliably isolated from each other. Diode bridge for rectifying the input current is represented by the assembly GBU805. Fortunately, it is under the fan, so should not overheat in such a "Spartan" conditions. Also do not forget that we are dealing with a power supply with capacity of only 250 W, while the element is designed for much larger load.

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

We could not identify the manufacturer of high-voltage circuit capacitor. We can only indicate its specifications: 400 x 120 uF. The maximum operating temperature is stated at 105°C, which gives us confidence in its quality and can hope for a long life.

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

Unfortunately, due to the very dense arrangement we could not consider the marking many power cells so in some cases we can describe only a general arrangement of a particular node. However, these data will allow to draw definite conclusions about the level of circuitry and in the future - more correctly analyze the results during testing.

First of all, we note the presence of two relatively large aluminum radiators with branching at the top, so they should cope well with heat from the power elements. The first one has the main keys of main adapter and components of module APFC. Near you can see a small circuit board with focused logic, that controls the operation of the power supply.

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

The second radiator is installed in the low-voltage side and used to cool the diode arrays (one for each channel) involved in the rectification of output voltage. Voltage supply stabilization is organized by group principle: a separate choke for the line +3.3V and common for channels +5V and +12V. This configuration is quite typical for the power supply of the standard SFX. As we can see, the use of more advanced circuit design based on DC-DC-converters and separate stabilization method is still a great luxury for them. While, on the other hand, we can hope for a fairly attractive price tags on the device of this kind.

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

The node filtering output voltages has installed capacitors of Taiwanese Teapo. Judging by the reviews of radio amateurs, their quality is average. Note that all elements of the series belong to the high-temperature series (105°C).

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

According to the technical specifications, power supply CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS has the following series of protections: OVP, UVP, OPP and SCP. It is a pretty good indicator for such solutions. The node based on the chip supervisor Weltrend WT7502V.

Testing

Cross-load characteristics

According to the norms of the standard ATX12V, the permissible range of voltage deviations for all the supply lines is ± 5% of their nominal value.

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

CHIEFTEC SFX-250VS

During cross-load tests the main supply lines had the following voltage deviation:

  • line +3.3V: from -4% to + 3%;
  • line + V from -4% to 2%;
  • line + 2V from -4% to + 3%.

Stabilization voltage node copes well with its task. In all three cases the deviation voltage does not exceed the permissible limits. The maximum drawdown on the most popular line +12V during the experiment was fixed at level of 4%. That is, the value is not limit and during operation in the actual configuration it won’t have any problems.


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