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The PowerMan 235 Watt And 300 Watt Supplies (from the InWin A500 review)

If you opt for either one of these units, you won't be disappointed. The 300 watt model is so sturdy that AMD has authorized its use with power hungry Athlon processors. The 235 watt model (FSP235-60GT) looks like a typical ATX supply in that it has a low voltage standby switch and a 3" fan. What's unusual, and another reason why I like it so well, is it's choice of power connectors. There are four branches (bundles) of long connector wires hanging out of the unit. The first one is the ATX connector, nothing extraordinary about that. Branch #2 has 2 full size and 1 small plugs on it. Branch #3 has 2 large plugs, and branch #4 has 1 large and 1 small plug. In total, this adds up to 5 large and 2 small plugs to distribute the power around the peripherals. There's plenty of plugs left for extra case fans, video card fans, and of course, the obligatory Plextor Combo. I hate those fiddly, unreliable splitters that so many systems have because the power supply lacks all the plugs necessary.

The 300 watt PowerMan (model FSP300-60GT) is quite the special piece. It simply reeks of quality and reliability when you first set eyes on it. The ATX connector is so long that you could plug it into a motherboard that's across the room (it's about 18 inches). Branch #1 is the ATX connector. Branches #2 and #3 have 2 large and 0 small plugs each. Branches #4 and #5 have 1 large and 1 small plugs each. The remaining branch is of an AT power connector. In total, this adds up to 6 large and 2 small plugs, one more additional large plug than the 235 watt version, but split up differently.

In Use Impressions

The newer InWin cases have eliminated copper MB standoffs. Now, raised "pimples" force the MB well away from the right side panel but care still must be exercised. The screws that fit into the center of the raised bumps effectively align the board with the peripheral slots and create a ground plane. After carefully mounting the MB inside, it seemed to become one with the entire case, as if it always belonged there. The peripherals, especially the ones that never really seem to fit quite right, put up little protest when being pushed into their slots. This is a very accurately manufactured and sturdy case!

The Maxtor 7200 RPM HD was mounted in the bottom-most removable 3.5" slot. The Mitsumi CD-ROM was mounted in the topmost 5.25" slot. Then I connected most of the power plugs and of course the massive ATX power blob. As I took a moment out to contemplate a few minor details, it struck me. It felt as though I was working in a full tower case, not in a much more cramped mid tower design. I could reach everything: SDRAM, power connectors, audio cables, and most importantly, those big, fat IDE cables of which I had two plus a dual floppy cable installed. Sweating and grunting was definitely kept to the bare minimum.

Conclusion

It's no secret that InWin's have been a favorite of mine. I readily appreciate all the quality touches that many competitors lack even if the S500 costs $5 more. Always innovating, InWin seems to never rest on their laurels. When overclockers called for more room and fans, the S500 magically appeared. Since the S500 is priced in the same category as the A500, consider carefully which features are important to you as features are the only factor to consider. PowerMan (Sparkle) are the default power supplies and with increasing current (not overall power) demands of processors in the 800MHz class and upwards, these supplies will handle all but the most demanding of situations. Personally, I'm so impressed by the additional flexibility and quality of the S500, I'm giving it the official TargetPC editor's choice award. Kudos to InWin once again.

William Yaple
04/19/00





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