The Black Art of Dual PSUs in Your Enthusiast PC

Putting two powers supplies in your computer has been a recurring subject in our forums for years. While the physical process of making that happen is not exactly rocket science, it still can be daunting for some users. Today we show you a few products that make it easy for anyone to double up on the power should your wattage needs increase.


Redundant Power Supply

Athena Computer Power Corp is a name not well known to most enthusiasts, but as a company it has been around since 2004. The majority of the power products made and sold by Athena target IPCs, OEMs, ODMs, and replacement power supply markets for integrated products, servers, and mainframe computer systems. In addition to this, in the power supply field Athena serves as the US importer and distributor for Zippy as well as a supplier of a whole host of other related products from chassis to external enclosure to mobile racks. Today, we will see a quick peek at our first product from Athena, the Atlas 800 800W (AP-RRP4ATX6808) redundant power supply. Be sure to check back in a couple of weeks as we will be providing a full review of this product as well.

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Carrying the Weight of Your System on It’s Shoulders, Redundantly

What is the one great failing of all of the previous methods of running two power supplies at once? Redundancy. In all of the examples provided so far, if one of your two (or in the case of the Add2Psu one of your (N)) power supplies fails you do not have a fully, or in some cases even partially, functional system. Now while not technically a "dual power supply configuration" in the method we have been talking about, a redundant power supply does make use of more than one power supply and solves this particular shortcoming of the tandem setups we have been looking at so far. In general, a redundant power supply is a power supply that houses two (or occasionally more) self contained power supplies within a single housing which are rated at the same power as the unit as a whole. (i.e. a redundant 800W power supply, while having two 800W power supplies enclosed, will not give you 1600W as it is configured because one 800W power supply is the backup in case the other fails). An example of this kind of power supply configuration is the Athena Atlas 800 we will be introducing today. The Athena Atlas 800 is a bit unique in that it was the first 80Plus Bronze certified redundant power supply and Athena has quite a bit to say about this unit:

Creating a new definition for more power, Athena Computer Power Corp. proudly introduces the new 800 Watt PSU, the ATLAS800 PLUS, model number (AP-RRP4ATX6808). Like the ATLAS700 this PSU offers an extra 100 Watts just in case 700 Watts was not enough for your power needs. This Mini-Redundant power supply provides power reliability to server builders and computer users with the power they want and need. The Mini-Redundant power supply unit not only services an extra unit that standbys 24/7, but also minimizes power lost and creates efficiency by eliminating issues of overheating power adapters. The ATLAS700 Watt Mini-Redundant features an Active PFC (Power Factor Correction), remote ON/OFF function, 80PLUS certification, and includes a PMBus solution.

80PLUS certification requires a power supply to operate at a minimum of 80% efficiency. The certification level of 80PLUS certification indicates that the power supply operates at a minimum of 80% efficiency at 20% and 100% load, and 85% efficiency at 50% load. According to test results, the ATLAS800 PLUS has passed all requirements and has exceeded the 80PLUS requirements.

PMBus or Power Management Bus solution is a great option for all system administrators. Its analog-to-digital interface allows users to monitor power supply operating conditions. Also the PMBus specification does not put constraints on power-supply architecture, form factor, power input, power output, or any other characteristics of the supply.

Now that we have the background of the Atlas 800 and what Athena has to say about the product, let’s move on to see what the unit looks and what we get with it when we order one.