VisionTek 700W Power Supply Review

VisionTek, once know solely by enthusiasts for its Made-in-the-USA video cards, now just a former shell of itself, has been quietly diversifying its business to help its bottom line. Today we look at a 700 watt VisionTek power supply that we saw being sold on special and decided to pick one up for ourselves and put it in the grinder. Quality buy or pig sty?

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Conclusions

The VisionTek 700W is the first power supply we have reviewed from long time video card producer VisionTek. As with many other brands, VisionTek has branched out into a number of other fields beyond what they are best known for for a variety of reasons. This has proven to be fruitful for some companies, and detrimental for others. With today’s 700W unit from VisionTek we are hoping to get an initial glimpse into this product diversification to see if VisionTek has made a sound transition or if they have bitten off more than they can chew..


HardOCP’s testing methodology is intended to very much push power supplies to their advertised wattage rating in temperatures that will represent some of the hottest computer enthusiast cases. So if a unit passes all our testing it is definitely not something to take lightly. In fact we expect more power supplies to fail our testing than make it through unscathed.

Build Quality

Ok let’s start things of today with a question. What do you get when you combine an old design with extremely poor integration, corner cutting, knockoff/cheap components (Cheng/Chang/Chengx capacitors), and atrocious support? If you said an impressively ballsy pile of crap on your doorstep; you are correct. Also acceptable was the VisionTek 700W, and since we aren’t reviewing PoopSenders today let’s go with that. As one might assume from the pedigree of this unit, Leadman, the VisionTek 700W looks to be anything but a 700W power supply. In fact there is nothing about the build quality of this unit that makes it seem like even a passable 500W power supply. On top of that, VisionTek seems to be doing their damndest to dodge the inevitable with his unit by offering just a 2 year warranty that is only valid if you register within 30 days. Honestly, this product looks like it got the Tommy Boy guarantee treatment.

Load Testing

After the build quality left us in the gutter there really wasn’t any direction for this unit to go but up, right? Oh, wait, no; the gutter actually empties into the sewer and that was the next stop for the VisionTek 700W. While the VisionTek 700W did actually outperform what one might infer it’s capabilities to be, it was not a 500W power supply let alone a 700W and if we scale it back to 347W’s it was a poor 347W power supply. Not exactly the kind of thing one expects when they buy a 700W product. For the tests the unit could complete, the voltage regulation was awful with the 12v rails dropping by up to 0.55v at 120v and 0.74v at 100v. The 5v rail also was struggling as it posted a peak drop of 0.18v. The important thing to remember about all of the regulation data is that it was over just 75% of the units capacity and the unit was OUT of specification at 75% load 100v AC input with it’s 12v value dropping to 11.3v. The efficiency side of things wasn’t much better as it ranged from 75.32% to 81.86% at 120v and 70.03% to 80.28% at 100v. All in all, these results taint this unit like that black gunk in the bottom of the sewer. I think the Diablotek PHD650 has found a friend.

DC Output Quality

With this unit firmly in the sewer there really isn’t much farther this unit could fall. Wait, of course there is; and sure enough this unit made it all the way to the bottom of the settling pond. However, the unit did seem like it was going to float for a while (actually it is light enough probably could physically have floated as well) as it started off testing with peak trace amplitudes on the 12v rails of ~20mV and minor rail traces of ~10mV. Even in Test #2 the unit still had its head above water, but when we moved to Test #3 things went south fast and the 12v rails spiked to 165mV of ripple/noise wile the 5v rail jumped to ~40mV. Just like that, the VisionTek 700W completed its decent and ended up at the bottom with all of the other waste products.

Noise

The VisionTek 700W is mixed from the start in its ability to be quiet as, while it has a large 120mm overhead fan design which coupled with a rather open layout, it is not very efficient. In this tug of war things slide over to the loud end of the spectrum in large steps as each test raises the load value. By Test #2 the unit was very apparent in our load testing environment, and by Test #3 it was a bona fide loud unit. Given that the unit died before we could get it to full load we can’t say how loud the unit would be overall, but since it was loud it Test #3 it is probably safe to assume things weren’t going to get better if the unit could have done full load.

Paul's Thoughts:

Ok, while it is really apparent that this unit sucked all kinds of ways today; what is not apparent is why so many people had their hands on the unit and no one realized it sucked when at least some of the parties involved have good reputations or are at least competent (usually). First up, Leadman/ Zhao Li built it and the unit has a Powmax branded fan which is interesting because Powmax has not previously been a fan manufacturer. They are, however, a brand that has sold really bad Leadman power supplies for a number of years now (with a name that is ironically descriptive). On this front however, we can not probably fault Leadman entirely as this product does represent a step up as far as design and quality goes for Leadman products. That is kind of sad, but at least Leadman has shown progressآ…..a few years too late. Next, the unit has a Topower UL number (with a very close listing in the UL database so may not be a fraudulent UL number usage), Topower no longer manufacturers their own power supplies but resells other brands (as we saw with the Topower 1000W Gold), and Topower has been the long time supplier for Visiontek which may continue today as Visiontek’s 1000W Gold unit is the same Andyson unit that Topower is moving as their 1000W Gold. This is where the "why did no one catch this" starts to come into play like we saw with the Topower 1000W Gold review. Topower was a decent large PSU OEM, they know how to build power supplies and they know what is good and what is crap. If the UL number is not fudged and/or Topower is the reseller why are they marketing such an awful product? Last not least, this horrible unit is being sold by Visiontek, who, in the grand scheme of things, has a good reputation unlike the relatively unknown, but possibly shady, brand Diablotek which provided us with our last truly awful ATX12v power supply. All I can really say here is congratulation Visiontek, you have just hit bottom in the power supply market. Perhaps now would be a good time to reconsider that diversification strategy and stick with video cards. Competition is good and all, but you have to have a horse that isn’t lame to enter the race, and this is one of the lamest horses we have ever seen.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, the Visiontek 700W joins a very select club of power supplies that includes the Ultra X2 750W EE, Diablotek PHD650, Apevia ATX-AS500W, and MSI Turbostream 460W. Which is like saying you just joined the elite club of the Plagues of Egypt. As it stands, buying the Visiontek 700W for any serious use makes about as much sense as bringing home a black rat full of fleas in Europe in 1349. You are going to get bit doing so, just hope something doesn’t die in the process.