Zalman ZM450-US 450W Power Supply Review

Zalman is a well known brand when it comes to silent or quiet cooling solutions for both CPU and GPU needs. Zalman does however build a few power supplies for desktop computers and recently we found one for sale that was downright cheap, so we decided to pick it up from a local retailer and put it to our tests.


Zalman Tech Co. Ltd. is a Korean company founded in 1999 that is perhaps best known to enthusiasts for its cooling products. However, since 1999 Zalman has produced a wide variety of products including coolers, cases, monitors, audio products, case fans, and what were are interested in today; power supplies. Included in these power supplies are a range of products currently ranging from 360 watts to 1000 watts. Today’s entry level product comes in towards the low end of that range at 450 watts. The ZM450-US power supply is produced in conjunction with long time power supply producer CWT.

Channel Well Technology (CWT) was founded and began manufacturing power supplies in 1993. Since 1993 Channel Well Technology products have shown up under various guises including Antec, Xclio, 2theMax, CWT, Thermaltake, Xigmatek, and Corsair. While most familiar to our US users from when they used to provide OEM services for Antec, CWT is one of the more complete OEM manufacturers as they have a fairly high level of vertical integration providing transformers all the way up to its well designed independently regulated SMPS. Recently however, CWT has begun stretching out and is providing OEM services for a number of brands as today’s unit demonstrates.

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Budget Priced Wonder?

The Zalman ZM450-US is the first Zalman power supply we have had in for review. However, today is not the first time we have seen this particular power supply. In our recent article "The Black Art of Dual PSUs in Your Enthusiast PC", the Zalman ZM450-US served as our demonstration product for using two power supplies rather than a single larger power supply. At that time, it was chosen because it was the cheapest power supply available at retail near me that had the potential to be a decent enough power supply. Today, we put that assumption to the test and see if the ZM450-US is a good cheap power supply or just a cheap power supply. First though, what does Zalman say about this unit:

Two-Forward Switching Design

The Two-Forward Switching Design minimizes switching loss and internal heat, for enhanced reliability and stability.

Complies with ATX12V v2.3

The latest PSU design standards are incorporated for compatibility with a wide range of CPUs, motherboards, and graphic cards.

Dual Rail +12V DC Output

Two independent +12V outputs for core components facilitate high stability operation.

PCI Express Graphic Card Support

Supports high performance PCI-Express graphic cards with 6-Pin power connectors.

Dual Core & Quad CPU Support

Supports latest Dual Core and Quad Core CPU.

Ultra Quiet 120mm Fan

An ultra quiet cooling fan increases airflow while minimizing noise for an ultra quiet computing environment.

Active PFC for Improved Power Factor & Reduced Harmonics

By implementing Active PFC (Power Factor Correction), instead of Passive PFC with a Power Factor (PF) of 75%, the PF is improved up to 99% while harmful harmonic frequencies are reduced to meet the Line Harmonic Distortion Requirement of EC61000-3-2 Class D.

ATX20+4 Pin Main Power Connector

The ATX20+4 Pin connector enhances compatibility for both 20-Pin and 24-Pin type motherboard power connectors.

Multiple Safety Features

Safety features including Over-Voltage Protection, Over-Current Protection, Short-Circuit Protection, Under-Voltage Protection, and Over-Temperature Protection safely protect the system.

Meets WEEE & RoHS Standards

The product complies with WEEE & RoHS environmental directives of the European Union.

International Safety and EMC Certifications

Moving on let’s see what we can expect when a user purchases the Zalman ZM450-US power supply in retail in terms of documentation, accessories, cable count, rail layout, output characteristics, and general build quality.