FSP Twins 500W ATX Redundant Power Supply Review

Redundant computer power supplies have been a fixture in the enterprise server market since failover hardware solutions were first conceived to deal with contingency planning and system disaster recovery. FSP has now brought its Twins solution to the enthusiast market, and FSP have done it quite well.

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Overview

The first thing we are going to look at with the FSP Twins 500W is its packaging, accessories, and documentation. While normally none of these items is a make or break item for a power supply the packaging quite often contains a lot of information about the product we are purchasing. The inclusion of an owner’s manual that provides actual information about our product is also of great help in many situations. Accessories are almost unnecessary with a power supply as the unit is self contained, unless it is modular, but there cases where a manufacturer can include useful accessories to make installation, routing and use more efficient.

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The packaging of the FSP Twins 500W is huge. I mean huge! Which is kind of interesting since the unit is not supposed to be any larger than a normal ATX power supply, and a 500W one at that. Looking at the front of the packaging, we see an image of the unit itself along with a few bits of advertising. Among these bits of advertising, we see that the unit is "Hot Swap(able)," "ATX Redundant," and "Digital Power." We also see that it is advertised as being certified for 80 Plus Gold. A quick check of the 80 Plus website does find the unit listed under the 230V Internal category. Right next to that 80 Plus seal is another seal indicating that this unit is carrying a 5 year warranty. When we move to the back of the package, we see a lot of marketing points for various features and another picture of the units exterior. Among the advertising, we find a section about the FSP Guardian Software which we review in detail today. Beyond that, there is the connector count (reproduced below) and the power label (reproduced below). Actually, there are two power labels. There is one for the whole unit and one for each individual redundant module. Moving around the rest of the packaging, we don't find much other than the fact that there is an FSP POWER APP (available from the Google Play store). This app promises (and I quote) "Product Overview," "PowerPedia," "PSU Calculator," "Tip Finder," and "PSU Pro Games." Each one of those items I have questions, or comments, about but I will skip all of that and just ask one thing. What games do you play with a PSU app? I mean seriously. Hide and seek? Pin the cable on the power supply? Duck, duck, power supply? I mean, I sort of wish I had an Android phone (Kyle: I do, and I am not installing that on my phone. Also, -5 internets for Paul.)) to find out but then I would have an Android phone and that is no fun unless it is a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (which would allow me to play the more exciting game of "Samsung user, Samsung user, pants on fire"). Anyway, let's move on to those power labels and connectors.

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From the power information we see here, the FSP Twins 500W looks a lot like what we would expect from an enthusiast power supply of this power output level. Today, we see that Twins 500W is advertised by FSP as having three 12v rails that are each capped at 16A each and the 12v total capacity is not strictly defined. Rather, the 12v, +5vsb, and the -12v all together are capped at an unknown value. Also of interest is the 12v arrangement. As this unit is advertised as being a multi 12v unit we reached out to FSP to see what that arrangement was and the silence was deafening. So, we looked elsewhere to find the answer and what we found is that, it appears, the unit is actually a single 12v rail unit as the FSP Guardian software reports it as such, the actual redundant modules indicate such, and trying to trip the 12v OCP on any one connector didn't go anywhere. So, this appears to be a single 12v rail unit. Moving over to the minor rails, the minor rails are limited to 20A each with a total possible combined capacity of 130W. These output capacities are combined with two PCIe connectors (modified 8-pin), six SATA connectors, and two MOLEX connectors for your peripheral needs. For a 500W unit this does not seem to be badly appointed at all. For a unit that might be in a file server, however, the six SATA connectors might be a bit light.

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Once we open the massive packaging of the FSP Twins 500W, we find the housing for the unit itself, both 500W modules, the power cords, mounting screws, USB cable, and the "user manual." The "user manual" comes in 27 languages on one folded page. It contains the power table as well as a few installation instructions and what the LED lights on the rear of the unit indicate. All in all, the manual is kind of a waste and we don't get the FSP Guardian software that is talked about for so long on the rear of the packaging. As we have said before in this circumstance with other vendors, this is just odd. Why not ship the software? Let's move on to the actual build quality now.