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The Basiq power supply series from Antec is targeted to users with serious budget restrictions. The new VP350 and VP450 models are the most entry-level power supplies offered by Antec, as they don’t have a PFC circuit or 80 Plus certification. We’ve already reviewed the VP450, which achieved terrific performance for its class. Now it is time for us to test the 350 W model.
The Antec VP350 is 5.5” (140 mm) deep, using a 120 mm sleeve bearing fan on its bottom.
This unit doesn’t have a modular cabling system, and only the main motherboard cable uses a nylon sleeve, which comes from inside the unit. This power supply comes with the following cables:
- Main motherboard cable with a 20/24-pin connector, 15.8” (40 cm) long
- One cable with two ATX12V connectors that together form an EPS12V connector, 16.1” (41 cm) long
- One cable with one six-pin connector for video cards, 16.1” (41 cm) long
- One cable with one standard peripheral power connector and two SATA power connectors, 13.8” (35 cm) to the first connector, 5.9” (15 cm) between connectors
- One cable with one SATA power connector, two standard peripheral power connectors, and one floppy disk drive power connector, 13.8” (35 cm) to the first connector, 5.9” (15 cm) between connectors
All wires are 18 AWG wires, which is the minimum recommended gauge.
The cable configuration is excellent for a budget 350 W power supply.
Let’s now take an in-depth look inside this power supply.
[nextpage title=”A Look Inside the Antec VP350″]
We decided to disassemble this power supply to see what it looks like inside, how it is designed, and what components are used. Please read our “Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies” tutorial to understand how a power supply works and to compare this power supply to others.
On this page we will have an overall look, and then in the following pages we will discuss in detail the quality and ratings of the components used. As already explained, this power supply doesn’t share the same platform with the 450 W model.
[nextpage title=”Transient Filtering Stage”]
As we have mentioned in other articles and reviews, the first place we look when opening a power supply for a hint about its quality, is its filtering stage. The recommended components for this stage are two ferrite coils, two ceramic capacitors (Y capacitors, usually blue), one metalized polyester capacitor (X capacitor), and one MOV (Metal-Oxide Varistor). Very low-end power supplies use fewer components, usually removing the MOV and the first coil.
The Antec VP350 has four Y capacitors and one X capacitor more than the minimum required. There are two MOVs in parallel to the electrolytic capacitors from the voltage doubler circuit.
On the next page, we will have a more detailed discussion about the components used in the Antec VP350.
[nextpage title=”Primary Analysis”]
On this page we will take an in-depth look at the primary stage of the Thortech Thunderbolt 850 W. For a better understanding, please read our “Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies” tutorial.
This power supply uses one T8KB80 rectifying bridge, which is not attached to a heatsink. We couldn’t find the datasheet for this component, but it is clear that it is an 8 A part, so in theory, you would be able to pull up to 920 W from a 115 V power grid. Assuming 80% efficiency, the bridge would allow this unit to deliver up to 736 W without burning itself out. Of course, we are only talking about this particular component. The real limit will depend on all the components combined in this power supply.
As mentioned before, this power supply doesn’t have a PFC circuit.
The voltage doubler circuit uses two 470 µF x 220 V electrolytic capacitors from CapXon and labeled at 105° C.
Usually, power supplies without a PFC circuit are based on the obsolete half-bridge design; the Antec VP350 uses the single-transistor forward configuration, which is better. The Antec VP450, on the other hand, uses the two-transistor forward configu
ration, which is excellent.
In the switching section, one STW12NK90Z MOSFET is used in the single-transistor forward configuration, supporting up to 11 A at 25° C or 7 A at 100° C in continuous mode, or up to 44 A at 25° C in pulse mode, with an RDS(on) of 880 mΩ, which is very high (i.e., low efficiency).
The switching transistor is controlled by an NCP1252 PWM controller.
Let’s now take a look at the secondary of this power supply.
[nextpage title=”Secondary Analysis”]
The Antec VP350 uses a regular design in its secondary, with Schottky rectifiers.
The maximum theoretical current that each line can deliver is given by the formula I / (1 – D) where D is the duty cycle used and I is the maximum current supported by the rectifying diode. As an exercise, we can assume a duty cycle of 30 percent.
The +12 V output uses two SBR20A100CT Schottky rectifiers (20 A, 10 A per internal diode at 150° C, 0.85 V maximum voltage drop). This gives us a maximum theoretical current of 29 A or 343 W for the +12 V output.
The +5 V output uses two MBR2045CTG Schottky rectifiers (20 A, 10 A per internal diode at 165° C, 0.84 V maximum voltage drop). This gives us a maximum theoretical current of 29 A or 143 W for the +5 V output.
The +3.3 V output uses one STPS3045CT Schottky rectifier (30 A, 15 A per internal diode at 155° C, 0.84 V maximum voltage drop). This gives us a maximum theoretical current of 21 A or 71 W for the +3.3 V output.
This power supply uses a DWA106N161 monitoring integrated circuit. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find its datasheet, so we can’t comment on the protections this power supply really has. Additionally, this unit has an AS393 voltage comparator, which is equivalent to the famous LM393.
The electrolytic capacitors that filter the outputs are from Taicon and labeled at 105° C, as usual.
[nextpage title=”Power Distribution”]
In Figure 15, you can see the power supply label containing all the power specs.
As you can see, this power supply is sold as having two +12 V rails, which seems to be correct, since we could clearly see two “shunts” (current sensors). See Figure 16. Click here to understand more about this subject.
The two +12 V rails are distributed as follows:
- +12V1: All cables except the EPS12V/ATX12V
- +12V2: The EPS12V/ATX12V cable
This is the typical distribution used by power supplies with two +12 V virtual rails.
How much power can this unit really deliver? Let’s find out.
[nextpage title=”Load Tests”]
We conducted several tests with this power supply, as described in the article, “Hardware Secrets Power Supply Test Methodology.”
First we tested this power supply with five different load patterns, trying to pull around 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and 100% of its labeled maximum capacity (actual percentage used listed under “% Max Load”), watching the behavior of the reviewed unit under each load. In the table below, we list the load patterns we used and the results for each load.
If you add all the powers listed for each test, you may find a different value than what is posted under “Total” below. Since each output can have a slight variation (e.g., the +5 V output working at +5.10 V), the actual total amount of power being delivered is slightly different than the calculated value. In the “Total” row, we are using the real amount of power being delivered, as measured by our load tester.
The +12VA and +12VB inputs listed below are the two +12 V independent inputs from our load tester. During this test, the +12VA input was connected to the power supply +12V1 rail, while the +12VB input was connected to the power supply +12V2 rail.
|Input||Test 1||Test 2||Test 3||Test 4||Test 5|
|+12VA||2 A (24 W)||5 A (60 W)||7 A (84 W)||9 A (108 W)||11.25 A (135 W)|
|+12VB||2 A (24 W)||5 A (60 W)||6.5 A (78 W)||9 A (108 W)||11 A (132 W)|
|+5 V||1 A (5 W)||2 A (10 W)||4 A (20 W)||6 A (30 W)||8 A (40 W)|
|+3.3 V||1 A (3.3 W)||2 A (6.6 W)||4 A (13.2 W)||6 A (19.8 W)||8 A (26.4 W)|
|+5VSB||1 A (5 W)||1 A (5 W)||1.5 A (7.5 W)||1.5 A (7.5 W)||2 A (10 W)|
|-12 V||0.5 A (6 W)||0.5 A (6 W)||0.5 A (6 W)||0.5 A (6 W)||0.5 A (6 W)|
|Total||66.3 W||136.3 W||206.3 W||276.3 W||346.8 W|
|% Max Load||18.9%||38.9%||58.9%||78.9%||99.1%|
|Room Temp.||47.6° C||46.6° C||46.1° C||46.7° C||49.5° C|
|PSU Temp.||48.3° C||48.2° C||48.2° C||48.7° C||50.9° C|
|Ripple and Noise||Pass||Pass||Pass||Pass||Pass|
|AC Power||85.0 W||168.3 W||257.9 W||353.4 W||455.0 W|
|AC Voltage||119.1 V||118.4 V||117.7 V||116.7 V||114.7 V|
The Antec VP350 can really deliver its labeled wattage. Its performance, however, is way inferior to its 450 W sister’s.
Efficiency was between 76.2% and 81% during our tests.
Voltage regulation was outstanding, with all voltages closer to their nominal values than required (three percent regulation), except for the -12 V output, which was still inside the allowed range. The ATX12V specification states that positive voltages must be within 5% of their nominal values, and negative voltages must be within 10% of their nominal values.
Let’s discuss the ripple and noise levels on the next page.
[nextpage title=”Ripple and Noise Tests”]
Voltages at the power supply outputs must be as “clean” as possible, with no noise or oscillation (also known as “ripple”). The maximum ripple and noise levels allowed are 120 mV for +12 V and -12 V outputs, and 50 mV for +5 V, +3.3 V and +5VSB outputs. All values are peak-to-peak figures. We consider a power supply as being top-notch if it can produce half or less of the maximum allowed ripple and noise levels.
The Antec VP350 provided extremely low ripple and noise levels, as you can see in the table below.
|Input||Test 1||Test 2||Test 3||Test 4||Test 5|
|+12VA||17.2 mV||17.6 mV||26.2 mV||32.2 mV||39.2 mV|
|+12VB||17.0 mV||17.2 mV||26.6 mV||34.2 mV||39.6 mV|
|+5 V||6.0 mV||7.2 mV||9.4 mV||11.4 mV||13.4 mV|
|+3.3 V||10.2 mV||8.4 mV||10.8 mV||10.6 mV||11.0 mV|
|+5VSB||8.6 mV||8.6 mV||9.0 mV||12.4 mV||11.0 mV|
|-12 V||27.8 mV||44.4 mV||40.0 mV||48.6 mV||61.2 mV|
Below you can see the waveforms of the outputs during test five.
Let’s see if we can pull more than 350 W from this unit.
[nextpage title=”Overload Tests”]
Below you can see the maximum we could pull from this power supply. The objective of this test is to see if the power supply has its protection circuits working properly. This unit failed this test, as its switching transistor exploded right after we finished collecting data, meaning that the unit doesn’t have over power protection (OPP) or it is not configured correctly. During this test, noise and ripple levels were still extremely low and voltages were still inside the tighter 3% range.
|+12VA||16 A (192 W)|
|+12VB||16 A (192 W)|
|+5 V||10 A (50 W)|
|+3.3 V||10 A (33 W)|
|+5VSB||2 A (10 W)|
|-12 V||0.5 A (6 W)|
|% Max Load||135.8%|
|Room Temp.||46.9° C|
|PSU Temp.||50.4° C|
|AC Power||688.0 W|
|AC Voltage||110.8 V|
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the Antec VP350 power supply include:
- Standards: ATX12V 2.3
- Nominal labeled power: 350 W
- Measured maximum power: 475.3 W at 46.9° C
- Labeled efficiency: NA
- Measured efficiency: Between 76.2% and 81.0% at 115 V (nominal, see complete results for actual voltage)
- Active PFC: No
- Modular Cabling System: No
- Motherboard Power Connectors: One 20/24-pin connector and two ATX12V connectors that together form an EPS12V connector
- Video Card Power Connectors: One six-pin connector
- SATA Power Connectors: Three on two cables
- Peripheral Power Connectors: Three on two cables
- Floppy Disk Drive Power Connectors: One
- Protections (as listed by the manufacturer): Over current (OCP), over voltage (OVP), over power (OPP), and short circuit (SCP)
- Are the above protections really available? No
- Warranty: Two years
- Real Manufacturer: Delta
- More Information: https://www.antec.com
- Average Price in the U.S.*: USD 35.00
* Researched at Google Shopping on the day we published this review.
The Antec VP350 is an “honest” budget power supply that can really deliver its labeled wattage, with superb voltage regulation and outstandingly low noise and ripple levels. The only issue with this power supply is its low efficiency below 80%. However, it presents 80% efficiency if you pull between 40% and 60% of its labeled wattage, i.e., between 140 W and 210 W. This is good enough for users looking for a budget 350 W power supply.
However, we were disappointed, since its sister, the VP450, achieved outstanding efficiency numbers, always above 80%. This occurred because they use completely different designs: the VP350 uses a single-transistor forward configuration with a high RDS(on) transistor, while the VP450 uses a two-transistor forward configuration with transistors with a lower RDS(on).
Since the price difference between the VP350 and the VP450 is so small – only USD 5 – we recommend that you buy the VP450 instead.