The hidden hazards of bargain PSUs: a case packed with iron filings

midian182

Posts: 9,567   +120
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WTF?! Of all the components that make up our desktop PCs, none is less sexy yet arguably more important than the PSU. Opting for a cheap piece of crap might allow you to buy a better mobo or GPU, but you'll probably regret it eventually. Just look at the unit one Redditor discovered that's so bad it contains a box of iron filings to add extra weight.

As reported by PC Gamer, the frighteningly bad power supply unit was discovered by RedditCringe990, who posted images on r/pcmasterrace.

The photos show that the Redditor opened up the PSU, which is a bad idea even on more expensive models as they can store charge, exposing a strange, small box that doesn't appear to be connected to anything. Opening the container revealed it was packed with what look like iron filings mixed with dust and other debris.

As noted by the post's title, the most likely reason for this unusual addition is to add weight to the PSU, thereby making it appear to be of a higher quality than it is.

The PSU certainly falls into the cheap and nasty category. This Equites T500 "500W" PSU wasn't even purchased as a standalone component; it came included inside the Equites H2 chassis that cost the equivalent of just $39 – a concerningly low price for both items.

Is there a genuine reason this cheap PSU has a block of iron filings in it or are they trying to make it feel heavy?
byu/RedditCringe990 inpcmasterrace

One commentator notes that the added weight is the least of the PSU's problems. "That is not a 500W PSU. In fact, I'd barely call it a PSU. It has no input protection, no output protection, doesn't seem to have an OCP controller (you'd see the shunts) or anything a PSU needs. Heck, there's no class-Y capacitor, no inrush limiting, and I'm fairly sure those two resistors aren't discharge resistors," wrote Hattix.

"If you add up its current output, it can do 168 watts on 12 V, 70 watts on 5V, and 43 watts on 3.3V, which gets you to 281 watts. This is a common total for a 250 wat PSU: Even its label says it is not 500 watts!"

The lack of regulatory conformance marks was also highlighted, which could invalidate home insurance if it were plugged in, and selling the component would likely be illegal, further pushing home the point that going cheap on a power supply unit is never a good idea.

If you're in the market for a new PSU, or any PC component for that matter, make sure to check out TechSpot's PC Buying Guide for the 2023 Holiday season. We look at four different PC setups based on different budgets and needs, none of which contain anything sketchy.

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One should never be stingy with these two things in life (in addition to other things obviously):
- car tyres
- computer power supply

If the CPU is the brain of the system, the power supply is the heart. Always buy from somewhat reputable brands and beware of potential scams.

 
People always ask me why I insist on spending more money on a PSU than they deem justified instead of spending it on other components. I tell them the risks associated even with name brand "budget" power supplies and if they continue to argue I just say find someone else to build it for you.

The thing is, I don't charge a percentage of the build, I charge a flat rate and it's based more on the complexity of the build(and therefore my time involved) than it is the actual cost of parts.
 
Better to over power your PC, than under power. When voltage goes down, current goes up.
 
This is the car equivalent of using retreads for your tyres. PSU is most important component in the computer IMO. Spend the money once and enjoy hassle free computing. I spend at least a 1 week solid researching PSU's aided by the very valuable PSU Tier list that is easily found in an online search. It saved me from a costly mistake as several PSU's I thought were good were average at best.
 
I'll probably rebuild my system 2-3 times before I need to get a new PSU.
I thought that when I bought a fairly expensive PSU for my last build. I then purchased a new GPU a year ago and found that it uses new connectors that aren't on my existing PSU. I bought a middle of the road PSU this time round and it seems to work fine.
 
If you have even a small idea what PSU does, you would never buy cheapest PSUs.
I purchased mid or higher tier PSUs even when I could not afford anything above medium performance PCs.
It is not even foolish to save money on PSUs, it is insane.
One small exception is budget prebuilt PCs from well known brands.
This kind of products could hurt their reputation too much to
offer parts like this PSU.
 
People always ask me why I insist on spending more money on a PSU than they deem justified instead of spending it on other components. I tell them the risks associated even with name brand "budget" power supplies and if they continue to argue I just say find someone else to build it for you.
The trouble with hard line, "spending more on a PSU makes it better", is the fact that today's prices are vastly affected by inflation, tariffs (?), and price gouging.

The same Seasonic I bought for $50.00 a couple of years ago, is now double that!

If you can stand some "old war stories", from days of yore, when a PC would actually run on 400 watts, here goes; Antec had its "Earthwatts" series, IIRC @380, 430, & 500 watts, at $40., $50.. $ $60.00, respectively. The model numbers culminate in a "D", which (supposedly) indicated they were built by Delta.

Well, I finally had a 380 crap out on me a few months ago, around about its 15th birthday. I guess like everyone else, it couldn't handle puberty.

Now, I'm coming to you live, from behind a 430D of the same era, which of course, may explode tomorrow. It's just that the last one that failed died quietly, without taking any of its electronic "friends" with it.

So, shop carefully, buy in advance of need, and watch for new model or line releases from known manufacturers. I have a sneaking suspicion that at least Newegg buys in such quantities that lower wattage units are given to them either free, or at very low cost, to be used as "footballs", and as a segue for upselling to higher powered units.

Of course, a 500 watt PSU would be ridiculed by most here at Techspot. However, it might be just the thing for brother, uncle, or cousin ****, (or any of their cohorts).
 
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Gifted myself a Seasonic Focus GX-850 for Christmas for my rig (5800X3D, 7900XT, full custom loop), since my current 850w Enermax Revolution 87+ is from 2015.
I always buy good PSUs for my customers, even if it makes the PCs a little over budget.
 
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