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Review: Antec HCP-750 Power Supply

Backbone of your new gaming PC?

Your PC’s power supply is arguably the most important component of your PC. Picking a bad power supply can mean the difference between a flawlessly running system and a bit of a nightmare, to be honest.

Cheaper power supplies will almost always lead to heartache; they may be rated at 500W, but the way in which that Wattage is divided up, and the stability of the power can mean that your whole machine is susceptible to damage.

The answer is to only go with a “named brand” power supply; you’ll never find anything from a budget line in a machine that I’ve built, I’ve seen too many graphics cards and motherboards taken out that way.

The above is good advice for any system you build, but if you’re building a high performance machine then power supply choice is even more important, and that’s the market that Antec are aiming for with the High Current Pro series of power supplies. The smallest of which is the HCP-750.

Out of the box

I’ve always said that you can tell a lot about a power supply by its weight. Big meaty capacitors and metal heatsinks mean that decent PSU’s will generally weigh more than cheaper ones. The HCP-750 follows this trend, weighing in at just under 4KG when packaged.

It’s a good start, the net weight of the unit is only 2.5KG, but that’s still pretty hefty for a PSU.

Inside the box you’ll find the PSU itself, an IEC power lead and a series of modular cables for peripherals and motherboard power wrapped neatly in a cloth bag. Incidentally – I like the little bag, like most men I have a dedicated “man drawer” full of loose cables and adapters. Keeping the spare leads all in one place will save me a lot of time and effort when trying to find them later.

The first thing you’ll notice about this power supply is that it’s a modular device. What’s meant by that is that only the required leads are hard wired on to the device. That would be the 24 pin ATX connector, the 4/8 pin 12V connector and the PCIe power connector. Any other cables that you require are removable, meaning that you only need to connect up the ones that you actually need.

The theory behind this is that it cuts down on the number of loose cables inside your machine. Why? Because it creates better airflow inside your case in order to allow for better cooling (and lets face it, it looks a lot nicer as well).

Installation

Out of the package you get a series of connectors:

  • 3 x 3way SATA power cables (for up to 9 SATA devices)
  • 2 x 3 way Molex power cables (for 6 legacy devices, or fans)
  • An additional 12V motherboard cable (for dual processor systems)
  • An additional 2 way PCIe graphics cable (for tri or quad SLI systems!)

Each of these cable bundles is neatly braided for neatness and better airflow, it also makes cable management a breeze, especially if your PC case is designed with it in mind.

What I have noticed is that Antec haven’t provided enough cables with the unit to use up all of the available sockets on the PSU. There are a total of 8 sockets on the PSU, 5 of which can be used for PCIe / ATX power and all of which can be used for peripheral devices. It’s not clear if additional cables can be purchased either, which is a bit of a pain. I wouldn’t necessarily mind having spare sockets if it was clear that I could buy additional cables as I needed them.

It’s worth pointing out, though, that the supplied cables are plenty long enough for most cases. I’ve previously had problems with the length of cable on the 24 way connector, but no such problems with the HCP-750; it’s got more than enough slack to reach pretty much any point in my rather large PC case. Likewise for the SATA and Molex cables; I routed them through a couple of cable management slots in my case and still had enough slack to reach the Blu-Ray drive at the very top.

The connectors all feel rather sturdy, with the cable braids being securely glued in place at either end, and the terminations not showing a hint of flex on the pins. My only criticism would be that the braiding can make bending the cables quite difficult, but unless you’re building a PC in a shoebox you shouldn’t have any issues routing cables.

One final point to mention is the cooling fan on this PSU. Most PSU’s use a standard 12cm fan to keep cool, this unit uses a 13.5cm fan which spins slower in order to produce less noise while moving the same amount of air through the PSU.

It’s also a variable speed unit, ranging from 260rpm to 2600rpm depending on the amount of power drawn from the PSU and the ambient temperature inside the casing. Added to the oversize fan, this ensures that your PC stays as quiet as possible while not affecting performance or damaging the components inside the PSU.

Specifications

The HCP-750 should have enough power to deal with the vast majority of systems. Even systems with multiple processors and graphics cards shouldn’t give it too many problems. If you’re worried that your quad graphics cards might draw more than 750W then there’s also 850W and 1200W versions available.

The full specs from Antec:

  • 750 watts of Continuous Power
  • 80 PLUS™ Gold certified – up to 92% efficient
  • NVIDIA® SLI®-Ready certified, ATI CrossFireX™ certified
  • Intelligent Hybrid Cable Management utilizes a 10-pin modular connector system
  • Special heavy-gauge 16 AWG High Current cable for CPU connectors boosts conductivity, increasing efficiency and improving power delivery
  • 2 x 8-pin CPU connectors included for dual-CPU gaming, server applications and high-end motherboards
  • Gold-plated high-current terminals for optimal conductivity
  • 135 mm double ball bearing PWM fan for optimal and quiet cooling
  • Four fully-protected High Current +12V rails ensure high-end CPU and graphics cards compatibility
  • Up to 100% power available on +12V rails
  • DC-to-DC voltage regulator modules ensure stability and higher efficiency
  • Highest quality Japanese brand capacitors for long-term reliability
  • Double-layer PCB allows for heavy-duty components
  • ATX12V version 2.3 and EPS12V version 2.92 compliant
  • Full suite of industrial grade protection :
    • Over current protection (OCP)
    • Over voltage protection (OVP)
    • Short circuit protection (SCP)
    • Over power protection (OPP)
    • Over temperature protection (OTP)
  • All cables braided and wrapped for better airflow and neatness
  • Universal Input – works on any 100V – 240V grid
  • Active Power Factor Correction (PFC) with PF : 0.99
  • MTB F: 100,000 hours
  • Meets ErP Lot 6: 2010 requirement : 5Vsb < 1W
  • AQ5 Antec Quality 5 year limited warranty on parts and labor
  • Safety : cUL, TÜV, CE, CB, FCC, C-TICK, CCC, BSMI, Gost-R
  • Unit Dimensions
    • 86 mm (H) x 150 mm (W) x 180 mm (D)
    • 3,4″ (H) x 5,9″ (W) x 7,1″ (D)
    • Package Dimensions
    • 290 mm (H) x 240 mm (W) x 120 mm (D)
    • 4,7″ (H) x 9,4″ (W) x 11,4″ (D)
  • Weight
    • Net : 2,5 kg / 5,5 lbs
    • Gross : 3,9 kg / 8,5 lbs

Conclusions

If you’re serious about building a gaming or high performance PC then the power supply should be the starting point for your build. Too many times I’ve seen people try and power a high end graphics card, half a dozen drives and a bazillion fans from a 450W supply and then look surprised when the PSU blew up after a few days.

You need to take your power requirements seriously, and even if you don’t need 750W right now, there’s nothing to say that your next graphics update won’t push your power requirements skywards.

But should you consider the HCP-750? Definitely.

Not only does it kick out enough power for multiple CPU’s and graphics cards, it also does so while maintaining efficiency of around 90%. Wastage on PSU’s is a fact of life, it happens because AC voltages have to be converted to a whole bunch of different DC voltages in order for the PC to run. But it doesn’t mean that you should accept efficiency of 80%, which is the industry benchmark, 90% means that the actual amount of electricity used will be less, which is great for whoever pays the bill.

Add to that the sleek design, speed controlled fan and plentiful cable lengths and you’ve got a top notch power supply for the demanding system.

Author

Matt

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