FSP this week announced its new series of redundant PSUs called the 'Twins'. The new power supplies are compatible with standard ATX and PS2 tower chassis, but provide redundancy capabilities and can thus enable building non-stop servers using 'relatively affordable' components.

The manufacturer positions the FSP Twins PSUs for home and SMB mail, web and intranet servers when building in a standard ATX or PS2 tower chassis. Like other redundant power supply units, the FSP Twins houses two hot-swappable PSUs and if one fails, another immediately kicks in, ensuring that the system never stops due to power supply failure. Both PSUs can be replaced without shutting down the machine, similar to typical datacenter-class mission critical servers. The PSU modules are proprietary, and each has its own 40-mm high-pressure server-grade fan, implying they have the potential to be pretty noisy. The FSP Twins series come with special firmware and sensors that monitor over-current, short-circuit, over-voltage, or fan failure, and the special LED indicators can alarm users of any problems.

Initially, FSP will offer two Twins models with 500W and 700W PSUs. The Twins will have EPS12V power connectors (one 24-pin and two 4+4-pin connectors) and will thus be able to handle dual-socket (or even multi-socket) motherboards up to the power capacity. The 500W version will feature two PCIe 6+2-pin power connectors, six SATA power connectors, two Molex plugs, one connector for floppy drives and one 8-pin USB connector to interface with monitoring software. FSP notes that all cables supplied with the Twins are flat in a bid to enable easier cable management in space-constrained chassis. The specifications of the 700W unit have not been announced as of yet.

Brief Specifications of FSP's Twins PSU
Connectors 500 W
24-Pin 1
4+4-Pin 2
6+2-Pin PCIe 2
Molex 2
Floppy 1
USB 8-Pin 1

The FSP’s Twins series is not the first attempt to wed ATX/EPS12V PSU form-factor with redundancy. However, some of the predecessors of Twins did not have enough wattage for modern servers, poor serviceability, or became EOL quite quickly for replacement components. Moreover, keep in mind that an ATX chassis is not particularly designed for a server, despite the homebrew market, which is why the market for such PSUs is relatively small.

The FSP Twins 500W will cost $399, which comes across as a reasonable price for a redundant PSU module that is essentially two 500W units. The price of a 700W version is being determined, as is the individual units themselves. Both will come with a five-year limited warranty later this year. FSP will demonstrate its Twins series at the Computex Taipei 2016 trade show next week.

Source: FSP

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  • Lonyo - Monday, May 30, 2016 - link

    But if it's aimed at home servers, that shouldn't be an issue as presumably they expect the server to be somewhere discrete.
  • Alexvrb - Friday, May 27, 2016 - link

    I think you might be onto something with the single-PSU quick-swap idea. It would be nifty to be able to replace the PSU's fan and internals without touching cabling. Boom pow done in seconds. Or if you suspect the PSU is bad, yank it and test it with a little load testin' box without having to crack the case or disconnect anything inside.

    Not sure how much this would affect efficiency though, especially if you're already using modular cables. Probably not much if done well.
  • fluxtatic - Monday, May 30, 2016 - link

    For me, only if there was zero premium over a normal PSU. That is, dead PSUs aren't so frequent for me that I'd be willing to pay a dime over an equivalent, normal ATX PSU.

    For these, I wonder if FSP has made any commitment to how long they'll support them. Sure would suck if you have one die two years from now and find FSP doesn't make replacement modules anymore.
  • romrunning - Friday, May 27, 2016 - link

    Servers have had redundant/hot-swap PSU options for a while, and it's nice to see this available for desktops.

    I agree with the need for reducing the pricing. While I would consider it at $200-300, I'm not considering it at $400. I would just go with a trusted PSU & a UPS, like I do now.
  • Bob Todd - Friday, May 27, 2016 - link

    Agreed with the comments about pricing, but it is a niche product so they may find enough takers. That being said, the 700W version may end up costing almost as much as a really nice used server which is a little mind boggling. I've seen dual hex core Xeon 2U servers with really nice SuperMicro boards and chassis that include redundant 700W power supplies in the $600 range on eBay.
  • Samus - Friday, May 27, 2016 - link

    I agree. The price is shocking. $400 buys you a 2 year old server chassis already equipped with redundant 80-plus PSU's. Many of them will include an LGA2011 board, Xeon 1225 v2 and some ram. Drop in some drives and go.

    When this is $200 I'll be interested. Those server PSU's don't even cost that much more than good ITX PSU's.
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Friday, May 27, 2016 - link

    Costs way too much for a proprietary solution.

    For the $400 price tag, I'd just get a cheaper 2U, 3U, or 4U server chassis and use standard server chassis form factor PSUs. If the dual PSU server chassis didn't support hot swap, then I'd use the much cheaper alternative of getting a Phanteks Power Splitter PH-PWSPR_1P2M which would take care of redundancy.

    This is a case of product looking for a market, as the market isn't looking for this product.

    Also, for those mentioning UPS + PSU, that doesn't solve the core issue that redundant power supplies offer. Redundant power supplies guards against unplanned server outage should the power supply fail; not because of a power outage.

    Server systems use UPS systems, backup UPS systems, and sometimes even a generator + backup generator for mission critical datacenters, AND redundant power supplies per server.
  • ZPrime - Friday, May 27, 2016 - link

    That Phanteks splitter you posted does the reverse of what you think. It's designed to power two separate loads / systems off of a single PSU, not attach two PSUs to one system.

    I have a bigass tower case (Coolermaster Stacker 830, remember those?) that I've put several hot-swap trays into. I've been thinking of building it into a nice FreeNAS box, and something like this would be perfect for that machine. If it's backing VMs on a diskless or near-diskless secondary server, I wouldn't want it to go down due to single PSU failure...
  • asmian - Friday, May 27, 2016 - link

    The question is begged - has anyone here ever had a reliably-branded PSU ever fail mid-use? Even with long desktop/server sessions? No-one running a "mission-critical" 24/7 server would be using a cheap PSU with poor components, so what is the *real* risk of such a failure? I have to doubt the cost-effectiveness of this compared to simply buying a known more reliable brand to start with (at far lower cost). Power outtage, requiring a UPS for insurance, is surely a far more likely scenario than an out-of-the-blue PSU failure.
  • 3DoubleD - Friday, May 27, 2016 - link

    Agreed. I've been running a storage server and a gaming desktop for 7 years with the same Corsair PSUs. After 7 years my server PSU finally started showing its age, causing some of the disks to fail to spin-up during boot. Swapped the PSUs between the two computers and everything is fine now (server definitely puts a lot more strain on the PSU than the desktop, especially during boot). If one of these PSUs ever completely failed I wouldn't be too angry as they've long surpassed their warranties. Now I am not running a mission-critical server, so the chance of a single failure on the time scale of 7 years is not a problem. I'm sure there are prosumers running mission critical servers, but it's hard to image anything but the tiniest niche of consumers getting value out of a redundant power supply. If you don't lose money when your server goes down, why pay the premium?

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