Techsolo Black Mamba STP-550

Techsolo keeps things simple with their packaging and extras. You get a standard power cable (for Europe), four screws, some cable ties, and a short user manual. The best-case hope for the Techsolo Black Mamba is that we'll get an "ultra silent" snake that can deliver the full rated power. I wouldn't bet on it, but more than one user has been tempted into going the cheap route on a PSU. At worst, the Black Mamba is a noisy blindworm that dies at 50% load, but most likely it will land somewhere in between those extremes.

The red (already mentioned and super-duper) power switch stands in contrast to the black case design. The fan grill and the cable sleeving are black too and the housing of the ATX 2.2-PSU is 14cm long. Considering the cost, the PSU actually looks decent—even cheap cable sleeving is a bump up over unsleeved cables, after all.

Cables and Connectors
Fixed Main 24-pin 40cm
ATX12V/EPS12V 4+4-pin 45cm
PCIe 6-pin 45cm
Peripheral 3x PATA 40-70cm + Floppy 15cm
3x SATA 40-70cm / 3x SATA 40-70cm

The main cables are very short at less than 50cm, and there are only six SATA and three Molex power connectors along with a single PEG connector for graphic cards—the latter seems particularly skimpy. We don't want to be too quick to judge, but this is not a good configuration for a 550W PSU; it looks more like a 400W PSU. We'll get into more details on the next page.

Shenzhen Xin Wang Electronics Co., LTD. makes the fan, one of those nameless (despite the length of their name) Chinese companies. The 140mm fan needs fewer amps than the other fans in this roundup and it has nine fan blades. Will it be silent, and can it keep the PSU cool? We'll find out in a minute.

The Candidates Techsolo Black Mamba Internals
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  • Gonemad - Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - link

    I had a Thermaltake ThoughPower (can't remember exact model) that performed fairly for 5 years. It operated non-stop for 1 year in-between that time. I bought it separately from a Thermaltake Case, that had several fans. Worth every dime, both of them.

    But...

    I had to replace an original case fan, so I decided "what t'e hell' and slapped a cheap-o-dozen fan in its place. VERY. BAD. IDEA.

    The whole thing worked fine for 6 months, then the ASUS metering software showed steady voltage dropping, curiously on the 3.3V rail as I later found out. Then it alarmed in an intermittent fashion, for no apparent reason, as it got to 10% Low Voltage on that rail.

    Guess what? The fan LOCKED, and effectively pushed the PSU to 110% or above (who knows?), FOR FREAKING 6 MONTHS.
    THE PSU DIDN´T QUIT ON ME.

    As I opened it for regular maintenance (hey, 6 months, remember?) I found the locked fan, and a funny smell that could be felt only very near the PSU vent. You know the smell, don't you? That's the smell of a dying PSU. The fan almost burned my hand when I touched it, proving that the PSU was not at fault; in fact, it performed above and beyond any expectation, and possibly avoided a fire hazard. It was still operational when I removed it, but the smell was ever greater each time it was turned on, even for a few minutes, proving the whole thing had collapsed after all that operating time. The fan didn't short out, which would have triggered any safety (fuse, probably?) on the PSU, it just didn't rotate anymore on its bearings, and became a power drainer on the circuit, eating away the average life-time of the component.

    The good PSU purchase decision not only proved a wise decision, it avoided me lots of hassle and grief. The cheap fan, on the other hand, destroyed a perfectly good piece of equipment.

    "Caveat Emptor" indeed.
    Reply
  • gurboura - Saturday, November 6, 2010 - link

    It seems right from the start that you have something against TechSolo, you also talk about how it was loud at almost 30dbA, but yet, the Antec is at 32 and the OCZ tops at 26, still close to that 30dbA level.

    "If you want to have a silent computer, please buy another power supply and protect your ears." Couldn't this have been said the same for the Antec since it was actually louder than the TechSolo?

    When doing doing these type of articles your supposed to have an unbiased opinion and its pretty obvious from the start that that wasn't true.
    Reply

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