HuntKey GreenStar LW-6550SG 550W Power Supply Review
I haven’t reviewed a power supply unit in quite a while and suppose it was inevitable that another one was on its way. Well today I will be reviewing a 550W power supply from a company named HuntKey. Never heard of them right? Same here and thus was curious at what HuntKey could bring to this already competitive power supply market.
Power supply demands have grown over the past few years with the arrival of faster machines sporting dual cores and quad core architectures that it’s crazy to think of where we’re at today. It’s not even microprocessors but also graphics cards where one card can draw huge chunks of power from a system. A few years back 300W was sufficient and yet today things have really changed because there are power supply offerings that even top over 1000W!
And with the rising number of high wattage power supply offerings there should be a question of how efficient a power supply is because you don’t want to be running 1000W continuously (that’ll hurt your wallet). If you know me then you would know I’m a big Seasonic fan and they are probably one of the biggest reasons we are in this 80PLUS craze nowadays and certainly for good reason.
Just like Seasonic, HuntKey designs and manufactures their own power supplies under their own name and as well make power supplies for a couple of brands in the USA (Lenovo and Best buy to name a few). Operating out of China, HuntKey claims to be China’s largest PC power manufacture and today we will be reviewing their top of the line GreenStar 550W power supply which claims to have efficiency of up to 85%. I think 550W seems to be the norm nowadays so it will be interesting to see whether or not HuntKey should be a manufacture you should consider on your next power supply purchase. Read on my friends, read on!
About HuntKey (as listed on HuntKey website)
“Huntkey Enterprise Group is the largest PC power manufacturer in mainland China, engaging in developing, manufacturing and selling complete range of switching power supply and power supply systems. Huntkey, an ISO9001:2000 ＆ ISO14001：2004 passed corporation, a regular member of PSMA (Power Sources Manufacturers Association) with headquarters and manufacturing center located in Shenzhen has more than 5800 employees with over 110,000 m2 for designing, engineering, and manufacturing.
Huntkey offers a comprehensive range of switching power supply from 1W to 250KW, including PC power supply, TV power supply, server power supply, telecom power supply system, adapter charger, consumer power supply and other customized power supply .The power supply Huntkey made, according with CCC, UL, TUV, CE, CSA, and FCC B, were adopted as regular power components by many famous corporations such as Lenovo, ZTE, UT Starcom, Bestbuy, TCL etc.
Product Features and Specifications
One of the things I thought about after reading the specifications was the MTBF rating because it was missing, yet it is standard practice to specify this. MTBF stands for “mean time between failures” and is the average length of time you should expect the product to live for.
Generally I’ve seen most good power supplies to be rated for >100,000 hours at 25℃ but if we were to guess a MTBF then going by the MTBF for HuntKey’s other power supplies the MTBF rating ranges from >50,000 hours at 25℃ to >85,000 hours at 25℃ and that number is a little lower than typical.
HuntKey mentions efficiency of 85% and I’m not sure about that because it’s funny as they list 70% Minimum @ full load under their specifications page. So which one is it? They should have worded their claims different such as “up to 85% efficiency”.
Taking a look at the packaging for the HuntKey GreenStar LW-6550SG will reveal that this company utilizes a very compact packaging and has regard for saving the trees that we take advantage of. I’m not sure why other products maintain use of a package that is overkill. Product features are located on the box however there is no mention of model number or specifications so I’m not sure how you can tell what you’re purchasing unless you open it to find out.
Opening the box reveals the Green Star 550W power supply, a 24-pin to 20-pin connector, and instruction manual. My first impressions on this unit are that it’s pretty shiny and that the 140mm fan makes it look real nice. I’m a sucker for big fans and a 140mm fan is great because it doesn’t have to spin fast to pull good air out of the system and the noise factor is greatly reduced. The fan used on this model is from the Taiwanese manufacture Yate Loon and not some generic.
Two things stood out when inspecting the unit. From the factory they should take more care of their units because there were miscellaneous scuff marks around the encasing in different areas and the quality control sticker was puzzling. I have no idea what happened with the sticker but it leaves me with a sour taste on their quality control or lack of. Probably the first time I’ve seen something like this.
Opening up the power supply we see a circuit board that is smaller than the actual enclosure and a design that is not at all cluttered or full but looking rather simple and empty. The unit doesn’t really weigh a lot and I know it shouldn’t be used an indication in some cases, but I was kind of disappointed with what I had seen. Looking around the unit will reveal capacitors of many kinds, two TEAPO capacitors that are rated for 200V, ferrite coils, MOV’s and a fuse for protection.
The PCB indicates that this unit was made in 2007-06-19 and reveals the same PCB utilized for 350-450W designs. I really don’t know what to think of this but I’m sure sharing of PCB is common but I’m really curious at what internals are actually different from the lower wattage models. Printing 500-550W on the PCB would have eased my concerns.
Looking at the wires on this unit reveals that there is plenty enough connectors for almost anything you need. I have no complaints on the amount supplied and their length. However, it would have been great if HuntKey would have wrapped their wiring in loom because spaghetti wires really suck. Expect lots of clutter.
Regarding HuntKey’s SATA connector; it really stinks. I’ve never had a fitment problem with a SATA connector but these HuntKey SATA connectors literally made things harder than it should be. I originally thought the SATA connectors did not fit my hard drive and devices. I was like WTF is going on, it doesn’t fit! It turns out it does fit but takes a tons of force to get in, and to remove. I literally would not use these SATA connectors in fears that it’ll strip the power connector off the HD. All of them were tight and the same whereas on my Seasonic the SATA connectors fit like a glove, not like a pain in the ass.
How does it perform?
If you haven’t noticed on the front page, we’ve recently upgraded our system to an Intel Quad Core Q6600 system. In general our system consists of an Intel Core 2 Quad Core Q6600 @ 2.4GHz (G0 Stepping), Asus P5K-E/WiFi-AP Edition (P35 Chipset), Mushkin EM2-6400 2GB RAM, (two) Hitachi 7K250 Series 80GB SATA HD, and the eVGA 7900GT KO Superclocked Graphics Card.
Using the latest version of ASUS Probe II software to record the voltages across the range when under idle and load conditions (stock and overclocked to 3GHz) we will see if the HuntKey can handle our system. The HuntKey will be compared to the Seasonic 500W I currently have running the system.
Before I present the results to you I have to mention if there were any problems during testing. Utilizing the HuntKey GreenStar LW-6550SG right off the bat presented a weird buzzing/whining noise. Please note that this noise did not resonate from the internal fan but from the internals itself. I’m not sure if it is from poor filtering but obviously this is not normal or should be lived with. The noise sounded like a bad LCD buzzing but changing for the worse under load operations. You can hear the distinction of noise between idle and load state. The noise stays present all the time and is audible and becomes annoying after time. The noise is not overly loud but you can hear it a good distance away.
Here is a sound clip of the noise present - CLICK ME
With that said I still went on with testing feeling uneasy but managed to go through without any major problems. Load values were taken from executing the OCCT program for 10 minutes and recording values. The system was left alone doing nothing for 10 minutes and then recorded.
For the most part I think it’s safe to say that both power supplies are within their fluctuation limits however the Seasonic power supply is the one giving consistent voltages with less fluctuation from stock and load conditions at 2.4GHz and even when overclocked to 3GHz. The voltages for the most part stayed exactly the same between 2.4GHz and 3GHz.
The HuntKey power supply seems to fluctuate more with its voltages and when the system was drawing more power when overclocked to 3GHZ, the results were slightly worse. For example, the Seasonic held its 3.3V rail at a consistent 3.34 under both 2.4GHZ and 3.0GHZ idle and load conditions. The same cannot be said with the HuntKey unit that fluctuated from 3.31, 3.30, 3.30, and 3.29. The same traits are seen with the other rails on the HuntKey. The more power you would give the HuntKey to handle, the more fluctuation it had.
If I was out on the market for a power supply, would I recommend searching within the HuntKey brand?
Truthfully I wouldn’t because of what I experienced with the HuntKey GreenStar LW-6550SG. The unit had construction issues and quality control issues along with that annoying abnormal buzzing noise which I’ve never heard from my other power supplies, not even my old Enermax 300W. Not to mention the horrible SATA connector HuntKey uses, that is just one PITA SATA connector that requires tons of force to put in and to remove from devices such as hard drives.
Frankly it makes me feel uneasy and makes question HuntKey products as a whole. They really have to up their quality in general in order for me to look at them again.
Pros and Cons