Our original plans had us doing this 800W-1000W roundup and then later, a 400W-600W roundup. However Hiper scuppered our plans by sending us this 680W unit, which fits in neither category. Rather than leave it out, though, we've included it here.
This unit comes in a very useful mini tool box, which includes an inbuilt bits tray for stowing all your screws, cables and other bits and bobs. As is always the case when you get a fancy box with your new equipment, you'll either love this because you can see a use for it or hate it because you simply don't need it and (if you're anything like me) are loath to just throw it away.
While the box is a down to earth, practical addition, the actual power supply is all about the superficial. Or at least that's the first impression you get. The chrome fan and metallic blue casing are the epitome of bling in all the wrong ways. However, look a little bit deeper and that practical thinking comes to the fore again.
The most obvious evidence of this is the grid of nine - count 'em - USB sockets on the back. Eight of these are 'proper' USB sockets, which link to your PC's motherboard via a cable out the front, so you'll never be starved of data connections again. The final socket is purely for charging USB devices but it can provide a hefty maximum 1A so it will charge faster than most conventional USB sockets.
Unfortunately this isn't a modular power supply so you're going to have to get your hands dirty (and cut and scratched, if my experience is anything to go by) stowing those spare cables into all the nooks and crannies of your PC case. We do like how the cables are sectioned off though. All the Molex cables are kept together, as are the SATA and PCI-E cables and some of the cables even have varying lengths giving you some options that slightly make up for the lack of modularity.
Our only real complaint would be the limited number of PCI-Express cables. Just a single six-pin and a single eight-pin cable are provided, so exotic SLI and Crossfire setups are not going to be possible. Still, with a rating of only 680W, this is hardly a surprise.
As for performance, this unit was impeccable. It stayed well within the ATX specified levels at all loads and although efficiency dropped below the specified 85 per cent, it remained above 82 per cent throughout, which is still very good. Noise levels were also good with the unit remaining largely unobtrusive at anything but full load and even then it wasn't anything too drastic.
This isn't the most powerful power supply on the market and it lacks modular cables. However, everything else about it is superb. The useful tool box, the ingenious extra USB connections, the neat cable layout, the impressive performance, and of course, the decent price earn this a recommended award.