Introduction

When it comes to the PC Components and the peripherals particularly the PC Chassis and the PC Cooling, the name of Cooler Master needs no introduction and they are among the top-notch manufacturers. They carry the diverse lines of the products ranging from the power supply units, Chassis, air and water coolers, fans, keyboards, mouse, headsets etc.

Cooler Master Pakistan has sent us their MWE 500W PSU for the review. This is an entry level budget PSU from the Cooler Master. It comes with the compliance to the ErP 2013 Lot 6 certification. It is built with APFC +PWM technology which enhances the product reliability and performance. Being compliant with the Erp 2013 Lot 6 and CE it can lower the utility expense by power saving. Since we don’t have proper testing equipment at the moment, we will be giving you an overview of the PSU and the details of the PCB and circuitry used in this PSU.

  • Item:                     MWE 500
  • Manufacturer:       Cooler Master
  • Price:                    PKR 5200/- [At the time of the review]
  • Availability:          Shing

Specification

Packaging and Unboxing

The power supply comes in a black color cardboard box. On the front side, the Cooler Master brand logo is printed on the top left side. MWE 500 is printed in large size font on the bottom left side. Green Power Supply with Erp 2013 Lot 6 certified is printed under the MWE 500. The unit meets the 80 plus certification for 230V EU. The picture of the unit is on the right side main section.

The backside of the packing box salient features of the unit printed in 6 different languages. The Cooler Master brand logo is printed on the top left side. MWE 500 is printed on the top right side. Warranty label is pasted on the right side. Model no mentioned on the warranty label differs from the actual unit inside. Model on the Label is MPW-4502-ACABW-EU 450W which is clearly wrong in this case. The model is MPW-5002- ACABW-EU 500W.

This side of the packaging box has the Cooler Master brand logo printed on the top left side. The MWE 500 is printed on the top right side. The unit picture is printed in the middle section. Region label is printed on the bottom side along with the EAC and UAN info labels. Serial No Info label is pasted on the bottom.

This side has the specifications of the PSU printed in the tabular format. Power table is printed under the specification.

The rear side has the Cooler Master’s brand logo printed on the top left side. MWE 500 is printed on the bottom right side.

Company’s website for more information on the PSU is printed in 21 different languages on the opening cover side.

Opening the box would reveal the PSU tucked into the air filled container for safety during the shipping. The info guide is placed right on the top of the unit.

Accessories

There is not much content in terms of the accessories in this box. We have a user guide, 4 screws and the standard power cable.

Closer Look

The unit is wrapped inside the air pocket container for extra safety during the shipping. This is a non-modular PSU hence all the cables are pre-installed and coming out from the PSU like the standard non-modular PSU. The unit follows the Intel Form Factor of ATX 12V V 2.31. It has a dimension of 150 x 140 x 86mm. The input voltage range is 200-240Vac. Input frequency range is 47 – 63 Hz. Power good signal is 100 to 500ms. Hold up time is 14ms. Efficiency is 85% at typical load. MTBF is 100,000 Hours. Operation temperature is 0~40°C. The unit has basic protection features of OVP / OPP / OTP / SCP.

The top side of the PSU has a standard 120mm fan for cooling the circuit of the PSU. There is a warranty void label pasted on one of the screws removing which void the warranty. There is a fan filter on the top side. The thermally controlled 120mm HDB fan operates smoothly without friction.

This side of the PSU has a large sticker pasted on it in the charcoal color. The Cooler Master’s brand logo is printed on the top left side while the MWE 500 is printed on the bottom right side.

This side of the unit has the power info label pasted in the main section. The serial no info label is pasted on the left side. The model of the unit is MPW-5002-ACABW. It is a switching power supply with Active Power PFC. AC input is 200-240V with 4A and 47-63Hz. It has a single +12V rail with 38A on it.

The rear side has a mesh covering the entire side for effective heat dissipation. There are  3-pin power connector and power on/off button.

The backside of the unit has a solid cover without any vent. 5 screws are coming out indicating that the PCB is screwed on the based.

The unit has 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power cables sleeved in a black color. All other cables are not sleeved or braided. Connectors’ info is as under: –

Connector Quantity Length of the Cable
MB 20+4 Pin 1x 550mm
CPU 12V 4+4 Pin 1x 550mm
PCIe 6+2 Pin 2x [On a single cable] 500mm
SATA 6x [3x on single cable] 700mm
Peripheral 4 Pin 3x [On single cable] 850mm
FDD Cable 4 Pin 1x [On the Molex connectors’ cable]

 

It is time to take a closer look at the PCB and circuit design. As the computer is comprised of multiple sophisticated circuits, it necessitates one to ensure uninterrupted availability of different stable voltages i.e. +5V, -5V, +12V, -12V, 3.3V etc at respective terminals of a power supply. In addition to consideration of stable voltages, current requirements also change at runtime – gets steered by the load connected to the output stage of the power supply. But that consideration of parameters does not end only in voltage and current requirements, it stretches up to the features like harmonic factor, cross load regulation, noise resilience and other safety parameters including overvoltage protection OVP and overcurrent protection OCP etc to ensure the optimized and standardized provision of power to PC.

For which, following paragraphs will showcase the review of Cooler Master power supply step by step, with respect to requisite parameters, of which some of them mentioned above. These parameters are beneficial to take into account by one, who is keen to explore any decent power supply for his system in addition to the intelligent power supplies, which fall in other categories of supplies, are equipped with many modern features like real-time data exchange between power supply and mobile phone via cloud or via USB.

From an external view, as being seen in the appended image, the supply possesses the appealing metal body, branching off multiple curled up cables, color-coded according to the voltage levels.

And then its lid is taken off by removing four screws located on four corners in the base of the power supply. Mind not to remove the fans screws, which are also tied on the same side a just little bit away from the corners.

Taking the bird’s eye view all over the black PCB that is populated with components, it seems that all are ready to work together in a coordinated fashion for the common purpose. Anyhow, switching it ON part is being left for another time. But for now, it is logical to start looking first from the main power socket from where it gets its excitation. Here, in the appended pic, you can see that a yellow color capacitor (X rated) soldered out. It’s basically a safety-certified capacitor that directly used to connect across main voltage, catering the function of protection from EMI/RFI interference. Due to its constant exposure to high voltage, it also has to withstand peak/transient voltages spikes, making susceptible to fail short. Anyhow, in case of fail short will lead fuse to get open, which is connected afterward in series.  The fuse protects the circuit in case of shortage produce by those susceptible components that work with high voltage. Then comes another yellow capacitor accompanied by two coils (inductors) to play the role of EMI interference filter, so that our Main Power supply be secured from unwanted noise.

In the appended image, all stages have been annotated to illustrate the full picture of power supply that is equipped with all those subsystems that cater the basic features, a supply must possess i.e. safety, reliability, robustness and quality power components. Though detail explanation of all substages is not the scope of this review, however, some basic knowledge will help the reader to get abreast of basics characteristics of a power supply.

Looking over to the lateral section of the supply brings the reader with the view of the bridge rectifier and a large capacitor rated 400V employed for AC ripple filtering.

With closer examination in the circuit, after requisite DC filtration lies the circuit of active power factor correction, for why this power supply differentiates itself from other entry-level budget supplies, which normally are not equipped with this feature. This feature improves the power factor which gets disturbed due to the high switching operation of the magnetics.

Lastly, comes the secondary stage of the supply that accounts for the stabilized, rectified and filtered DC voltage supply, additionally also providing a feedback to the primary side to control the controller parameters.

Checking its soldering joints on the back side of PCB, shining copper traces appropriately networked overall PCB according to the requirements of respective thickness i.e. gets thicker on those places carrying higher current and thinner traces for carrying smaller magnitude current. Shinning traces, traces width, proper isolation, heat sinking and proper solder joints merits for the good grade PCB. AS can be seen, proper isolation is present between the high voltage primary side and low DC voltage secondary.

Having considered all apparent parameters of the supply’s built, it qualifies for the entry-level budget to be considered for your system, which is also furnished with additional active PFC feature. As said earlier, it is the parameter that differentiates it from other counterparts falling under the same cadre.

Testing

As we don’t have adequate equipment to measure the performance of the PSU particularly its waveforms to determine the true performance potential, we have used Thermaltake Dr. Power II to test the sample unit.

Thermaltake Dr. Power II has the functionality to test the ATX 20+4 pin, CPU 4+4 pin, PCIe 6 or 8 pin, SATA, and peripheral connectors and report the corresponding voltages by putting the load on the PSU. It also has the ability to report the issues with the PSU.

The reported voltages need to be compared with the Intel Standard and the Measuring Range of the testing equipment. The below-mentioned table has the Intel Standard, Measuring Range, and the Reported Voltages:

All the tested voltages fall within the Intel’s standard. Here are the connectors wise reported voltages:

Connector Reported Voltage (V)
ATX 24-Pin 11.6
CPU 4+4 Pin +12V +11.9
PCIe 6/8 Pin +12V +11.8
Peripheral +5.01, 3.3V
SATA +5.01, 3.3V

 

Conclusion

The Cooler Master MWE 500 is an entry-level, budget power supply. It has 80 plus certification for the 230V EU. It is a green power supply as it conforms to the ErP 2013 Lot 6 certification. That and CE would enable this unit to save more power and put less load on your utility bill. The unit has a dimension of the 150mm(L)x140mm(W)x86mm(H).

The model no is MPW-5002-ACABW. This is a non-modular PSU hence all the cables are pre-installed and coming out from the PSU like the standard non-modular PSU. The unit follows the Intel Form Factor of ATX 12V V 2.31. The input voltage range is 200-240Vac. Input frequency range is 47 – 63 Hz. Power good signal is 100 to 500ms. Hold up time is 14ms. Efficiency is 85% at typical load. MTBF is 100,000 Hours. Operation temperature is 0~40°C. The unit has basic protection features of OVP / OPP / OTP / SCP.

Connectors included in the packing box are 1x 20+4 Pin Motherboard connector, 1x 4+4 Pin CPU connector, 2x 6+2 Pin PCIe connectors, 6x SATA connectors, 3x 4-Pin Peripheral connectors, 1x FDD Cable 4-Pin which is a part of the Molex connectors’ power cable. The PSU has a single +12V rail with 38A on it making the power output of 456W.

The differentiating factor for this PSU is the provision of the Active power factor correction circuit. This PSU has a price of the PKR 5200/- at the time of the review. This price and the provision of the Active Power Factor Correction circuit makes this PSU ideal for the basic or entry level budget builds. Cooler Master is providing 3 years warranty on this unit.

If you are a casual PC Gamer gaming with budget level graphics card or have a need for routine desktop use then the Cooler Master MWE 500 is the PSU we would recommend for your.

I am thankful to the Cooler Master Pakistan for sending their MWE 500 PSU for the review. I am also thankful to the Co-Author of this content, Mr. Mohibullah khan for his valuable insight.