Fortron 400W Blue Storm - Page 2

Written by John Chen    Tuesday, 12 October 2004 11:00
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Fortron Blue Storm 400W

The package comes in a nice blue box and indicates that the power supply is compliant with Intel's v2.0 requirement.  The sample I received is a 400W Blue Storm and is Non PFC.  PFC stands for Power Factor Correction, which means it cleans out power fluctuations and makes the power supply work to its maximum efficiency.  There are three types of PFC:  active, passive, and non PFC.  Active is the most complex and provides the best protection.  It corrects poor power and automatically adjusts input voltage from the AC source.  That means that if there was a huge power spike through the wall AC outlet, the active PFC will correct that and prevent permanent damage.  Passive PFC uses a capacitive filter to correct poor power from the AC source, but does not protect against power spikes or power abnormalities.  The last is non PFC, which has no power protections or filterations.  Of course active PFC would be ideal in a power supply, but it causes the cost of power supplies to be much higher.  At least it would be better to have passive PFC, but most low-priced power supplies available have non PFC.  Knowing that Fortron is a reputable power supply manufacturer, it would have been better to know that they provide better protection.

Included in the package is a 24pin-to-20pin ATX connector, a simple instructions manual, AC adapter, and 4 screws.

The Blue Storm is exactly as the name describes; it's all blue.  The casing is blue, the 120mm fan is blue, the connectors are blue, and the cables are even nicely sleeved in blue.  The power supply looks good.  I just hope that it provides the quality power.  There is only one fan in the power supply and it's 120mm in size, delivering 38CFM.  The use of a large fan is helps reduce noise without losing the increased airflow.  The air exits through the back of the power supply through honeycomb-shaped holes.  This arrangement of holes allows for decreased air restriction. 

The Blue Storm has a decent number of power connectors to suit your every day needs.  There are six 4pin connectors, two 3pin connectors, two SATA connectors, and a 4pin 12v connector.  The cables come nicely sleeved in blue to match the overall look of the power supply and is wrapped in heatshrink at the ends.  The heatshrinks were not heated well enough to fully wrap around the cables, but it doesn't move around either.  A tighter fit would have looked better aesthetically.  The 4pin connector comes with the so called "EZ Grip" Female Molex connectors.  This makes the connector easy to remove with a push of the tabs.  There is no more wiggling and yanking of wires.  There was one thing that I didn't like about the new connector, and it's that it doesn't have a snug fit on video cards that require a 4pin power connector.  The cables are of a fairly decent length and will not have any trouble fitting inside a full tower case.

The well known Fortron 530W power supply came heavy and was filled with quality parts.  The Blue Storm can be considered far from that quality.  Checking the internals revealed lots of empty space as well as wasted PCB area.  It was a shame that Fortron didn't stick to their previous design and pack the power supply with capacitors and heatsinks.  The heatsinks are some of the smaller ones I've seen.  The power supply comes with a rated 70% efficiency, the rest is dispersed as heat.  That 30% of power can generate quite an amount of heat.  Larger heatsinks should be used in such a case.  The heatsinks used here are smaller than that of the Enermax Noisetaker v2.0 reviewed recently and the Noisetaker v2.0 has a high 80% efficiency.  Granted that the price tag is different, yet the difference in quality shouldn't be all that big.  One favorite feature of the Fortron 530W was the adjustable potentiometers.  I checked around and was able to find the adjustable pots inside the power supply.  There were four altogether, one for each rail.  Because there are two independent 12v rails, the adjustable pots for those are separate.  Keep in mind that opening up the power supply will void all warranties, even if Fortron does not have a sticker to prevent such an intrusion.  InsaneTek and Fortron are not responsible for any damages.