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Antec SmartBlue 350W Power-Supply
Date: July 22, 2004
Reviewer: Michael Brim
Score: 7/10

Antec SmartBlue 350W Power-Supply
Antec SmartBlue 350W Power-Supply

   The most overlooked component of the computer is easily the Power-Supply. The Power-Supply is also one of the only computer components that requires brand-name recognition. Faulty PSU's providing unstable 3.3, 5 and 12 voltage rails can lead to frequent crashes, unstable and non-responsive peripheral and optical devices and could easily kill multiple of your PC components or, if it's feeling feisty, your whole computer. Novices and experienced users will shell out $400 for the newest and greatest graphics card on the market, but when it comes to picking a Power-Supply that the graphics card requires, most inexperienced users will opt for the generic, no-name 550W PSU which glows in 20 different ways and retails for less than $30. Yep, nothing like protecting a $400 investment with a glowing, $30 device that promises twice the max voltage of competitor's units.

   Choosing a reliable PSU all comes down to a trusted brand-name: PC Power & Cooling, Sparkle, Fortron Source, Zalman, Antec and Enermax are generally regarded as manufacturers of quality PSUs. I may have forgotten a few brands, but buying a PSU of any other brand than one listed above is going to be a toss-up. These competitively priced, neon lit and poorly constructed no-name power-supplies are polluting the market and Antec has taken notice. Today I review the Antec 350W SmartBlue PSU which brings to the table not only a practical price-tag of $50 but also 1 92mm (intake) and 1 80mm (exhaust) Quad LED fans.

   Antec produces two lines of power-supplies: the SmartPower line and the TruePower line. The SmartPower line is aimed towards the builders with a budget yet carries the Antec name and Antec reliability; the added LED fans are for appearance purposes. TruePower is for the enthusiast who demands the most out of his PSU, however, they cost a lot more than the more modestly priced SmartPower's.

Antec SmartBlue 350W Power-Supply
Front of the Box
Antec SmartBlue 350W Power-Supply
Back of the Box

   The Antec SmartBlue 350W Power-Supply comes packaged in a very appealing white and blue box which literally draws attention to itself. The front features a picture of the unit along with its name and the Antec logo. The back lists a few of the units features and the SmartBlue's specifications. The SmartBlue features 7 four-pin molex connectors, 2 floppy connectors, 1 twenty-pin ATX connector, 1 six-pin AUX connector, 1 Fan Header (for fan monitoring purposes) and 1 four-pin 12V connector. Along with the power-supply comes a 3' power cable, a four-page instruction manual and four "fitted" screws.

Antec SmartBlue 350W Power-Supply
Does it glow?
Antec SmartBlue 350W Power-Supply
..not very much

   Considering how the SmartBlue is supposed to combine aesthetics with performance and power, I was a little surprised that none of the cables are sleeved: not even the 20pin ATX power connector. I guess the $8 price difference between the SmartPower 350W and SmartBlue 350W is just for the fans, which are not that great. The pictures do the fans justice, the fans aren't bright by any means and only illuminate the power-supply itself. Inside the Antec LANBoy case (which the SmartBlue comes included with) a quad LED fan mounted as the case exhaust easily outshines any "glow" given off by the SmartBlue.

   Like I previously mentioned, there are three voltage rails (the 3.3V, +5V and 12V) that you want to make sure are stable and not out of their +/- 5% specified values. There is an allowed 5% fluctuation on each rail as specified by That would mean the voltages taken on each rail should be in-between the following values below:

+12V 11.4 12.6
+5V 4.75 5.25
3.3V 3.135 3.465

Test Machine:
  • AMD64 3200+
  • ASUS K8V SE Deluxe
  • 512MB PC3200
  • ATi Radeon 9600
  • 1 HD and 1 DVD±RW
  • 4 80mm Vantec Stealth Fans
   To test the PSU for Idle Voltages, I turned on the PSU using the paper-clip trick which allows the PSU to turn on with no load. After 5 minutes, I took the reading off each rail and used those values as the idle voltages.

   To get load voltages, I overclocked the 3200+ 2.2GHz to 2.56GHz and then ran a nifty program I found called Stress Prime 2004. I ran this test for twelve or so hours and checked the voltages about every hour. Listed below are the lowest and highest voltages for the load values and the one determined idle value.

  Idle Load Low Load High
+12V 11.648 11.52 11.712
+5V 4.999 4.972 4.999
3.3V 3.248 3.232 3.264

   I am thoroughly impressed with the Antec SmartBlue 350W Power-Supply in regards to stability and performance. The voltages stayed within the 5% leniency and were stable during the most intense usage. One thing I did notice was that the two 80/92mm LED fans aren't loud, but they aren't silent. Having previously used a Fortron Source power-supply with one 120mm fan, going back to 92/80 was a noticeably louder experience. If you have the choice between the 350W SmartPower and the 350W SmartBlue, I might opt for the SmartPower because they generally run cheaper and the LED fans were anything but impressive. The SmartBlue 350W nevertheless proved true of deserving the Antec name and even for those on a budget, there is a power-supply option for you that delivers performance at a reasonable price.

  • Affordable
  • Stable
  • No SATA connectors
  • Doesn't really glow
  • SmartPower w/ sub-par LED fans
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