Review By: Jared Black
|# Of Players:||N/A|
|Accessories:||Requires standard (ATX) PC power supply with sustained power at least 203W/12v DC @ 16.5A/5v DC @ 1A (not included)|
This is most likely the riskiest product I’ve ever reviewed, since having adequate power to any piece of electronic equipment while it's operating is critical to said equipment’s continued well-being. Well, maybe it wasn’t the riskiest in this case, but only because of extenuating circumstances. You see, a few weeks ago my launch day Xbox 360 became the latest victim of the dreaded Red Ring of Death. Thanks to Microsoft’s generous warranty return policy (basically every console ever produced can still be replaced under warranty until further notice, although that’s due to a crappy product of course), I recently received a replacement console. Unfortunately, due to Microsoft’s also crappy packaging of said replacement, it happened to arrive with a cracked faceplate. So as I currently write this, I’m awaiting the box I may or may not use to ship the replacement console back to Microsoft (seems like a lot of hassle for just a cracked faceplate, and no, they won't replace just the faceplate), so that I may in turn receive a replacement of the replacement.
So with a lame duck console already, I had nothing to lose when trying out the PSU Energyzer, which promises to power your Xbox 360 console via an ATX PC power supply rather than the brick that shipped with the system. I especially had nothing to lose since I just happened to have an extra 250W PC power supply handy, thanks to a recent video card and PSU upgrade in my desktop PC. Of course, I wasn’t going to risk my precious copy of Oblivion, so I quickly swapped it out and Pocketbike Racer became my guinea pig of choice instead.
So I decided to chance it with Talismoon’s power replacement solution, and to my relief it worked exactly as advertised. Setup is a breeze; simply plug the PSU Energyzer cord into the console on one end, plug the 20-pin connector on the other end of the PSU Energyzer into the 20-pin connector on the power supply, and then plug the power cable that comes with the console into the power supply and outlet. Assuming you did everything correctly (and it’s pretty much impossible not to) and have a power supply that meets the requirements listed on the box, your console should then power up normally.
Power is power, and the ATX power supply I was using more than met the minimum requirements, so I didn’t foresee any issues. Still, to put it through its paces, I systematically increased the power load on the console to make sure it would stand up to the test. I started by simply powering on the console and going straight to the dashboard without the hard drive installed, since hard drives are generally big power users. The console powered up without issue. I then powered it off, and turned it back on while going straight into Pocketbike Racer since the DVD drive naturally increases power consumption. I played as much of the game as I could stomach, and again the console had no noticeable glitches or issues. Finally, I reinstalled the hard drive and plugged in the controller to charge while I also played, and even then with the console running at full steam it was as if the Xbox 360 was using the power supply that came with it.
OK, great, it works like it’s supposed to. But you might be asking yourself why exactly you’d want one of these. After all, since it requires an ATX power supply, you’re saving very little (if any) space versus the standard power brick, and I noticed virtually no difference from a noise standpoint either. No, the real benefit of the PSU Energyzer lies in the fact that, if the power brick that comes with the console should ever fail, it’s an inexpensive alternative to buying a new one. While the PSU Energyzer retails for $20.99 (I’m not endorsing that site necessarily, but it's hard to find sellers online), the cheapest standard replacement power brick I found was about $70. Of course, if you don’t already have a power supply you’ll also have to buy one of those, but you can easily find a new one with plenty of power for less than $20.
The other main benefit of the PSU Energyzer is that you can provide extra power to the console, should you need it while engaging in nefarious modding activities that require a greater level of juice.
It would be nice if Talismoon offered an all-in-one solution that didn’t require the consumer to provide a separate power supply, but as it stands now the PSU Energyzer is still an inexpensive and innovative alternative for modders and cash-strapped consumers alike.
Posted: 2007-02-18 14:10:10 PST