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The hidden hazards of bargain PSUs: a case packed with iron filings


WTF?! Of all the components that make up our desktop PCs, none is less sexy yet arguably more important than the PSU. Opting for a cheap piece of crap might allow you to buy a better mobo or GPU, but you’ll probably regret it eventually. Just look at the unit one Redditor discovered that’s so bad it contains a box of iron filings to add extra weight.

As reported by PC Gamer, the frighteningly bad power supply unit was discovered by RedditCringe990, who posted images on r/pcmasterrace.

The photos show that the Redditor opened up the PSU, which is a bad idea even on more expensive models as they can store charge, exposing a strange, small box that doesn’t appear to be connected to anything. Opening the container revealed it was packed with what look like iron filings mixed with dust and other debris.

As noted by the post’s title, the most likely reason for this unusual addition is to add weight to the PSU, thereby making it appear to be of a higher quality than it is.

The PSU certainly falls into the cheap and nasty category. This Equites T500 “500W” PSU wasn’t even purchased as a standalone component; it came included inside the Equites H2 chassis that cost the equivalent of just $39 – a concerningly low price for both items.

Is there a genuine reason this cheap PSU has a block of iron filings in it or are they trying to make it feel heavy?
byu/RedditCringe990 inpcmasterrace

One commentator notes that the added weight is the least of the PSU’s problems. “That is not a 500W PSU. In fact, I’d barely call it a PSU. It has no input protection, no output protection, doesn’t seem to have an OCP controller (you’d see the shunts) or anything a PSU needs. Heck, there’s no class-Y capacitor, no inrush limiting, and I’m fairly sure those two resistors aren’t discharge resistors,” wrote Hattix.

“If you add up its current output, it can do 168 watts on 12 V, 70 watts on 5V, and 43 watts on 3.3V, which gets you to 281 watts. This is a common total for a 250 wat PSU: Even its label says it is not 500 watts!”

The lack of regulatory conformance marks was also highlighted, which could invalidate home insurance if it were plugged in, and selling the component would likely be illegal, further pushing home the point that going cheap on a power supply unit is never a good idea.

If you’re in the market for a new PSU, or any PC component for that matter, make sure to check out TechSpot’s PC Buying Guide for the 2023 Holiday season. We look at four different PC setups based on different budgets and needs, none of which contain anything sketchy.



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