Power supplies are getting new efficiency and noise certifications

Power supplies are one of the least sexy parts of a build, meaning it's often tough to decide which one you should pick up. One of the ways to separate the bad from the good is to restrict your search to only 80 Plus certified models. If want to further refine your results, you can look up only 80 Plus Gold or 80 Plus Platinum models, which leaves you with some of the most efficient models out there. But is it enough? A company called Cybenetics doesn't think so. The company is introducing two new power supply certifications, one for overall efficiency and another for noise levels.

The efficiency and noise certifications are labeled as ETA and LAMDA, respectively. Starting with the former, Cybenetics says its efficiency ratings offer greater accuracy "compared to the currently available programs," which is a veiled reference to 80 Plus.

"Contrary to the currently available efficiency rating programs that test only three or four different load points, the ETA program incorporates load combinations using a unique, custom-made application to account for the efficiency results of thousands of different load combinations through a unique proprietary application," Cybenetics explains.  This process allows Cybenetics to use a single value rating to represent the PSU’s true overall efficiency."

Cybenetics also takes into consideration power factor, vampire power (standby power), and the +5VSB rail's efficiency when determining a final rating, "whereas these measurements are not even considered in other efficiency certification tests."

Based on how a PSU measures, they can earn one of five grades:

Cybenetics would also issue separate noise ratings based on readings that are recorded throughout the PSU's entire operational range.

"Those readings are subsequently converted to sound pressure levels (SPL), averaged, and converted back to dB(A) again. As of this time, to the best of our knowledge, there is no such noise certification program available for IT products," Cybenetics says. Our purpose in the future is to expand this program to other hardware parts, as well." 

The LAMDA certification for noise would consist of seven levels, two more than the ETA certification:

The success of a certification program depends on participation by power supply makers. To that end, Cybenetics has certified close to 40 PSUs models from various brands. One of those brands is Seasonic, an established player that issued its own announcement saying it has embraced the new ETA and LAMDA ratings.

Seasonic said that after "years of getting comfortable with 80 Plus efficiency ratings," it was "glad to jump on board" the new rating system by Cybenetics and "even happier to receive back the first test results" of its flagship Prime units. Three of its models were tested (650W, 750W, and 850W), each of which received an A ETA rating and A++ LAMDA badge.

What this all boils down to is another way to shop for power supplies. It will be interesting to see what effect his has on pricing, as another certification system could also motivate PSU makers to charge higher premiums for PSUs that earn high-level badges.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).