PC Power & Cooling CTO talks shop

May 3, 2008 // 8:19 a.m.

Tags: #answers #cooling #cto #dodson #doug #interview #modular #pc #power #questions #supply

It’s fair to say that PC Power & Cooling is one of the industry's premier PSU manufacturers, however that's not to say the rest of the industry hasn't upped its game in recent years.

With the company’s acquisition by OCZ Technology last year, and the increasing number of competent power supply manufacturers establishing themselves in the industry, we felt it was a good time to find out what’s happening inside PC Power. We talked to Doug Dobson, Chief Technology Officer at PC Power & Cooling, to discuss his views on the industry and find out how the company has changed following the acquisition.

bit-tech: How is PC Power & Cooling doing in the European market? I've heard the eastern Europeans and Russians prefer the red Silencers, but the Americans prefer the black ones?

Doug Dobson: The European response to the Silencer series has been excellent. Sales are increasing at an amazing rate, especially for the Silencer 750W Red.

PC Power & Cooling CTO talks shopBT: How has OCZ Technology affected the way PC Power & Cooling works? Are you going to stay true to your core or are you perhaps looking to diversify your product range?

DD: PC Power & Cooling will continue to focus on innovative, high-end power supply products for both commercial and consumer applications. No gimmicks.

BT: Can we expect more PC Power & Cooling influence in OCZ's range in addition to the EliteXStream?

DD: Yes. PC Power & Cooling worked with OCZ on the design of the EliteXStream 800W/1000W and will provide assistance with all future PSU products as well.

BT: How do you expect the PSU to evolve in the next three to five years considering the push to greener, more efficient computing? (Personally we believe PSUs will become more of a commodity product so in the future there will be an emphasis on price and features rather than component quality).

DD: I expect a major change. There will be only one DC output: +12 Volts. The +3.3V, +5V, and -12V outputs will be eliminated in the future. This will make the PSU more efficient, since +12 Volts is the most efficient output, and of course it will make the PSU simpler and less expensive.

Some of the cost savings will be used to improve component quality since the cost of upgrading is minimal compared to the cost of returning a defective PSU and the cost of computer downtime.

PC Power & Cooling CTO talks shop

BT: So do you mean all the DC-DC conversion for components and legacy hardware will be done on the motherboard or outside the PSU? Or just all PSUs will be AC-DC 12V then DC-DC 3.3V, 5V and -12V? Or the ATX spec will change entirely to do away with other voltages all together?

DD: I believe there will be a single output from the PSU: +12V. Motherboards are responsible for a lot of DC-DC conversion already and I expect all DC-DC conversion will be handled on the motherboard in the future.

That's not a tough job since the amount of 3.3V and 5V power required by today's computers continues to diminish. Combined 3.3V and 5V PSU output is down to 100W maximum compared to 200W maximum just three years ago.

There is virtually no dynamic loading on the 3.3V and 5V outputs either, so the DC-DC circuitry is relatively simple. (The loading on the 3.3V and 5V outputs hardly vary with the application load).

BT: What about moving to 15/18/24V if 12V is preferred because it's more efficient and provides more power?

DD: It would make sense to go to 24 volts output for efficiency reasons, but the problem would be hard drive motors, fans, and other devices that run directly from the +12V output without conversion. The installed base of computers and components dependent on +12V would make switching to a higher voltage output such as 24V very difficult.

I believe 12 volt output PSUs will be 90 percent efficient in the next three to five years, so the efficiency problem can be solved without switching to an output voltage above 12 volts.


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