Power Supply AliExpress PicoPSU finds! The Good, the Awesome and the Bad!!!

princess_daphie

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Jan 26, 2019
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I thought I'd make a thread about my experimentations with AliExpress power supplies. Hopefully this might help some of you to make some less blinded choices! I've had a few good experiences and one very bad one. I'll start with the one I consider a failure and waste of money.

THE BAD

PICO-BOX Z4-ATX-200 (16-24V, 180w Rated, 200w Peak)
Paid 72$CAD

This thing seems like it's not available anymore. Not very surprised. I think there was a flaw in the design, or maybe, more probably, a flaw in the implementation of those who built the PCB from specs, because it was supposed to be comparable to the HDPlex 200W, based on its design, but it wasn't able to reliably power anything with a discrete GPU. The only way to make it stable-ish, is to keep the load below 140W and ideally use a higher voltage source, like 24V instead of 19V.

THE GOOD

12V 300W PicoPSU
Paid 63$CAD for 3 units

I read a few reviews, and it seemed like this unit wouldn't have trouble powering around its rated power, or at the very least 200w, so for the price, I thought I'd order 3 units, especially because I planned on trying to mod it, since it has open vias available for 12V power, which is one of its main appeal, it's very handy to mod to your needs. It relays its input 12V directly through its 12V vias.

I've had good success with it powering ~200w peak builds, including my i5-11400+rtx a2000 build, which has difficult spikes to handle. The only problem I had is that without modifying it, the thing would overheat and shut down. I had to mod it to pass through some 12V directly to the 24pin connector's 12v pins.



With this mod, I haven't had issues so far.

I also tested one unit running a discrete GPU (by adding a 12V PCIe connector to its free vias) and it didn't have issues handling it at all. It was another ~200w peak build.



THE AWESOME

250W AC/DC (180w fanless, 250w with fan) 12V semi-open power supply unit

Paid 48$CAD



So this thing is a semi-naked power supply, with screw posts on each side, one side for AC (the one in focus), and one with 2x 12V+ and 2x 12V-. That's it. I tested it with a build that when tested would pull around 200w on load, and up to 290w peak (11400 no constraint, 140w short burst, 100w constant, GTX 1660 SUPER, no constraint). This thing handled it like a champ. No hiccups even though peaks were above its rated limit. The hottest components on the board would get very hot very fast when running close to its limit constantly (expectedly), but putting a fan on top (as recommended), made it run cool.

I left it powering the build, running Unigine Heaven and/or Prime95 for some period of time without issue.

THE AWESOME(?) (CONTINUED...)

600W 12V PicoPSU (43A rated 12V power)
Paid 45$CAD

So I don't know if this thing can hold up to its claims, because 600W is a lot, but it IS designed with very heavy gauge input 12V wires, with open screw posts, and an XT60 connector in between. The tests I made with the AC/DC PSU above were done with this PicoPSU on that build, and the thing didn't even get hot to the touch. It's initially impressive. It seems like it can handle a lot more power indeed.

QUESTIONS?

So if you have any questions or comments, go ahead, I'll keep an eye on this thread. I hope to maybe use the AC/DC power supply to fully internalize the power components in my white xbox-like build I made recently. I also kinda regret buying the 360W Mean Well external power brick now, as this 48$ AC/DC power supply does the job amazingly it seems. It's not a bad buy though, I might eventually use it, maybe with the 600W PicoPSU on a future build, but still, LOL, 200$CAD is a lot of money.
 

msystems

King of Cable Management
Apr 28, 2017
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Nice write up. Good to keep tabs on the good Pico psu's out there which can handle the A2000. It looks like the ones with good power handling seem to be native 12v. Which is great, except you need a 12v brick.

Im still on the search for a good 19v one which has at least 12 amps on the 12v rail. Ideally like 15 amps. This sort of thing would work perfectly with the ultra small 19v GAN bricks such as what SlimQ sells. The ones i've been seeing are pretty weak on the 12v rail.... except for the HDplex.
 

princess_daphie

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Jan 26, 2019
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Nice write up. Good to keep tabs on the good Pico psu's out there which can handle the A2000. It looks like the ones with good power handling seem to be native 12v. Which is great, except you need a 12v brick.
Yeah, which is easy to understand, since it produces much less heat to just pass through or regulate 12v to 12v, than down convert it from 19v to 12v.

Im still on the search for a good 19v one which has at least 12 amps on the 12v rail. Ideally like 15 amps. This sort of thing would work perfectly with the ultra small 19v GAN bricks such as what SlimQ sells. The ones i've been seeing are pretty weak on the 12v rail.... except for the HDplex.
I know, dang it, apart from the HDPlex, I haven't found any 19v pico that can deliver reasonable 12V reliably!!! I was hoping the one I ordered before would, but nope, not a single second, LOL. The thing has been upgraded (supposedly) since, but it still only shows 12a (15a peak) max load on the 12V and I think there's also some mention that it has to receive some forced cooling to perform at this load.

The only things that you can buy on AliExpress that seem to be able to deliver reasonable 12V from 19V source are the separate boards "Picos", like this one: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005004876924696.html . I checked the datasheet and it says 22A (25A max) on the 12V. It looks like it has beefier cooling, etc.
 

msystems

King of Cable Management
Apr 28, 2017
777
1,365

princess_daphie

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Jan 26, 2019
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Oh, I forgot but there is actually a new 19v picobox that has popped up on their website and is now out, the Z4-ATX-220. This looks to be an updated model of the Z4 200. It claims to deliver 12 amps 12v consistently with 14 amp peaks.

It uses a double-decker design with chonky heatsinks resembling the HDplex, and 90 degree side SATA connectors
Yeah, that's the one I was referring to (i only mistook the 12/14a rating for 10/15a while referring to it).

The unit I consider a failure is the predecessor to this one. It basically has very similar specs and also had the double-decker design and chonky heatsinks. Its heatsinks were maybe a tiny bit smaller overall, though. It also didn't have a square choke thing, but 4 capacitors instead. The new one might finally be good enough? I'm tempted to buy one, just for science, but it's around 90$CAD, which is rather expensive for an AliExpress Pico i basically can't return if it's another dud.

You can compare the specs with the old one: https://www.pico-box.com/media/support/20220320/Z4-ATX-200-Datasheet.pdf
 
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princess_daphie

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I'm very curious about that 600w 12v DC-ATX, getting G-Unqiue vibes from it. If it can handle the 600W, then I hope some interesting builds come of it.

Any good bricks that could be partnered with it?
As far as I know, the most powerful 12V known-brand power brick you can buy is around 330w.

I.e.: https://www.mouser.ca/ProductDetail/MEAN-WELL/GST360A12-C8P?qs=rSMjJ%2B1ewcQsFVFxjhSAPg==

As for trying to reach 600w or close, my best bet would be to try one of their internal power supplies.

Up to 500w (using a fan), 3"x5": https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005005316167699.html

Low profile, flat and larger (fanless), up to 500w: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005002971447890.html

If I had a powerful enough build to test its capacity, I would, but the most power-hungry build I could build would be around 300w, I never buy power-hungry parts normally!
 

Choidebu

"Banned"
Aug 16, 2017
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I think I can chime in..

My dynamo/hdplex 200w finally kicked the bucket after 5 years. Symptoms are mainly restarts, with freezes here and there.

I moved to RGEEK-200WP and it worked fine for a year. I then upgraded my gpu to gtx1650 and enjoyed the bliss for about a month when it started having freezes.
Same as your z4s, mine was most troublesome when cold. I'd get 3-4 freezes until it was stable for a bit, say 2 hours. Cannot survive sleeps. I tried undervolting my r5 and power limit the gpu, and it helps a little but it doesn't go away. I figured some discrete component(s) on it just simply deteriorated because of prolonged stress. I am driving them close to 90% all the time.

I'd like to try the new pico-box z4-atx-220, but it's not available yet here. There are some Z3-atx-200 around, so I might try that first and skip the Z4s.

12V is clearly winning this battle. Getting pretty hard to find wide voltage dc-atx with price-to-wattage comparable to its 12V counterpart.
 

extra-ordinary

Minimal Tinkerer
New User
Nov 11, 2023
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I think I can chime in..

My dynamo/hdplex 200w finally kicked the bucket after 5 years. Symptoms are mainly restarts, with freezes here and there.

I moved to RGEEK-200WP and it worked fine for a year. I then upgraded my gpu to gtx1650 and enjoyed the bliss for about a month when it started having freezes.
Same as your z4s, mine was most troublesome when cold. I'd get 3-4 freezes until it was stable for a bit, say 2 hours. Cannot survive sleeps. I tried undervolting my r5 and power limit the gpu, and it helps a little but it doesn't go away. I figured some discrete component(s) on it just simply deteriorated because of prolonged stress. I am driving them close to 90% all the time.

I'd like to try the new pico-box z4-atx-220, but it's not available yet here. There are some Z3-atx-200 around, so I might try that first and skip the Z4s.

12V is clearly winning this battle. Getting pretty hard to find wide voltage dc-atx with price-to-wattage comparable to its 12V counterpart.
Thanks. I'm looking for something 200W to upgrade from my Pico 160XT as I just bagged a CPU upgrade from my Pentium G4560 to an i7 7500 for €14! So would you recommend the RGEEK-200WP for an integrated graphics build?