The Solid Gear Neutron 550W is the first Solid Gear power supply we have seen here at TheFPSReview. However, Solid Gear has been one of those brands we have all seen lurking on the shelves at Micro Center with a ridiculously low price tag. We have all wondered; should I? Should I just give it a go? I mean, it is $60 less than a brand I know for 550W of power. I could spend that $60 on something else……… So, the question today is; how big of a mistake would it be to “save” that $60? Let’s see.
The build quality of the Solid Gear Neutron 550W can be summed up easily. It is a disaster. A total unmitigated disaster. It should be, statistically, impossible to screw up this many things at once unless this power supply fell into some sort of time warp and landed in the wrong box and label. Things weren’t looking bright when I realized that this thing would probably float in a bathtub. Then, when I opened the unit, I realized I would probably be safe floating it in a bathtub because it was so comically undersized that it could never deliver near the rated 550W. The best thing we can say about the build quality today is that at least the paint on the housing was evenly applied.
Oh, and don’t think things got any better when it came to support because the best way to summarize the support for this unit is; what support? There is no user manual. There weren’t even any mounting screws. Then there is the warranty. 1 year and you need your receipt.
The dumpster fire that is the Solid Gear Neutron 550W got some gasoline dumped on it as we moved into our load testing. We saw voltage regulation of up to 0.47v on the 12v rail, 0.00v on the 5v rail, and 0.04v on the 3.3v rail. Wait, you might say, “that is actually not bad!” All I have to say to that is:
That is because that was over just two tests and the 12v rail was out of the ATX12v specification limit! It was out of specification at less than 50% of it’s rated power output! That is insanely terrible!
You may hope that there was a reprieve when it came to efficiency. But, like all good hopes, that is dashed. We saw efficiency that ranged from 77.62% to 79.18% efficient at 120v AC input and 75.83% to 78.13% efficient at 100v AC input. By themselves, these efficiency numbers were terrible. In relation to other units on the market, well, let’s not drag them down here in the mud, ok?
What do you think happened when we looked at the Transient Load Tests results for the Solid Gear Neutron 550W today? Well, it is too early for a Christmas miracle (stop putting Christmas stuff out on November 1st) so the unit managed to suck and blow at the same time. I mean we had a wild ride with peak values that bounced up and down faster than a 6-year-old with a sugar high on a trampoline.
When directly loaded, the 12v rail showed a peak drop of ~740mV and then a rebound overshoot of ~600mV. The 5v rail did not fair much better in a relative sense as it had a peak drop of ~200mV and a peak rebound overshoot of ~180mV. During the 12v load, the unloaded 5v rail saw a peak change of ~90mV. Wait, that is the first not terrible result today! Otherwise, the 12v rail was out of specification all throughout this set of tests (we got to see it hit the 10V range…..nice). Surprise, surprise.
DC Output Quality
The DC Output Quality results for the Solid Gear Neutron 550W were the closest thing to decent that this unit could muster today. Well, sort of. Since we could only get results for Test #1 and Test #2 we don’t truthfully know what the DC Output Quality is like overall. For the tests it would complete, we saw peak values of ~50mV on the 12v rail followed by ~20mV on the 5v rail and ~15mV on the 3.3v rail. These values are within specification limits but, as mentioned above, that doesn’t mean much.
At this point does it matter? (Ed: Yes, I paid for this disaster you better finish it.)
Today’s Solid Gear Neutron 550W is a small capacity unit with a rifle bearing fan (I would not bet on that) and an open design. In addition, the advertising says it will be a quiet unit. So, was it? Sure. We will go with that. In the tests, it could complete it did not seem to be contributing to the noise profile of our load testing environment. That said, I was a bit distracted by the burning smell it was contributing to my office so I may not have been as attentive as usual. Oh, and at 75% load, it was dead silent. Because it was dead.
Trying to do a final points for the Solid Gear Neutron 550W would be the digital equivalent of putting a bow on a turd. That said, I think I bought this unit for $39.99 (Ed: No, I did and I am taking this out of your paycheck). It is $51.44 on Amazon right now. If you want to do something more useful with $40 then set it on fire or give it to a crackhead looking for a fix. Do anything but buy the Solid Gear Neutron 550W with it.