500W FlexATX PSU

iFreilicht

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
1,348
Update! Lookout on price and shipping times.

Finally got an offer from FSP today, and we're getting close. This was not the final revision of the unit, but I don't think any of the changes we still have to make would add to the final price.

TL;DR: Maximum price should be $130 USD before tax and shipping, maximum time from end of crowdfunding campaign to the last person receiving their unit should be 25 weeks.

First, the good news. FSP did confirm that they will modify the controllers firmware to prevent the Full-RPM self-test on start up, so it will stay quiet at all times. Additionally, the PSU will be black and that will not increase price nor MOQ, so we're still at 300.

Now for the bad news. This PSU will not be below $100 USD, which was an important price break for many people in the poll. The offer I got is 87.40€ per unit, which is about $93.13 USD. Additionally, the -12V supply which is included with every unit, which will cost me about 5.12€, or $5.47 USD. Now this is still below the magical 100 buck limit, but I can't sell it for that. I need a little bit of a margin, and crowdfunding platforms take their cut as well. I realise that I can't take the usual 1/2 to 1/3 you have with electronics in this instance, but something between 10%-25% is required, so you should expect the final price to be less than $130 USD.

Also remember that this is all before tax and shipping and that the cables on the PSU are very short and I don't plan to include any extension cables because everyone's needs will be different. I did a little bit of research what options there are for extension cables, you can find a spreadsheet here. It's open for anyone to edit so you can add interesting stuff in there if you want.

Hopefully enough people will be interested to still get one to reach the MOQ. I'd really like to give this some exposure so more people know about it, but I don't have review units to give out and putting up ads would cost money which I would have to recoup by increasing the price of the PSU. In theory, to lower MOQ, I could raise the units price and then use the additional funds from that to stock some. In theory, with a 50% margin, I could lower the MOQ to 200. Not sure how people would feel about that, though. Maybe something like Massdrops price-drop model could be used, where the price will be lowered once a certain number of people pre-order the PSU, but I don't think any crowdfunding platform supports that, so I'd either have to turn to Massdrop themselves or implement something like this on my website. Not sure, maybe someone of you have other ideas or feedback on this?

A word about shipping times: On FSPs part, production will take 10-14 weeks, shipping to me will then take another 5. I don't know how long it takes for kickstarter or indiegogo to release funds to the one who's running the campaign, but only after I payed at least half of the total cost will FSP start production, which is over 15.000€. Let's say it takes them 2 weeks, just to be on the safe side. Then after that, I can start shipping, and at 300 units it will probably take me quite some time, maybe 1-2 weeks if I'm working on that full-time. To make it a little fairer, I can ship the units going outside the EU first because those will take longer, but in total it could still take 4 weeks until they reach everybody.
The worst case grand total then would be 25 weeks or close to 6 months from the end of the campaign to the last person receiving their unit. So to make it until Christmas with possible delays or problems, the campaign should start in the middle of May. I'll probably run it for 2 to 3 weeks, anything above that makes little sense.

Finally, I also asked them about the FSP500-50FGGBN, a Gold FlexATX unit that will integrate the -12V rail. First samples are allegedly to be finished in June. I'm still awaiting feedback around that, but because of the lower efficiency, I am less confident about the noise profile on this unit. The FSP500-50FSPT to this day is the highest quality and most power dense FlexATX PSU, and I think that you shouldn't make any compromise with such a vital component. However, price is an important factor for many, so it could well be a "budget" alternative for those who find the Platinum version too expensive.

Thanks for reading! Sorry about the wall of text.
 
Joined
Nov 21, 2015
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592
I think it's crucial you get at least one prototype unit and publish extensive testing yourself, maybe a video, well produced and not too technical, just so people know what it looks like, how it performs, etc. so the product can generate some buzz. That could be your free publicity. If you can get a few units out to PCPer, Anandtech, etc. I imagine they'd be interested in a consumer PSU that has the highest power-per-liter currently on the market. Also, adapting a long-time boring server standard into an exciting new consumer product makes for a good story. Then you may get a few business clients that want to incorporate the unit into a case. That's the biggest issue is, right now there are no consumer cases that use the standard (where is Hahutzy by the way? :D), but if the unit is good enough, the market can adapt quickly.

I think, specifically, people will be concerned with noise under load with that small high-RPM fan. I'd publish testing on that. Also, will the cables be black and sleeved? I think that will be crucial for many people interested in such a niche product, so it's worth doing even if it adds $10 or so to the final price.
 

iFreilicht

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
1,348
Sorry it took me so long to reply, I'm not on [H] often anymore.

I think it's crucial you get at least one prototype unit and publish extensive testing yourself, maybe a video, well produced and not too technical, just so people know what it looks like, how it performs, etc. so the product can generate some buzz.

You're right. With the way things currently are, I can't hope to get 300 units sold.

That could be your free publicity.

Well, free as in terms of money, but it would cost me a lot of time as I have zero experience with video production.

If you can get a few units out to PCPer, Anandtech, etc. I imagine they'd be interested in a consumer PSU that has the highest power-per-liter currently on the market. Also, adapting a long-time boring server standard into an exciting new consumer product makes for a good story

I think, specifically, people will be concerned with noise under load with that small high-RPM fan. I'd publish testing on that.

Luckily, I do have one unit sitting right here (not a prototype, just a sample) and have been using it to power my personal PC for a few months, but for actual good testing, I'd need the help of a media outlet. Computerbase is here in Germany and they do have very good testing gear for PSUs. Ideally I'd would want to give to an English outlet that people trust, johnnyguru comes to mind immediately.

That's the biggest issue is, right now there are no consumer cases that use the standard (where is Hahutzy by the way? :D), but if the unit is good enough, the market can adapt quickly.

The even bigger issue is that if a large company like Silverstone produced a case for FlexATX, they'd certainly bundle a PSU with that, I can't hope for them to solely rely on my unit. I haven't seen Hahutzy for a long time either, no idea what he's up to.

Also, will the cables be black and sleeved? I think that will be crucial for many people interested in such a niche product, so it's worth doing even if it adds $10 or so to the final price.

No, they will not be sleeved. Black cables in general are not off the table though I did submit the initial quote without that option, but sleeving just makes the whole harness too bulky. SFX PSUs come with ribbon-cables to reduce cable clutter already, an even smaller PSU shouldn't go backwards on that.
 
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