Antec bait-and-switch PSU model numbering and EOL units create distrust between sellers and buyers

Dealers make it worse by not co-operating, hoping to sweep the problem under the rug at the buyer’s expense

Choosing a power supply is a very tricky experience. A handful of manufacturers make it difficult when it uses the older model’s numbering for the newer ones made by another OEM. The story involving Antec EarthWatts Gold Pro power supplies. While the newer variant is better than the older one, the EOL version is still sold here in India. Buyers reported the sales of older, inferior and EOL variant with information of the newer, better one by online sellers. Distributors and dealers, especially in India, don’t know what they sell and eventually that ignorance is displayed openly. If you want the worst-case scenario involving a cocktail of all such practices, this is it. Unfortunately, it came almost at an expense of the consumer since he experienced it the old-fashioned way.

The user has deleted most of the information after a Gigabyte India rep’s intervention. But its the internet, and information spreads. Replies given by the original poster to others painted the picture clearly. It is an issue since the listing with this misleading information is active. This switcheroo is also experienced by those who purchased the unit from Amazon India. Its just two of many examples of how a model numbering with no indication of a newer variant creates a nuisance.

The issue involving MD Computers…

This story involves MD Computers, a Kolkata-based PC components seller who listed an Antec EarthWatts Gold Pro 550W unit. Thanks to Antec’s switch-and-bait naming with no sub-variant model numbers, there are two EAG Pro 550-Watt power supplies (EAG550 Pro). For now, let us keep the difference in the variants aside, since advertised ratings for power supplies is usually taken with a grain of salt unless its reviewed and verified by proper testing methods websites like HardOCP and JhonnyGuru uses. Both units are not tested by reliable power supply reviewers, but users tend to blindly rely on Seasonic OEM models.

The newer one is a Seasonic OEM unit with seven years warranty commanding a retail price of Rs. 5,650/-. Based on the replies, the listing with MD Computers originally used the photographs of an older FSP Earthwatts Gold Pro 550W unit but with feature listing from the newer Seasonic version. The user informed MD Computers who corrected the photographs with the newer variant. Naturally, anyone will assume this is what MD Computers is selling. Once it arrived, it turns out to be Antec’s older FSP OEM unit. After the complaint was posted, MD Computers switched the photos to EarthWatts 550W Green which is a Bronze rated FSP OEM (as posted above) non-modular power supply. Despite the clear error on its part, MD Computers refused to do anything about it at the time. Therefore, the user made a post on Reddit eventually getting carried forward in Digit, recommending people to be cautious and avoid the unit in question if verification before purchase cannot be done.

The unanswered questions

The original poster deleted his post with no update after involving ‘Eddie Edits’ who is actually Gigabyte India’s social media manager. It does bring interesting questions-

  • Is MD Computers selling old stocks knowingly or unknowingly?
  • What are you selling now? FSP or Seasonic OEM?
  • Why add to the confusion by switching to the images of Antec EarthWatts Green 550W?
  • Is the stock from their own warehouse which stayed around for a very long time or was it was supplied by Antec India’s distributor recently?
  • If latter, why is Antec’s distributor/Antec India stocking and distributing older, EOL EAG Pro unit?
  • Or did Antec switch back to FSP OEM sometime this year?
  • What did the end user get? The Seasonic OEM or his money back?

‘He said she said’

Unfortunately, this is mostly going to be a ‘he said she said’ situation if the rep wasn’t involved. The buck would be passed on each other and hide within the confusion. Same shenanigans, different year with different people. The brand name and the buyer are irrelevant but the only ones who get affected. That’s the problem when communicating with some individuals in the industry through official channels. Hopefully, the end user got the result he wanted but might have been asked by the involved parties to delete that Reddit post in exchange for the solution. Since MD Computers still did not correct the images on its listing, that is just another bait for someone else. If you fell for the same switch-and-bait by any of these two, you can contact Gigabyte’s rep and see how it goes from there.

The issue involving Amazon India

Another poster also emphasized this wouldn’t have been an issue in Amazon India since they would have easily taken the unit back. A buyer ‘Vishal’ did experience the same and posted a one-star review. In his case, it was easy to just return the product back thanks to Amazon’s return policy. The Amazon listing uses the photograph with Seasonic OEM priced for Rs. 6,193/-.

None of the sellers are MD Computers but shows how other dealers are no different from falling for the same bait-and-switch misleading model numbering. But the same story from another retailer indicated the EOL stock clearance is not through one dealer via the same platform.

Not-very-helpful sellers

Sure, dealers could try to win the argument with others by saying “Features, Price and Specifications are subject to change without notice”. That is an invalid argument because of the different photos and information used at the time.

Based on the replies by the original poster, MD Computers help desk passed the buck and said the following:

Thanks for writing to us, we are sorry for the inconvenience caused to you, we are unable to get you that what has not been given to you as shown on our website. We are not able to find the details on our website. We are not able to find the details on our website of the things which you have written about and the ones which we are selling it comes with 7 years of warranty as confirmed by Antec.

Its uncertain at this point if they have really communicated with Antec before Gigabyte rep’s intervention. The listing clearly shows MD Computers naming ‘EarthWatts Pro Gold 550W” with details surrounding the Seasonic OEM. This is where the lack of clarity in model numbers from Antec creates a nuisance. It is also uncertain if distributors and sub-distributors are using this confusion to sell any remaining old EOL stocks, assuming it is a case of very old stocks circulating around the market.

Alas, the obvious needs to be told frequently- they are not the same. At the time, MD Computers’ rep said he had difficulty to locate this information. It was already made easy, but I am just repeating the same:

Paper Specification

  • DC Output +3.3V +5V +12V -12V +5VSB
    Max Power 20A 20A 45A 0.3A 3.0A
    Max Combined 100W 540W 3.6W 15W
  • DC Output +3.3V +5V +12V -12V +5VSB
    Max Power 20A 20A 42A 0.5A 3.0A
    Max Combined 110W 504W 6W 15W

You’ll also notice a difference in certification listings, favouring the Seasonic OEM. The Seasonic OEM also provides much higher power through the +12v railing. PC hardware enthusiasts prefer purchasing power supplies from any brands as long as it is from a reliable OEM. While FSP is good in its own league and pricing, it is not the same as Seasonic variants who are known to provide higher quality components and conservative output listing. The most notable Seasonic OEM units were seen with older Corsair VX and HX series.

Sweeping the problem under the rug

Rather strange MD Computers couldn’t find the difference. The box pack is the first and best clue since it lists all the information. But with no sub-model numbering (V2, V3, etc) and also selling the older units in India, why is Antec playing bait-and-switch affecting the seller and the end user? That’s where the trust issues start. The trust issue grows when sellers don’t co-operate. Therefore we request our readers to be very careful and preferably try avoiding the situation with other manufacturers and sellers who will accept returns. Antec, be clear in your model variants and if your Indian distributors are supplying EOL units. I hope one is wise to revert the issue if it happens again. And MD Computers, why don’t you use the right images this time??

I wouldn’t be surprised if the distributors stay quiet and wait for the stocks to be purchased by unsuspecting consumers, which should be a concern for Antec since it affects their reputation. If the users have the Seasonic variant (which the same number of certifications, warranty period and specs), you’re fine. Exercise caution before accepting replacement units.

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