Enermax Modu87+ 500W 80Plus Gold

Power
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Product
Enermax Modu/Pro87+ 500W
(EMG500AWT and EPG500AWT) ATX12V computer power supply
Manufacturer
Enermax
MSRP
US$139

Energy efficiency is such an important part of power supply marketing these days that the names of Enermax's most advanced models come from their base efficiency: The Modu82+ of 2008, for example, and today's Modu87+ and Pro87+ lines. The number 87 also happens to be the minimum efficiency requirement of the 80 PLUS Gold certification, which we wrote about a couple of years ago. The symbol "+" is also a not-so-subtle echo of 80 PLUS.

An aside: The folks at Ecos Consulting who run 80 PLUS must be laughing all the way to the bank. When they consulted me in San Francisco at IDF 2005 a few months before the program was announced, none of us had any real inkling that less than five years hence, there would be some 2200 power supply models on the 80 Plus approved list. That's an average of about 500 units annually. Ecos wanted my input because SPCR had been testing power supplies for efficiency and posting the results publicly since 2002, before hardly anyone was even talking about the idea. One of our industry friends suggests that we should "promote SPCR as the tempered and learned wise man in the midst of a bunch of young upstarts who’ve only been on the power-conscious beat a year or so." (There, I've started, Damon! :D )

Enermax has been a major high performance brand in power supplies for decades now, so it's no surprise that it is among the few retail brands offering 80 PLUS Gold certified models. Seasonic was the first to offer Gold level efficiency, with its X-650 and X-750 models, but Enermax followed only about a month later, in late 2009, with a larger number of models. The Enermax global site lists six models in the Modu87+ series, rated 500W to 900W, and three models in the Pro87+ series, 500W, 600W and 700W. The two series are identical, except for the modular output cabling of the Modu series. The table below summarizes the various requirements of the program.

Parameters
Load
80 PLUS
Bronze
Silver
Gold
Efficiency
20%
80%
82%
85%
87%
50%
80%
85%
88%
90%
100%
80%
82%
85%
87%
Power Factor
50%
0.9 (100% load)
0.9

Long time readers of SPCR power supply reviews are probably aware than it's harder for lower power models to achieve the Gold certification, not the high power models. The issue is that every power supply has a bell-shaped curve of efficiency, which is highest in the middle and lower at the high and low power extremes. In an absolute sense, the lower the power output, the harder it is to maintain high efficiency. For an 800W model, 20% load is 160W. To achieve 87% efficiency at this power level requires advanced technology, but it's already being done by lower power 80 PLUS Silver models. For a 500W model, 20% load is only 100W. To achieve 87% at this power load is a more difficult task, requiring not only the most advanced components and circuitry but extremely low energy losses at every stage within the power supply.

The Enermax Modu87+ and Pro87+ 500W models are the lowest power Gold certified retail ATX12V PSUs on the 80 PLUS approved PSU list. This is significant. Among the better known and distributed retail PSU brands, only Seasonic has anything close in power, currently, the SS-550LT, which is essentially part of the X series. The Seasonic and Enermax models were tested and approved by 80 PLUS in the last quarter of 2009, so there's been time for production to ramp up and for good distribution. All of these models are missing in action, however; they still cannot be found on line or in brick-and-mortar shops. Why is this so?

It could be that the cost of producing these lower rated 80 PLUS Gold models is not justifiable given the price they can fetch, and given the higher profitability of the higher rated models. Perhaps as production volume of the higher power models increases, the cost of the advanced components used within will drop, and these lower power models will appear on the market — at prices enthusiasts can justify. For now, the most moderately rated Gold PSU model in US/Canada remains the Seasonic X-650. One comment from enermax is that the decision to distribute the 500W models in the Americas has not been made yet; they are already available in many EU countries where demand for lower power models is a bit higher.

Note: Anyone who browses through the 80 PLUS database will see many Gold certified models under 500W. Virtually all of these are OEM models made specifically for major computer makers (such as Dell, HP, etc), often in custom form factor, and generally unavailable on the retail market. Just a few, short output cables and no detachable ones are de rigueur, in order to minimize losses through cables.

PACKAGING & FEATURES

Please note that our review and commentary refer mainly to the Modu87+ 500W, although a Pro87+ 500W was also examined. They are identical except for the differences that arise from the Modu87+ having detachable cables.


Black and gold are the colors they chose for both Modu and Pro 87+. The package for the Modu87+ 500 contains a bunch of detachable cables, a pouch for the cables, velcro straps, user manual, AC cable. And the power supply itself.

Enermax Modu87+ 500 FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS (from the web product page)
FEATURE & BRIEF Our comment
87PLUS ready!
Extreme efficiency PSU series with 87-92% efficiency @ 20-100% load. Certified to meet 80 PLUS® GOLD requirements.
Not sure what being "ready" for 87 Plus means, but it's certified at Gold, the highest efficiency standard for PC power supplies.
Twister fan inside!
13.9cm Twister-bearing fan with low noise and long lifetime. (100,000 hours MTBF, Patented)
Enermax seems to have their own fan company.
SpeedGuard
The world’s leading patented fan control starting with unmatched 330RPM to a maximum of 1000RPM for optimal cooling and minimum noise.
Those are very low speeds which should translate to extremely low noise/
SafeGuard
Industry-leading octuple protection circuitry of OCP, OVP, AC UVP, DC UVP, OPP, OTP, SCP & SIP.
Mmm ... alphabet soup. Still it appears that more is merrier.
CordGuard
Fixing the AC cord tightly to avoid accidental shutdowns of your PC.
Didn't realize this was a problem.
Future Ready!
12P socket design for possibly upcoming 10P & 12P connector generations.
OK... but really, "future ready"?
HeatGuard
Keeping PSU fan running for 30-60 seconds after shutdown to dissipate the remaining system heat and prolonging system lifetime.
Seen before... perhaps it helps prolong life.
CrossFireX™ certified & DXXI ready!
100% 6+2P (8P) PCI-E connector to support new generation DXXI graphic cards.
Although 500W is modest to support two high power video cards...
24/7 @ 40°C ready!
Non-Stop industrial class performance at 40°C/104°F ambient.
This seems reasonable. Most computers are around this temperature internally.
C6 & Hybrid ready!
Maximum compatibility with C6 & hybrid states of current and future CPU & GPU generations by ZERO LOAD Design (no minimum load).
Interesting. No minimum load.... we'll find out.
Hybrid Capacitor Array
High-performance capacitor array of heavy-duty solid state capacitors & Japanese electrolytic capacitors to ensure tightest DC stability and regulation.
This is true of most high end PSUs.
Dynamic Hybrid Transformer Topology
Technological breakthrough topology using a staged dynamic transformer array for extremely high efficiency with the most durable and stable output at any load.
OK.
Certified by AMD for GAME! Ready systems!
The AMD team tests & validates all key features of a product before it can be communicated as AMD GAME! product. This includes hardware stability, interoperability and performance testing.
OK

Enermax Modu87+ EMG500AWT SPECIFICATIONS
AC Input
100-240VAC, 50-60Hz, 6.5-3A, Active PFC
(Maximum operation range: 90-265VAC, 47-63Hz)
DC Output
+3.3V
+5V
+12V1
+12V2
+12V3
-12V
+5Vsb
20A
20A
25A
25A
25A
0.5A
3A
100W
492W (41A)
6W
15W
Total Power
500W
Peak Power
550W

A 500W power supply is plenty for a typical PC. None of the output lines are likely to come anywhere near their rated maximum during ordinary use. Ordinary computer users can easily get by with half as much capacity, but 500W is still considered a "small" power supply these days.



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