Cougar GX-700: 80 Plus Gold from a new brand

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These recordings were made as 24-bit / 88 kHz WAV files with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own anechoic chamber (11 dBA ambient), then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

Each recording starts with 6~10 seconds of room ambient, followed by 10 seconds of the product's noise and various settings. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.Sound Recordings of PSU Comparatives in the Anechoic Chamber



Only a handful of 80 Plus Gold rated PSUs have come through the SPCR labs thus far. With the likes of the Seasonic X-650 and XX-400, and the Enermax Modu87+ 500W preceding it, the Cougar GX-700 follows behind some serious performers.

While its overall performance is excellent and its noise level quite modest, our sample GX-700 doesn't quite match the previous Gold performers. The noise level ramps up at too low in power level to compete with the best, and its energy efficiency falls a mite shy of 80 Plus Gold requirements. Of course, if you are in the EU where the Courgar is sold exclusively, the 220~240VAC power grid will automatically provide a ~3% boost in efficiency, which makes our quibbles about efficiency a bit moot. The noise performance is bit more difficult to justify; quieter PSUs have been around for a year or two, mostly at lower prices.

This is not to say that the GX-700 is not a good PSU; it is an excellent PSU that will serve just about any desktop computer system well. It would have been at the top for electrical performance prior to 80 Plus Gold, and its noise level would also be close to the top a year or two ago. It's just that PSU standards are so high these days — the electrical performance, especially, is actually way better than required for any PC.

As mentioned at the start of the review, this model could not be found for purchase on line at time of writing. Presumably this is a temporary stock shortage... but it appears that many 80 Plus Gold models are still missing in the markets.

Cougar GX-700 Balance Sheet

* Quiet at moderate power
* Quiet in typical use
* Very high efficiency
* High quality parts
* Nice style
* Very good electrical performance
* 5-year warranty

* Fan curve bit steeper than the best
* Cables not really that modular
* Did not quite reach 90% efficiency at mid-power load
* Available only in EU

Much thanks to Cougar / HEC for the review sample.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
Power Supply Fundamentals
Recommended Power Supplies
SPCR PSU Test Rig V.4
Seasonic X-400 Fanless
Seasonic X-650: Seasonic Hits Gold
Enermax Modu/Pro87+ 500W
Antec TruePower TP-750

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