Enermax Platimax 600W

Power
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TESTING

For a fuller understanding of ATX power supplies, please read the reference article Power Supply Fundamentals. Those who seek source materials can find Intel's various PSU design guides at Form Factors.

SPCR's PSU Test Platform V4.1. is the basic setup for the testing. It is a close simulation of a moderate airflow mid-tower PC optimized for low noise. There is one major change: The primary testing is done with the PSU NOT inside the hotbox but atop it, out of the heat path. This is in recognition of several realities that prevail today:

  • In SPCR's earlier test platforms, the internal temperature varied proportionately with output load. The tested PSU was subject to this heat, and operating ambient temperature rose with increased load, reaching >40°C and often much higher at full power. This was a realistic simulation of a mid-tower PC case where the PSU is mounted conventionally at the top back portion of the case.
  • The vast majority of "serious" PC cases for the home builder place no longer position the PSU at the top back corner. They put the PSU at the bottom/back corner, mostly out of the path of heat from the other components in the case. This design concept took root with the Antec P180 going back over 5 years, and dominates the DIY case arena. This means the PSU generally has to dissipate only its own heat.

Now, we've reversed our approach: The PSU is tested briefly in the hotbox only to check what happens to noise, fan speed and temperatures when it is used in an outmoded case design.

Acoustic measurements are performed in our own anechoic chamber with ambient level of 11 dBA or lower, with a PC-based spectrum analyzer comprised of SpectraPLUS software with ACO Pacific microphone and M-Audio digital audio interfaces.

REAL SYSTEM POWER NEEDS: While we test the PSU to full output in order to verify the manufacturer's claims, real desktop PCs simply do not require anywhere near this level of power. The most pertinent range of DC output power is between about 40W and 300W, because it is the power range where most systems will be working most of the time. It is true that very elaborate systems with the most power hungry dual video cards today might draw as much as another 150~300W, but the total usually remains under 600W.

TEST RESULTS

The ambient temperature was ~23°, and the ambient noise level was ~10 dBA.

Test Results: ENERMAX PLATIMAX 600W
DC Output (W)
AC Input
(W)
Heat loss
(W)
Efficiency %
Power Factor
Exhaust
SPL* (dBA@1m)
21.8
32
10.1
68.1
0.96
25°C
<10
40.5
51
10.5
79.4
0.98
26°C
<10
65.4
79
13.6
82.8
0.99
26°C
<10
88.9
105
15.1
85.5
1.00
27°C
<10
149.8
165
16.2
90.8
1.00
27°C
<10
201.0
214
13.0
93.9
1.00
27°C
<10
251.0
267
16.0
94.0
1.00
28°C
<10
299.1
320
20.9
93.5
1.00
30°C
<10
401.3
441
39.7
91.0
1.00
32°C
12
500.0
550
50.4
90.9
1.00
33°C
18
601.0
676
76.0
88.9
1.00
34°C
24
Crossload Test
(1A on 5V and 3.3V lines; the rest on 12V line)
500.6
550
49.4
91.0%
1.00
33°C
18
+12V Ripple (peak-to-peak): <16mV @ <200W ~ 25mV @ 600W
+5V Ripple (peak-to-peak): <10mV @ <200W ~ 20mV @ 600W
+3.3V Ripple (peak-to-peak): <10mV @ <200W ~ 19mV @ 600W
AC Power in Standby: 0.4W
AC Power with No Load, PSU power On: 9.3W / 0.69PF
* See text discussion about noise.


1. EFFICIENCY This is a measure of AC-to-DC conversion efficiency. The ATX12V Power Supply Design Guide recommends 80% efficiency or better at all output power loads. 80% efficiency means that to deliver 80W DC output, a PSU draws 100W AC input, and 20W is lost as heat within the PSU. Higher efficiency is preferred for reduced energy consumption and cooler operation. It allows reduced cooling airflow, which translates to lower noise. The 80 Plus Platinum standard requires 90% efficiency at 20% load, 92% efficiency at 50% of rated load, and 89% efficiency at full rated load.

At the super low 20W load, efficiency was not bad at 68%. Efficiency rose fairly quickly as the load was increased. 91% efficiency was reached around the 150W mark, so the unit probably reaches 90% at 20% of rated load — 120W — as required by 80 PLUS Platinum. It reached almost 94% efficiency at 200W, and stayed at around that efficiency level till over 300W. The slide from peak efficiency reached 91% at400W, and it just managed the maximum load efficiency of 89% (0.1% is too close to callit a miss). So at mid power, the unit exceeds *0 Plus requirements but just hits the mark at 20% and 100% of rated load.

There was no issue with crossloading. With virtually the entire 500W load on 12V, naturally, efficiency improved from the standard loading.

2. VOLTAGE REGULATION refers to how stable the output voltages are under various load conditions. The ATX12V Power Supply Design Guide calls for the +12, +5V and +3.3V lines to be maintained within ±5%.

The critical 12V line started high at very load load, +0.35V (2.9%). It dropped gradually as load was increased, reaching a low of 12.2V at full power. The 5V line started a touch high at 5.08V (+1.5%) and went down to 4.96V (-0.8%) at full load. 3.3V ranged from 3.38V to 3.29V (+2.4% to -0.3%). These are excellent results, better than voltage regulation needs to be for any PC.

3. AC RIPPLE refers to unwanted "noise" artifacts in the DC output of a switching power supply. It's usually very high in frequency (in the order of 100s of kHz). The peak-to-peak value is measured. The ATX12V Guide allows up to 120mV (peak-to-peak) of AC ripple on the +12V line and 50mV on the +5V and +3.3V lines. Ripple on all the lines was excellent at all power levels, generally staying under 16mV through the lower half of the power range. Even at maximum power, the 12V ripple stayed at just 25mV. It's about best we have measured.

4. POWER FACTOR is ideal when it measures 1.0. In the most practical sense, PF is a measure of how "difficult" it is for the electric utility to deliver the AC power into your power supply. High PF reduces the AC current draw, which reduces stress on the electric wiring in your home (and elsewhere up the line). It also means you can do with a smaller, cheaper UPS backup; they are priced according to their VA (volt-ampere) rating. Power factor was very goodfor this model, running at or close to 1.0 (not never quite reaching it) through most of the loads.

5. LOW LOAD TESTING revealed no problems starting at very low loads. Our sample had no issue starting up with no load, either, and the power draw was low. The 0.4W power draw in standby (power switch on but computer off) is excellent.

6. LOW & 240 VAC PERFORMANCE

The power supply was set to 500W load at va rious AC input voltages. Most full-range input power supplies achieve 2~3% higher efficiency with 220~240 VAC, compared to 110~120 VAC. SPCR's lab is equipped with a 240 VAC line, which is used to check power supply efficiency for the benefit of those who live in higher mains voltage regions. We also used a hefty variac to check the stability of the PSU under brownout conditions where the AC line voltage drops from the 120V norm.

Various VAC Inputs:
ENERMAX PLATIMAX 600W
VAC
AC Power
DC Output
Efficiency
243V
530W
500W
94.3%
120V
550W
90.9%
100V
557W
89.7%

Efficiency improved to over 94% at 240VAC. The sample passed the 100VAC minimum input at 500W load without any issues, with a 1.2% drop in efficiency. Neither voltage regulation nor ripple changed appreciably during these tests.



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