Zalman ZM600 heatpipe-cooled modular power supply

Power
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Nov 8, 2006 by Nicholas Geraedts with Mike Chin

Product
Zalman ZM600-HP
ATX12V v2.2 compliant power supply
Manufacturer
Zalman
Suggested Price
US $160

Nicholas Geraedts, the newest member of SPCR's Vancouver editorial team, is no stranger to electronics or computers, having tinkered with them for years, particularly the last four in the Engineering Physics undergraduate program at the University of BC. He's been a silencing enthusiast for not quite as long, but is enthusiastic about learning much more and sharing his findings with SPCR readers in the months ahead.

- Mike Chin, Editor

As power ratings grow larger, power supply manufacturers struggle with the battle of heat dissipation. The common method of tackling this problem is by using standard heatsinks and fans. Zalman brings another idea to the table — not necessarily a new one, but one that proves to have some merit — heatpipes. SilverStone used this idea with their ST30NF Fanless PSU, and came out with a pretty decent product.

Zalman is a company better known for their heatsinks and other cooling technologies, and with the ZM600-HP's power output and price tag, it looks like they're taking a shot at the high-end power supply market. Zalman is no stranger when it comes to using heatpipes, as we saw with the TNN-500 and the TNN-300 Fanless PC Enclosure System SPCR reviewed in February 2006. Heatpipes offer an effective method for transferring heat from one area of a system to another, provided that the temperature difference between the two is great enough.

APPEARANCES

The ZM600-HP comes in a glossy full color retail box that shows off the high power output of the device. It also clearly displays the heatsink attached to the heatpipe within the power supply.


The 600 watt power rating and heatpipes are clearly shown.


No fancy gimmicks inside the box.

The contents of the box are all business. A manual mounting screws, a handy 5V / 12V adapter for fans, and a smaller box contains the individually sleeved cables. This isn't anything unusual, but it's a nice touch not having to deal with loose cables everywhere.

FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS

Zalman ZM600-HP Feature Highlights (from Zalman's web site)
FEATURE & BRIEF COMMENT
Heatpipe Installed for Maximum Cooling Performance and Ultra-Quiet Operation
Heatpipes have been seen on fanless power supplies in the past. We'll see how well they were here.
Four Independent +12VDC Outputs supply power independently to the CPU, VGA, motherboard, and peripheral components for the highest level of stability and performance. Most likely, there are four 18A current limiters at specific 12V cable points, all fed from a central 12V line. Independently current limited, but not independent circuits.
Supports ATX12V CPU 4-Pin and EPS12V CPU 8-Pin
EPS12V connectors are only required for dual CPU systems but the spec is often used for dual video card setups in the absence of guidelines in ATX12V
Modular cables provide organized cable management and improved air circulation inside the computer case. Helps with cable management inside the case.
Gold-plated terminals minimize power loss by reducing contact resistance.
How much power is lost at the connectors?
Dual PCI-E connectors
Necessary for SLI & Crossfire systems.
Multiple Safety Features - Over-Voltage Protection, Over-Current Protection, Short-Circuit Protection, Under-Voltage Protection, Over-Temperature Protection. Standard on most power supplies these days
Active Power Factor Correction (PFC)
A boost converter to maintain a constant DC bus voltage while drawing a current always in phase with and at the same frequency as the line voltage. Benefits AC power delivery; reduces input AC current and can allow a smaller UPS to be used.
High Efficiency Design Rated maximum efficiency is 84%

SPECIFICATIONS

OUTPUT SPECIFICATIONS: Zalman ZM600-HP
AC Input
100-240V ~10A-5A; 50/60 Hz
DC Output
+3.3V
+5V
+12V1
+12V2 +12V3
+12V4
-12V
+5VSB
Maximum Output Current
24A
24A
16A
16A
16A
16A
0.5A
2.5A

Maximum Combined

155W
504W
6W
12.5W
581.5W
18.5W

The 504W combined rating for the +12V rails should be plenty for just about any system. A dual CPU system with dual video cards might push the ZM600-HP to its limits, but that would be a feat in itself.

It's important to note that the majority of the power supplied by this system lies in the 12V lines. The 155W output capabilities of the 3.3V and 5V lines might not make it a suitable candidate for powerful older systems where the CPU draws its power from the 5V line.



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