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Kingwin Lazer Platinum 550W Power Supply

Product
Kingwin Lazer Platinum 550W (LZP-550) ATX Power Supply
Sample Supplier
Kingwin Technology
Market Price
US$149

Kingwin is not a name that comes first to mind when considering computer power supplies. Yet, a few months ago, it became the first brand to market with a retail 80 Plus Platinum computer power supply, boasting an official tested maximum energy efficiency of 92.88%. Platinum is the higest rank given to computer power supplies tested by the 80 Plus program, which recognizes and rewards high efficiency PSU makers, and system integrators who utilize such PSUs in their PCs.

Just a decade ago, typical PSU efficiency in computers was below 70%, which meant a third of all electrical energy consumed by computers around the world was going to waste. Today, thanks in large part to the 80 Plus incentives, such waste has been much curbed, with manufacturers routinely offering 85% efficient PSUs. The last big push among power supply makers was for 80 Plus Gold, to bring maximum efficiency up to at least 90%. Platinum pushes the bar up to 92%.

Their website states that "Kingwin was founded in 1992 with a mission to produce quality accessories, solutions, and options for its customers. Its main categories include: external/internal storage solutions, power supplies and thermal solutions" for the DIY computer maket. We happen to know that Superflower is the actual manufacturer of this power supply, and markets it under its own brand as Golden King. There are currently some 25 Platinum rated models in the 80 Plus test database, and Superflower has five of them. Platinum PSUs are not easy find on the market, however. At Newegg, the Kingwin Lazer Platinum LZP-550 is still the only one available at time of writing.

PACKAGING & FEATURES



Fairly big full color package for the Kingwin LZP-550.



Nice packaging, including a soft pouch for the cables.





The essence of the product: Power supply, all the cables, and four thumbscrews to mount the PSU. The attached cables are
sleeved, others are in the flat data-cable style. The flat profile can make those cables easier
to route in some cases.


Kingwin LZP-550 FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS
FEATURE & BRIEF Our comment
Compliance with ATX 12V v2.2, EPS 12V v2.91, and SSI EPS 12V v2.92 Specification Good.
140MM Fan (1300RPM / 24dBA) with Intelligent Speed Control and ECO Intelligent Thermal Control System (Patent) A variation of the stepped thermal fan control pioneered by Seasonic years ago.
Crystal Cube Modular Plug w/ Patented Power Connector Cable Management System Just looks like a different connector.
Hybrid Dual Voltage Automatic Switch System (Patent)
What does this mean?
Superior Vertical Double Layer Main Transformer (Patent) OK... but superior to what?
More than 2,000 Times ON/OFF Test
OK.
80 PLUS® Platinum High Efficiency Power Supply Certified — 50% Load (92% Efficiency), 20% Load (90% Efficiency), 100% Load (89% Efficiency) Why we're interested.
Stable + 12V Current
Single 12V rail?
Safety certifications: cTÜVus, TÜV, CB, CE, FCC, CCC, C-Tick, BSMI As expected.
Over Power/Under Power/Over Voltage/Short Circuit Protections OK.
Full Range Design from 115V ~ 250V (Active PFC) Like most high end PSUs on
the retail market.
5 year warranty Good.
Physical: 170(L) x 150(W) x 86(H)mm, 5.5 lbs 20mm longer than normal.


Kingwin LZP-550 SPECIFICATIONS
AC Input
115~240VAC, 10A, 50/60 Hz
DC Output
3.3V
5V
12V
-12V
5Vsb
20A
20A
45.5A
0.5A
2.5A
100W
546W
6W
12.5W
550W

There seems no mention anywhere of any temperature limits for power output. This is a serious inadequacy in documentation for a "serious" power supply, as temperature is one of the critical testing conditions, not far off input voltage. As an example, a PSU rated to deliver 550W at 25°C might only be able to do 400W at 50°C.

VISUAL TOUR

The LZP-550 is painted flat black, with a cosmetic decal on one side and specifications label on top. The sheet metal seems about average thickness, and the casing is about an inch longer than normal. The honeycomb pattern exhaust grill is very open to airflow, and there are no other vents for airflow exhaust.



The casing is fairly standard but a but longer than usual.



Despite the modular cables, there is quite a big bundle of attached output cables: The main ATX, two cables for PCIe card 12V, and 4/8-pin AUX12V.





The same 8-pin connector is used for all the modular cable outputs.





The spec label.




Access inside is via the usual four corner screws.



The heatsinks are very small for a 550W PSU. There is substantial room around the main PCB; perhaps the same casing is used for higher power models that require bigger PCBs.






Most of the capacitors are high quality Nippon Chemi-Cons .












The 140x25mm fan has no model number, make, specs or data
on either side. It is a typical looking box fan with nine blades and four struts, with a 2-conductor lead.

OUTPUT CABLES

Fixed:

1 - ATX connector (58cm) 20+4 pin

2 - PCIe connector (58cm) 6/8-pin

1 - AUX12V connector (58cm) 4/8 pin

Detachable:

2 - PCIe (53cm) 6/8-pin

2 - four SATA connectors (90cm)

2 - two SATA connectors (55cm)

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 test platform, 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.

With the current test, we're reversing our approach: The PSU will be tested briefly in the hotbox only to check on 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 should
remain under 600W.

TEST RESULTS

The ambient temperature was 21~22°, and the ambient noise
level was ~10.5 dBA.

Test Results: Kingwin LZP-550

DC Output (W)

AC Input

(W)

Lost as Heat

(W)

Efficiency %
Power Factor
Exhaust
22.5
29
6.5
77.5
0.88
22°C
N/A
41.6
50
8.4
83.2
0.94
23°C
N/A
64.5
72
7.5
89.7
0.98
23°C
N/A
91.2
99
7.8
92.1
0.99
24°C
N/A
149.4
160
10.6
93.3
0.99
27°C
N/A
198.1
211
12.9
93.9
0.99
28°C
N/A
248.6
265
16.4
93.8
0.99
30°C
N/A
300.5
322
21.5
93.3
1.00
32°C
N/A
400.4
431
30.6
92.9
1.00
34°C
N/A
501.9
550
48.1
91.3
1.00
38°C
N/A
549.7
613
63.3
89.7
1.00
40/53°C
16
Crossload Test

(1A on 5V and 3.3V lines; the rest on 12V line)
485.6
519
23.4
93.6%
1.00
38°C
N/A
+12V Ripple (peak-to-peak): <13mV @ <250W
~ 34mV @ 550W
+5V Ripple (peak-to-peak): <10mV @ <200W ~ 30mV @ 550W

+3.3V Ripple (peak-to-peak): 10mV @ <200W ~ 24mV @ 550W
AC Power in Standby: 0.5W

AC Power with No Load, PSU power On: 6.8W / 0.56 PF
* 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% at full rated load.

At the super low 20W load, efficiency was excellent at over 77%. Efficiency
rose quickly as the load was increased. 90% efficiency was reached around the
65W mark, broke 93% by 150W, and stayed above 93% to 400W load. With higher load, efficiency dropped a bit. At full power, the efficiency dopped down to 89.7%, still above the mark demanded by Platinum.

This is the most energy efficient PSU we've tested yet, by a clearly measurable margin. It is a definite step above the Gold tested models, although admittedly, the difference in watts is quite small at typical PC idle levels (just a few watts) and does not become really significant until around a couple hundred watts load is reached. An example: The Gold 80 Plus rated Enermax Modu87+ 500W drew 76W AC to output 65W DC , compared to 72W for the Kingwin Platinum — a modest 4W difference. But at 200W output, the Gold rated Enermax drew 222W vs 211W for the Kingwin — a more significant 11W difference.

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%.

At all load levels, the critical 12V line was within +0.36V (3%)
of 12V. It started high, at 12.36V and dropped with increased load to 12.16V (+1.3%) at full load. The 5V line started a touch high, too, at 5.16V, and went down to 5.06V at full load (+3.2% to +1.2%). 3.3V ranged from 3.38V to 3.29V (+2.4% to -1.2%). These are excellent results, not the best we've seen but 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 15mV through the lower half of
the power range. Even at maximum power, the 12V ripple stayed at just 34mV.
It's close to the 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 good for this model, running at or close to 1.0 through most
of the loads and no lower than 0.88 even at just 20W load.

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 0.5W power draw in standby (power
switch on but computer off) is excellent.

6. LOW & 240 VAC PERFORMANCE

The power supply was set to 300W load at various AC input
voltages. Most full-range input power supplies achieve higher efficiency with
higher AC input voltage. SPCR's lab is equipped with a 240VAC line, which was
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: Kingwin LZP-550
VAC
AC Power
DC Output
Efficiency
244V
314W
300W
95.4%
120V
322W
300W
93.3%
100V
327W
300W
91.7%


Efficiency improved to over 95% at the higher voltage.
This is higher than the minimum 94% required by the 80 Plus Platinum standard for 230VAC operation. The sample passed the 100VAC minimum input at 300W load without any issues.
Neither voltage regulation nor ripple changed appreciably during these tests.

7. TEMPERATURE, COOLING & NOISE

A notice on a loose piece of paper in the LZP-550 package cautions that the fan does not spin when the unit is first turned on. On the product web page, a link to ECO Intelligent Thermal Control System (Patent) takes you to the following illustration:

In essence it is a "semi-passive" fan that comes on only when high temperature is reached. The illustration above states that the trigger temperature is 65~70°C, and the fan will stop spinning again once the temperature drops to 45~50°C. (This implies, by the way, that the rated power is valid to 45~50°C.) It is not clear just where in the PSU this temperature is monitored.

What is very clear is that at all but the maximum loads, the fan hardly ever comes on. This is why N/A is indicated for SPL: The noise emitted by the Kingwin LZP-550 during testing was below the 10 dBA noise floor of the anechoic chamber. The fan came on only at full power, and not continuously. It came on initially for about two minutes, then turned off for about five minutes before turning back on again. The relatively cool ambient air quickly cooled the interior of the PSU to 45~50°C. The measured noise when the fan did come on was just 16 [email protected], quiet enough to go unnoticed in many environments.

The LZP-550 was not completely noise-free when the fan was not running. At very low loads, with certain combinations of the 5Vsb current, a high pitched noise could be heard clearly from very close distance (under 2-3 feet). As load was increased, this electronic noise faded, but then returned with increased complexity, with several different pitch tones audible at various loads. This noise did not exceed the noise floor of the anechoic chamber, however, and was thus not possible to measure easily. It might be audible to individuals with very sensitive hearing working in an environment with little or no other noise, with this PSU powering a fanless PC in close proximity — say a meter. For 98% of users who employ fans in their PCs, the LZP-550 will rarely be heard.

One complication that arose during testing was the difficulty of measuring temperature. Since the unit was operating in free air, the ambient intake temperature was 21~22°C, but even though the internal temperature had to be rising with increased load, the absence of forced air blowing the heat out toward our sensor mounted at the exhaust grill meant the "exhaust" temperature rose very little. It is probably not a good indication of... anything, in this review.

IN THE HOT BOX

Even when exposed to the heat of the hotbox, the LZP-550 fan did not turn on except at high test loads. The 16 [email protected] cited for the 400W load is only true part of the time: It stayed off for some 10 minutes at this load before the fan turned on, and it stayed on for only about two minutes. The total time at this load was around 20 minutes, and the fan did not come on again. But after extended operation in the hotbox at 500W load and higher, with the exhaust temperature reaching as high as 69°C, the fan came on and sped up to a higher speed (likely the 1300 RPM maximum it is rated for), where the noise level measured 22 [email protected] It stayed at this speed for a good 7~8 minutes before slowing and quieting to 16 [email protected], but it did not stop spinning as long as the load was 500W or higher in the hotbox. The overall quality of fan noise even at 22 [email protected] was smooth and benign, without tonal peaks.

Kingwin LZP-550 SPL: In Hot Box vs. Out
Power load
90W
150W
200W
250W
300W
400W
500W
550W
out
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
16*
in hot box
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
16*
22
22
Measurements are in [email protected]

* See note in text above.


COMPARISONS

The comparison table below shows the SPL versus Power Load data on all the
PSUs tested in the hotbox. It's difficult to rank them, as
the measured SPL varies with power load. The units which are quietest at minimum
load are not always the quietest at midload (100W~300W), which may make them
louder in actual use. Then there's the noise level at 400W and up, which will
determine the quietest PSUs for high power gaming rigs, during actual gaming.

The Kingwin Lazer Platinum LZP-550 acoustics in the hotbox is at the top of the pack, aside from the completely fanless Seasonic X-400 (and X-460). At every load up to its maximum, the unit is quieter than all other tested PSUs.

PSU Noise ([email protected]) vs. Power in Hotbox/Anechoic
Chamber
Model
90W
150W
200W
250W
300W
400W
500W
6-700W
850W

Seasonic X-400 Fanless
<10*
<10
<10
<10
<10
<10
n/a
n/a
n/a

Kingwin Lazer Platinum LZP-550
<10*
<10
<10
<10
<10
16
22
n/a
n/a

Enermax Modu/Pro87+ 500
11
11
11
11
14
20
23
n/a
n/a

Corsair AX850
<10
<10
12
15
18
25
35
38
39

Seasonic X-650
<10
<10
12
14
16
31
31
32
n/a

Nexus Value 430
11
11
16
18
18
19
n/a
n/a
n/a

Nexus NX-5000
11
11
12
14
22
24
25
n/a
n/a
Antec CP-850
12
12
12
14
14
26
40
44
45

Enermax Eco80+ 500W
<11
12
16
19
26
32
33
n/a
n/a

Seasonic M12D 850W
14
14
14
14
14
24
37
42
42

Antec TP-750
12
12
14
14
18
33
40
40
n/a
Chill Innovation CP-700M
15
15
15
15
17
30
34
34
n/a
Antec Signature 650
15
15
15
18
18
28
36
47
n/a
Coolermaster M700W
14
14
18
21
25
27
34
34
n/a
Cougar GX-700
15
15
18
20
25
32
35
36
n/a
SilverStone DA700
18
18
18
18
23
32
35
41
n/a
Nexus RX-8500
14
14
17
22
28
32
32
33
33
NesteQ ECS7001
22
22
22
21
23
25
36
37
n/a
PCPC Silencer 610
20
24
24
24
24
30
40
50
n/a

The green boxes are >30 [email protected] SPL.

*<10= below the ambient of our anechoic chamber; immeasurably low
@1m in any environment

The new comparison table below shows the SPL versus Power Load data on
PSUs tested in ambient room temperature, typically 20~24°C. It is most relevant when PSUs are used in cases that provide wide open access to cooler outside air for the PSU cooling fan.

PSU Noise ([email protected]) vs. Power in Ambient Room Temperature
Model
90W
150W
200W
250W
300W
400W
500W
6-700W
850W

Kingwin Lazer Platinum LZP-550
<10*
<10
<10
<10
<10
<10
16
n/a
n/a

Seasonic X-400 Fanless
<10*
<10
<10
<10
<10
<10
n/a
n/a
n/a

Enermax Modu/Pro87+ 500
11
11
11
11
11
11
18
n/a
n/a

Corsair AX850
<10
<10
<10
11~13
12
13
17
24
35

Seasonic X-650
<10
<10
<10
<10
<10
16
27
32
n/a

Nexus NX-5000
11
11
12
12
12.5
14
19
n/a
n/a
Antec CP-850
12
12
12
12
12
14
20
24
40

Enermax Eco80+ 500W
<11
12
12
16
20
23
28
n/a
n/a

Antec TP-750
12
12
12
14
15
27
31
40
n/a
Cougar GX-700
15
15
15
17
21
25
35
35
n/a


Caution: Please keep in mind that
the data in the above table is specific to the conditions of our test setup.
Change the cooling configuration, the ambient temperature and any number of
other factors, and you could change the point at which the fans start speeding
up, as well as the rate of the rise in speed. The baseline SPL is accurate,
however, probably to within 1 dBA.

CONCLUSIONS

The Kingwin Lazer Platinum LZP-550 power supply is unique in the marketplace today: It is not only the most energy efficient computer power supply, but also among the very quietest in any practical application. Its acoustic competitors are mostly a pair of fanless Seasonic X series 80 Plus Gold models, higher power X-series hybrid passive fan models, and X-series based Corsairs. The LZP-550 is in very refined company. Its electrical performance and build quality also appear very good, and the detachable, modular cables are a nice benefit, but the biggest selling factor is its superior efficiency: At 500W, its AC power consumption is about 15W lower than any 80 Plus Gold model at the same load. The efficiency improvement starts much lower, with a couple watts saved even down at the 50W level.

The high efficiency is what makes the virtually passive fan control scheme workable... even with the small heatsinks. There is so little heat to dissipate. If installed in a system with long term average power draw of 250W or higher, one might have thoughts about the risk to longevity with the constant heat load. This would be especially true in a tower case where the PSU is mounted conventionally at the top back corner. Such cases are increasingly out of favor with DIY builders, however, and the majority of high performance cases now place the PSU at the bottom back corner. Those who live in 220~240 VAC service areas get the benefit of efficiency that is even higher, over 95% at the peak.

The LZP-550 appears to be the lone 80 Plus Platinum model in the market, despite the 25 PSUs passed to Platinum level by 80 Plus. We could speculate as to why:

  • Technical difficulties in achieving Platinum level efficiency in mass production (as opposed to small numbers of test samples for 80 Plus and hardware reviewers)
  • Low perceived demand (on the part of manufacturers) considering likely selling price.
  • Low perceived value by consumers considering the already high efficiency of 80 Plus Gold PSUs (and their relatively wide availability).
  • Limited supply of parts for Platinum efficiency PSUs.

The good news for who seek a PSU of this type of efficiency is that Newegg's selling price has dropped from the initial $170 a few months ago to $150 today. That is still a pretty steep price for a 550W PSU, as most 500~600W 80 Plus Gold models go for $110~$125. But it is not so bad compared to the current $160 for the fanless Seasonic X-460.

Kingwin Lazer Platinum LZP-550 Balance Sheet
Likes



* Silent at almost any load

* The highest efficiency

* High quality parts & build

* Modular cables

* Very good electrical performance

* 5-year warranty
Quibbles



* Too many attached cables

* Over-large for 550W unit


* Might risk longevity with so little airflow even at high loads?

Much thanks to Kingwin Technology for the review sample.




Kingwin Lazer Platinum LZP-550 receives the SPCR Editor's Choice Award

* * *

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Power Supply Fundamentals


Recommended Power Supplies

SPCR PSU Test Rig V.4

Corsair Gold: AX850 Power Supply

Seasonic X-400 Fanless

Seasonic X-650: Seasonic Hits
Gold


Enermax Modu/Pro87+ 500W

Antec TruePower TP-750

* * *

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this article in the SPCR Forums.

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