Image courtesy of DESK D.O.O.
For high-end gaming and workstations you'll very probable find yourself looking for a 600~700 Watt power supply, however you will quickly stumble upon the question why you should pay €150 when you see €50 units available too. "PSU's do what they do, right?" We at Madshrimps already looked into that in our No-name brand PSUs vs Known Brands: MAD testing
article, our outcome: quality PSU's offer higher efficiency, cleaner power, more power and more error and fault detecting circuitry which protects the PSU (and your system) from a melt down. Today we're going to compare the various well known brands around and help you decide which of these quality brands probable fits you the best. We went back to the CoolerMaster labs in Venlo for another round of in-depth tests, here is a list of today's competitors:CoolerMaster Silent Pro M600
|Ever since its foundation more then a decade ago CoolerMaster has been a healthy and growing company, always in for innovative idea's and high quality. Rewarded with ISO9001 and 9002 certifications CoolerMaster grew from one of the best thermal solution providers to a company which also sells retail power supply's, pc housings, storage devices and a whole assortment of pc fans. Today’s test sample is the Silent Pro M600, a modular power supply with a high amp 12V rail, high efficiency and low noise operation.|
Zalman extreme power 660W
|Established in '99 Zalman's first mayor point of interest was silent computing, in a world where computer chips were slowly increasing their power consumption Zalman grew bigger as well up to a company which bursts of innovative new products to feed the consumer market. Processor cooling, notebook ventilation, water-cooling, pc cases, case fans and fan controllers, monitors, audio, mice, TIM and many more, Zalman has it all but for today we're having a look at their power supply offerings, i.e. the Zalman Extreme Power 660W. Under product name ZM660-XT we found another modular power supply with high efficiency and low noise as most important specifications, although there is a lot more which we'll come to later on.|
OCZ ModXstream-pro 600W
|The third contestant is the OCZ ModXstream-Pro 600W, again a modular type of power supply with high efficiency and low noise as primary specs. Although OCZ is best known from their memory modules they have been building power supply's for quite some time too, most of you enthusiasts must remember the Powerstream series from few years back which offered adjustable 3.3V, 5V and 12V volt lines, something we hadn't seen before. With the ModXstream series we're looking at quality power supply's of the modular type, nothing extravaganza just very decent and handy not only for the modders but for all these who want their pc not only to look good from the outside but also from the inside.|
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From the above comparison you can easily see how the Zalman ZM660-XT offers the highest power output of the three where CoolerMaster and OCZ brake even with OCZ having more 12V output power where CM scores higher in the 3.3V/5V region. CoolerMaster also decided to go for a single rail design for the 12V line where OCZ has split it up in two, Zalman went for 4-rail design. For the user the single rail design is easier in usage, you don't have to worry about overpowering one of the rails and for the circuit designer it's probable easier not too worry about more volt rails plus it reduces the amount of used components which could mean lower production costs and lower price. We'll come back to that later on.
Testing PSU's is far from testing videocards, there is no framerate or bandwidth score which represents the 'performance', in order to properly test power supply we decided to stress them with professional equipment so to give our readers the raw facts and no "half done 5-min plug-in-and-see-if-it-works" articles. Off course this equipment costs an insane amount of cash but we're lucky to once again visit the CoolerMaster labs in Venlo where they have high end pro-tools waiting for us to be put to good use:
CoolerMaster was glad to help us out, for more info about the test setup I'll link you to our last article where we made some in-depth PSU tests using the same equipment. Although we did add one of CoolerMaster's own PC power supply's in this article you must know at all times that we did our tests on our own according to our specs and requirements with little or no help from CoolerMaster supervisor René. Our result are not biased, our goal is to give facts, not to make advertisements.
Apart from using this test setup we also used a self build PC setup in order to measure noise and temps once again, just to see the impact of using a PSU inside and outside a housing. More info later, on to our first test candidate ->