7-way 600 Watt PSU roundup in Venlo

Cases & PSU/Power Supplies by geoffrey @ 2010-03-17

Looking for a 600~700W PC power supply but haven´t decided yet what to get? In addition to our 2009 summer article we at Madshrimps have tested another four popular products from major brands like Nexus, Enermax, Scythe and Sharkoon. We compared features, performance and efficiency. Which one to get? Read on to find out!

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Introduction & test methodology


Madshrimps (c)
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 matter 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 continue to compare the various well known brands around and help you decide which of these quality brands probable fits you the best. Just like last time we went back to the CoolerMaster labs in Venlo for another round of in-depth tests, here is a list of today's competitors:

  • Enermax ECO80+ 620W
    Madshrimps (c)
    Although not being a big OEM, Enermax certainly has made their name throughout their 20 years of existence. Fans, pc housing, peripherals, and power supply's off course, Enermax has always been innovative and one of the industry leader in their business, we have not yet forgotten how they were the first to present us the 1kW ATX PSU. Today a look at the ECO80+ series, these entry-level PSU's combine the long-lasting experience as PSU manufacturer with the innovative achievements of the more recent cooling fan division of Enermax. The integrated 12cm Magma fan ensures excellent cooling performance and silence.

  • Nexus NX-8060 600W
    Madshrimps (c)
    Nexus is one of the youngest company's I've got in contact with, established by a select group of dedicated engineers Nexus first appeared in the pc industry in the year 2000. Now roughly ten years later the company offers pc housings, power supply's, AMD/intel cooling solutions, case fans, hdd accesoires and much more on a global scale. However being so new in the industry they could not establish their own production site yet so today's reviewing sample, their Nexus NX-8060, is not completely an in-house product. But believe me they're not the only ones in this round-up and you must know there are a lot of do's and dont's when using OEM designs, success still remains in the hands of those who actually bring these OEM designs to the retail market.

  • Scythe Kamariki 4 650W
    Madshrimps (c)
    Scythe has well made their name with their heatsink department, you'll without a doubt remember the Ninja heatsink which was a gigantic yet high performing product which is even tough competition for 2010 newly released products. To have more grip on the retail business Scythe further increased their product range by adding more heatsink cooling solutions, case fans, housing and power supply's off course. Today we have a look at the Kamariki 4 power supply, already the fourth generation but the first to hit the European retail market. Iteration 4, this one must be good then!

  • Sharkoon Silent Storm 660W
    Madshrimps (c)
    Just like Scythe this is the youngest company competing in this round-up, established in 2002 they've a wide range of products going from audio headphones to remote docking stations and many many more. Power supply's are rather new for Sharkoon, today we'll be looking at the SilentStorm series psu's which seem to contain a 660W unit. With a focus on efficiency and low-noise and featuring a modular cable system this one perfectly fits the picture of our todays article.

    Specs compared

    Madshrimps (c)

    Once multi-12V rail power supply's saw daylight it seemed like the entire industry suddenly wanted this new technology, however more and more people begin to see it doesn't really offer anything extra over conventional PSU design and so the market is bending slightly back to where it was before with more people looking for single 12V rail psu design. Currently CoolerMaster's unit is the only one featuring such design but I'm sure you'll find more in your nearby shop if you look closely enough. Some of the units mentioned above come with the same DC output per rail, that is not without reason. Like I mentioned some of todays participants don't have an in house production site so they've to relay on OEM products, nevertheless they gave it their own finishing touch. It's still remarkable that some rate their unit at 600 Watts where other dare to say it can handle 660W. Marketing strategy are research well done?

    Anyway, in the dual-12V rail psu range Enermax takes the lead by offering 576W combined 12V output power, Zalman still remains overall leader though by offering 636W combined 12V output power. No surprise though judging by the efforts they've put into keeping their power supply's from overheating. Price wise expect to pay a little extra though so it might turn out not that great after all.

    Test methodology

    Testing PSU's is far from testing video cards, 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:

    Madshrimps (c)

    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 ->
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    Comment from EsaT @ 2010/03/19
    Overall good job but as you "crack" them open in any case you should also either check and write about capacitor selections or take such photos which allow recognizing capacitors.
    For most global brand PSUs used capacitors can be found from numerous other reviews but for European PSU brands thorough reviews aren't so common.

    While looking all good now PSU with crap capacitors can easily go bad after only couple years (or faster) so use of known high quality capacitors isn't just PR stunt. Instead of el Cheapo products even PSU with more average performance, say in voltage regulation, but high quality capacitors, is lot better investment and can keep going lot longer.
    Comment from geoffrey @ 2010/03/23
    You're correct and I must confess that I don't have enough knowledge about quality capacitors and such stuff. I'd love to tell you about what components to look out for and which you would rather want to avoid. In order to do that one must have lots of experience in electronics, for myself I would pay a visit to some of these capacitors producers and see how they do it. I would ask repair departments in order to know their thoughts about certain weak components instead of reading and quoting other man's words. But frankly, knowing that it took a very long time to get this review done, and knowing that writing reviews is just one of the many hobby's I have, I can tell you that getting more in detail would take only more time which I can't make available at the moment.

    "Then why bother the review?" Well why would you? I'm telling you from the start that internals is not what we're going to focus on, instead we'll be testing the product 'as it comes' and judge by that those facts what it is worth for us. On the longer scale there're lots of influences which can degrade the product life, and yes quality components will most certainly extend the joy you'll have from it, but than again you're judging by name and not by real world facts like you would get when testing hundreds of units for multiple years. I say it's a nice extra thing to mention but sometimes I get the thought that some reviewers are just quoting stuff and that's why I rather not spend time researching and reading other man's work. But I hope that what you got in this article was good enough to get you going
    Comment from EsaT @ 2010/03/24
    Sometimes some smaller caps have only minimal markings on them but most have manufacturer's name or logo so simply listing identifiable capacitors and leaving arguing/deductions to readers wouldn't increase workload more than minute or two per PSU.
    Cap makers often sticking to certain colour theme can give fast first hint of manufacturer but still gettings markings to show in photos would actually take more effort.

    judging by name and not by real world facts like you would get when testing hundreds of units for multiple years
    Even longer testing of big sample isn't reliable if quality is inconsistent. Like those Fuhjyyus making Antec SmartPowers and old TruePower I/IIs random timebombs. Some of them have obviously worked well while lot of them have been ready to pop at any time.
    And even if lower quality caps work long in one product lowering cooling (as silence is now major advertising point in PSUs) below some level can kill those caps fast in other product.

    So there simply aren't any valid reasons to keep cheap dozenware equal to known long time manufacturers.
    It's rather sure bet that quality PSU manufacturers do some tough testing to capacitors (also they have to stay sharp because of huge counterfeit production in China) they keep using in their high end models so that should be good hint as to what is reliable because in capitalistic world use of more expensive parts than necessary is rare.

    Personally I have one 13 years old high end Nokia CRT still working but despite of good looking design and good sized heatsinks for critical components Samsung 959NF started going haywire after 6½ years simply because of lot of capacitors failing. (don't remember their brands except that they weren't known high quality brands)
    And now in TFT monitors cheap capacitors of their power supplies are common cause of their premature deaths before reasonable operating life.
    So with 1½ year of use behind I have to start really considering when I open my LG IPS monitor for checking is it better to replace caps for making sure it lasts because real step forward OLED and FED/SED monitors are still years away and current monitor markets are falling towards vertically cripled cheap crap. (Millions of flies can't be wrong: Crap is good.)