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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Enermax ECO80+ 620W pics & results

Enermax ECO80+ 620W box unpacked

Madshrimps (c)

Box unpacked, inside we found:
  • Enermax ECO80+ 620W power supply
  • AC power cord
  • Manual
  • 4 x PSU Installation Screws
  • 2 Enermax Velcro cable wraps

    Very small box yet everything that's needed to get started is found here... but nothing more. The Enermax Velcro cable wraps look nice but does not really add any extra value as you'll find cable wraps with most other psu's too.

    Madshrimps (c)

    Cables explored

    Madshrimps (c)

    Just like Scythe's K4 this is one of the few power supply's in this round which is not the modular type, try the Enermax Liberty series if you want a modular power supply, its design is the same. We found following cables:
  • 24pin ATX power cable
  • 4+4p 12V EPS Cable
  • 1 x 6p PCIE and 1 x 6+2p PCIe Cables
  • 3 x ODD/HDD/FDD/S-ATA Cables

    The 24 pins ATX plug makes this power supply less interesting in with systems where you might stumble upon capacitors next to the ATX plug. Back then no one knew 24pins psu's would once see the daylight. Though I don't really think you'll buy 600W psu's to power that Pentium 2 rig either but for those who wish to use this PSU's as test unit, pay good attention to what I just told you. for power magnetic/optical drives we found 5 molex, 6 SATA and 1 floppy connectors, slightly better than OCZ's offering but certainly scoring under the average here. For most people this however won't mean much but there are always few people who want something more. Another point I would like to highlight is the fact that only one of the two PCIe cables is 6+2pins, why didn't Enermax make that second PCIE power plug 6+2pins too?

    More pictures

    Madshrimps (c)
    Madshrimps (c)

    The ECO 80+ comes in a matte black housing and measures only 140mm long which makes it one of the smallest PSU's of this roundup making it perfectly even for using in HTPC housings. Component ventilation is secured by the red~orange 120mm Enermax ED122512H 'Magma' fan. This fan comes with a revolutionary Batwing fan blade design which should provide 20-30% more airflow while the Twister bearings should slightly decreases the noise output. Noise levels are further decreased by using the patented AirGuard fan in-let design.

    Madshrimps (c)

    The ECO80+ psu comes with a dual-12V rail design with both their 12V rails rated 30 amps resulting in a higher combined 12V output power rating compared to other dual-rail psu's from the making of OCZ/Scythe. This however does not make the Enermax psu higher rated in total combined output power, at 620W it falls right in between OCZ's 600W and Scythe's 650W. The ECO 80+ series exists out of three models where the 620W model is the highest rated. PSU design is the same for all three models and so the heatsinks inside aren't really that big either, but Enermax has well made their name in the business so cooling wise I don't think we'll run into any problems here.

    Madshrimps (c)

    Enermax ECO80+ 620W results

    How to read the table underneath? Well, we tried 3 different load settings: 100%, 50% and 20% of the total power rating. In the left green field on the right side of the table you can read the output power of the PSU, i.e. the load we set, it's calculated by measuring the live voltage per rail, and by measuring the flowing current per volt rail. You can also see what numbers we've measured inside the CM labs, and how many power is consumed by multiplying U (Volts) with I (Ampéres). In the red field on the left side represents the input power of the PSU, i.e. how many in total is being drawn from the wall plug. The second green value on the right side is the efficiency of the power supply, or output power divided by input power, in percent that is.

    Madshrimps (c)

    With numbers all well above eighty the 80plus certificate is certainly well deserved, overall the volts remain quite stable, at heavy load the 3.3V rail does fall slightly underneath their target value but well within ATX specs. Some more test results we would like to share:

  • Inrush current: 73 Ampére
  • Power Factor: 0,91~0,97
  • Standby power consumption: 0,92 Watt
  • 12V shortcut protection: OK
  • 5V shortcut protection: OK

    We also tried overpowering the PSU, in this case we started increasing the 12V line load until the PSU became instable, these numbers are experimental and should not be analyzed too much as long as you plan on using the PSU within its specs. In case of the Enermax ECO80+ 620W we could increase output power up to 745W! That's 120% load! At these settings we could still use the power supply in short terms, surprisingly efficiency was still at 81%. Pushing it further and then the Enermax SafeGuard tech comes into action triggering the PSU into shutdown.
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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.)