Power Supplies

XPG CYBERCORE II 1000W Platinum Power Supply Review

Methodology & Testing

At eTeknix we take the power supply testing procedure very seriously and have invested a lot of resources into acquiring the appropriate testing equipment. For all power supply reviews, we test the power supplies with dedicated power supply testing equipment. This means we can get the most accurate results from our testing as opposed to using software benchmarks (such as OCCT) or multi-meter readouts which are broadly inaccurate.

Testing Hardware

  • Sunmoon SM-8800 Active Load Tester
  • Stingray DS1M12 USB Oscilloscope
  • Voltcraft DT-10L laser tachometer

What the eTeknix Test Procedure Involves

  • Testing each power supply at 20/40/60/80/100% load (with load balanced across all rails) and measuring PFC (power factor correction), efficiency (actual power divided by power “pulled at the wall”) which also uses a 50% load test, and voltage regulation (deviance from expected voltages of 3.3/5/12 on the main rails).
  • Measuring ripple with an oscilloscope at 20/40/60/80/100% load.
  • Transient loads taken with an oscilloscope are taken from 0% to 100% on the 12v raid, 3.3v rail, and then both combined.
  • Measuring fan speed after a stabilisation period of five minutes at each loading scenario using the Voltcraft DT-10L laser tachometer and a reflective strip on the fan.
  • Testing each power supply’s OPP (Over Power Protection) mechanism and seeing how many watts each power supply can deliver before shutting down.
  • Any deviation from this will be explained per review as appropriate on the respective testing pages, but this methodology page will remain unchanged.

Other Things to Consider

  • We recognise that a single 12-volt cable can provide only 6 Amps before overheating (which corrupts voltage regulation and efficiency) so we used an adequate number of cables for each power supply to ensure there is no efficiency loss from poor cable selection. If there is more than one 12VHPWR on a PSU, all will be used to test their combined loads.
  • We use the same time scale and horizontal millivolt scale on our oscilloscope for all ripple tests, that is a 20ms T/DIV (horizontal) and a 0.02 V/DIV (vertical) meaning the scale is from -80mV to +80mV, ATX spec dictates that the 12v rail must fall within 150mv of ripple and the 3.3/5 within 50mv so that scale allows us to include both 150 and 50mV peaks. (Some older PSU reviews use different scales which were later ditched as the visual representation they give is inadequate, in these reviews written measurements are provided only).
  • Deviance is the terminology used to represent the way voltages diverge from the expected values

Voltage Regulation

To test voltage regulation we load the power supply to five different load scenarios that give an equal spread of load across every single rail. So that means 20% on all rails, 40% on all rails and so on. We then calculate the average deviation of each rail from its expected voltage. Ideally, anything of +/- 2% regulation is seen as a very good result.

Power Efficiency

Power efficiency is measured by calculating the supplied wattage divided by the wattage drawn at the wall/plug, multiplied by 100 to give a percentage. We then compare that to the particular 80 Plus certification the company claims to see if it meets that. You can see the 80 Plus certifications below, we always test power supplies at 230v.

Transient Loads

Power Factor Correction

Power Factor Correction is the ratio of the real power flowing to the load, to the apparent power in the circuit. PFC aims to make the load circuitry that is power factor corrected appear purely resistive (apparent power equal to real power). In this case, the voltage and current are in phase and the reactive power consumption is zero. The closer the number to one the better as this allows the most efficient delivery of electrical power (Source – Wikipedia).

Ripple

An oscilloscope can easily measure noise and Ripple. These show how much voltage fluctuation there is on a particular rail. We tested the rail stability of the 3.3-volt, 5-volt and 12-volt rails using an identical time and millivolt scale for all graphs. millivolt ripple is measured by the peak-to-peak size of the voltage curve.

The latest ATX 12-volt version 2.3 specifications state that ripple from peak to peak must be no higher than 50 millivolts for the 3.3-volt and 5-volt rails, while the 12-volt rail is allowed up to 120 millivolts peak to peak to stay within specifications. Millivolt figures are stated to the closest increment of 5 given their variability.

OPP

Power supplies are often quoted as having various protection mechanisms and the most important of these is Over Power Protection. In our testing, we crank up the power draw until the power supply either shuts down (meaning the OPP mechanism is present and working) or blows up (meaning it is either not present or not working). We then note the maximum power consumption before the power supply shut down, or before it blew up.

Fan Speed

When testing in a power supply laboratory it is difficult to take fan noise readings as the noise from the Sunmoon test equipment and air conditioning corrupts everything. The next best thing in our circumstances was reading off the fan speed with a tachometer to get an idea of the noise. The ambient temperature during testing is held constant at 22 degrees, with 1 degree of variation. Each power supply had a consistent period of 5 minutes to stabilise between each load scenario.

In my experience, the following general relationships apply between noise levels and fan speeds, though it can vary greatly between the type of fan used.

  • Below 800 RPM – Inaudible/Silent
  • 800 to 1000 RPM – Barely audible
  • 1000 – 1200 RPM – Audible but still quiet
  • 1200 – 1400 RPM – Moderately noisy
  • 1400 – 1800 RPM – Noisy
  • 1800 – 2000 RPM or above – Intolerable

Internal Components

This is just an example (taken from a Corsair ax1200i) of what you can expect to see on a PSU interior.

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Peter Donnell

As a child still in my 30's (but not for long), I spend my day combining my love of music and movies with a life-long passion for gaming, from arcade classics and retro consoles to the latest high-end PC and console games. So it's no wonder I write about tech and test the latest hardware while I enjoy my hobbies!

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