8-way SLI and Crossfire Power Supply (PSU) Roundup

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8-way SLI and Crossfire Power Supply (PSU) Roundup

Postby Apoptosis » Wed Jun 21, 2006 7:30 am

8-way SLI and Crossfire Power Supply (PSU) Roundup

Today Legit Reviews brings you our thoughts on EIGHT power supplies that we tested on two top shelf gaming AMD and Intel gaming platforms to see which ones can hang our torture test. While ATI and Nvidia have their approved power supplies our testing found that some of their approved models couldn't make the cut. Read on and see which THREE power supplies don't pass.

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Our goal was to take a sample of the SLI and Crossfire approved power supplies and put them through some torture testing to make sure they perform up to our standards. Armed with a pair of GeForce 7800GTX 512mb video cards in SLI on AMD's new AM2 platform with a 5000+ processor and two X1900XT's in Crossfire on an Intel's 975 Bad Axe motherboard with a 965 Extreme Edition our core testing platforms are what enthusiasts are running. To top off our base systems we added watercooling, numerous casefans, a DVD-Rom and even Ageia's PhysX processor card. We put together everything we could think of that would simulate a high-end system with SLI and Crossfire than then ran it balls to the wall to see what happens. What did happen was shocking, but expected. Three of the eight power supplies are worth avoiding and we tell you which ones and why.


Article Title: 8-way SLI and Crossfire Power Supply (PSU) Roundup

Justin West and Nathan Kirsch (myself) spent a good number of WEEKS testing these 8 power supplies and re-tested duplicates to confirm our results. We hope that you enjoy this roundup and that the results will help you in future purchases. One might notice that we didn't mention noise levels from these power supplies. In all honesty with many having 14cm fans and smart cooling they all were so close the audio meter couldn't show a major difference.

Enjoy,

Nate
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Postby Illuminati » Wed Jun 21, 2006 7:41 am

Nate did a great job of getting us such a wide variety of SLI/Crossfire ready PSUs, that we are able to show just how different some of these units perform!

Everyone should take some time over their lunch break or this evening to really read through this one. We cover Efficiency, Stability, Future Usability, and Pricing in this review, and there is a lot of content in there that many will learn from... ( I know Nate and I learned a lot with this review! )

Let us have your feedback and ask any questions!
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Postby Skippman » Wed Jun 21, 2006 7:59 am

I'm really disappointed to hear ThermalTake had done as poorly as they did. Being a ThermalTake user for years it's a shame they've fallen so far, even if the Tough Power held it's own.

I find it odd though that you gave the OCZ the editors choice when it doesn't have modular cable connectors which seem to be a standard feature now.

Do you think there is any coloralation between PSU power and case temperature. I ask because my proc is running hot at about 50C (Athlon 64 3700) and was wondering if my PSU (ThermalTake Pure Silent 450) might be contributing to the issue.
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Postby Bio-Hazard » Wed Jun 21, 2006 8:01 am

Nice review guy's, sort of came out the way I expected with the PSU's that were tested............. :shock: I could pretty much see the writing on the wall with the TT 550 dieing, I had one die on me myself and that was only with a single video card but a heck of a lot more cooling.............. :P

Job well done guys.
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Postby pcrobot » Wed Jun 21, 2006 8:24 am

Great review!

I was hoping the AeroCool would do better. I'll be keeping the Powerstream in mind for my next upgrade though.

EDIT: fixed my spelling
Last edited by pcrobot on Thu Jun 22, 2006 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Apoptosis » Wed Jun 21, 2006 8:40 am

pcrobot wrote:Great review!

I was hoping the AeroCool would do better. I'll be keeping the POwerstream in mind for my next upgrade though.


Remember that the OCZ PowerStream series is slated to end here shorty as it will be replaced by the GameXstream series according to OCZ. Since the PowerStream doesn't have Active PFC they can't sell it overseas and it's not efficient at all. Actually if you look at the OCZ website they don't even mention efficiency on the power stream series because it's so bad. I had to pull teeth with OCZ to give me the full load efficiency rating for this article! I'm going to personally stick to power supplies that use Active PFC on all my future builds. That's what I learned from writing this article. Thanks for the kind comments and glad you liked the article!
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Postby Bio-Hazard » Wed Jun 21, 2006 8:44 am

I'm switching over to that route as well, I've got a OCZ 600w GameXstream on it's wat to me as we speak. Only thing I don't like about it is that it doesn't have modualar cables................ :| Oh well, no biggie, I have plenty of room in my case.
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Postby Apoptosis » Wed Jun 21, 2006 9:00 am

Skippman wrote:I'm really disappointed to hear ThermalTake had done as poorly as they did. Being a ThermalTake user for years it's a shame they've fallen so far, even if the Tough Power held it's own.

I find it odd though that you gave the OCZ the editors choice when it doesn't have modular cable connectors which seem to be a standard feature now.

Do you think there is any coloralation between PSU power and case temperature. I ask because my proc is running hot at about 50C (Athlon 64 3700) and was wondering if my PSU (ThermalTake Pure Silent 450) might be contributing to the issue.


The ThermalTake ToughPower series is great their 750W model rocks and from their upcoming 800W, 1000W and 1200W ToughPower power supplies will be coming out here in the coming months. With ATI's R600's and DirectX10 slated for 2007 (and decent DX10 titles coming much later) these upcoming power supplies will be interesting and Thermaltake said they are built as good if not better than the Thermaltake 750W, which is a killer PSU.

Only 5 PSU's passed testing. The OCZ PowerStream and Mushkin eXtreme both don't have modular cables and don't use Active PFC... Those passed, but are not efficient. The Antec Neo HE 550W passed and has a killer price, but at 550W isn't ready for the future and the rails were not 100% stable. That leaves just the Thermaltake ToughPower 750 and the OCZ GamexStream 700 left for the award. Both the ToughPower 750 and the OCZ PowerStream have a similiar Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) ratings. 100,000 on the OCZ versus 120,000 hours on the Thermaltake (Antec Neo HE 550 is only 80,000 hours). Both are also backed by a full 3-year warranty, so the warranty is the same. The OCZ Power Supply has a better price point with the ToughPower being $40 more expensive and both performing roughly the same (again both are not modular) -- OCZ got the editors choice.

In terms of the PSU impacting case temps, of course! The 140mm fan on the Thermaltake 750 and the 120mm fan on the OCZ GameXstream 700 move tons of air and does it silently... Gone are the days of the dual 80mm fans at high RPM's to cool the PSU.
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Postby Illuminati » Wed Jun 21, 2006 9:16 am

Skippman wrote:I find it odd though that you gave the OCZ the editors choice when it doesn't have modular cable connectors which seem to be a standard feature now.
You've gotten Nate's response, here's mine FWIW.

Only about half of the PSUs we tested had modular cables. And if you are out to find the best PSU for stability, efficiency, etc... are you going to not buy the best one because it is not modular?

With the high-end SLI/Crossfire gaming rigs we used, we found ourselves using all the cables anyway. the only exception was we only needed one SATA power line and many of these units had two or more.

Out of the three most efficient PSUs, only the Antec NeoHE 550W had modular connections.

Thanks for the comment, though, as it is important to point out! Modular connections are very important to some, but to us, that feature is just some icing on the cake and is not required of a high quality PSU. Our criteria for the editor's choice was efficiency, stability, future usability, and then price.
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Postby Skippman » Wed Jun 21, 2006 10:20 am

After reading Nates reply to my post I can understand where you're coming from in your review. I'm at a toss up between getting the ThermalTake or the OCZ. I think I'll likely get the OCZ both due to the review you gave it and for cosmetic reasons. I'd be interested to know what the manufacturs rated noise level is on each of these units.

I guess my point was not that I felt your Editors Choice was misplaced and I shouldn't have phrased it that way. My point is now that a PSU is becoming more and more a key system component I'm a bit dispondent at seeing the big players avoiding what should be an easy feature to intergrate. If I'm paying close to $200 for a power supply I would like to think it's as feature rich as possible, something you might want to pass along to the companies who's products you've reviewed.

Exactly how loud IS the OCZ?
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Postby Apoptosis » Wed Jun 21, 2006 10:51 am

Skippman wrote:Exactly how loud IS the OCZ?


It's really hard to do sound testing without thousands of dollars in profressional equipment, but let's do some testing in Nate's Kitchen...

Basically I tossed together a system with nothing more than the Corsair Nautilus 500 sitting 3 feet away and a silent GeForce 7600GS video card and sat the sound level meter on the system to get the room noise level I got 61dba --- I then walked 5 feet away and took a measurement of the general room and it was between 60-63dba.

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I then put the meter about 1.5 inches above the 120mm fan and took another reading and got 65dba.

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Hope this helps! As you can tell it really doesn't add much and thats why I didn't feel it needed to be talked about in the article as nearly all of the PSU's are like this.

I also asked this question to OCZ for you skipp...

Legit Reviews (11:55:58 AM): are you going to make a modular gamexstream?
OCZ (11:56:08 AM): not that i know of
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Postby Skippman » Wed Jun 21, 2006 12:46 pm

Nate, thank you! I really appreciate you going that extra step. It's one of the reasons I respect you and the whole Legit Reviews crew as much as I do.

Based on the review my next PSU will be OCZ's GameXStream 700W.

Thanks again for going that extra step and both testing what I asked about, and contacting the vendor. I know of no other review site or person in the industry that would go that far.
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Postby kenc51 » Wed Jun 21, 2006 1:13 pm

Apoptosis wrote:
pcrobot wrote:Great review!

I was hoping the AeroCool would do better. I'll be keeping the POwerstream in mind for my next upgrade though.


Remember that the OCZ PowerStream series is slated to end here shorty as it will be replaced by the GameXstream series according to OCZ. Since the PowerStream doesn't have Active PFC they can't sell it overseas and it's not efficient at all. Actually if you look at the OCZ website they don't even mention efficiency on the power stream series because it's so bad. I had to pull teeth with OCZ to give me the full load efficiency rating for this article! I'm going to personally stick to power supplies that use Active PFC on all my future builds. That's what I learned from writing this article. Thanks for the kind comments and glad you liked the article!


/cough cough

600W OCZ Powerstream (uk edition) user here...............Which has active PFC ;)
I'll post a pic of the sticker when I get home
God bless European regulations LOL
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Postby Illuminati » Wed Jun 21, 2006 1:22 pm

kenc51 wrote:/cough cough

600W OCZ Powerstream (uk edition) user here...............Which has active PFC ;)
I'll post a pic of the sticker when I get home
God bless European regulations LOL

Show Off! :)
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Postby infinitevalence » Wed Jun 21, 2006 1:37 pm

Nice job guys, for the most part the results were as expected. One of the reasons the OCZ and Mushkin have similar results is both of thoes modles are built by Top Power, while the new Gamer series are built by FSP group.
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Postby SAMSAMHA » Wed Jun 21, 2006 3:06 pm

NICE roundup on the sli psu. the demand for high quality psu is a must. i really like to see these roundup reviews as it puts everything into perspective when you are shopping for parts.
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Postby alister » Wed Jun 21, 2006 10:34 pm

Doesn't Antec make a bigger version of that same power supply or is that the top watts for it??

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Postby Bio-Hazard » Wed Jun 21, 2006 10:52 pm

From what I saw on their web site, 550 is their largest ATM............... :shock:

http://www.antec.com/us/pro_powerSupply.html
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Postby Apoptosis » Thu Jun 22, 2006 6:37 am

The Antec Neo HE 550 has the highest total power rating of all Antec PSU's.
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Postby Bio-Hazard » Thu Jun 22, 2006 7:08 am

You all should get one of the new Cooler Master iGreen 600x PSU's to include in a update................ :shock: It meets al the new current European standards with Active PFC (0.99) and a efficiency rating of 82% (120W) / 85% (300W) / 82% (600W). They are pretty impressive PSU's, I ran my complete system off a little 430w version a while back without any issues at all and from reading other reports, the 600w does extremely well also.

2. Green Power Product
* Green power design to meet “Energy Star” and “Blue Angel” requirements for energy and money saving
* RoHS Compliance


http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/Products.aspx?pid=1231
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