by Matthew Harris on February 1, 2007 in Power Supplies
So, you’re on a budget and shopping for a new power supply. You want a decent wattage and a modular cable setup but don’t have much to spend? There are a few choices that might suit you, today we look at an offering from Ultra and see if it has what it takes to garner your hard earned dollars.
All tests are run on a SunMoon SM-268+ ATE (Automated Test Equipment) active PSU load tester. This tester can measure the load on 6 rails at 5 preset levels and outputs a signal via BNC to an O-scope for ripple measurement. The ripple is measures with a USB Instruments Stingray DS1M12 and logged.
||12.16V @ 4A
||5.14V @ 5A
||3.46V @ 2A
||12.08V @ 12A
||5.12V @ 8A
||3.42V @ 5A
||11.99V @ 20A
||5.09V @ 11A
||3.37V @ 8A
||11.91V @ 28A
||5.07V @ 14A
||3.32V @ 11A
||11.92V @ 35A
||4.99V @ 20A
||3.24V @ 17A
As we find out the XVS 600 starts out strong with good voltage on the rails and decent efficiency and keeps this up through the first three stages of testing but as the pressure increases the voltages begin to drop off but not drastically. In fact they stay well above the 5% of the ATX spec on the upper wattage tests but the efficiency rolls off pretty sharply as the unit approaches 500W.
In all reality this won’t be much of an issue for most users as typical modern PC’s don’t go far beyond 300W under full load if that. Typically a home PC will run from 100W to 200W during general use to intense gaming so the excellent efficiency exhibited by the XVS 600 will be a boon due to the fact that less wattage will be converted to heat. Remember that this PSU doesn’t feature active PFC so hitting 80% efficiency is quite the coup d’état. Keeping the efficiency above 75% is also very respectable but I’m disappointed that it dropped to a very low 68% under full load.
Let’s take a look at the ripple… yes that’s right, I’m going to show you ripple results. The Stingray allows me to save screenshots of the ripple results so I’m showing them to you.
Looking at the ripple results we see that as the loads on the 12V and 5V rails increase the ripple becomes more active while the 3.3V rail stays very steady. While the 12V and 5V rails look like they’re out of shape by test 5 they’re really not that bad. The 5V rail peaks out at 40mV while the 12V rail never goes above 70mV which is well under spec. The nice thing about the 3.3V rail staying so clean is that everything riding that rail such as the ram and PCI devices will have a very clean input and as far as ram is concerned that should mean added stability.
All in all I’m pretty impressed although I must mention that during test 5 I did suffer a slight mishap. While I was taking the O-scope screen shots the XVS 600 suddenly shut down. I was rather nonplussed as to why it shut down. I thought maybe it was due to overheating or possibly it didn’t like the 588W load placed on it due to it being a "tweaked" 550W PSU.
After waiting for 30 minutes for the overheating protection to reset it and not having it happen I decided to open it back up and see what was the cause. Come to find out it was a blown fuse. I looked closely at the fuse and it appears that the fuse was faulty. Yes, stop sniggering, I know it was blown but I mean that it was faulty to begin with. The solder joint holding the element in the fuse was "dry" meaning that the element was not bonded securely to the endcaps which resulted in the fuse overheating the element and pre-maturely failing.
Lets rattle the box and see what falls out shall we?
- Modular cables
- Flex-Force wiring
- Single 35A 12V rail
- Rugged good looks
- Good stability
- Great efficiency up to 75% load
- Decent ripple
- No 3.3V line on the SATA
- PCI-e uses one molex pin to power three 12V lines
- Only two SATA connectors
- Full load efficiency tanks
- Low PF
- No EPS 8 pin
- No SLI support
The XVS 600 is a semi modular PSU that aims at the budget user. As such it loses a few things such as upper load efficiency, a few connectors such as EPS 8 pin and SLI capability and only gives you two SATA connectors. In exchange you get a PSU that offers stable voltages with good regulation and above average efficiency at middle loads. The XVS 600 is super quiet too, not once was I able to discern any fan noise from it even under full load.
For around $80 street price is the XVS 600 worth the trade offs? I think so. If you need a stable PSU for a upper midrange PC such as a C2D and 8800GTS with a couple of gigs of ram, and a hand full of drives the XVS 600 would be a good choice. All in all it’s a stable, well regulated power supply that offers good user options and won’t break the bank. That said I’m awarding the XVS 600 8/10.
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