Spire SP-ATX-600W Power Supply

by Matthew Harris on July 4, 2007 in Cases & PSUs

If you look around you’ll find that there are more brands of power supplies than you can shake a stick at. Some of them are really good while others aren’t even worth being hit with the aforementioned stick. Does the Spire Rocketeer IVSP-ATX-600W fall into the first or second category? Read on and decide for yourself.

Page 3 – Testing, Final Thoughts

For testing I’m using a SunMoon SM-268+ ATE (active test equipment) to load up to six rails at five preset loads. I’m also using a USB Instruments DS12M Stingray USB O-scope to log the ripple which I’m saving as an image file.

Load Test Results
Simulated system load tests
2A 5A 2A 2A
3.41V 5.10V 12.08V 12.09V
5A 8A 6A 6A
3.38V 5.06V 11.96V 11.95V
8A 11A 10A 10A
3.34V 5.03V 11.84V 11.84V
11A 14A 14A 14A
3.30V 5.00V 11.67V 11.67V
14A 17A 18A 18A
3.25V 4.96V 11.49V 11.48V

The results are a mixed bag at best just going by the voltages. The 12V rails dipped to borderline ATX spec (11.40 for 5%) under full load and the 3.3V got very close to the limit of the spec as well. The 5V stayed further above spec than either of the the other three but it still dropped .14V through the course of the load tests.

Now, what you aren’t seeing here and won’t see in the ripple results is the very poor voltage stability. The rails fluctuated by hundredths of volts at a slow enough rate to not show up as ripple but fast enough to result in bouncing voltages. The voltages I’ve listed are an average of the highest and the lowest voltages I saw during tests four and five.

During tests 1-3 the voltages looked pretty stable. Now, the fan never got loud during the tests but I think a bit more voltage to the fan wouldn’t be a bad thing as I started smelling the odor of cooking electronics at tests four and five. During test five the unit was pulling so much juice from the wall (800W) that it coupled with a window mount AC unit actually tripped a breaker. The RocketeerIV did restart and finish the test after I reset the breaker so that is to it’s credit. Although I’m not willing to place bets on how much longer it would have survived under full load.

Test 1
Test 2
Test 3
Test 4
Test 5

Surprisingly the Rocketeer IV does fairly well on ripple with the 12V rails reaching about 65mV on test 5 and the 5V rail hitting about 47mV. The 3.3V rail stayed the cleanest at a mere 37mV at test 5 so all the rails were under the ATX spec of 50mV for the 3.3V and 5V rails and 120mV for the 12V rails. Truly remarkable considering the lack of filtering on the AC side. Still, the stability of the rails is enough to negate the good ripple results because even if the rails are fairly clean the voltages have more wobble than a drunk on a bicycle.

Final Thoughts

The Spire Rocketeer is basically an also ran. It’s got the goods to be called a 450W PSU but by no means is it a reliable 600W unit. It’s better than bundled PSU’s but that’s about it, it’s not really worth consideration for a serious gaming PC. When I add up the lackluster performance, the basic appearance and lack of sleeving I’d be hard pressed to recommend this PSU to anyone under any circumstances. That said I’m awarding the Spire Rocketeer IV SP-ATX-600W a 4/10 and relegating it to the "only in times of dire need" category. It’s simply a "it’ll work until you get something better" PSU.

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