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Corsair RM650 Power Supply review

Additional technical assistance: Peter McFarland and Jeremy Price.

Correctly testing power supplies is a complex procedure and KitGuru have configured a test bench which can deliver up to a 2,000 watt DC load. Due to public requests we have changed our temperature settings recently – previously we rated with ambient temperatures at 25C, we have increased ambient temperatures by 10c (to 35c) in our environment to greater reflect warmer internal chassis conditions.

We use combinations of the following hardware:
• SunMoon SM-268
• CSI3710A Programmable DC load (+3.3V and +5V outputs)
• CSI3711A Programmable DC load (+12V1, +12V2, +12V3, and +12V4)
• Extech Power Analyzer
• Extech MultiMaster MM570 digital multimeter
• SkyTronic DSL 2 Digital Sound Level Meter (6-130dBa)
• Digital oscilloscope (20M S/s with 12 Bit ADC)
• Variable Autotransformer, 1.4 KVA

DC Output Load Regulation

Combined

DC Load

+3.3V
+5V
+12V
+5VSB
-12V
A
V
A
V
A
V
A
V
A V
152W
2.05
3.30
2.04
5.03
10.12
12.15
0.50
5.01
0.20
-12.07
270W
3.03
3.29
3.05
5.03
19.14
12.08
0.50
5.00
0.30
-12.05
400W
4.05
3.28
5.02
5.01
29.18
12.02
1.00
5.00
0.30
-12.06
523W
6.09
3.26
7.04
5.00
38.18
11.94
1.50
5.01
0.30
-12.07
650W
8.00
3.25
9.00
4.98
48.00
11.89
2.50
5.00
0.30
-12.07

Load regulation is quite good, although we have seen better in recent months from some competing products.

Corsair RM650 Power Supply
Maximum Load
708W

The power supply would shut down at 708W, gracefully. The protection circuitry worked well.

Next we want to try Cross Loading. This basically means loads which are not balanced. If a PC for instance needs 500W on the +12V outputs but something like 30W via the combined 3.3V and +5V outputs then the voltage regulation can fluctuate badly.

Cross Load Testing +3.3V +5V +12V -12V +5VSB
A V A V A V A V A V
590W 1.0 3.30 1.0 5.03 48.0 11.88 0.2 -12.02 0.50 5.03
145W 12.0 3.22 15.0 4.94 2.0 12.14 0.2 -12.01 0.50 5.03

Cross load results are decent, if not remarkable. There is noticeable droop on the +12V output when hit with 48A, although it is nothing to be concerned about.

We then used an oscilloscope to measure AC ripple and noise present on the DC outputs. We set the oscilloscope time base to check for AC ripple at both high and low ends of the spectrum. ATX12V V2.2 specification for DC output ripple and noise is defined in the ATX 12V power supply design guide.

ATX12V Ver 2.2 Noise/Ripple Tolerance
Output
Ripple (mV p-p)
+3.3V
50
+5V
50
+12V1
120
+12V2
120
-12V
120
+5VSB
50

Obviously when measuring AC noise and ripple on the DC outputs the cleaner (less recorded) means we have a better end result. We measured this AC signal amplitude to see how closely the unit complied with the ATX standard.

AC Ripple (mV p-p)
DC Load +3.3V +5V +12V 5VSB
152W 15 15 25 25
270W 20 20 25 25
400W 20 20 30 25
523W 20 20 35 30
650W 25 20 50 35

Ripple suppression falls within the rated tolerance guidelines. The +3.3V and +5V output peak at 25mV and 20mV respectively. The +12V output hits 50mV at full load which is well within the rated guidelines.

Efficiency (%)
152W
90.51
270W
92.21
400W
91.73
523W
89.33
650W
89.44

Efficiency is very impressive – peaking just over 92 percent at 50 percent load. At full load this drops to around 89.5 percent efficiency.

We take the issue of noise very seriously at KitGuru and this is why we have built a special home brew system as a reference point when we test noise levels of various components. Why do this? Well this means we can eliminate secondary noise pollution in the test room and concentrate on components we are testing. It also brings us slightly closer to industry standards, such as DIN 45635.

Today to test the Power Supply we have taken it into our acoustics room environment and have set our SkyTronic DSL 2 Digital Sound Level Meter (6-130dBa) one meter away from the unit. We have no other fans running so we can effectively measure just the noise from the unit itself.

As this can be a little confusing for people, here are various dBa ratings in with real world situations to help describe the various levels.

KitGuru noise guide
10dBA – Normal Breathing/Rustling Leaves
20-25dBA – Whisper
30dBA – High Quality Computer fan
40dBA – A Bubbling Brook, or a Refridgerator
50dBA – Normal Conversation
60dBA – Laughter
70dBA – Vacuum Cleaner or Hairdryer
80dBA – City Traffic or a Garbage Disposal
90dBA – Motorcycle or Lawnmower
100dBA – MP3 Player at maximum output
110dBA – Orchestra
120dBA – Front row rock concert/Jet Engine
130dBA – Threshold of Pain
140dBA – Military Jet takeoff/Gunshot (close range)
160dBA – Instant Perforation of eardrum

Noise (dBA)
152W
<28.0
270W
<28.0
400W
29.2
523W
31.4
650W 33.9

The fan profile is superb, and this power supply is basically inaudible until over 500W is demanded and the fan starts to spin up. The good news is that thanks to the high efficiency, even at full load it is very quiet.

Temperature (c)
Intake
Exhaust
152W
36
39
270W
39
44
400W
42
48
523W
43
54
650W
45
57

The large fan spins slowly through the load range, spinning up between 500 watts and 650 watts.

Maximum load
Efficiency
708W
88.4

Pushing the PSU above its rated limits generates an ultimate efficiency level of around 88.4%. This is not a viable ‘real world’ situation, but its interesting nonetheless.

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