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Cougar GX-F 750W PSU Review

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
• Extech digital sound level meter
• 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
75W
0.95
3.33
0.93
5.00
5.13
12.23
0.50
5.02
0.20
-12.03
150W
1.65
3.32
1.66
4.98
10.61
12.20
1.00
5.02
0.20
-12.03
375W
3.00
3.31
3.02
4.96
28.11
12.18
1.50
5.01
0.30
-12.03
565W
4.05
3.31
4.07
4.93
42.94
12.11
2.00
5.01
0.30
-12.04
750W
4.90
3.29
5.24
4.90
57.48
12.02
2.50
5.00
0.50
-12.05

Load regulation seems to be fine, falling short of the best units we have tested recently, but still within acceptable parameters.

Cougar GX-F 750W Power Supply
Maximum Load
775W

We managed to reach around 775W before the unit would shut down gracefully, after the protection kicked in. This is around 25 watts more than the rated output. Not the greatest result we have seen in recent years.

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
734W 1.0 3.33 1.0 5.00 60.0 11.96 0.2 -12.03 0.50 5.02
154W 15.0 3.30 15.0 4.96 2.0 12.05 0.2 -12.03 0.50 5.01

The unit passes our Cross Load testing without any problems. When hit with 60 AMPS the +5V rail held at 4.96.

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
75W 10 10 5 10
150W 10 10 5 15
375W 15 10 10 20
565W 20 15 10 25
750W 25 15 15 30

Noise suppression is surprisingly good – especially the +12V output, which peaked just under 15mV. We did however see the +3.3V and 5VSB rails hit 25mV and 30mV respectively. These are all still perfectly within the rated industry tolerance levels.

Efficiency (%)
75W
84.6
150W
90.4
375W
91.9
565W
91.4
750W
88.8

Power efficiency rates as pretty good for an 80 Plus Gold certified unit. At around 50% load it peaks around 92%, dropping to 88.8% at full load. We did record quite a low result at 50-75W load, below 84%.

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 Digital Sound Level Noise Decibel Meter Style 2 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 Refrigerator
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)
75W
30.2
150W
32.5
375W
33.3
565W
34.6
750W 35.7

The large fan seems to be spinning quite a bit due to whatever profile Cougar thought was ideal. At full load its clearly audible and I didn’t particular like the pitch of the fan either. Quite irritating to my ears. Not sure why its quite so aggressive.

Temperature (c)
Intake
Exhaust
75W
36
42
150W
38
46
375W
39
52
565W
45
57
750W
47
62

Cougar have set the fan profile up quite aggressively and while the noise levels are higher than I would have liked, the internal temperatures are held at very good levels.

Maximum load
Efficiency
775W
88.5

For those interested, we measured efficiency when stressing the unit to breaking point. 88.5 percent efficiency at 775W … hardly practical, but interesting regardless.

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