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Fractal Design Integra M 650W 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
2.08
3.39
2.04
5.04
10.14
12.12
0.50
5.03
0.20
-12.04
270W
3.05
3.38
3.07
5.04
19.16
12.07
0.50
5.02
0.30
-12.07
400W
4.05
3.37
5.05
5.04
29.18
12.02
1.00
5.02
0.30
-12.08
523W
6.08
3.35
7.06
5.03
38.31
11.97
1.50
5.02
0.30
-12.08
650W
8.00
3.34
9.02
5.02
48.00
11.89
2.50
5.01
0.30
-12.08

Load regulation is good on the +3.3V and +5V rail although there was a bit of fluctuation on the +12V rail, dropping to 11.89V at full load.

Fractal Design Integra M 650W
Maximum Load
692W

The power supply would shut down at 692W, gracefully. The protection circuitry worked fine.

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 3.38 1.0 5.03 48.0 11.87 0.2 -12.08 0.50 5.02
145W 12.0 3.32 15.0 5.00 2.0 12.14 0.2 -12.09 0.50 5.01

Cross load results are fine, although there is some noticeable shift on the +12V rail, dropping to 11.87V when hit with 48A.

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 10 15 20 15
270W 15 15 25 15
400W 15 20 35 20
523W 20 25 40 20
650W 25 30 45 20

Ripple all falls within the industry rated guidelines. +5V peaked at 30mV when running at full load. The +12V rail peaked at 45mV. Not the greatest results we have seen, but considering the price point its difficult to find fault.

Efficiency (%)
152W
82.12
270W
85.43
400W
85.12
523W
83.64
650W
81.78

Efficiency is actually very good, peaking at around 85.5 percent at 50 percent load. At full load, this drops to close to 82 percent.

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 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)
152W
28.7
270W
29.5
400W
33.3
523W
34.7
650W 37.2

Noise levels are reasonably low until higher loads are demanded from the supply. Fan noise becomes quite evident when the load demand hits around 500 watts. In real world terms, the unit is quiet if load is below 300 watts – above 400 watts the fan starts spinning higher, becoming audible.

Temperature (c)
Intake
Exhaust
152W
36
43
270W
39
48
400W
42
54
523W
43
57
650W
45
60

At full load, the exhaust temperature rose to 60c.

Maximum load
Efficiency
692W
80.9

Pushing the power supply above its rated limits generates an ultimate efficiency level of around 80.9%. This is not a viable ‘real world’ situation, but it is interesting nonetheless.

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