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Fractal Design Tesla R2 1000W PSU 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 – 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
100W
1.55
3.37
1.78
5.06
6.67
12.19
0.50
5.03
0.20
-12.04
250W
3.44
3.35
4.46
5.04
17.15
12.18
1.00
5.03
0.30
-12.04
500W
7.08
3.34
9.17
5.03
34.65
12.15
2.00
5.04
0.50
-12.05
750W
11.07
3.33
13.77
5.02
52.72
12.09
2.50
5.04
0.60
-12.06
1000W
16.86
3.32
18.95
5.00
71.99
12.02
3.00
5.02
0.80
-12.08

Load regulation is good, with only minor fluctuation across the range of load.

Fractal Design TESLA R2 1000W PSU Maximum Load
1095W

We managed to get another 95W from the power supply before the protection circuitry kicked in. The protection circuitry worked well and the unit restarted with a lower demand.

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
885W 2.0 3.36 2.0 5.04 72.0 12.00 0.2 -12.05 0.50 5.00
240W 20.0 3.32 24.0 4.98 2.0 12.17 0.2 -12.02 0.50 5.02

The power supply handled these tests very well, fluctuating only a little and well within specifications.

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
100W 25 20 15 15
250W 30 25 20 15
500W 30 30 30 20
750W 35 40 40 20
1000W 35 45 55 25

Ripple suppression isn’t the best we have seen. The +12V output peaks at around 55mV which is well within industry specifications, however the +5V output peaks at 45mV, this is very close to the tolerance limit set out by the ATX12V Ver 2.2 guidelines. We wouldn’t imagine this would cause any problems long term, but it is higher than we would like to see.

Efficiency (%)
100W
84.23
250W
87.03
500W
92.17
750W
90.83
1000W
88.79

The Tesla R2 delivers decent results, peaking at 92.17% at 50% load. This drops to just below 89% at full load.

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)
100W
<28.0
250W
<28.0
500W
30.7
750W
33.8
1000W 35.9

The power supply is quiet right up to 750W load, when the fan spins up a little to compensate for rising internal temperatures. Peak noise levels are around 36dBa, clearly audible at full load (1000w), but not a realistic load figure to be hitting on a regular basis.

Temperature (c)
Intake
Exhaust
100W
35
39
250W
35
44
500W
38
49
750W
43
54
1000W
46
58

The fan is quite inactive until around 750W load when it spins up. Temperature results are good, hitting a +12c variable at full load.

Maximum load
Efficiency
1095W
87.45

Pushing the power supply above its rated limits generates an efficiency level of around 87.45%. This is not a viable ‘real world’ situation, but its interesting nonetheless.

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