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NZXT HALE90 750W 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
75W
1.22
3.37
1.19
5.12
4.90
12.24
0.50
5.10
0.20
-12.15
150W
2.18
3.34
2.80
5.09
10.00
12.18
1.00
5.08
0.30
-12.10
375W
6.15
3.31
6.00
5.07
26.10
12.14
1.50
5.05
0.50
-12.07
565W
10.30
3.30
10.87
5.05
38.34
12.10
2.00
4.97
0.60
-12.04
750W
10.74
3.30
13.86
5.04
53.51
12.05
3.00
4.94
0.80
-12.02

Load regulation is very impressive, with all the primary rails holding to within 2.5% of the nominal voltage.

NZXT HALE90 750W Maximum Load
821.2W

We managed to get 821.2W from the supply before it would shut down, with the protection circuitry doing the job 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
734W 1.0 3.34 1.0 5.07 60.0 11.98 0.2 -12.06 0.50 5.01
154W 15.0 3.28 15.0 4.98 2.0 12.07 0.2 -12.08 0.50 5.03

The NZXT HALE90 750W unit held perfectly stable within our cross loading tests. We placed a full 60A on the +12V output and a light load on the remaining outputs. With such a heavy imbalance we were pleased to see the voltages all holding 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 NZXT unit complied with the ATX standard.

AC Ripple (mV p-p)
DC Load +3.3V +5V +12V 5VSB
75W 10 5 10 5
150W 10 10 15 10
375W 10 10 25 10
565W 15 15 35 15
750W 20 20 40 20

The DC output quality of the NZXT HALE90 750W supply is solid, although not as impressive as a few other units we have tested recently such as the XFX Pro Series 750W. Still, ripple suppression falls well within the ATX standard guidelines.

Efficiency (%)
75W
88.12
150W
89.45
375W
91.93
565W
91.04
750W
89.21

The unit achieves 80 Plus Gold Certification in our testing, with some very impressive efficiency figures across the full range of 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)
75W
27.3
150W
28.7
375W
29.2
565W
32.4
750W 33.1

The reason behind using a high quality 140mm fan is certainly showing benefits as this is one of the quietest 750W power supplies we have tested to date, hovering under 30dBa with a 50 percent load. It rises to a maximum of 33 dBa at full load, but this isn’t a practical long term situation. Generally in the ‘real world’ this supply is basically inaudible and we have to credit the selection of a 140mm quality fan as inspired.

Temperature (c)
Intake
Exhaust
75W
35
37
150W
36
39
375W
39
44
565W
44
52
750W
45
56

Again, the 140mm fan is maintaining a balance of low noise and high levels of airflow, peaking at an 11c above ambient threshold when fully loaded.

Maximum load
Efficiency
821.2W
83.5

Pushing the PSU above its rated limits generates an efficiency level of around 83.5%. This is not a viable ‘real world’ situation, but its interesting nonetheless.

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