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Seasonic M12 II Bronze Evo Edition 850W 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 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
100W
1.57
3.33
1.76
5.02
6.66
12.12
0.50
5.02
0.20 -12.01
225W
3.75
3.33
3.86
5.00
15.59
12.08
1.00
5.02
0.20 -12.01
450W
7.54
3.32
8.35
4.99
30.78
12.05
1.50
5.01
0.30 -12.04
675W 11.33 3.32 12.35 4.98 47.46 12.00 2.00 5.01 0.50 -12.03
850W
1.52
3.33
1.17
5.02
63.53
11.97
0.50
4.99
0.20 -12.04

Load regulation is very good, holding close to reference figures regardless of the output demand.

Seasonic M12 II Bronze Evo Edition 850W Maximum Load
964W

We managed to get the PSU to achieve 964W before it would shut down, delivering around 124W more than rated specifications.

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
760W 1.0 3.33 1.0 5.02 60.0 11.96 0.2 -12.02 0.50 5.00
165W 15.0 3.31 18.0 4.96 2.0 12.11 0.2 -12.04 0.50 4.99

The power supply exhibited no problems when dealing with our intensive Cross Loading test. It was tasked with 60A on the +12V rail and it held at 11.96V. The other rails delivered good results also.

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 10 5 15 5
225W 10 10 15 10
450W 15 10 30 10
675W 15 15 35 10
850W 20 15 45 15

Noise suppression results are excellent, peaking at 45mV on the +12V rail when under full load. The other rails fall between 5mV and 20mV across the full range of loads. Well within industry tolerance specifications.

Efficiency (%)
100W
82.43
225W
85.37
450W
89.45
675W
88.76
850W 85.43

Efficiency is excellent, peaking at 89.5% at 50% load. Efficiency falls down to just over 85% at full load. This is well above 80 Plus Bronze certification, achieving 80 Plus Silver certification.

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)
100W
<28.0
225W
<28.0
450W
30.6
675W
33.8
850W 34.9

The fan activity is temperature controlled and generally you would be hard pressed to hear it at all. At around 50% load it spins up, although remains quiet until around 600W load is demanded … becoming audible. Over 700W the fan could be heard, but only if you have a very quiet system. At full load the noise levels peak at around 35 dBa, meaning it is clearly audible but never that intrusive. The fan pitch is quite low which is beneficial.

In our room we found that loads under 500W translated to an almost silent experience. The fan spins up when the load gets higher and subsequently ambient temperatures increase accordingly. Over 700W and the fan would be audible in a quiet room, although likely drowned out inside an enthusiast system configuration.

Temperature (c)
Intake
Exhaust
100W
37
42
225W
38
45
450W
42
50
675W
45
55
850W
47
57

The internal temperature readings are good, and in the last 200W of load, the fan spins up considerably to cope with rising ambient temperatures.

Maximum load
Efficiency
964 watts
81.22

At 964 watts, the efficiency level measures 81.22%. Not a practical situation to be running 24/7, but worth noting.

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