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Seasonic S12G-450 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
A
V
A
V
A
V
A
V
75W
1.02
3.34
1.45
5.03
4.88
12.11
0.50
5.01
150W
2.43
3.33
3.15
5.03
9.72
12.10
1.00
5.02
250W
3.64
3.33
5.18
5.02
16.53
12.07
1.50
5.01
350W
4.93
3.33
7.08
5.00
23.51
12.03
2.00
5.01
450W
6.77
3.32
9.16
5.00
32.76
12.00
2.50
5.01

Load regulation is excellent and all output maintain close to reference results.

Seasonic S12G-450 Maximum Load
533.2

We managed to push the supply to 533.2 watts before it would shut down safely.

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
386W 2.0 3.33 2.0 5.03 30.0 12.01 0.2 -12.10 0.50 5.01
171W 18.0 3.30 12.0 5.00 4.0 12.10 0.2 -12.08 0.50 5.00

Our first test placed a heavy load (30a) on the +12 V output with a light load on the remaining voltages. The power supply had no problems dealing with the load changes.

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 5 10 10 10
150W 10 10 15 10
250W 10 10 20 15
350W 10 15 25 15
450W 15 15 30 15

Fantastic results and all well within the rated tolerance levels. The +12V output peaked at 30mV at full load, which is another excellent result.

Efficiency (%)
75W
86.71
150W
88.22
250W
92.18
350W
90.01
450W
88.88

The Seasonic S12G 450W is a very efficient unit, peaking at around 92% at 50% load. This drops to around 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)
75W
<28.0
150W
<28.0
250W
30.4
350W
33.2
450W 34.6

The large fan spins slowly under 300 watts load, spinning up at around 350W and greater. At 450W load however it is audible, but never intrusive.

Temperature (c)
Intake
Exhaust
75W
35
40
150W
36
43
250W
39
49
350W
42
55
450W
45
57

The supply holds a good temperature variable – rising to a 12c peak at full load.

Maximum load
Efficiency
533.2W
88.13

Pushing the PSU above its rated limits generates an efficiency level of around 88%. This is not a viable ‘real world’ situation, but its interesting nonetheless.

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