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XFX Pro Series 450w and 550w 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
1.05
3.35
1.47
5.05
4.84
12.08
0.50
5.05
150W
2.41
3.33
3.17
5.03
9.70
12.07
1.00
5.05
250W
3.69
3.32
5.18
5.02
16.50
12.05
1.50
5.02
350W
4.97
3.31
7.06
5.01
23.52
12.03
2.00
5.00
450W
6.73
3.29
9.15
5.00
31.24
12.01
2.50
4.99

Voltage regulation is solid across all the testing , holding to almost reference levels on the +5V and +3.3V output.

XFX Pro Series 450W Maximum Load
479.4

The PSU managed around 480 watts before it would shut down gracefully.

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
385.4W 2.0 3.29 2.0 5.03 30.0 12.07 0.2 -12.06 0.50 5.02
170.5W 18.0 3.27 12.0 4.98 4.0 12.02 0.2 -12.03 0.50 5.00

The XFX PSU handled the Cross loading tests without a problem and we experienced no issues. All the voltages remained within stated tolerances.

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 XFX unit complied with the ATX standard.

AC Ripple (mV p-p)
DC Load +3.3V +5V +12V 5VSB
75W 5 5 10 5
150W 5 5 15 5
250W 5 5 20 10
350W 10 10 30 15
450W 10 10 35 15

Extremely good ripple supression from the XFX unit.

Efficiency (%)
75W
85.21
150W
86.76
250W
87.31
350W
84.97
450W
83.78

Efficiency results are good for a 80 Plus Bronze Certified supply, hitting over 87% at around 50% load. At full load efficiency drops to just under 84% which is still very strong.

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
28.6
150W
29.4
250W
30.8
350W
33.7
450W 35.9

Generally the unit is quiet, until we get into the final 20% of rated power output, then it can be heard. At full load it is clearly audible, but it is not practical to be running a power supply at the full rated power output for long periods of time.

Temperature (c)
Intake
Exhaust
75W
35
38
150W
37
40
250W
39
48
350W
42
51
450W
44
55

The 120mm ADDA fan generates a high level of airflow once the temperatures start to rise. At around 80% load the fans do increase and the final resting temperatures at full load are 11c above ambient.

Maximum load
Efficiency
479.4W
80.6

Pushing the PSU above its rated limits generates an efficiency level of around 80.6%. This is not a viable ‘real world’ situation, but its interesting nonetheless.

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