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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
110W
1.18
3.35
1.16
5.06
8.02
12.14
0.50
5.04
220W
2.07
3.32
2.05
5.04
16.11
12.12
0.50
5.04
340W
3.02
3.31
3.05
5.03
25.12
12.10
1.00
5.03
445W
4.12
3.30
4.08
5.01
33.22
12.07
1.50
5.02
550W
5.09
3.28
5.03
5.00
41.01
12.04
2.50
5.01

Another strong series of results across the full range of testing.

XFX Pro Series 550W Maximum Load
602.3

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
493W 1.0 3.32 1.0 5.01 40.0 11.98 0.2 -11.97 0.50 5.04
153W 15.0 3.30 15.0 5.00 2.0 12.09 0.2 -12.02 0.50 5.02

Another great set of results from the Cross loading tests. All of 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
110W 5 5 10 5
220W 5 5 15 5
340W 5 5 20 10
445W 10 10 25 10
550W 10 10 30 15

Good ripple results across the full range of testing and well within the Ripple Tolerance guidelines.

Efficiency (%)
110W
85.31
220W
86.86
340W
87.42
445W
84.94
550W
83.52

Good results again from the 80 Plus Bronze certified supply, hitting around 87% efficiency at 50% 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)
110W
28.4
220W
29.7
340W
31.3
445W
32.8
550W 35.5

Much like the 450W we tested earlier, the supply is quiet until around 75% of the rated load, then the fan kicks in to push more air throughout the chassis.

Temperature (c)
Intake
Exhaust
110W
35
38
220W
37
40
340W
40
47
445W
42
50
550W
44
54

The 120mm ADDA fan holds temperatures at around 7-8c above ambient. At full load this rises to 10c.

Maximum load
Efficiency
602.3W
80.8

Pushing the PSU above its rated limits generates an efficiency level of around 80.8%. This is not a viable ‘real world’ situation, but its interesting nonetheless.

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