Testing a power supply these days always is a bit of a challenge at hand. I mean without professional load testers it's pretty hard to stress a power supply of this class and actually measure its behavior.
Our first check is with a simple cheapo power supply tester, we monitor voltages quickly and check if all rails are working. All good here.
The test setup
So for our load test here's what we did. We emulate real world usage. We take an Energy hungry Intel P55 based Quad SLI compatible motherboard, armed it with GeForce GTX 590 cards (each card has two GPUs).
We combined the P55 motherboard with a Core i7 870 processor overclocked to 3.8 GHz. The system, well have a look:
These are the components used:
eVGA P55 Classified SLI motherboard (has high power consumption and an NF200 chip)
Core i7 870 (overclocked to 3800 GHz) 20x190 BLCK at 1.4 Volts
1x GeForce GTX 590 primary (2 GPUs)
4 GB Memory DDR3 @ 1520 MHz
OCZ Vertex 2 SDD x1
Now with a setup like this, many years ago we'd reach 500~550 Watts power consumption as maximum. But with power supplies getting so much more efficient these days, even that proves to be a very hard task to accomplish.
So above our graphics card setup. Now on the software side of things it is time to give the PC a decent beating. Remember our focus remains PSU efficiency.
We now take some other power supplies and start testing with one GeForce GTX 590 first:
Looking at efficiency is really simple, we apply the same load on several power supplies, from old to new.
IDLE - We look at the powered off status, windows IDLE status, productivity mode (we stress the CPUs) and during gaming. The lower the Wattage, the more efficient. The IDLE power consumption is good at 178W for this (overclocked) PC. That's close to Platinum certification really.
GAMING - The best indicator for good efficient power consumption is by looking at the game test. As you can see the power supply consumed 469 Watt.
CPU productivity - Here again very decent results at 273 Watt.
PC POWER SLEEP - Powered Down off most PSUs consume roughly 1 Watt which is ErP compliant for low power usage in standby.
So let's zoom in at load testing.
When we focus solely on CPU productivity mode load for a second we see that the PSU draws 273 from the wall socket. As you can see the efficiency is smack down in the middle of things. And for a Gold certified PSU, that's good.
Let's increase load a little though:
When we focus solely on gaming load, we see that the PSU draws 469W from the wall socket. Again as expected. At 500W power draw this 1000 Watt PSU is the most efficient -- as at 50% load a PSU is the most efficient.
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