As noted, we always have a bit of a challenge at hand. Without professional load testers it's pretty hard to stress a 600 Watt and higher rated power supplies.
For PSU testing we created a dedicated PC. We use a now outdated dated yet power hungry nForce 790i SLI motherboard. Then we take two GeForce GTX 295s (that's four GPUs) to maximize power consumption.
Now we again take a power hungry item, an Intel Core 2 Quad QX9770 processor and overclocked it towards 3600 MHz with some added voltage inside the processor. Now we overclocked our memory as well, again with added voltage.
These are the components used:
nForce 790i motherboard (has high power consumption
Core 2 Quad QX9770 Processor (overclocked to 3.6 GHz)
2x GeForce GTX 295 primary (4 GPUs)
4 GB Memory DDR3 @ 1600 MHz
Optical Drive x1
Liquid Cooling loop
So here's where we start a selection of gaming tests well balanced for optimal CPU (multi-core) and GPU performance. We take a multi-meter and tap critical points when the system is under load and when in idle. We then observe the voltage fluctuation. A lot of de/increases would indicate instability.
For our test we used several combos of software including the Technology Demos and 3Dmark Vantage which allows us to go hard on the GTX 295 (Quad SLI). During the test runs we simply monitor voltage fluctuations and our Watt meter registers maximum load measured.
Now with the older PSUs rated at say 70-75% efficiency we'd reach 700 Watts power consumption. But with power supplies getting more and more efficient these days, that proves to be a very hard task to accomplish.
Check that out, a year ago this test would result into roughly 650 Watts power consumption for an 80% efficient power supply. With the 80+ certified 85% efficient that number is dropping towards roughly 630 Watts. The nice thing about this setup is that it stresses the PSU exactly at the level we need it to be.
The new high-efficiency PSUs can shave off 50 to 100 Watts consumption under high load compared to an old model PSU from say 2-3 years ago. Everything is relative though, as 2-3 years ago our PCs on average also consumed less power. These days 200 Watt power consumption for just a graphics card alone is considered normal.
Would we have used an old 75% efficient PSU just like when we started to test this setup a long time ago, with this very same setup, we'd be consuming 700W Watts.
Powered down the PSU consumes very little current, we measured 1~2 Watts only. And again, though we had so much gear plugged into this system, the power consumption remained fairly low, making me believe that 85% power efficiency is very plausible.
OCZ StealthXstream 2 600W PSU review We test and review the OCZ StealthXstream 2 600 Watt power supply. A 600 Watt power supply which can get 85% efficient at typical loads. Will we be impressed by this 80+ certified power supply? I mean if its good, then at 70 EUR-USD it should be a bargain.