Original Link: http://www.anandtech.com/show/5546/xfx-1000w-pro-series-80plus-platinum



XFX 1000W Pro Series 80 Plus Platinum

We've recently tested the first 80 Plus Platinum PSUs to hit our labs, courtesy of Seasonic and Enermax. Both were good if expensive PSUs, and next up on the test bench is a Platinum series that's sold by a brand without their own PSU factory: XFX. They sent us their newest product, the Pro Series 80 Plus Platinum Black Edition, which sets its sights on the high-end of the market. XFX has created an interesting casing with some unusual elements, but we need to find out how good this model acutally is.

While efficiency is all the marketing rage in the world of PSUs, we should keep in mind that many manufacturers are trying to reach 80 Plus Platinum levels using some "tricks". As we noted in our Seasonic article, there are various routes to higher efficiency, like removing resistors that may fill other roles. Shunt resistors for example transform some of the power into power loss when current flows through it, since there is a voltage drop. That's actually their job as they measure and prevent overcurrent in an indirect way. So let's see how XFX reached the requirements for 80 Plus Platinum (90%/92%/89% efficiency at 20%/50%/100% load), as well as look at how the XFX model fares in an increasingly crowded market.

XFX has historically tried to cater to gamers, and the external design of the XFX Pro (as well as their other PSU lines) tends to go with an angular and "futuristic" vibe. While the exterior may or may not appeal to your gamer sense, ultimately it's what's inside that matters, and in this case we can see that Seasonic provides the electronics (as you can see from the picture below). We recently awarded Seasonic our Gold Editors' Choice Award for the high quality PSU they provided and this trend seems ready to continue. In any case, XFX made a good choice with the manufacturer. This design offers low ripple and noise results on all output voltages, high-quality capacitors from Japan, and several technologies to increase efficiency. Even so, XFX changed some details such as the fan for cooling.

The question then is whether XFX's design is as good as or even better than the original Seasonic that we tested, and if the alterations made to the core design change the product as a whole. In addition, we would like to take the opportunity to let you know that we will be reviewing some lower wattage Platinum PSUs soon; this will definitely be the last 1000W PSU for the first have of this half-year. Our next reviews will test some 400W-500W power supplies from other brands that use more common designs. Today however we will continue with our high-end testing with the 1000W model from XFX. Besides, it's always interesting to see what features can be implemented when the keeping prices down isn't the primary concern.



Package Contents, Fan, and Power Rating

The contents of the package are not very generous this time. Besides a relatively short user manual, two different power cords, and some screws, XFX delivered the modular cables without any bag or cable ties. Of course the electronics is much more important, but customers should get more for the high price. Features of the product include the 80 Plus Platinum certificate, a 5-year warranty, the "EasyRail Technology" (single +12V output) and the "SolidLink Technology". The last item is a nearly wireless connection to the modular PCB. In addition XFX says that this PSU is ready for the most pretentious gamer PCs with CrossFire certification, but that's hardly surprising given the wattage and efficiency rating.

According to the label this PSU has a single +12V output rated at 83A, which is quite a lot. Both +3.3V and +5V get fed by this output and are specified at 25A each. Those outputs can provide up to 125W, which is as high as the values we saw from Seasonic and more than sufficient for all modern PCs, though older PCs might need more power here. The +5VSB at 3A is also relatively strong.

The Protechnic MGA13512YF-025 is a good fan with a fluid dynamic bearing (FDB is a kind of long-life version of the sleeve bearing), but we'd like to see Sanyo Denki here. In this case the fan is sharp-edged and more audible than the San Ace one. XFX could get Sanyo Denki without any problems since Seasonic uses them as well. However, this version is still better than the quality Yate Loon or equivalent that other companies use. The fan is the only moving part in a PSU so it's nice to see that XFX chose a FDB.



Appearance and Cable Configuration

The case is "the pride" of XFX. As you can see the ventilation holes around the large power switch are square-shaped, and there are additional ventilation slots on both sides. The fan grille goes for an angular spiderweb aesthetic with the XFX logo at center. Most parts of the case are made out of metal, while the front with the modular plugs consists of a thin synthetic material. All the sockets for the modular connectors have their own description, and while many manufacturers use different colors to set the peripherial connectors apart from the PEG, CPU, and motherboard connectors, this works just as well. XFX has a video giving their thoughts on the design and elements of their new PSUs below:

 

 

Cables and Connectors

Connector type (length)

Main 1x 24-pin (60cm) modular
ATX12V/EPS12V 1x 4+4-pin (65cm) modular
1x 8-pin (65cm) modular
PCIe 2x 6/8-pin (60cm) modular
2x 6/8-pin (60cm) modular
2x 6/8-pin (60cm) modular
Peripheral 3x SATA (ca. 55, 70, 85cm) modular
3x SATA (ca. 55, 70, 85cm) modular
3x SATA (ca. 55, 70, 85cm) modular
2x SATA (ca. 35, 50 cm) modular
3x Molex (ca. 55, 70, 85cm modular
3x Molex (ca. 55, 70, 85cm) modular
2x Molex (ca. 35, 50cm) modular
1x Molex to 2x FDD adapter (15 cm) modular

As far as the connectors go, all of the cables are 60cm or more long which will be good for larger cases. Naturally, a PSU in this wattage should come with plenty of connectors and long cables, but it is very impressive to see the heap of modular cables in the package. Like the Seasonic, all of the cables are modular and the two FDD connectors listed in the table above are implemented as an adapter. This method allows the customer to realize an absolutely individual cable configuration for their PC.

Both the two CPU and the three PCIe cables have a hugely satisfying wire cross-section (16 AWG). Eleven SATA and eight Molex connectors are more than enough to power any computer. We should note that the Platinum PSU from Enermax offers twelve SATA plugs; nevertheless, the number of cables and connectors is adequate for a 1000W model.



Internal Design and Components

Seasonic builds this particular power supply and uses the full bridge with a resonant circuit behind. The full bridge is composed of two half bridges (one high-side and one low-side MOSFET each) which work alternately so the transformer can be driven into a balanced state. This full bridge allows them to reduce the size of the main transformer and theoretically doubles the possible output power of the half bridge converter. This only applies when identical MOSFETs are used and if all other components are chosen correctly as well. As you can see the heatsinks on the secondary side are very thin, but the MOSFETs have a low power dissipation and get cooled by the conduction path and the fan as well. Those blue capacitors beside the heatsinks are made by Nippon Chemi-Con, as are all the others in this PSU.

The EMI filtering consists of a complete mains filter with two additional X capacitors, four Y capacitors, one more common mode choke, and one differential mode choke. Moreover inrush current gets limited by a thermistor, and a MOV as passive OVP is included as well. Both rectifier bridges get their own heatsink for cooling. In the power factor pre-regulator we find three large main caps and a serperate IC for PFC control on a single sided PCB. On the fifth picture in our gallery, two MOSFETs in a large TO-247 case can be seen. Their gate connectors are equipped with a ferrite bead. Besides this the PFC diode on the left has nearly no reverse recovery time.

The resonant circuit in the middle shows one important change. Two conductions of the IC CM6901 (on a small PCB) lead to a small inductor, which is located between the resonant capacitor, the resonant coil, and the small "auxiliary coil" to relieve the main transformer. With this the current can be measured in the resonant circuit to improve regulation. A second winding is connected to the main PCB and the magnetic flux in the core passes through the regulation winding.

The buck converters for +3.3V and +5V are located on the modular PCB. With the APW7159 controller XFX is able to switch at a high frequency. With this the size of passive components can be reduced again. +12V has many short transitions to the modular board, which means resistance is somewhat lower; this helps to increase efficiency a little. The protecion IC can be found on another seperate PCB on the left. As expected XFX has a native dual output design for +12V. Soldering quality is outstanding, as is usually the case with Seasonic built PSUs. We couldn't find any dry soldered joints, though a few parts did get a bit too much solder.



Voltage Regulation

+3.3V Regulation/Ripple and Noise
Load Voltage
5% +1.88% (4mV)
10% +1.78% (6mV)
20% +0.61% (7mV)
50% +0.30% (11mV)
80% -0.03% (13mV)
100% -0.67% (14mV)
110% -0.91% (15mV)
Crossload +12V max. +0.70%
Crossload +3.3V/+5V max. -0.30%

 

+5V Regulation/Ripple and Noise
Load Voltage
5% +0.05% (7mV)
10% +0.04% (8mV)
20% +0.04% (10mV)
50% -0.60% (14mV)
80% -1.54% (16mV)
100% -1.70% (13mV)
110% -1.84% (17mV)
Crossload +12V max. +0.28%
Crossload +3.3V/+5V max. -0.28%

 

+12V Regulation (Worst Ouput)/Ripple and Noise (Worst Output)
Load Voltage
5% +1.12% (5mV)
10% +1.08% (6mV)
20% +0.98% (18mV)
50% +0.48% (16mV)
80% +-0.00% (21mV)
100% -0.23% (23mV)
110% -0.29% (25mV)
Crossload +12V max. -0.17%
Crossload +3.3V/+5V max. +0.22%

Noise Levels

Loudness (subjective)
Load Opinion
5% low fan noise
10% low fan noise
20% low fan noise
50% fan noise
80% strong fan noise
100% strong fan noise
110% strong fan noise

Efficiency and PFC

Efficiency (AC input minus DC output) and Power Factor
Load Efficiency PFC
5% 80.01% 0.816
10% 84.20% 0.877
20% 90.56% 0.939
50% 92.74% 0.980
80% 91.80% 0.986
100% 91.01% 0.987
110% 90.98% 0.989

The +12V voltage regulation is tight, while the weaker +5V ouput drops to 1.84% below the optimal level. Nevertheless, all of the voltages are well within the ATX specification. Moreover there is hardly any ripple or noise on the outputs. They're always under 25mV and there are no remarkable spikes or transients. There's definitely some nice work here and the results are very close to what we measured on the Seasonic PSU.

With 80 Plus Platinum certification, we expected high efficiency and the XFX model delivers. Efficiency is always above 80% and 80 Plus Platinum is no problem for this design. Maximum efficiency comes at 50% load as always. Worst-case efficiency at low load (5%) is still 80%, so we really can't complain. With 92.74% XFX is only slightly lower than the 860W PSU from Seasonic--easily within the variance we're likely to see from either PSU.

The power factor is also satisfying, staying above 0.816. That might not be the best result for low load, but any high-end system requiring the XFX Pro Series should be running loads higher than that. During all loads the fan noise is acceptable if not optimal. We didn't hear any noise from the chokes. Of course the fan's RPM and the load rise equally, which is one reason why we can't criticise a strong fan noise at 80% load. Furthermore the features include two different modes for controlling the fan speed—the fan can be turned off through up to 40%, making the PSU inaudible (just like the Seasonic 860W).



Conclusion

It's no surprise that XFX does well in our tests, as they build off of the core Seasonic design and the only major differences come in the realm of aesthetics. With a very high efficiency and low ripple during all loads, XFX delivers a high-end power supply without any noteworthy flaws. The unique case design may require some getting used to for some customers, but the thick-walled sides prevent electromagnetic interference and some customers will certainly like the bit of flare it adds in a windowed box. Our one minor complaint is with the plastic elements on the modular conncetors; the original from Seasonic is slightly better in this area.

XFX offers many connectors and the cable length is good. Beyond that the electronics consist of a well known Seasonic design. The XFX Pro Series might not be the best solution for bargain hunters, but without doubt it is suitable for any enthusiasts who wants to get the best quality money can buy. The internal design consists of a powerful variation on the efficient resonant converter that allows zero voltage switching. The manufacturer implements a silicon carbide diode without any (or negligible) reverse recovery charge. The PSU is very well equipped with a high-quality mains filter and further components for EMI filtering . As expected XFX uses expensive Japanese capacitors from Nippon Chemi-Con and the PCB consists of epoxy resin and fiberglass. Again Infineon MOSFETs are one reason why this PSU is so efficient, and the regulation circuit also received some improvements.

XFX didn't use many long cables to connect 12V with the modular PCB, even if their advertising slogans overdo things a little. There are still a few cables for the upper plug row. We also mentioned the low power output on the +3.3V and +5V rails, but this is not necessarily a disadvantage. As always, the required power depends on the system.

The voltage drops under high load are absolutely acceptable. These are a reflection of the sizing of all the components. This design is able to deliver much more than 1000W in a peak situation. +5V was at -1.84% during overload, and +3.3V demonstrated even better results. In addition there is hardly any voltage drop on +12V. A low output ripple and noise is very welcome as well. +12V was at about 25mV while +5V and +3.3V stay below 20mV.

Overall efficiency is slightly lower than the results we have saw from the smaller 860W Seasonic PSU. The 1KW design is able to barely surpass the 860W design at 5% load (though that's comparing 50W to 43W), but it's only a 0.18% difference. In all other cases the 860W PSU is a bit more efficient, especially at 10% load where it reaches 86.5% efficiency compared to 84.3%, but in general the differences are minor and within the margin of error. More importantly, both products perform very well, and unlike the Seasonic 860W we didn't hear any noise from the electronics this time.

A minor complaint is that the package contents aren't as extensive as some of the competition. We'd like to see a seperate bag for the modular cables as well as some cable ties. That's one reason to buy Seasonic if you care for such amenities. XFX offers exactly the same cables as Seasonic, and with six 6/8-pin GPU plugs and elven SATA connectors this PSU is very well equipped (though the Enermax Platimax 1000W does have one more SATA plug if such things matter to you). It's also nice to see the FDD connectors realized as an adapter, and like the Seasonic the option to have the fan run passively at <40% load is a nice feature if you don't need the airflow a PSU can provide. Overall the list of features is very good.

The direct 80 Plus Platinum alternatives come from Seasonic, SuperFlower and Enermax. If you prefer to shop at Newegg, the Platinum 1000W from Seasonic is more expensive than the version from XFX. For the difference ($17 USD) customers get a better fan, 7 years warranty and a few extras such as cable ties and a bag for the unused cables. The main decision will really be which case you find more appealing. The Kingwin LZP-1000 is the cheapest 1000W platinum solution (out of stock at Newegg as of this writing), but they have fewer Molex connectors and EMI filtering is slightly worse. The Enermax Platimax EPM1000EWT is by far the most expensive option and offers OCP—that's not to be taken for granted. Shopping elsewhere we can find the Seasonic 1000W, XFX 1000W, Kingwin 1000W all going for the same $230 while Enermax still tips the scales at $280. All in all XFX is able to provide a very good product that is nearly as good as the original from Seasonic. For the same price we'd still go for the Seasonic (for the better fan), but personal taste in design as well as pricing will likely be the deciding factor.

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