So far things have been pretty typical for a power supply review. After all, there are only so many ways to design a standard PSU chassis and provide cable harnesses. Now we come to the interesting part: the internals. Enermax did a tremendous job designing this power supply, but let's start at the beginning.

When I first saw the filtering stage, I asked the representatives at Enermax if CWT is the ODM. They responded by threatening to beat me up. ;-) Anyway, the filtering stage looks very good and has all of the necessary components. The coil sits on top of the PCB, covered with shrinking hose -- hence the similarity to CWT PSUs. Right nearby are the rectifier bridges, both without heatsinks. The PFC stage follows next and the coil is placed on a solid socket. Matsushita builds the three primary capacitors, rated for 220µF and 400V at 85°C.

Enermax is particularly proud of their transformers, since they synchronized both of them for quad forward circuitry. Two synchronized transformers will share the work equally, which makes the work more efficient. The power supply also features eight safety features such as OCP (Over Current Protection), UVP (Under Voltage Protection) for the AC part, UVP (Under Voltage Protection) for the DC part, OPP (Over Power Protection), OTP (Over Temperature Protection), SIP (Surge & Inrush Protection), and SCP (Short Circuit Protection).

This power supply uses a DC-to-DC topology, which means that the 3.3V and 5V rails do not come directly from the transformer anymore. The transformers can now be built for the sole purpose of delivering a stable 12V output. In DC-to-DC designs, so far the extra circuitry has been included on the main PCB in the secondary stage of the PSU. Enermax relocated this functionality to a sister PCB that we will describe in the next paragraph. The secondary stage in this power supply now only has to deal with the six 12V rails. The capacitors for this purpose are all made by Chemi-Con, one of the best but still affordable Japanese capacitor manufacturers.

So where are the 3.3V and 5V rails created? Let's have a look at the large sister PCB where the cable management sockets are located. The left side is where it happens. The upper part is for the 5V output and the bottom is for 3.3V. The output feeds directly into the cable harnesses, and from there on to the peripherals. Since this is done totally independent from the other 12V rails, this power supply can output 99% of its rated power on just the 12V rails, which we will verify in a moment. Other power supplies that generate the 5V and 3.3V rails from the transformer normally have problems with the voltage distribution if not loaded according to ATX-norm.

Cables and Connectors Testing with the Chroma ATE Programmable Load
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  • xaris106 - Thursday, November 6, 2008 - link

    sorry if my english are not good. its not my first language.
    Aside from that i know what a kilowatt and losses are. I`m not saying they did something wrong. I just wanted some more info on the matter for the pros and cons...
  • araczynski - Thursday, November 6, 2008 - link

    i suppose they're putting all that tech into the very high end market for the same reason as all other techs do; its easy to charge an extra premium (above the normal premium) from those buyers.

    sooner or later the technology will trickle down into the 'normal' market, where there is more serious volume.

    but that's alright, the very high end market just ends up paying our share of the R&D costs that get passed on to them, instead of us.

    'bleeding edge' or something they call it? 'bleeding' green :)
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, November 6, 2008 - link

    The real problem is trying to get all of the necessary parts into a "reasonable" PSU, like something in the 600W or lower range for example. I'd guess they probably put around $100-$150 worth of parts and components into this design, making it fit for the high-end but not much else. If you want to sell 500W PSUs, pricing needs to be below $100 for sure to be competitive, and it's just not all that practical to get there with top-end components (IMO).

    Keep in mind that most people run PSUs at around 50% load if they want peak efficiency, so this PSU is really ideal for anyone running a ~500W system. GTX 280 SLI with an overclocked quad-core would be just about right I think... if you have enough extra HDDs. That it *can* run anything from 200W to 950W with 85% efficiency (and even beyond if you use 230VAC and want to overload the PSU) is extremely impressive.
  • Phew - Thursday, November 6, 2008 - link

    "When I first saw the filtering stage, I asked the representatives at Enermax if CWT is the ODM"

    I consider myself pretty savvy about computer hardware, and I have two engineering degrees (mechanical), but that sentence was meaningless to me.

    If you are going to use multiple obscure acronyms in one sentence, please at least include links to what they stand for and some description. It shouldn't take an electrical engineering degree to understand an article on a 'mainstream' computer hardware website.
  • yeti514 - Friday, November 7, 2008 - link

    I don't know about this PSU, but the PSUs in the link below sure look like some Thermaltake units that were made by CWT to me.">
  • nevbie - Thursday, November 6, 2008 - link

    Channel Well Technologies (company..)
    Original Design Manufacturer (..which was the manufacturer)

    Or along those lines.

    Note that this is a mainstream enthusiast computer hardware website. =P
  • Phew - Thursday, November 6, 2008 - link

    When your computer hardware website has a power supply review listed right next to a digital camera review and a Guitar Hero article, that is about as 'mainstream' as it gets.

    Thanks for the acronym explanation
  • petersterncan - Thursday, November 6, 2008 - link

    I will never buy this line of PSUs unless they came out with a 300-350W model.

    The systems I build use on-board graphics, on-board audio, one HD, one energy efficient CPU and one optical drive. Fully configured, the systems I build for myself only use around 110 watts. Anything over 350W results in wasted electricity.

    Look at the minimum power consumption and efficiency at low power draws! That's the most relevant info for me when selecting a PSU.
  • Calin - Thursday, November 6, 2008 - link

    You can have in USA electrical power on 240V. And the power source will go just as well at 220/230V of Europe as with 240V
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, November 6, 2008 - link

    Problem would probably be getting the proper cable for the US. Might have to make it yourself.

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