Enermax Gold: Modu87+ and Pro87+by Christoph Katzer on January 19, 2010 1:00 PM EST
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After thoroughly testing these units we can say a few things for certain. Enermax might not have reached the highest efficiency possible (that was actually HEC with their latest design), but they delivered the best overall package a power supply could possibly offer today. We had incredible efficiency, low ripple, high voltage stability, and the best acoustic noise we've heard so far. What else could we possibly ask for from a technical point of view? Let's sum up the most important parts.
Enermax introduced this new high efficiency series at Computex last year with a completely different appearance. When we saw these shipping power supplies we were surprised at the change but nothing more. To bring costs down a bit Enermax skipped the fancy paintjob and switched to a much cheaper black finish. The fan on the other hand is relatively expensive, since the gold-plating is complicated and causes a lot of rejects in production. In addition Enermax worked on the IC of the fan to make it possible to run the fans at very low RPMs. The overall appearance might not appeal to everybody, but at least these power supplies come with a fancy aesthetic that looks like it fits the name and performance.
The cables are all sufficiently long, and Enermax has been around long enough to know what's going on and what people want. We definitely don't need to worry about the cables and connectors side of things. Enermax also owns a patent for a mixed cable harness with SATA and Molex connectors, so company of course they use that style of cable harness wherever it fits. All of the standard connectors are long enough and there are plenty of PEG connectors too. Since the Modu87+ has two jacks in the back you can even fit up to four PCI-E connectors on the 500W unit if you buy an extra cable harness. The Pro87+ series has slightly shorter harnesses in some cases, but they are still long enough to fit any mid tower chassis.
The overall build quality is very good. Even though Enermax is more like a mainstream manufacturer, their products do have a modern design and aesthetic. This is particularly true when it comes to the internals. The components are well arranged and securely attached to the PCB. A quick glance may not indicate any new technologies in these power supplies, but they are there. The voltage stability is very good with drops of only a few percent. We did measure higher ripple on the lower voltage rails, but this isn't such an issue that we wouldn't recommend these power supplies; however, Enermax should work on this rather than merely providing "good enough" ripple on the 3.3V and 5V rails.
From an efficiency standpoint the numbers tell the story. The Enermax Modu87+ and Pro87+ power supplies achieve the highest efficiency we have measured thus far at AnandTech. With high efficiency come not only the benefits of saving energy, but it also helps to create a much quieter environment. Less energy transformed into heat means less heat to dissipated, so the heatsinks stay cooler and the fan can rotate more slowly. This is why Seasonic as another example is able to run their X-Series without a fan at all when they are at low loads. Enermax has a very low RPM fan that rotates at just 330 RPM most of the time and is inaudible in our testing. Even with our ear just millimeters away from the fan we were not able to hear a thing. At its highest rotation speed of 900RPM there's still nothing to hear from a 1m distance, making these PSUs perfect for a silent PC build. (Just remember to avoid noisy fans on the other components!)
We tested several safety features and found we could squeeze more than 10% extra from each PSU. Of the three models tested, the Modu87+ 700W power supply delivers the most impressive result. We managed to draw up to 45% more power than its normal rated output. All of the other safety functions such as OCPs and Short Circuit protection also performed as expected.
The one concern with these PSUs is pricing. At present, we can only say that most of the units are highly overpriced and it is clear that Enermax wants to use their current exclusive positioning for certain wattages to earn some extra revenue. Long-term we know the prices will drop a bit, but Enermax power supplies have a habit of not dropping very much compared to the competition - that's either a testament to their quality or simply successful marketing, depending on your viewpoint. Regardless of quality and marketing, a price drop is really necessary, especially in Europe where there are several other companies with similar products coming out soon. We expect to see new Gold certified products in the 450W to 1200W range from Seasonic, HEC (Cougar brand), OCZ, Corsair, Antec, and several others at CeBIT - or at latest before Computex this summer. However, if you cannot wait and have the cash to spend, we can definitely recommend these Modu87+ and Pro87+ units.
For their outstanding performance, high efficiency, the for all intents and purposes silent operation, we are awarding both the Enermax Pro87+ and Modu87+ series our Gold Editors' Choice award. The price may be high, but these are currently the best power supplies in the market.