When it comes to testing a power supply, there are two courses to travel. One takes you down a path using a device to stress out the PSU and provide data regarding the power levels across all three rails. The second, and the one I make use of, utilizes an actual test system to give a more real-world account of what the power supply is capable of. While both methods have their merits, I prefer to use an actual computer to more closely resemble the manner of use that you, the potential customer, will put the product through.
That said, let's take a quick look at the test system. At the request of readers, I have beefed up the system to put a more realistic strain on the power supply.
Gigabyte 965P-DS4 motherboard (Supplied by Gigabyte)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 processor
2x 1024MB Corsair XMS2-8500-C5 memory (Supplied by Corsair)
GeCube X1900XTX graphics (Supplied by GeCube)
Sapphire X1900XT graphics (Supplied by Sapphire)
Western Digital 250GB SATA hard drive
2x Western Digital 160GB SATA hard drives
Western Digital 80GB hard drive
Sony 52x CD-ROM optical drive
Samsung 16x DVD-R optical drive
2x 120mm fans
4x 80mm fans
While I tested the power supply with two video cards, I noted a bit of instability while stressing both out. After removing one and testing again, I had no such issues. This power supply is not made for those with outrageous enthusiast rigs, but for those running a couple of nVidia GeForce 7600 series cards in SLI, I doubt you will have any problems because of the lower power requirements. The two cards I used today are rather hungry and this mid-level PSU had a difficult time with the tests.
That said, there were very good results with the overall power levels of this power supply. I noted very little drop between idle and load power levels across the three primary power rails and also had a very steady voltage reading when keeping the multimeter hooked up to any given rail. This bodes well for those looking for a new power supply but wanting something a bit out of the ordinary as well.
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