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. I have continued to beef up the system to put a more realistic strain on the power supply.
MSI X48C Platinum motherboard (Supplied by MSI)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 processor
2x 1024MB Corsair XMS2-8500-C5 memory (Supplied by Corsair)
Sapphire X2900XT graphics board (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
1x 200mm fan
2x 120mm fans
While this isn't a Quad-GPU setup, we are certainly in the realm of having a system that is going to put a significant power drain on any power supply. Our testing of this power supply will be done with only a single video board since it is not designed for dual high-end graphics. Testing will consist of checking the power levels across all three rails at idle and again while the system is under stress. This should give us a good look at the capabilities of the power supply being tested.
Initial testing results for this power supply show a lot of promise. Idle and load power levels are pretty stable with just a little fluctuation in the 5v rail under load (0.01v). While this in itself bodes well, we talked on the previous page about throwing this thing to the wolves to see how it handles the stress of a Crossfire-X setup. To accommodate this, we will install a second Sapphire X2900XT video card into the mix and see what it is capable of.
After installing the second video board, the system booted with no issues. Voltage readings were on par with a single board setup and normal workload proved that this power supply was able to perform well even with two high-powered graphics adapters. Casual gaming also went off without a hitch, but full load to both boards started forcing issues to crop up. I began to see screen blanking and locked the system once. Considering that these two boards running in tandem are capable of drawing more than 500 watts from the 12v rail, I was impressed to see this power supply handle even small amounts of 3D gaming. From what I witnessed during our tests, I think this PSU will easily handle a dual graphics setup that isn't on steroids.
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