When it comes to testing a power supply, there are a lot of choices for how to tackle the job. I have found that while a multimeter can give scads of data, most of us don't have a clue what all these facts and figures mean. Even the elite of the enthusiast crowd doesn't always keep up with the inner workings of a power supply. So what do we do?
Since a majority of our readers tend to be deeply into overclocking their systems, why not run the power supply in an overclocked system and then stress it out? After we get things worked up nicely by running 3DMark loops and burning CD disks, we'll take a reading of the power levels right in the middle of this mess. This ought to give us a workable answer as to whether or not this product can give us the power we need under stressful conditions. If it can give solid results under this type of operating condition, it will let us know that it can handle the regular chores that we are likely to throw at it.
Test System Setup
Soltek 75MRN-L Motherboard (nForce2 chipset) (Supplied by Soltek)
Athlon XP 2500+ @ 2.2GHz
Thermaltake Volcano 12 HSF (Supplied by Thermaltake)
2x 256MB OCZ PC3500 DDR (Supplied by OCZ)
Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro (Supplied by Sapphire)
D-Link 10/100 NIC
TDK 52x CD-RW
Pioneer 16x DVD
Western Digital 80GB 8MB Hard Drive
Seagate 40GB 2MB Hard Drive
Sony 3.5" Floppy Drive
5x 80mm case fans
1x 120mm case fan
All right then, the processor is running at 1.65v, the memory is at 2.8v and the AGP is at default. The system is overclocked and the video card is known to cause weaker power supplies to cringe in terror. Add the stress factors mentioned above and we should get a fair look at what this PSU is capable of.
As a final note, most manufacturers claim a leeway of +/- 5% of any given output level. Using this as a common ground, we should end up with rail voltage levels of 3.135-3.465v on the 3.3v rail, 4.75-5.25v on the 5v rail and 11.4-12.6v on the 12v rail. Keep this in mind when we go through the numbers below. Higher values can be beneficial, lower values bear watching.
Overall we have some workable numbers. While all three voltage rails garnered results just a bit under their rated levels, they all fall well within the 5% margin for error. Also remember that we had a bit of stress going on in the background.
I was just a little concerned about the 3.3v rail, but I noted no stability issues at all. This would have been obvious as this voltage rail handles the chores of the graphics card and the memory.
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