Our load tests utilize a couple of FAST ATE active load testers and a variety of other equipment such as an oscilloscope, power conditioner, temperature probe, and a power consumption meter. You can read more about our standard testing approach here.
The tests performed are based around six conceivable setups that are out there, and they progressively load down the PSU up to the power supply's limits or 1000W, whichever comes first. Since our test equipment's limits are higher than that of the Cougar CMX V3 850W power supply, we can test it to the maximum.
The above tests represent typical loads that we have measured from various systems and are meant to give a rough idea of where your computer might fall in line with our tests. Please keep in mind that each system is different and actual loads can vary greatly, even with similar hardware.
Let's start by taking a look at the voltages to see how well this unit did during testing. Starting with the 12V1 rail, we see two percent regulation from start to finish, with a total drop of .21V. 12V2 showed two percent regulation as well, with a total drop of .22V. The 5V rail managed to stay within three percent of specification, with a total drop of .014V from start to finish. Moving towards the 3.3V rail, we see that regulation was within two percent of specification, with a total voltage drop of .11V.
DC Output quality for the Cougar CMX V3 850W was good and well within specifications. During Test One, we saw 18mV of noise on our scope at 25 percent load. When we increased the loads in Test Three, the ripple climbed to 36mV at just over half load. Increasing loads even further showed that the noise on the 12V rail climbed to 47mV at full load.
The Cougar CMX V3 850W is rated for 80 PLUS Bronze efficiency. This means that the power supply must perform at 82% / 85% / 82% efficiency at 20% / 50% / 100% loads, respectively. As you can see, the CMX V3 850W passed on our bench without issue.
The CMX V3 850W power supply is the third unit from Cougar that we've seen here at TweakTown. As I said from the start, we've been pleased with what we've seen from Cougar so far, and the CMX V3 is not an exception to that. With that being said, it also isn't a unit that we'd go out of our way to recommend hands down over a number of other units that we've looked at.
The problem with the CMX V3 certainly isn't performance. For your middle of the road 80 PLUS Bronze unit, the CMX V3 performs well all the way around. DC output quality falls well within specifications. Both of the 12V rails and 3.3V rail stay within two percent, while the 5V rail manages to barely slip into the three percent range. Ripple on the 12V rail wasn't too bad, but at 47mV under full load, it can't be classified as anything better than average. Efficiency is certainly one are that we have to say the CMX V3 excelled in as it showed near Silver levels of efficiency.
The problem with the unit isn't the price either. At $119, the Cougar CMX V3 850W power supply is priced right in the middle of the pack. The problem here is that aside from the beautiful orange/red color of the unit, it simply doesn't have anything to help differentiate it from the rest of the 5000 identical units on the market. It doesn't have any outstanding features or performance numbers to boast, and there isn't anything revolutionary or record breaking to talk about either.
This is an unfortunate trend that we've seen in a lot of middle of the road units that we've looked at. Everyone wants a piece of the pie and they make a unit that fits right in. It fits in so well that it is easily overlooked because it is missing something as a single connector someone needs or there are ten units that are five dollars cheaper and someone doesn't scroll down far enough to see the next unit.
With that being said, this is definitely one of the units that you want to pay attention to when you're trying to wade your way through the list of random units that fit what you're looking for. It is a unit that you can trust and know that you're not wasting your money on.