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Power Supply Roundup - Six PSU's fight to the death

By: Cameron Johnson | Other PSUs in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Sep 9, 2004 4:00 am

OCZ Power Stream 520ADJ


OCZ has always been one for empowering overclockers - from their memory to their brand of cooling products. We expect something rather impressive from OCZ, and when we get the unit up close, we aren't disappointed.



OCZ has gone a totally different approach with their PSU's. Most we see now are either alloy or black in colour; OCZ has gone for a metallic mirror finish. This actually adds to the appeal of modded cases as the lights reflecting in the case bounces off the PSU and actually reflects more light on the unit.


Inside the unit is about 20% bigger than most PSU's and weights about 500 grams more than most, which usually is a good sign in a PSU that high quality parts have been used to produce a much cleaner power source.



While we have seen this feature before, it certainly hasn't had this type of variety. What we are talking about is independently controllable voltage rails. On the back of the PSU just above the power on/off switch are three screw turn potentiometers. These are connected to the +3.3v, +5v and +12v rails of the PSU. Turning them allows you to increase or decrease the voltage up to 5% in either direction. To prevent any damage, three Tricolour LED lights are placed to help you - if the light is green your voltage is within specifications, if the LED goes yellow your rail is under volted and if red you are over volted. This helps as when you place more devices on each rail, you can turn up the voltage should the rail drop in voltage although you will find that you won't really have to for the most part.



OCZ has done a remarkable job on the Power Stream series. Inside everything is clean and well set out. Two extremely large heatsinks create a tunnel for the air to pass through, ensuring good cooling of the voltage regulators which is absolutely critical with an enthusiasts system. To cool the unit, two 80mm thermal controlled fans are used which are located at the back and at the front. The exhaust fan is also LED coloured, so when active the PSU glows green which creates a very stunning visual appeal. The other fan is at the back of the PSU to draw air in from the case and blow it across the heatsinks to create the tunnel effect we talked about just before. As mentioned, these fans are thermally controlled. When the PSU starts to heat up when the PSU is at high voltage the fans start to speed up to a maximum of 4,000 RPM, however, during tests on the actual system, we never managed to make the fans actually speed up (which is a good thing), as our power requirements didn't stress the PSU enough. This wasn't through lack of trying, as you will see, we had many devices connected to simulate what enthusiasts are using today in their systems.



Cable management on the OCZ PSU while good could have been better. First off the ATX power connector is a 24pin version used on most server motherboards and the new Intel 915 and 925 series motherboards. A 24pin to 20pin ATX converter is supplied so you can use the PSU on older 20pin ATX connector motherboards such as Intel Canterwood and Springdale. This cable is sleeved to keep the cables all tidy and out of the way.


For server motherboards an 8 pin 12v CPU voltage cable is supplied. Piggybacked off this is the 4 pin power connector used on Pentium 4 and Athlon 64 motherboards which means compatibility is not an issue. These cables aren't sleeved but actually twisted around each other, sleeving would have been preferred.


Six standard HDD and two FDD molex power connectors are provided for adding in your drives as well as two serial ATA power headers with the +3.3v line included on them. These cables are also twisted around without any sleeving. The final touch are two HDD molex connectors that have been sleeved as well as shielded with noise filters and resistors to keep the voltage noise away from devices like VGA cards and HDD's that are sensitive to power fluxations and noise on the voltage line which is a very handy feature indeed.




OCZ gives the following power specifications:


+3.3v Rail: 28A


+5v Rail: 40A


+12v Rail: 33A


-12v Rail: 0.5A


-5v Rail: 0.5A


+5vSB Rail: 2A


Maximum Rated Output: 620 Watts


This is one impressive power supply. OCZ has by far the most powerful 12v rail available. This comes in handy for Prescott CPU's as the Pentium 4 draws its CPU voltage from the 12v rail via the 4 pin connector.


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