Introduction, Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Many of our readers may be unfamiliar with the Xigmatek brand. Xigmatek is a relatively new company that began by offering excellent thermal management products to enthusiasts. Xigmatek was launched as a branch of parent company 'Micro Technology' in 2005 and they quickly expanded to offer more solutions for the DIY market such as computer cases and power supplies. Xigmatek's company philosophy is simple; ICE. This stands for Impressive, Creative, and Essential.
The unit that we have on the test bench today is the Xigmatek NRP-MC1002 power supply. It is the latest in their NRP series of PSU's. NRP stands for No Rules Power. Sometimes having no rules can be a good thing, but other times it's best to abide by them. In this case it would be the ATX V2.3 standards.
The unit offers 1000W of power to feed enthusiast machines running up to three graphics cards and dual processors. The NRP-MC1002 features a single 12V rail and DC to DC circuit design. Xigmatek claims that the NRP-MC1002 will help you go green with its recycled packaging material and 80Plus Bronze efficiency rating. Let's move on and see how well the NRP-MC1002 follows the company's ICE philosophy and just what you can expect out of the unit.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Taking a look at the NRP-MC1002 on paper proves to be promising (isn't this always the case). The single 12V rail of the NRP-MC1002 is capable of providing a majority of the power supply's DC output at 80A. Both the 3.3V and 5V rails are rated for 30A each with a combined total output of 175W. Total combined output of the Xigmatek NRP-MC1002 is 1000W.
As we continue to take a look at the features of the NRP-MC1002, we see just what we would expect out of a 1000W power supply...almost. The NRP-MC1002 is filled with all of the protections that you can ask for. It features both native and modular cables, all of which are sleeved in black. It features both an ATX 4+4 and EPS12V connector for dual processor systems. The only thing that the NRP-MC1002 lacks is the 100% continuous output at 50C. The unit is instead rated at 40C. This is better than nothing, but any power supply of this caliber is meant to be installed in an enthusiast machine and will likely see these higher temperatures than most other machines.
The Xigmatek NRP-MC1002 has an MSRP of around $220USD. Doing some searching, we were able to find the NRP-MC1002 available for about $181 after shipping from Newegg. This puts the NRP-MC1002 right in the middle of the road for 1000W power supplies and towards the more expensive end of the spectrum for 1000W power supplies with an 80Plus Bronze rating. The warranty period for the NRP-MC1002 is 3 years. It would be nice to see this a little bit higher as the power supply industry seems to be moving towards 5 year warranties for enthusiast products.
Right away, we can see that Xigmatek is pushing towards getting you to go green. Not only is the cardboard box made of recycled material, but it is plain as well. We aren't quite sure where Xigmatek is going with the "Build a forest in your PC," especially since the unit is only 80Plus Bronze rated. At least you get a decent shot of the power supply and the wattage is stated on the front.
The back of the box features one of the best cable and connector availability diagrams that we have ever seen for a power supply.
One side of the power supply emphasizes going green again. Perhaps what caught our attention the most here is the claim of "high quality Japanese capacitor on the primary side." Primary side only? We'll have to take a look at what is going on there in a little bit.
The other side finally has some features about the power supply, but it appears as though they are less important than making sure we know about going green.
The bottom of the box finally gives us the I/O specifications of the power supply and a chart depicting the noise of the unit at various loads.
Inside the Box
Here we see the power supply as it is packed inside the box. Lots of cables...well packed...moving on.
The top of the power supply shows a great shot of the gloss black finish featured on the NRP-MC1002 PSU.
One side of the NRP-MC1002 is blank while the other side features the I/O specification label.
The back of the NRP-MC1002 houses the AC input and an on/off rocker switch. Ventilation is provided by the large honeycomb mesh grill.
Taking a look at the front of the power supply, we see the modular connections. They are both color coded and labeled for your convenience. There is also some additional venting here for increased airflow.
The bottom of the NRP-MC1002 features a single 140mm transparent black fan with wire grill for cooling the power supply.
A total of nine modular cables are included with the NRP-MC1002.
Also included with the Xigmatek unit are some cable ties, AC input cord, mounting screws, user manual, and warranty card.
Cabling Arrangement & A Look Inside
As we saw on the back of the box, the NRP-MC1002 comes with quite a bit of cables and connectors. Native cables include the 20+4 pin main connector, a single cable that features both EPS12V and ATX 4+4 connectors, and two 8-Pin PCI-E 6+2 cables. Modular PCI-E cables come in the form of two 6+2 pin and two 6 pin connectors. One of the 6+2 pin modular cables is significantly longer than the rest, but not one of the 6-Pin connectors which left us scratching our heads a little.
Peripheral connectors are handled by five cables that provide a total of 10 SATA connectors, six Molex connectors, and two FDD connectors. Anyone that was paying attention to the pictures above will have noticed that there are only four modular connections on the NRP-MC1002, which leaves you with a single peripheral cable that cannot be used with everything connected.
Xigmatek's NRP-MC1002 features a single 12V rail for rail distribution. Let's keep moving.
A Look Inside
Opening up the NRP-MC1002 left us scratching our heads for a few reasons. As we just saw above, Xigmatek states that the unit uses a single 12V rail, yet we clearly see a pair of 12V transformers right in the middle of the power supply. Cooling seems to be provided in the form of billet blocks of aluminum instead of heatsinks as well. This is something you usually see in very low end, low wattage power supplies...not enthusiast grade 1kW units.
Xigmatek went with a single Nippon Chemi-con Japanese manufactured capacitor for the primary side of the power supply.
Earlier the packaging flagged us to take a good look at the secondary capacitors and rightfully so. Things start off good with the inclusion of Nippon Chemi-Con, but get worse as we spot some Teapo capacitors and the sirens start going off when we spot a Suscon capacitor. Both Teapo and Suscon are Taiwanese manufactured capacitors with Suscon's reliability often being questionable. So long as the unit performs well, it shouldn't be too big of an issue.
Finally, we have a shot of the 140mm fan cooling the NRP-MC1002. It is manufactured by Young Lin Tech, model DFS132512H.
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 progressively load down the PSU up to the power supply's limits or 1000W, whichever comes first. Since our test equipment's limits equal to that of the Xigmatek NRP-MC1002, we can test it to the maximum.
There is a lot going on with this power supply, so let's take a look at the results test by test. During Test 1, things start off well with the NRP-MC1002. All of the voltages are well within ATX specifications, even if the 3.3V readings are a little higher than we would like to see. Noise on the 12V rail starts off a little rocky however, coming in at 36mV peak to peak at the lowest loads we test at. The efficiency during Test 1 was great for an 80Plus Bronze rated power supply at 84.8%.
Test 2 increases the load a bit and we start to see most things falling in line with where they should be. Voltages become a little tighter and we see an increase in efficiency up to 85.8%. The ripple on the 12V rail increases a tiny bit to 39mV peak to peak, but if the NRP-MC1002 continues to increase at this rate it shouldn't be a problem.
Test 3 loads down the power supply to about 56% of its maximum capacity. All voltages are within .01V of perfection and the efficiency increases even more to 86.7%. As with the previous test, there was a minor increase in noise on the 12V rail to 42mV, but nothing to really be alarmed at.
Test 4 is where things started going downhill, quickly. The NCP-MC1002 still has great voltage regulation at this point on both the 12V rail and minor rails. Efficiency is starting to drop as to be expected, but we are now down below where we started, down to 84.6%. What alarmed us the most was the massive increase in noise on the 12V rail. Ripple almost doubled, bringing the reading up to 83mV peak to peak on the oscilloscope. Things aren't looking good here, but we continue forward.
Test 5 almost proves to be the demise of the NRP-MC1002, but it continues to hang on by a thread. While the NRP-MC1002 continues to maintain decent voltages, its efficiency slips a little bit further down to 83.5% At approximately 88% of full load, the Xigmatek unit still has some wiggle room here for the next test, but the ripple on the 12V rail continues to skyrocket. Test 5 brings the noise on the 12V rail up to 119mV peak to peak, just barely within ATX specifications which are a maximum of 120mV peak to peak.
Moving on to Test 6, we finally see the NRP-MC1002 fall out of ATX specifications. Voltage on the single 12V rail is dropping rapidly, but still within specifications, while the minor rails see a small drop as well. The Xigmatek NRP-MC1002 barely skimps by and achieves the 80Plus Bronze efficiency rating at 82% which is the minimum value for 80Plus Bronze at 100% load. After Test 5, we knew there was a very slim chance of the NRP passing ATX specifications for noise on the 12V rail. Under full load, we see that the noise on the 12V rail goes through the roof to 154mV peak to peak.
As most things always do, the Xigmatek NRP-MC1002 100W power supply started off looking very good as we took a look at the technical specifications and features. The unit is priced well for its target market, has great connector and cable availability, and features almost all the features that you could ask for. Unfortunately, everything started going downhill once we took a look at the inside of the PSU.
Right off the bat it was quite apparent that little effort was put into making sure the NRP-MC1002 had sufficient cooling and lacked high quality heat sinks. The secondary side of the power supply is filled with a random mix of mostly lower quality capacitors. From the moment that we started testing, it was clear that it would more than likely struggle with the DC output quality and this proved true once we started to put some heavier loads on the NRP-MC1002. Ultimately this was the downfall of the unit as it spiked out of ATX specifications to 154mV.
As was stated at the beginning of the review, NRP stands for No Rules Power and there are some rules that just shouldn't be broken. Xigmatek's NRP-MC1002 failed to perform within specifications and as such, fails our tests. Xigmatek's marketing is also a tad misleading in the going green department. We hardly consider an 80Plus Bronze rating as going green, especially when there are much higher levels of efficiency to achieve. We had high hopes to start with and really had hoped that Xigmatek had applied the company's philosophy of ICE to the NRP-MCP1002. Instead we were left unimpressed with a unit that is neither creative nor essential.
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