Cooler Master Real Power Pro M700 700w Modular PSU Page: 1
Back in October 2007 Cooler Master gave us the pleasure of reviewing their high-end Real Power Pro M1000
unit. With a total of 1000w on tap, extremely stable rails, high efficiency and an unrivaled modular connector system, the unit scored a perfect 10 for its performance and appearance and managed to walk away with our Editors Choice award.
However, while a 1KW unit may be a perfectly reasonable investment for those of us with Quad-SLI and heavily overclocked Quad-Core processors, the majority of us realistically only require a unit in the 500w - 700w range. For this reason Cooler Master in their infinite wisdom also produced several lower wattage Real Power pro units in 520w, 620w, 700w and 850w varieties. Today we've been given the opportunity to take a look at the middle-road 700w version, but first let's find out a little more about Cooler Master...
Cooler Master Retail Product Business Unit was founded with the mission to create enjoyment to customers while they build their dream machines.
We Innovate: Innovation lies in the heart of our business model to develop better performance and quality products.
We Care: We believe that technology is to enrich, not to complicate our lives.Therefore, we integrate human interactive function, which allows customers to better understand and control their systems easily.
We Design: Nowadays, product features and specifications are not the only considering factors when customers make the purchasing decisions.We develop the products to touch your heart, to catch your eyes, to characterize your personality, and mostly, to be part of your life.
We Play: Cooler Master products facilitate the perfect creative environment for customers to unleash their imagination by originating their own styles while enjoying the process of being the innovator.
Since its founding in 2001, RP BU has striven to provide innovative computer components.
With some stellar PSU's already well established in the mid-range modular PSU market, the Real Power Pro 700w certainly has some stiff competition. However, if the M700 has specifications anywhere near that of it's M1000 brother it certainly stands a fighting chance. To get an idea of what we're dealing with, let's take a look at the specs available on Cooler Master's
The Real Power for the Ultimate High Definition Gaming Experience Unleashed! Ultra-high end Image reality calls for increasing processing power to handle the graphic complexity. Cooler Master's all new Real Power M700 Modular PSU answers to the call for the most reliable power source to back up the elite technology to deliver excellent performance and superb image quality. Real Power M is specially designed for NVIDIA's next generation high-end Graphic Cards. With several +12V independent output rails for exceptional power distribution, Real Power M reliably powers the cards while you enjoy the out-of-this-world gaming experience.
1.Modularized cable design to eliminate clutter and improve airflow inside the chassis.
2.Eco-design for energy and money saving by Active PFC.(>0.99) / high efficiency(>80%)
3.Two 6 pin / two 8 pin PCI-e connectors offer great future upgradeability
4.Clear color identifiable connectors for user friendiness
5.Ultra-silent operation with intelligent 120mm fan speed control (< 16dBA)
6.Multiple protection function provides full-scale protection for your components
7.Real power capacity satisfies high-end system operation
With a total of four +12v rails, a 120mm fan, support for the latest 8-Pin PCI-E graphics cards and a five year warranty, the Real Power Pro M700 has everything you'd expect from a 700w PSU in its price range. The unit is also topped off with 80%+ efficiency rating and the same great modular connector system found on the M1000
Dipping into the more advanced specs, we can see that the M700 is capable of providing 700w continuous power with a max output of 840w at an operation temperature of 40°C. One slightly disappointing specification of the unit is its inability to hold the 86% efficiency that it is capable of maintaining at up to 350w; at full load.
The specifications also show that the M700 has a healthy 25amps available to both it's +3.3v and +5v rails and 19amps to each of its four +12v rails (with a total combined load of 52amps).
Cooler Master Real Power Pro M700 700w Modular PSU Page: 2
While many manufacturers tend to skimp and save in the packaging department on their mid-range PSU's, Cooler Master have given the M700 the exact same treatment as its bigger brother the M1000. Using an oversized, double-walled cardboard box with a simplistic black and white colour scheme finished off with a gradient honeycomb effect, the outer-box looks just as professional as the "Real Power Pro" name suggests.
In keeping with the simplistic theme the front of the box doesn't really reveal much information about the PSU, giving only a reflected picture of the M700 along with the Cooler Master logo and name of the unit. However, the back and sides of the box is where specification junkies will get their fix, with Cooler Master printing many of the same specification tables found on their website (and page #1 of this review). Also included is a table that lists the modular cables provided with the M700 along with a description of what cables are hard-wired into the unit.
To ensure that the M700 arrives in tip-top condition, Cooler Master have gone to the trouble of placing 1" thick padding around the edge of the box along with a divider down the centre to keep the PSU seperate from any stray accessories. The PSU is also protected from scuffs and scratches by a clear plastic bag. Cooler Master have actually included quite a few extras in with the M700, so lets see exactly whats in the box:
• Cooler Master bottle opener on keychain.
• Cooler Master adhesive case badge.
• ATX case screws.
• UK power cord.
Well done to Cooler Master for going the extra mile with both the packaging and contents.
Cooler Master have pushed out the boat once again by giving the M700 a high gloss black painted finish. This does differ from the extremely sexy electroplated finish of the M1000 - and may not be quite so hard wearing, but overall its a very welcome change from the drab matte finish that most other PSU's employ. I only wish they'd included some kind of cleaning cloth in with the accessories as the surface is very good at picking up fingerprints.
The back of the unit is vented with a honeycomb mesh design that allows the heat dissipated by the 120mm fan to exit the back of a PC case freely. Also found at the back of the unit is an LED status indicator that changes from red to green when the PSU is powered on. Unlike the M1000, the M700 actually features a power switch! While this may not seem anything very special, it was a dearly missed feature on the M1000 (for me at least!).
Around the front of the unit we can see the M700's modular system with a total of 8 connectors. Two of these connectors are in PCI-E 6-Pin format, with the remaining six connectors using Cooler Master's own plug design. This layout is actually significantly different to the higher powered M1000 which featured a total of 10 connectors (the extra two being 8-Pin PCI-E format) and a grill at the lower part of the unit for providing extra ventilation.
The rest of the unit is fairly standard, with a specification sticker being placed on both sides and a plain top.
Cooler Master Real Power Pro M700 700w Modular PSU Page: 3
In the past, many people have judged the quality of a PSU on its weight and size of internal components. However, with many manufacturers moving on to newer and more efficient ways of designing their PSU's, it has become increasingly obvious that this is no longer a reliable method for gauging a power supply's quality. By looking inside the M700 we should be able to identify some of the components used and get a good feel for the overall build quality of the unit.
Despite the fairly compact dimensions of the M700, Cooler Master have managed to keep the internals of the unit fairly well spaced. This should hopefully help prevent any heat hot-spots inside the unit, and as we can see from above, has allowed Cooler Master to install much smaller heatsinks than those found on the M1000
Taking a closer look around the interior we can see that the M700 is kitted out with a single capacitor manufactured by "Elite". The capacitor has a rating of 560uF / 400v with a maximum temperature of 85°C. While this is more than suitable for an average 700w unit, some manufacturers choose higher rated 105°C capacitors to ensure that even under extreme temperatures, the unit is able to perform reliably.
Also found inside the PSU is a single, unbranded, reasonably large transformer. As no smaller transformers are present in the unit we can only assume that all of the rails (3.3v, 5.0v, 12v) share this one transformer. In all honesty this is quite disappointing, but obviously we'll see if it has any negative affect on performance over the next few pages.
The 120mm fan used inside the unit is manufactured by Cheng Home Electronic with a model number of CHB12012BS. Searching Google reveals very little about this fan other than a rotational speed of 2000RPM and a possible output of 72CFM at 16dBA. This does sound a little unrealistic, but we'll find out for sure in the noise testing results.
Cables & Connectors
The modular power supply is one of those inventions that has the PC enthusiast communities split down the middle. Some think that the modular design is a great design - keeping the inside of your PC tidy while also maximising airflow. Others believe that it is unreliable and can cause increased resistance where poor connectors are used. Of course not all modular PSU's are made equal, so let's see what the M700 has in store.
First off the M700 isn't 100% modular. As we can see from above, Cooler Master have decided to hard-wire the ATX and 4/8-Pin CPU cables into the unit. This is more than likely because these cables will be required in almost every hardware configuration, and components such as the motherboard and CPU require the cleanest possible supply of power.
Cooler Master have gone for their own proprietary 5-Pin flat connector design for use with the Molex and SATA connectors, but have stuck with the tried and tested 6-Pin PCI-E style connectors for powering the PCI-E cables. Both of these methods offer extremely sturdy connections that should have minimal impact on performance.
The M700 comes with a decent bundle of modular cables which are all professionally sleeved in mesh up to the last connector with zip ties and heatshrink finishing the ends off. To prevent the end-user from accidentally plugging the PCI-E cables in around the wrong way, Cooler Master have coloured both the modular PCI-E sockets and plugs in a rather garish dayglo green.
While on the subject of the PCI-E cables it is also worth mentioning that despite the connectors on the PSU only being in 6-Pin PCI-E format, the cables provided with the unit also support the very latest 8-Pin PCI-E graphics cards.
The M700 comes with a 24-Pin ATX connector and no way of reducing the connector down to 20-Pin. People wanting to use this unit on an older style 20-pin ATX motherboard will need to purchase a 24-Pin to 20-Pin connector separately. Quite a few of the most recently released motherboards still utilise the 4-Pin (P412v) connector, and for this reason Cooler Master have included both P412v (4-pin) and EPS12v (8-pin) cables on the M700 to ensure full compatibility.
Cooler Master Real Power Pro M700 700w Modular PSU Page: 4
To provide our readers with the most accurate results, Overclock3D uses a custom built PSU load tester on all reviews. This not only gives much more reliable results than the testing methods employed by other sites, but also allows for all current and future review results to be compared side-by-side.
| || 0% || 50% || 100% |
| +3.3v Rail || 0w || 33w || 66w |
| +5.0v Rail || 0w || 50w || 150w |
| +12v Rail(s) || 0w || 300w || 500w |
| Total || 0w || 383w || 716w |
At 0% load, all rails on the M700 sat fairly close to their ideal voltages with minimal amounts of "over-volting". This trend continued when we applied a load of roughly 50% (383w), with each of the six rails only showing a slight voltage fluctuation of 0.02v - 0.05v. Moving up to a full load of 716w (16w above the continuous output rating for this unit), the M700 still managed good voltage regulation with the highest drop in output being exhibited on the +12v rails which all dipped to around 11.94v.
Efficiency tests are performed by measuring the wattage consumed by the power supply at the mains (Mains Draw) against the power consumed by the OC3D power supply stress tester (PSU Load). These results may not be 100% accurate, but have proven to be extremely close to results obtained from professional equipment.
At 50% load (383w) things were looking extremely promising for the M700, with efficiency being calculated at around 86%. However, as the load on the unit was increased all the way up to 716w efficiency took quite a steep downwards curve all the way down to 81%.
To be fair, the large majority of users will probably be placing the unit under a 300-500w load and thus will get a good level of efficiency from the M700, however it would have been nice to see the unit hold around 84-85% efficiency at full load.
Temperature vs Noise Output
As with all components in the modern computer system, the performance of a PSU can be directly affected by heat. Excess heat inside the PSU can easily have a negative effect of the maximum power output of the unit and lead to voltage instability. For this reason, Overclock3D includes temperature recordings taken from the PSU's exhaust using a thermal probe to highlight any potential issues that the PSU might have obtaining its rated output.
While keeping the temperature of a PSU under control is often just a case of increasing the speed of a fan, this can have a negative impact on noise levels. Therefore, Overclock3D also records the dBA output of the PSU (from a distance of 30cm) in order to gauge it's suitability for use in a silent environment.
At both 0% and 50% loads there was very little audible change in PSU noise levels with our dBA meter only registering a 1dBA increase. Moving up to 100% load caused the 120mm fan in the M700 to speed up, resulting in a 4dBA rise in noise levels. While these results are certainly a lot higher than the 16dBA quoted by Cooler Master, the unit was still reasonably quiet when placed in a PC case with system, CPU and GPU fans running.
Cooler Master Real Power Pro M700 700w Modular PSU Page: 5
As expected from the Real Power Pro series, the M700 both looks stunning with its glossy black painted finish and has a tip-top modular connector system with a nice big bundle of modular cables. The unit is also extremely well packaged to prevent any damage during transit and comes with a few small Cooler Master branded goodies which give you the feeling that you've bought something rather special.
While the internal components and layout of the Real Power Pro M700 may be significantly different from its M850 and M1000 counterparts, the unit still performed reasonably well and managed to keep all rails well within ATX specifications even when pushed slightly over 700w load. At low to medium load levels the efficiency of the unit was extremely good - hitting 86% at some points. However, I can't help but feel disappointed that the M700 was unable to hold this high level of efficiency at full load, instead falling down to a rather average 81%.
Pricing of the unit is actually quite reasonable with the M700 coming in at around £80-85 over at Yoyotech
. This is up to £15 cheaper than comparable PSU's with similar performance, and should certainly earn the M700 a place on your shopping list if you're looking for a reasonable modular PSU on a tight budget.
• Decent modular connector system.
• High efficiency at medium load levels.
• Good looks with a glossy paint job.
• Big bundle of fully sleeved modular cables.
• Competitive pricing.
• Efficiency goes down hill at high loads.
• Slightly higher noise levels than the M850 due to the smaller 120mm (vs 135mm) fan.
• Fairly solid voltage output.