"More power...arr arr arr"
Those who remember the US TV show 'Home Improvements' will more than likely have the above phrase permanently engrained in their memory. As spoken in a gruff voice by actor Tim Allen, what normally ensued was attempts at 'modifying' a domestic appliance beyond its capabilities ultimately leading to an explosion or other catastrophic, yet humorous failure.
I suppose the life of an editor here at Overclock3d could be likened to the same.
For example, 9:30am the postman arrives with a large box containing what can only be assumed to be a hot piece of hardware. At 9:45am after making a quick brew, the unwrapping of said box is met with lots of manly grunts of approval. What's inside is a brand new PSU rated at 1350W. By 10:00am the PSU is wired up to the OC3D testing equipment and before we even begin to think about testing it sensibly, a load of 1700w is dialled in and we all run for cover snorting and grunting along the way.
What happens next? You'll have to wait and see....
Enermax MAXREVO Review
Bit of a tongue twister isn't it? Enermaxmaxrevoorevoo! Argh, try again.
Anyway, what we're looking at here is Enermax's latest and greatest PSU to hit the streets. Essentially an improved version of the Revolution series that was extremely popular and highly acclaimed a few years back, the MAXREVO sets out to improve both performance and efficiency to remain competitive with some of the Gold/Platinum certified units that have hit the market recently.
The packaging is simple but effective and continues to highlight Enermax's obsession with gold (I do sometimes wonder if one of the directors lost his genitalia in an unfortunate smelting accident?). The front of the box simply gives the name of the PSU, the wattage, a couple of other basic credentials and a little sticker at the top-left that lures you into making the purchase because it comes with a free pimped out LED case fan.
Round the back things get a bit more juicy with some pictures of the PSU circuitry, a couple of tables showing the rail layout / number of cables included and finally a long list of specs as per below:
Innovative Design for the entire usage of the four magnetic quadrants of the transformer, in order to make the maximum of efficiency and outstanding stability possible.
90PLUS® Ready @ 230V
90 to 94 percent efficiency @ 230V and 20 to 100 percent load. MaxRevo is certified with 80 PLUS® Gold.
ErP Lot 6 ready!
Helps systems to meet EU eco-design directive ErP/EuP Lot 6 (<1W in standby mode) due to improved, high-efficient 5V standby (+5Vsb) circuitry.
Copper Bridge Array“ Transmission Technology
Innovative and patented transmission technology for direct signal transmission with reduced wire-resistance. It heps to achieve higher efficiency and save PCB space to increase air flow.
Stable and reliable
Six powerful and stable 12 V rails with extreme low ripple noise.
Full support of most current DX11 graphics cards due to minimum two 6+2P (8P) PCI-E connectors.
Future ready and flexible
12P modular connectors for possible changes of upcoming high-performance CPU and graphics card generations.
Full modular cable design for easy customized support of various system settings and better air flow.
Fixing the AC cord tightly to avoid accidental shutdowns of your PC.
Keeping PSU fan running for 30-60 seconds after shut down to dissipate the remaining system heat and prolonging system lifetime.
Industry-leading octuple protection circuitry of OCP, OVP, AC UVP, DC UVP, OPP, OTP, SCP & SIP.
The world’s leading patented fan control starting with unmatched 900RPM to a maximum of 2000 RPM for optimal cooling and minimum noise.
Air Cooling by Enermax
Integrated 13.9cm fan with patented Twister Bearing Technology ensures efficient and ultra silent cooling and long lifetime (100,000 hours MTBF).
100% 105°C Japanese electrolytic capacitors
Highest quality standards for maximum durability and stability.
Everything is as I've come to expect from Enermax. You get a whole host of safety features along with the promise of (up to) 94% efficiency, Japanese components and a multi-rail layout. The warranty provided with the MAXREVO is 5 years which is up there with some of the best manufacturers and if previous experiences are anything to go by, Enermax don't mess around when it comes to warranty repairs.
|Enermax MAXREVO 1350w Rail Layout|
What's interesting here is that at a glance the rail layout of the MAXREVO 1350w and it's larger 1500w brother are exactly the same. Both have 25A on the +3.3v and +5v rails, both have six +12v rails rated at 30A and both have the same outputs on the -12v and +5vSB rails. The important difference however, is that while the 1350w I'm looking at today can handle up to 30a on a single 12v rail at a time, if every rail were to be fully loaded, the total output of each rail would be limited to 18A.
Moving on to the packaging, it's hard not to applaud Enermax for the effort they've put into making the MAXREVO feel like a true premium PSU. Sometimes here at OC3D we'll get PSU's that command a massive premium but arrive battered and bruised in little more than a shoe box. However with the MAXREVO you get a thick walled cardboard box with three pull-out drawers containing the PSU, cables and other accessories. This keeps everything tightly packed and well protected from careless couriers.
The unit its self is quite similar to a lot of Enermax's previous models and sports an off-black crinkle coat painted finish along with a gold framing around the 14cm fan and a painted MAXREVO logo on both sides. In many ways it reminds me of the recently reviewed Cougar GX PSU, although with it's fully modular cable configuration and twelve connectors for PCIe/SATA/Molex devices it is certainly better equipped.
Now let's move on and see what the inside of the PSU has in store...
Internals and Cables
Today's internal photographs are provided by Mr Logan, who I might add required a couple of swigs of the ol' Dutch courage before making his first venture into PSU disassembly. Of course, the fact that I was standing behind him making loud "bzzzzzzzzzzt!!!" noises whenever his screwdriver came remotely close to any of the components probably didn't help. Sorry mate!
Anyway, the birds-eye view of the MAXREVO reveals a very well arranged collection of components with four amusingly small heatsinks. They are of course small for a reason, and that reason is more than likely because the efficiency of the MAXREVO ensures that little energy is lost as heat. This hasn't stopped Enermax from fitting a chuffin' great 14cm fan to the unit though capable of shifting 93cfm of air when at full tilt. But hopefully during the testing we'll find the 30dbA noise form this beat suitably muted.
A rather chunky transformer sits right in the middle of the unit and is responsible for the step-down from mains voltage to +12v. From here, a separate daughter-board mounted vertically in front of the modular connector backplane further reduces the voltage down to +3.3v and +5v for the rest of the connectors. Enermax should be given a pat on the back for this REVOlutionary design, as it removes the need for a rather large bunch of cables to be run from the secondary side of the PSU over to the modular connectors. This not only frees up valuable space within the unit, but also improves airflow.
As promised Enermax has installed some tasty Japanese capacitors. Over on the primary side with have a row of three caps manufactured by Panasonic and rated at 330uF / 400V / 105°C, whereas the secondary side has a row of 10 Rubycon capacitors rated at 1500uf / 16v. Also pictured above is a rather beefy EMI mains filter, which not only acts as the first line of defence against noise from other devices plugged into the same mains loop, but also prevents any noise exiting the PSU.
Moving on to the cables and connectors, we can see that Enermax has shipped the MAXREVO with quite a reasonable selection. As you'd expect all cables are sleeved, but unfortunately the quality of the sleeving falls below what I'd consider acceptable for such a high-end unit. For example, both the ATX and EPS connectors have over 5" of exposed cables at the ends which will spoil the look of many a modified PC. Additionally a lot of the sleeving on the cables is quite saggy and I think it could well be time for Enermax to move on to some plain coloured sleeving as the red and yellow stripes are unlikely to match any PC colour schemes.
|Enermax MAXREVO 1350w Connectors|
|ATX Connector||Modular||1x 20+4 Pin|
|EPS-12v / P4-12v Connector(s)||Modular||1x 4 Pin / 2x 8 Pin|
|Floppy Disk Connectors||Modular||2x|
|PCI-E Connectors||Native / Modular||8x 6+2 Pin|
In terms of what you actually get though, the MAXREVO is quite impressive. Fourteen SATA connectors, ten molex connectors, eight PCI-E connectors, three motherboard power connectors and a partridge in a pear tree!
Now on to the testing...
Simulated Load Results (Graphs)
Because I understand that not everyone enjoys getting a headache from trying to read the tabulated results over on page 4, this page is dedicated to some pretty looking graphs that sum up the majority of the results in an easily digestible format.
When viewing the graphs you need to bear in mind that the highest and lowest values on the Y-axis (voltage) represent the maximum and minimum voltages allowed by ATX specifications. If the results should fall outside the graph at any time, then that's an instant FAIL. However, merely staying inside these boundaries does not necessarily indicate a good PSU. In order to display truly great voltage regulation, a PSU must stick as closely as possible to the thick white horizontal line (ideal voltage) as possible.
You will also notice that the graph is split into three sections as depicted by the Green, Amber and Red backgrounds. These indicate normal usage (green), heavily uneven load distribution (amber) and overloading of the PSU (red). For the most part all we need to worry about is how it performs in the green section, but good performance in the other sections will undoubtedly earn the PSU extra brownie points.
Starting with the +3.3v rail it's actually quite a disappointing result compared to what we've seen from some of Enermax's previous PSU's. Not only does the voltage start off quite high in test #1 at 3.41v, but by the time the unit is under full load it has dropped 0.15v down to 3.26v. Th second (+12v weighted) cross-load test is also quite disappointing with the voltage coming extremely close to the top of the graph, showing that the MAXREVO doesn't particularly like running with no load on its +3.3v rail.
Interestingly, the +5v rail is much more stable during the normal load tests with only a 0.08v difference from the idle test #1 to the fully loaded test #4. The voltage does still spike slightly in the cross-load test #2, but this is only minor in comparison to the +3.3v rail result.
The +12v rail shows quite a similar gradient to the +5v rail but instead drops a total of 0.26v from idle to full load. Although not the best result I've seen from a PSU, the MAXREVO is certainly capable of holding its own against the competition. The most impressive item of all though is the +12.v output when the PSU is heavily overloaded to 1705w - 11.92v, very nice :)
They say that an image says a thousand words, and for the first time ever I feel it prudent to include a smiley in an OC3D review:
Yes, jaw dropping is one way to describe the efficiency of this unit. 94-95% at middling loads is simply amazing and will certainly make a noticeable difference in both heat output, noise levels and possibly the energy bills for those moving from an 80% efficiency unit over to the MAXREVO. You really can't get much better than this without going against the laws of physics and making a PSU that gives you free power!
Simulated Load Results (Tables)
If you've seen the simplified graphs over on the previous page you will undoubtedly already have a good idea of how the MAXREVO 1350w performs. However, certain results from the test can be too difficult to incorporate into the existing graphs, and for this reason all of the result data is also provided in the table format below.
All testing is conducting using OC3D's trusty SunMoon SM-268+ DC load tester. This equipment is capable of placing a user specified load on all of the PSU's rails (+3.3v, +5v, +12v, -12v, +5vSB) up to a maximum load of 1680w. However, as the maximum load for this device on the +12v rail is restricted to 75A we also had to call on additional help from our Analogic Series 2000 DC load tester in order to make up the remaining 25A, to test the unit up to its load limit of 100A. As usual, all testing is conducted at 50°C (±5%) with the results being recorded using a Fluke Multimeter and Thermostat.
|Enermax MAXREVO 1350w @ 50c|
|+3.3v||+5.0v||+12v||+5vSB||-12v|| AC Watts /|
|Efficiency|| Intake /|
|95.42%|| 50.2°C /|
|90.81%|| 50.4°C /|
Although most of what I've wanted to say about the performance of this PSU has already been covered over on the previous page, it's hard not to point out again the fact that the MAXREVO managed to sustain a whopping 1705w output with a 131A load on the +12v rail without too much of a hit on performance. Furthermore it was actually capable of holding a peak of almost 1800w for several minutes before shutting down in a graceful manner.
Efficiency is also a highlight of this unit as previously mentioned, with both test #2 and test #3 hitting the mid nineties. This is exactly where the majority of the efficiency (and rail stability) is required because most people are likely to run a 1350w PSU somewhere in the middle ground, rather than at either of its extremities.
|Cougar GX 1050w Scope Results @ 50c|
In much the same way that the +12v rail is the most stable voltage-wise on the MAXREVO, the same can be seen when it comes to ripple suppression. All the way from test #1 to test #4 the scope reads a maximum of 20mV, and only when pushed beyond its rated output in the TMax1 test does it finally increase slightly to 28mV. This is quite frankly an astonishing result, and possibly the best/most consistent +12v ripple result of any PSU tested here at OC3D.
BUT, and that's a big J-Lo sized but...the +3.3v and +5v rail results aren't anywhere near as excellent. While both of these rails are becoming less important in the modern PC it would almost seem like Enermax concentrated all of their efforts on the +12v rail and somewhat neglected the others. Of course they are still well within ATX specs, but at 36mV and 40mV respectively, they fall short of the results from other premium brands.
As hardware journalists, we love our analogies and today I'm going to liken the Enermax MAXREVO to a Volvo Estate. Not very flattering I hear you cry, but bear with me will I explain.
Much like the trusty Volvo Estate, the Enermax MAXREVO is fitted with more safety features than you can shake a crash test dummy at. Whether it be features for making sure the fan is switched on, the voltages are within a specific range or the PSU isn't going into thermal meltdown you can be sure that the Enermax will do the right thing. Furthermore, when pushing the Enermax well beyond its limits, there was no sense of "will it explode" in the air. It just gracefully declined to provide any more power than than we asked and switched its self off with no drama at all.
The classic, yet rugged appearance of the unit is somewhat akin got a Volvo too. There's no ugly bolted on plastic panels that make it look like an alien space ship, nor any bright lairy greed/red 'gamer' colours that can potentially ruin the colour scheme of your PC. Admittedly the gold accents might not be to everyone's tastes, but it is somewhat of an Enermax signature colour and helps to separate the MAXREVO from the sea of generic black boxes out there. Unfortunately though, the appearance is let down slightly by the poorly sleeved cables. Why Enermax decided not to fully sleeve all of the cables I have no idea. I also wish they'd stop using the stripy sleeving in favour of something more neutral. But, then anyone who has ever met me will know how picky I am.
When it comes to outright performance, a Volvo it is not. The +12v rail on this thing is simply monstrous and can deliver a whopping 131A across its six rails with only 28mV of ripple and a 0.3v drop in output. This brings the total output up to a sustainable peak of 1705w, 355w higher than what's on the box. And then there's the efficiency :- 95.4% at a 688w load followed closely by 94.5% efficiency at 1035w! In terms of car analogies, this would be the equivalent of a V8 and a Hybrid having offspring resulting in some kind of dementedly fast Toyota Prius.
Unfortunately though the +3.3v and +5v rails seem to have been somewhat neglected by Enermax. Sure they may stay well within ATX spec, but they just don't have the level of voltage stability or ripple suppression I've become accustomed to in high-end PSU's. A bit of a shame considering the performance of the 12v rails, but in reflaction we still think this is a bohemoth of a PSU for anyone out there with a monster GPU set up requiring insane levels of power and stability. Everything taken into account we decided to give it the OC3D Gold award, but let it be known Enermax, with a few changes this could have been the best PSU we have ever tested!
- Seriously stable +12v rail
- Great ripple suppression on +12v rail
- Efficiency around the 95% mark
- Plenty of cables & connectors
- Some cables not fully sleeved
- Sleeving design looks a bit dated nowadays.
- Ripple and voltage stability could have been better on +3.3v and +5v rails
- Nothing to report.
Thanks to Enermax for the PSU on test today, you can discuss your thoughts in our forums.