Enermax MODU87+ 700w PSU Review Page: 1

At the beginning of 2008 power supply efficiency organisation 80PLUS revised their certification program to include three new standards on top of the original 80PLUS (80%+) certification. The Gold, Silver and Bronze levels introduced new efficiency targets for manufacturers to meet in an effort to reduce global energy consumption in PC's and other devices. While none of these new certifications were by any means mandatory, the PSU market is immensely competitive, and having a power supply certified to one of these new standards would be a sure-fire way to attract the energy conscious consumer.

To date, only a handful of manufacturers have actually managed to achieve 'Gold' status with many of the units just meeting the efficiency requirements by less than 0.5%. Furthermore, some manufacturers have even gone so far as to cut out certain safety features and compromise voltage stability just to be one of the first to hang with the gold medallists. Enermax on the other hand have resisted the temptation to go into the gold scene full steam ahead, and instead have spent their time researching alternative PSU designs that can increase efficiency without sacrificing performance or features - or so we've been told!

Today we're going to be finding out for certain as their very first gold certified PSU goes under the OC3D microscope. Will it maintain the standard we've become accustomed to from previous models such as the Revolution85+? Let's start by checking out the specifications to get a feel for what's in store:

80PLUS® GOLD
87 to 93 percent efficiency @ 230V and 20 to 100 percent load. 80PLUS® Gold certified

Dynamic Hybrid Transformer Topology

Technological breakthrough topology using a staged dynamic transformer array for extremely high efficiency with the most durable and stable output at any load

Intel ATX12V v2.3
Compliant with latest desktop power supply design guide. Full support of most current CPU: Intel® Core 2 Duo™ / Quad™ / Extreme™ / i7™ / i5™ / i3™ and AMD® Athlon™ 64X2/X4 or Phenom™ X3/X4

Stable and reliable power

Three high-performance and massive 12V rails. Extremely low ripple noise

Future ready and flexible
All-round modular cable management. 10/12P sockets for possible connector changes of upcoming high-performance CPU and graphics card generations

DXXI ready!

Full support of most current DX11 graphics cards due to minimum two 6+2P (8P) PCI-E connectors

Full graphics power

Supports SLI™ systems (Modu87+ 700W/800W) and CrossFireX™ systems

C6 & Hybrid Support

Supports energy saving modes of current and future CPU & GPU generations (C6 & Hybrid Mode) due to ZERO LOAD Design (no minimum load)

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)

SpeedGuard

Unmatched 330RPM at low loads. Path breaking and leading patented fan control for optimal cooling and minimum noise (Modu87+ 800W: 700-1.800RPM)

Keeping PSU fan running for 30-60 seconds after shut down to dissipate the remaining system heat and prolonging system lifetime

Hybrid Capacitor Array

High-performance capacitor array of heavy-duty solid state capacitors and Japanese electrolytic capacitors to ensure tightest DC stability and regulation

SafeGuard

Industry-leading octuple protection circuitry of OCP, OVP, AC UVP, DC UVP, OPP, OTP, SCP & SIP

CordGuard

Fixing the AC cord tightly to avoid accidental shutdowns of your PC

Non-stop @ 50°C

Non-Stop industrial class performance at 50°C ambient

Worldwide Compatibility

100-240V AC input with automatic adjustment and up to 99% active Power Factor Correction (PFC) for global usage

Dimensions (W x H x D)

150mm x 86mm x 160mm / 150mm x 86mm x 175mm (Modu87+ 800W)

Warranty

5 years vendor warranty

Sifting through all the various marketing buzzwords and guff we can see that the MODU87+ has a very strong set of safety features that include Over Current Protection, Over/UNDER Voltage Protection, Over Power Protection, Over Temperature Protection, Short Circuit Protection and SIP (whatever that is??).  The unit is also capable of delivering its full 700w output at an ambient temperature of 50°C, which is a good thing as that's what we're going to be testing it at today.

Still on the subject of heat, Enermax have also configured the MODU87+ to continue running its fan for up to a minute after the PC has been switched off to help dissipate any remaining heat and potentially increase the PSU's life. However, should your unit suffer a premature death, a generous 5yr warranty is included.

Enermax MODU87+ 700w Rail Layout
DC Output +3.3V +5V +12V1 +12V2 +12V3 +12V4 +12V5 +12V6 -12V +5VSB
24A 24A 25A 25A 25A - - - 0.5A 3A
Max Power 120W 696W 6W 15W
700W


The +12v rail is split three ways with a total power output of 696W (58A) and a maximum draw of 25A set using OCP on each rail. Providing that Enermax has assigned at least one of the rails entirely to the PCI-E connectors, this should ensure that the MODU87+ 700w is capable of powering the latest high-end GPU's.

Over on the +3.3v and +5v side the max combined output is a fairly average 120w with each rail being limited to 24A. Although the output of these rails isn't quite as important as it once was, most manufacturers still provide anything from 150w to 170w output here.

With the basics out of the way let's take a proper look at the unit over on the next page....



Enermax MODU87+ 700w PSU Review Page: 2

With a combination of black and gold being used as the main colour palette, it's very hard to deny that MODU87+ packaging has a certain high-class / quality feel to it. Enermax have also avoided overloading the front of the packaging with information and have instead settled for a simple but effective trio of the Enermax logo, product name and output wattage. The observant among us will also notice that the background to the front of the packaging features a huge 80PLUS Gold certification logo at a slant.

   

Moving round to the back of the box things are quite the opposite with a case of instant information overdose. Spec lists, rail distribution charts, efficiency/fan/noise graphs, connector charts and technology overviews are all tightly squeezed together in an disorderly fashion similar to that of an instruction leaflet provided with a set of DIY cupboards.  Why Enermax didn't spread the information around each corner of the box I'm not sure.

   

Once inside we can see that Enermax has split the box into two compartments in order to keep the mains cable and other accessories separate from the power supply. The PSU is further protected by a thin cardboard sleeve and plastic bag that should ward off minor scratches and scuff marks to its paint during transport. OK so it's hardly the large custom molded styrofoam slabs used by some other manufacturers, but for Enermax to use this method on almost all of their PSU's as far back as I can remember, it must do a reasonable job of keeping the PSU safe.

   

   

The gold and black theme has been continued onto the PSU its self with a large 135mm gold fan contrasting against a gloss black powdercoated casing. The designers at Enermax must have really been in their element here as one of their "trademark" features has always been a hint of gold somewhere in their PSU's designs. Of course, the 'blinged-out' appearance probably won't suit everybody so it's worth remembering that with the PSU installed into a case, the chances are that you won't be able to see the fan anyway.

   

At the sides of the unit Enermax has printed the MODU87+ logo in a slightly less pretentious shade of gold that shouldn't clash too badly with the majority of custom PC colour schemes. The specification sticker has also been moved to the top of the unit to prevent spoiling the appearance of the parts most likely to be visible in a windowed PC case.

   

Call me easily pleased, but one feature that came as quite a welcome surprise for a PSU aimed at the consumer market is the inclusion of a power cable brace. This small piece of metal latches down over the power cord preventing it from accidentally being unplugged. Definitely invaluable in a server environment - and potentially useful at home too if you have all of your power cords trailing around under your desk.

Finally, at the back of the unit we get our first glimpse of the modular connector system and hard wired cables. But let's save the talk of that for the next page...



Enermax MODU87+ 700w PSU Review Page: 3

Jumping straight into the modular connector system we can see that Enermax have provided users with a total of seven headers to plug cables into. The larger 12pin red connectors are used exclusively for PCI-E graphics card power with each cable breaking out into two 6+2pin connectors, while the smaller 5pin black connectors are used for the SATA/Molex cables. Disappointingly though Enermax have only provided a total of six modular cables with the 700w MODU87+, leaving one of the SATA/Molex connectors unused when all of the cables are plugged in.

   

Another niggle to add to the list is just how impossible it is to get the 12pin connectors to fully 'mate' with the plugs when inserting them. During the testing of our sample, excessive force and 'jiggling' was required before the plugs begrudgingly crunched into a locked position. Thankfully the 5pin connectors did not suffer from this issue due mostly to having less than half the number of pins to align inside the plug.

  

Unfortunately the modular system bashing doesn't end here. To compound matters further, two of the modular cables have a rather daft arrangement of SATA and Molex connectors on a single cable which might not suit all system layouts. We really cant think of a situation where you'd need an SATA connector closely followed by a Molex - aside from maybe a small mATX chassis where the optical drive and (old'ish) hard disk are in close proximity to each other.

Of course it'd be rude to move on without saying a little bit about the cable sleeving, and as you'd expect it's the standard Enermax affair with a red and gold striped black mesh sealed at the ends with fabric tape and heatshrink. There, done!

   

Support for cutting-edge enthusiast and server motherboards is afforded by means of two 8pin EPS-12v connectors, one of which can be 'snapped' in half to provide a 4pin P4-12v connector for older motherboards. The main ATX cable is native 24pin with no means of reducing it down to 20pin which means tough luck for anybody with a motherboard made more than a few years ago. Finally, all four of the PCI-E connectors are interchangeable between 6pin and 8pin standards, so SLI/Crossfire of almost any two GPU's is possible.

Enermax MODU87+ 700w Connectors
 ATX Connector Hard Wired
1x 24 Pin
 EPS-12v / P4-12v Connector(s) Hard Wired
1x 4+4 Pin, 1x 8 Pin
 Molex Connectors Modular 8x
 Floppy Disk Connectors Modular 1x
 SATA Connectors Modular 8x
 PCI-E Connectors Modular 4x 6+2 Pin

 

   

On to the more interesting stuff now and with the lid of the MODU87+ removed, we get our first glimpse of the internals. Everything inside appears to be quite tidy with no loose cables trailing over the PCB and all components reasonably spaced apart. You'll also be forgiven for saying that the internals "look just like any other PSU", but as Enermax hasn't stopped gushing about how revolutionary it is (bet they wish they'd saved the 'Revolution' name and called this the Revolution87+ eh?), let's go in for a closer look.

   

   

First stop is what Enermax call the "Dynamic Resonant Transformer Array". This design is partially borrowed from the power delivery circuits of LCD monitors and essentially consists of three transformers and a choke. By using this design zero voltage switching of the main switches is achieved, resulting in dramatically lower switching losses and boosted efficiency. Notwithstanding the rest of the PSU components, efficiency levels of near 96% are potentially achievable at this stage.

  

With the main transformer delivering a straight 12v output, two vertically mounted VRM modules deal with the step down to +3.3v/+5v for the remaining rails. Sitting (or should we say Standing?) opposite are two small PCB's containing a mixture of Enesol brand solid-state and Nippon Chemi-Con electrolytic capacitors for smoothing the +12v rail before it heads off to the modular backplane and hard-wired cables.

   

On the subject of caps, we almost forgot to mention the rather beefy Rubycon 420v 470uF capacitor over on the primary side. It may 'only' be rated at 85°C, but being Japanese manufactured we shouldn't have any issues at all with its quality.

   

Finally we come to the tacky goldie lookin' fan. At the time we took these pictures the studio lighting was actually broken, so don't be fooled by the the dark - almost black appearance of the blades. They're really the same colour as a rappers front teeth. Printed on the fan hub is the model number EA142512W-OAB, but unfortunately there's absolutely no data available on the net about its CFM or dBA output.



Enermax MODU87+ 700w PSU Review Page: 4

For those of you familiar with the layout of the Overclock3D PSU reviews, you probably will have turned to this page expecting a massive table of results followed by a load of screenshots from our Oscilloscope. Feedback has told us that most (not all) of you couldn't make head nor tail of this data and instead just turned to the conclusion for our final thoughts. So today we're going to test the water with some of those fancy things called graphs. Don't go getting worried though, all of our testing is still conducted on professional SunMoon and Analogic DC load equipment at Sahara-like temperatures of 50°C. And if you still crave the full tabular breakdown of our results these can be found over on the next page.

However, before we get started discussing these spangly new graphs, there are some some points worthy of note: The highest and lowest values on the Y-axis (voltage) represent the maximum and minimum voltages allowed by ATX specifications.The thick white vertical line indicates the 'ideal' voltage. The green area indicates 'normal' usage scenarios. The orange area indicates cross-load tests highly unlikely to be encountered in the real world, and finally the red area indicates the 'Max Load' test designed to push a PSU to the absolute edge before it starts spitting fire like a Dragon after ordering Phal from his local Tandoori house.

Starting with both the +3.3v and +5.0v rails we can see that they share very similar characteristics when placed under load. This is of little surprise really as both rails draw their power from the 12v transformer inside the MODU87+ and use almost identical VRM's to step down the output to their required voltages.

Enermax have really got the unit tuned to perfection with each of the two rails hitting its ideal voltage during a ~50% load in Test2. By Test4 the voltages have taken a dip to 3.23v and 4.88v, which is a little lower than some PSU connoisseurs might be happy with, but is still well inside the ±5% requirements for meeting ATX spec.

Cross load test TX1 is all about running the +3.3v and +5v rails at their maximum output with little/no load on the +12v rail, and here they both perform exceptionally. Only in the max load test (TMax) does the MODU87+ really drop the ball with voltages bordering on ugly, but we need to remember of course that the unit is running a whopping 150W above its rated output in this test. So to complain would be taking the pish just a little bit.

The +12v rail is the one that everybody is critical of, mainly because it's used in some way, shape or form by almost every device in the PC system. But with the MODU87+ I have nothing but praise.

Right the way through the tests it sat at or slightly above its ideal output with only a very gradual downward voltage slope being observed between Test1 and Test4 in the normal load results. Even in the TMax results where it should have been fighting for dear life, it just happily sat at 12.00v grinning at me like a Cheshire cat. Lovely job Enermax.

Of course, the main selling point for the MODU87+ is its gold level efficiency, and based on the normal load results it passes with ease. Only in Test4 when running at just shy of 700w load does it dip to 89.7% which is still plenty of headroom for meeting 80PLUS Gold level certification. The cross-load results are also extremely good with the worst being test TX1 where it dips to 85% when under a 143w load. This may sound low in comparison to the rest of the results, but most other PSU's we've tested recently barely managed to hit 80% efficiency in this test.

OK so no we've covered the basic results, lets turn the page to see the full results set including temperature results, ripple results and stability testing of the +5vSB and -12v rails.



Enermax MODU87+ 700w PSU Review Page: 5

The following results below represent the 'worst-case' output of the Enermax MODU87+ 700w PSU during a 1 hour testing period. Recording of these results was conducted using a SunMoon SM268+ load tester connected to a PC via RS232, a Fluke 50 Series II thermometer and a Rigol 25Mhz 400MSa/s oscilloscope inside a custom made heat chamber capable of maintaining a 50ºC ambient with a variation of less than 5%.

Enermax MODU87+ 700w @ 50°C
   +3.3v  +5.0v  +12v  +5vSB  -12v  AC Watts /
 DC Watts
 Efficiency  Intake /
 Exhaust
Δ Temp
Test1
(25%)
3.25A 3.25A 11.50A 0.75A  0.12A 187w /
173w
92.51% 50.1°C /
54.8°C
4.7°C
3.39v 5.05v 12.20v 5.16v  -12.12v
Test2
(50%)
7.50A 7.50A 23.00A 1.50A  0.25A  350w /
352w
92.63%  51.7°C /
58.7°C
7.0°C
3.33v 5.00v 12.12v 5.09v  -12.28v
Test3
(75%)
11.25A 11.25A 34.50A 2.25A  0.37A  571w /
525w
 91.94% 50.5C /
62.4°C
11.9°C
3.27v 4.94v 12.08v 5.03v -12.44v
Test4
(100%)
15.00A 15.00A 46.00A 3.00A 0.50A 777w /
697w
89.70%  51.8°C /
62.5°C
10.7°C
3.23v 4.88v 12.04v 4.97v -12.62v
TestX1
(x-load)
16.00A 16.00A 1.00A 0.00A 0.00A 167w /
143w
85.62% 51.5°C /
55.9°C
4.4 °C
3.27v 4.93v 12.20v 5.17v -13.21v
TestX2
(x-load)
 1.00A  1.00A  58.00A  0.00A  0.00A 766w /
706w
92.16%  50.8°C /
58.8°C
 8.0°C
3.36v 5.02v 12.04v 5.12v -13.33v
TMax1
(Max)
 17.00A 17.00A 58.00A  3.00A  0.50A 946w /
853w
90.16%  51.1°C /
71.7°C
 20.6°C
3.19v 4.85v 12.00v 4.94v -12.94v


To reiterate what's already been said over on the previous page, the MODU87+ shows excellent voltage stability on the +12v rail across all loads including the cross-load and max load tests. The +3.3v and +5v rails also manage to hold good voltages through tests 1-4, and only really trip up in the max load test.

Efficiency is among the best we've ever seen with the unit averaging around ~90%. Even in test 5 where most PSU's barely manage to achieve 80%, it pumped out a respectable 85%.

Temperatures are also under control for the most part with the exhaust temp only rising 10.7°C above the 51.8°C ambient temperature during test4. Only in test 7 where the MODU87+ was running 150w above its rated output did the unit start to loose control with the exhaust temp hitting 71.7°C, but this is to be expected as Enermax have most likely only tuned the fan control to deal with loads of up to 700w.

Enermax MODU87+ 700w Scope Results @ 50c
   +3.3v  +5.0v  +12v
Test1
(25%)
Test2
(50%)
Test3
(75%)
Test4
(100%)
TestX1
(x-load)
TestX2
(x-load)
TMax1
(MAX)


Moving on to the ripple results now, and the first thing that shows up is just how good the suppression on the +5v rail is. Seriously, the flat line across all of the tests would have paramadics administering epinephrine in an attempt to bring it back to life. For some reason though, the +3.3v rail doesn't share this trait, and instead sits between 20-30mVpp through the testing. Of course, this is by no means a poor result. But with both rails using exactly the same VRM's I do have to wonder why.

The +12v rail is yet another interesting (yet boring) result because much like the +5v rail, it hardly changes regardless of the load. Test1 is the same as Test4. Everything in between is pretty much the same. And the Max load result taken at 850w is only 4mVpp higher than at 170W!

Now let's try and cobble together some form of conclusion...



Enermax MODU87+ 700w PSU Review Page: 6

Putting aside the fact that the blingy gold fan is about the most horrific thing I've ever seen on a PSU (OK, maybe aside from the entirely gold 'EG485P-SFMA24P' PSU that Enermax made back in 2004) , the Enermax MODU87+ 700w is actually one very good PSU. Over on the efficiency side of things the unit managed to maintain efficiency levels of around 90-92% through all of the standard tests and even surprisingly in the MAX load and +12v cross-load tests. Only in the +3.3v/+5v cross-load test did efficiency drop to 85%, but this is still the highest efficiency of any PSU I've tested when under these conditions.

Voltage stability was also more than acceptable too, with the unit sitting slap-bang on its ideals at a 50% load and only sagging slightly on the +3.3/5v rails under heavy loads. The +12v rail on the other hand was faultless no matter what I threw at it, and even when the PSU was subjected to a staggering 850w load, it still managed to put out a steady 12.00v!

The ripple results were yet another win for the unit, with the +5v rail impersonating someone who'd just gone into cardiac arrest, and +12v rail not really shifting at all from 50mV regardless of the load. Only the +3.3v rail seemed to show any signs of 'normality' by starting off at around 20mV and increasing to 30mV by the time the unit was running at 700W. Granted this result isn't particularly amazing, but it's still well within spec, so its hard to criticise.

As much as I'd like to comment on the noise output of the unit, due to insane din from the load testing equipment and about 10 other nearby devices all that have their own fans it's really quite hard to say anything that i'd be happy for silent PC enthusiasts to quote. However, unofficially (with my ear pressed to the fan grill) the MODU87+ appeared to be whisper silent all the way up to 700w.

Finally, the only thing that put a dampener on an otherwise pleasant experience was the 12-Pin modular connectors. On the unit we received at least, the cables were absolute murder to plug in. This was only made worse by the cringe-worthy crunching sound they made when they finally locked into place. Not an experience you'd want to have after spending out on a new PSU.

The Good
- Extremely high efficiency. Even in cross-load tests.
- Good voltage stability, especially on the +12v rail.
- Ripple results on +5v rail extremely good.
- Appears to run very quiet even under load.
- Stable at up to 850w continuous.

The Mediocre
- Ripple results on the +3.3v rail and +12v rails reasonably good.
- Some of the modular cables are combined Molex / SATA.

The Bad
- Gold fan is ugly as sin.
- 12-Pin modular connectors a right PITA to insert.

Best In Class

Thanks to Enermax for sending the MODU87+ in for review. Discuss in our forums.