OCZ EliteXStream 1000w ATX PSU Page: 1
Introduction & Specifications
Back in May of last year Overclock3D brought you news of OCZ's acquisition
of well respected PSU manufacturer PC Power & Cooling
. Many questioned their reasoning as OCZ already had an arsenal of top quality PSU's to their name, with models such as the GameXStream and ProXStream racking up awards the world over. However, since their much loved PowerStream
unit reached the end of it's life, OCZ have been missing one thing...a high powered, single +12v rail PSU.
While most manufacturers believe that PSU's with a greater number of +12v rails will always perform (and sell?) better than those with only one or two rails, many enthusiasts including us here at OC3D would rather have all of our +12v power available to us on a single, high-powered rail. Why? simply because a true multi-railed PSU limits the user to a maximum of ~20a per rail. If any combination of components exceeds this limit, then the PSU is essentially useless.
Of course, PCP&C have quite a bit of experience in the single-railed PSU business, with units such as the Turbo-Cool 1KW-SR and Turbo-Cool 1200 packing upwards of 80 amps on their +12v rail. But where does PCP&C fit in to our review of OCZ's latest kilowatt unit; the EliteXStream?
Well, it was only a matter of time before some of PCP&C's expertise started rubbing off on OCZ, and while the EliteXStream may just look like a re-hash of GameXStream
on the surface, there's a lot more to this unit than meets the eye. However, before we perform a dissection on the unit, let's check out some of the specs sent to us by OCZ:
The OCZ EliteXStream offers enthusiasts first-class performance. This high-performance power supply can handle the most intense applications and component configurations imaginable. Highly efficient (82%) and with a trend-setting setting single +12v rail (80A), the EliteXStream will provide optimum power distribution to your high-performance components. The EliteXStream PSU has a standard ATX form factor allowing it to easily fit in to your favorite case. Combined with a 5-year warranty, the OCZ EliteXStream gives you the ultimate power peace of mind.
• 1000w total power @ 50°C
• Powerful single rail +12VDC @ 80a
• Premium sag & surge protection (.99 PFC)
• Ultra-high efficiency (82%)
• 24-Pin, 8-Pin, 8-SATA, 8-Standard, 1-Mini
• 4 PCI-E and 17 Drive connectors
• High reliability (100,000 hr. MTBF)
• Nvidia SLI Ready
• OCZ Premium PowerSwap 5yr warranty
One of the lesser known facts about PSU's is that as the temperature of the components inside the unit increases, the maximum sustainable power output decreases. Many less-reputable manufacturers take advantage of this fact by measuring the power output of their units at unrealistic ambient temperatures of around 25°C. However, as we can see from the specs above, the EliteXstream is designed to deliver its full 1kw payload at a much more realistic temperature of 50°C.
OCZ have measured the efficiency of the EliteXstream at an "ultra-high" level of 82%. While this certainly exceeds the requirements of the 80Plus certification programme, it doesn't quite match up to some of the latest units from other manufacturers which are capable of 85-87% efficiency.
Finally, the last of the noteworthy specifications has to be the 5yr Premium PowerSwap warranty. This warranty ensures that you receive a brand new PSU from OCZ should yours ever fail, avoiding those lengthy waits commonly encountered with manufacturers who insist on trying to repair your PSU rather than replace it. Of course, any warranty is only worth its salt if you can actually make contact the manufacturer. So we put OCZ's support department to the test by raising a faux RMA request on a ProXstream unit....and sure enough, within 2 hours we had a reply from them with details of how to send out unit back.
OCZ EliteXStream 1000w ATX PSU Page: 2
One area that PCP&C certainly haven't manage to influenced OCZ on is the packaging. While most PCP&C units come in a plain cardboard box, OCZ have gone for a similar design to that of their StealthXstream
range with a dark blue and black theme combined with orange and white lettering.
The top of the box keeps things fairly simple with only a picture of the unit and some basic specifications. The bold white 1000w lettering entices potential buyers to investigate further by flipping the packaging on any of its sides to reveal a more detailed features list and technical specification chart. On opening the box we are presented with the EliteXStream unit securely positioned between two cardboard backed styrofoam inserts and all cables and accessories neatly tucked at the sides.
Overall, the packaging is fairly basic - but certainly very functional, and should be more than capable of keeping the unit safe during shipping.
Moving on to the actual contents of the box, the EliteXStream comes with all of the standard accessories including a power cord, ATX screws and an operators manual. Much more interesting than all of that is the "OCZ Technology Certified Test Report" printed on two sheets of A4 paper. This is the same test report included on all of PCP&C's units, and is actually produced by their $100,000 Chroma 8000 ATE
By hand testing every EliteXStream before being shipped from the factory, OCZ are providing buyers with an unmatched level of reassurance that their latest purchase will operate as expected when plugged into their PC's. Great job OCZ!
With a matte black powder coated finish and top-mounted 120mm fan, the EliteXStreme isn't quite as glamorous as some of the other 1kw+ units on the market at the moment. However, when you take into consideration that the unit will most likely be hidden in an un-windowed part of the average PC case, paying out extra just to have PSU with a mirrored finish or illuminated features seems like a waste of money.
Measuring in at just 86x150x160 (HxWxD) the EliteXStreme is amazingly compact and should fit into almost any PC case. A large portion of this space saving is down to the top-mounted 120mm fan which allows the unit to be 25-30mm shorter than an 80mm fan cooled PSU. This particular layout does come at the cost of decreased headroom inside the case for taller components such as capacitors, but hopefully OCZ will have chosen suitable (shorter) alternatives for the job.
At the back of the unit is a honeycomb mesh grill along with a sideways mounted power socket, switch and LED. Personally I'd like to see manufacturers going for larger, more industrial power switches on their high-end units as I've often found that this style of switch is more prone to arcing and general failure.
OCZ EliteXStream 1000w ATX 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 taking a look inside the EliteXStream we should be able to identify some of the components used and get a good feel for the overall build quality of the unit.
OCZ EliteXStream 1000w (Left) vs OCZ GameXStream 850w (Right)
It's clear to see that PCP&C have played a part in the design and manufacture of the EliteXStreme with the internal layout and components being worlds apart from the StealthXStream and GameXStream. Not only is the EliteXStream jam packed from corner to corner with components, but the cooling design is also significantly different from the other aforementioned units, with two large aluminium finned heatsinks spanning the entire length of the PSU.
While many of the 1kw+ units we've tested recently have only featured one or two capacitors, OCZ have taken the EliteXStream one step further by kitting it out with a total of three high quality Hitachi manufactured caps rated at 105°C / 330uF / 420v. In addition, the EliteXStream also features two large transformers (most likely responsible for the +12v and +5v rails) with a smaller transformer just off to the right.
Over to the right of the unit are three small potentiometers attached to an up-right mounted PCB. These can be used to adjust the voltage output on each of the EliteXStream's primary rails by rotating them with a screwdriver. It's a shame that OCZ didn't make these pots easily accessible from the outside of the PSU casing (a la Powerstream
), but from what we've already seen of the EliteXStream it's unlikely that any changes would be necessary.
Also tucked away inside the unit is an oversized input filter attached to the back of the AC inlet. While almost all PSU's incorporate some form of power conditioning, the filter used inside the EliteXStream should be more than capable of filtering out minor power surges and bad line noise on the worst of mains circuits.
Cooling the unit is a Protechnic MGA12012HF-025 120mm fan rated at 38.3dBA when spinning at full speed. Incidentally this is the very same fan as used in the GameXStream series PSU's (minus the blue LED's), and with any luck it will be equally as quiet.
Cables & Connectors
Another area that OCZ have taken some pointers from PCP&C is in the cable sleeving department. Where as most of OCZ's previous units have featured "fully" sleeved cables, the black mesh sleeving used on the EliteXStream stops at the first connector. Having queried this with PCP&C in the past, the reason given is that it allows the cables to be more flexible and places less strain on the devices that the connectors are plugged in to.
The EliteXStream features a total of eight PATA and eight SATA connectors with four connectors per cable. While this is roughly average for a PSU of this wattage, having four connectors to every cable could possibly be limiting for those of us with large cases who only need 1-2 connectors in a particular area of their system.
OCZ have given legacy motherboards the boot by kitting out the EliteXStream with a 24-Pin ATX connector and 8-Pin EPS-12v connector. Should you still be using a motherboard that only requires a 4-Pin P4-12v connector (or dare i say it - a 20-Pin ATX connector), then you will need to purchase the relevant adapter cables separately.
The unit is also equipped with a total of four PCI-E connectors, two of which can be converted from their default 6-Pin format to 8-Pin enabling support for the very latest power hungry graphics cards. Unfortunately, despite the sheer amount of power that the EliteXtreame has available, the lack of two extra PCI-E cables means that the unit cannot be used in a Triple-SLI system without molex adapter cables.
OCZ EliteXStream 1000w ATX 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.
Note: Due to a limitation with the power supply testing hardware, the maximum load that we could place on the EliteXSream across each of the three rails listed above was 919w. However, despite having a shortfall of 81w against the units maximum rated output of 1000w, the tests still give a good representation of how the unit performs under full load.
The first thing we notice from the results is that under 0w load, each of the rails on the unit are extremely close to their ideal +12v, +5v and +3.3v values. This just goes to show that OCZ have faith in the EliteXStream to hold it's voltages under load, and thus do not need to "overvolt" the rails to compensate for poor voltage regulation like a lot of other manufacturers.
Even at a load of 919w, the EliteXStream manages to stay well within ATX guidelines of ±5% with the largest fluctuation exhibited on the +12v rail being only 0.10v
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.
As discussed over the previous pages, OCZ rate the EliteXStream at an "Ultra-high" efficiency level of 82%. While this may not be as impressive as the 85-87% efficiency we've seen on many other units recently, the EliteXStream does live up to its specifications managing a full 82.35% efficiency at 919w.
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.
While most high-powered PSU's have trouble maintaining low noise levels when under heavy loads, the EliteXStream managed this effortlessly with noise output only rising by 7.5dBA from idle to 919w load. Temperatures inside the unit were also extremely good with the unit staying well under 40°C (ambient temperature of 19°C).
OCZ EliteXStream 1000w ATX PSU Page: 5
Having reviewed more than our fair share of 1KW+ PSU's here at Overclock3D, the OCZ EliteXStream is most definitely one of our favourites. Combining excellent performance along with a compact size that ensures even those of us with small cases have enough juice to power a multi-gpu setup, the EliteXStream is without doubt one of the best PSU's OCZ have released to date.
Of course it would be rude to go though this conclusion without mentioning the influence that PC Power & Cooling have had on the EliteXStream. The single 80 amp +12v rail and and high-quality internal components are all typical of PCP&C unit, and the inclusion of a Chroma 8000 ATE test report just goes to show that every unit has been individually hand tested to both OCZ and PCP&C's high standards before leaving the factory.
Unfortunately we don't have a definite UK price for the EliteXStream as yet, so it's quite hard to give the unit a complete final score. However, OCZ have told us that the unit will be retailing in the USA for around $230 and have given us a preliminary figure of £115 for the UK market. If the unit does indeed hit UK stores at anywhere near this price, it is certainly set to cause quite a stir!
• Compact size ensures that the EliteXStream will fit into almost all cases.
• Extremely stable rails with no over-volting at 0% load.
• High quality components.
• Quiet and cool.
• Single, high-powered +12v rail.
• 5yr warranty with excellent tech support.
• Individually tested with result print-out included.
• Hopefully the price!
• 82% efficiency is good, but we've seen better.
• Cables not fully sleeved - spoils the look a bit.
Thanks to OCZ
for providing the EliteXStream for review. Discuss this review in our forums