OCZ EvoStream 600w Modular PSU Page: 1
Introduction

Back in 2005 OCZ released it's first attempt at a modular power supply into the market aptly named the ModStream. The unit proved to be very popular amongst enthusiasts as it combined a lot of the features found on the highly regarded PowerStream unit along with a cool UV modular cabling system.

Rated at 520w the ModStream had more than enough power for the high-end systems of 2005, and continued to provide enough grunt for most of the PC upgrades people performed in 2006.

However, the modular power supply has come a long way recently, with most manufacturers having ranges starting at 600w and going up to over 750w. OCZ have recognized this, and have stepped up their game by releasing the newly designed EvoStream unit rated at 600w that I'll be testing out today.


Packaging

The first thing that struck me about the EvoStream was it's weight. Compared with some other ~600w units I've tested in the past, it felt significantly heavier. This is often a sign of a well built power supply, but we'll find out for sure when we take a peek inside later on in the review.

OCZ EvoStream 600w Packaging OCZ EvoStream 600w Packaging

The packaging design is very much reminiscent of the recently reviewed GameXStream unit and is yet again designed to turn heads.

The front and left side of the packaging offers some basic information about the EvoStream along with some pictures of the unit in action. From the above we can see that the unit is multi-gpu ready, has a 3 year warranty and is equipped with UV reactive modular cabling.

OCZ EvoStream 600w Packaging OCZ EvoStream 600w Modular

The back of the box gives some basic information about the EvoStream's rail distribution, along with some more detailed information about OCZ's 3 year warranty.

During the review of the OCZ GameXStream, we actually put OCZ's support e-mail address to the test. Within 42 minutes of sending an e-mail complaining about a faulty unit, we received a reply from a real person giving us information on what else is should try before completing an RMA application. Impressive.

OCZ EvoStream Packaging OCZ ModStream 600w Packaging

OCZ EvoStream 600w Packaging

The EvoStream unit is sandwiched in between two large Styrofoam mouldings that provide excellent protection from drops and knocks on all sides of the packaging. The unit is also placed in a plastic bag that ensures you don't cover the unit's reflective finish in finger prints before you even get the chance to install it in your PC.

Placed on top of the unit is a separate box containing all of the EvoStream's cables along with a power cord and ATX screws.



OCZ EvoStream 600w Modular PSU Page: 2
Specifications

The following information has been taken directly from OCZ's website:

"Ideal for the performance-minded and high-power user, the EvoStream combines leading-edge technology with a classic, sleek look that system builders and LAN gamers are fond of.

To optimize airflow and elimination of cable mazes, the EvoStream power supply is equipped with EZMod technology to allow complete customization of your power system by utilizing only the cables you require.

Next generation CPUs and high performance graphics cards are essential to modern gamers and enthusiasts; the rock solid EvoStream is built to provide sufficient output to power dual GPU and CPU platforms, complete with two PCI-Express cables and a 4/8 CPU auxiliary connector. With a sustained output of 600W and four +12V rails to provide uniform distribution of power, the EvoStream is well-suited for and driving today's higher end systems."


• 600W Configuration
• Multi-GPU Ready
• Internal 80mm fan
• 3 year warranty backed by OCZ’s exclusive PowerSwap™ replacement program.
• ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V
• OCZ ConnectAll™ universal connectors:
° 1 x 20+4Pin ATX
° 1 x 4-pin/8-pin CPU
° 2 x PCI-E
° 2 x 4-pin peripheral (1+1 4-pin Conn.)
° 1 x 4-pin peripheral & 4-pin floppy
° 1 x 4-pin peripheral
° 2 x S-ATA (1+1 SATA)
• High efficiency 75% @ Full load
• Overvoltage/Overcurrent/Short-Circuit protection
• Active PFC
• Rail layout (Max ratings):
° +3.3V(20A)
° +5V(30A)
° +12V1(15A), +12V2(15A), +12V3(15A), +12V4(15A)

We can see from above that the EvoStream has 4x +12v rails each rated at 15a peak. Peak values are only sustainable for a small amount of time, and I would imagine that the EvoStream is more likely to provide a constant output of around 12-13a per rail.

Some people see quoting peak ratings as a way of "cheating the figures", and for this reason I'd like to see OCZ quoting sustainable outputs alongside the maximum outputs.



OCZ EvoStream 600w Modular PSU Page: 3
Appearance

Not wanting to disappoint PowerStream and ModStream fans, OCZ have decided to give the EvoStream the same electroplated gunmetal finish as their previous units. Electroplating looks simply stunning and produces a near-mirror finish comparable to a quality paint job.


OCZ EvoStream 600w Back OCZ EvoStream 600w Surface

Photographing the unit and indeed keeping my fingerprints off of the reflective surface proved quite a task. Luckily a quick wipe with a duster is all it took to return the unit to its former glory.

The back of the unit sports a Blue LED fan protected with an electroplated fan grill complete with a metal backed OCZ sticker. OCZ have also gone for a rather funky looking power switch that is significantly slimmer than standard switches found on other power supplies.

OCZ EvoStream 600w Side OCZ EvoStream 600w Front

The sides and back of the unit sport generously large grills that provide the unit with the breathing space needed for the 80mm fan to do its job.

As you can see from the images above, the EvoStream is fully modular meaning that you only need to connect the cables required for your system. Unfortunately OCZ went with white connectors on the back of the unit that clash with the dark electroplated finish. Personally I think that black connectors would have been a much better option.



OCZ EvoStream 600w Modular PSU Page: 4
Connectors

OCZ's previous modular PSU - the ModStream was always admired by 'Modders' for it's UV reactive modular cabling system. Let's see if the EvoStream has taken these desirable qualities on-board...

OCZ EvoStream 600w Connector OCZ EvoStream 600w Cable

The EvoStream has a total of 10 connectors on the front of the unit. Six of these make use of the ATX/PCI-E style connector, with the other 4 using the aging molex style connector.

What I found slightly disturbing was that OCZ had used the same 6-Pin style PCI-E connector for connecting SATA cables. Users not paying attention to the EvoStream's manual or not noticing the subtle difference in the connectors colours could easily cause damage to their SATA/PCI-E devices by plugging the cables into the incorrect connectors.

OCZ EvoStream 600w Connectors OCZ EvoStream 600w Connectors

The EvoStream is provided with a total of 10 cables - just enough to populate every connector on the EvoStream unit. All cables are RFI/EMI shielded and finished in a UV blue reactive coating.

OCZ EvoStream 600w ATX OCZ EvoStream 600w P4-12V

The ATX connector on the EvoStream is native 24-pin. However, as you can see above, a small block of 4 connectors can be broken off to switch the connector to 20-pin, and thus make it compatible with older motherboards. This is also true for the 8-Pin EPS12v connector which can be split in half, providing the user with a 4-Pin P4-12v connector.

ATX P4-EPS PCI-E

SATA Molex Floppy



OCZ EvoStream 600w Modular PSU Page: 5
Looking Inside

Now for my favourite part of PSU testing - lifting the hood and having a poke around inside! By doing this I should be able to get a good idea of the overall build quality of the unit and how it is likely to perform in our tests.

OCZ EvoStream 600w Inside OCZ EvoStream 600w Inside

I was really surprised to see that the EvoStream was based on a dual PCB design. Normally this is only seen in high wattage power supplies that need to make full use of the casing without extending the length of the PSU. The layout of the unit seemed rather crowded but had been kept as tidy as possible with the use of cable ties.

Several aluminium heatsinks can be seen at various places on the circuit boards, the largest being at the top of the unit that has the responsibility of keeping the mosfets cool.

OCZ EvoStream 600w PCB OCZ EvoStream 600w PCB

From the images above we can see that the upper of the two boards (pictured right) has a single transformer with a wire-wound inductor alongside. Around the other side of the board is a large bank of small capacitors rather than a one or two large capacitors as seen on most other power supplies.

The lower part of the board (pictured left) contains several more inductors along with another large aluminium heatsink cooling multiple mosfets. At the back of the board we can also see a small transformer most likely responsible for 3.3/5v transformation.

OCZ EvoStream 600w PCB OCZ EvoStream 600w Pots

During my inspection of the EvoStream I found the logo of a company called PloTech printed on the PCB. Normally this would indicate that the power supplies internals were produced by an industry manufacturer. However, with no previous history of PloTech manufacturing power supplies it is unlikely that they are responsible for the EvoStream.

The EvoStream also has several adjustable potentiometers (pots) on the upper PCB, which are often responsible for fine-tuning the output voltages of the unit. However, a layer of glue as been applied to the pots to prevent them from being tampered with.

OCZ EvoStream 600w Fan

The EvoStream makes use of a clear Blue LED 80mm fan manufactured by Protechnic Electrics. I was unable to find any definite figures for this fan, but a Japanese site seemed to suggest that the fan is rated at 31.9dbA at a speed of 2400rpm.



OCZ EvoStream 600w Modular PSU Page: 6
Load Testing

In order for the results from all current and future PSU reviews to remain fair and comparable, Overclock3D uses a custom built Power Supply load stress tester.

The tester will be placing the following loads on each of the EvoStream's rails:

+3.3v - 20a Load
+5.0v - 20a Load
+12v1 - 10a Load
+12v2 - 10a Load
+12v3 - 10a Load
+12v4 - 10a Load

The results are collected from a Mastech MAS-345 Multimeter which logs its readings via RS232 to a PC.

OCZ EvoStream 600w +3.3v OCZ EvoStream 600w +5.0v

OCZ EvoStream 600w +12v1 OCZ EvoStream 600w +12v2

OCZ EvoStream 600w +12v3 OCZ EvoStream 600w +12v4

From the graphs above we can see that the EvoStream managed good voltage stability across all rails, staying well within ATX specifications and keeping fluctuation under 0.10v in most cases.


Efficiency Testing

Efficiency tests are performed by measuring the wattage consumed by the power supply at the mains against the power (in watts) consumed by the OC3D power supply stress tester. These results may not be 100% accurate, but have proven to be extremely close to results obtained from professional equipment.

OCZ EvoStream 600w Efficiency

The EvoStream was placed under a load of 646 watts. This counts for a total of 107% of the power supplies rated output. At this load, the power supply required 831 watts from the mains. Therefore the efficiency of this power supply can be found by a simple equation: (646 / 831) * 100, which works out to be an efficiency rating of 77.7%.


Noise Testing

Possibly the hardest part of any PSU review is summarising the level of noise given out by the unit. The threshold for what is considered 'noisy' varies from person to person and therefore what I may consider a quiet unit, another person may consider extremely loud. A common way to resolve this issue is to use a dBA meter to measure the units noise level, however this doesn't take into account the pitch (type) of noise emitted and whether it is likely to irritate end users.

For this reason OC3D records all power supplies at idle and load in wav format for you to make your own informed decisions. All recordings are taken at 30cm away from the PSU and outside of a PC case. You will need to remember that noise levels will be reduced by varying amounts once the PSU has been installed inside your PC enclosure.

Idle Recording - Download
Load Recording - Download

As you can probably hear from the recordings above, the EvoStream is not a silent power supply. At idle the fan is clearly audible both inside and outside of a PC case, and left me wondering if the fan really did need to run so fast as very little heat was pushed out of the unit. At load the fan speed increased significantly making the unit louder still. Personally I would not recommend this power supply for anybody seeking a silent PC setup.



OCZ EvoStream 600w Modular PSU Page: 7
Conclusion

Having never had the opportunity to test OCZ ModStream unit, it makes my job a little harder when trying to decide if the EvoStream unit is a suitable successor. The EvoStream is certainly one sexy looking power supply, and being a big fan of the electroplated finish the EvoStream certainly won my heart in the looks department.

The modular cabling system is not without it's flaws - namely the ability to plug PCI-E cables into SATA connectors on the unit and visa-versa, and people not observing the EvoStream's manual may run into problems. This is a shame considering that the cables on the unit look simply awesome and are shielded from interference by the meshed metal sleeving.

I was pleasantly surprised by the voltage stability results of the EvoStream, managing to keep all rails well within ATX specification and most under 0.10v fluctuation. During the testing the unit also managed 77% efficiency which is 2% above the efficiency rating given by OCZ but still a little lower than most other power supplies on the market at the moment.

Komplett


Pro's
• Sexy looking electroplated finish.
• Fully modular system with UV reactive cables.
• All cables shielded from interference.
• Good voltage stability.
• Very well packaged.

Con's
• Efficiency not as high as other recent PSU's on the market.
• May be too noisy for some of us.
• Ability to plug cables into incorrect connectors on PSU.
• Over priced compared to other units in its range.

Recommended

Thanks to OCZ for providing this unit for review.

Discuss this review in our forums.