Gold, Silver, Bronze...
Three 'precious' metals that mean everything to Olympic athletes, children running the egg and spoon race, and of course, power supply manufacturers! When the organisation responsible for 80PLUS gave us these three new standards back in 2008, PSU manufacturers around the globe scrambled to bring their units up to standard, firstly aiming for bronze, silver and then inevitably gold.
Of course, I don't think the guys at 80PLUS realised how competitive the PSU market is, and in no time at all we saw a raft of power supplies on the shelves boasting the Gold 80PLUS standard. Therefore it's no surprise that just over a year later in October 2009 they upped the anti once more publishing the requirements for a new 80PLUS Platinum standard.
Ironically, the new 80PLUS Platinum standard is the first one coined that requires a PSU to have 90% plus efficiency across the entire load range on a 240v wall socket. These extremely high efficiency requirements have kept manufacturers busy for the best part of 2 years trying to come up with new ways of designing PSU's that don't compromise on power output performance while doing so with as little energy wastage as possible.
Today I'm going to see if Enermax's efforts have achieved this goal with their recently released Platimax 1000w unit, so let's waste no more time and check out the specs.
• 80 PLUS® Platinum*
89 to 94 percent efficiency at 230V and 20 to 100 percent load. 80 PLUS® Platinum certified.
* EPM1500EGT is designed for 220-240V. It even surpasses 80 PLUS® Platinum requirements with 90 to 95% efficiency.
• FMQ Design*
High-performance power supply topology to use all magnetic quadrants of the main transformer and to achieve maximum efficiency and rock stable output voltage.
* only EPM1200EWT and EPM1500EGT
• 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.
* only EPM500AWT, EPM600AWT, EPM750AWT, EPM850EWT and EPM1000EWT
• Copper Bridge Array*
Innovative and patented transmission technology for direct voltage transmission to reduce the wire-resistance and to increase the efficiency. Optimized air circulation due to clear and spacious PCB design.
* only EPM1200EWT and EPM1500EGT
• ErP Lot 6 ready!
Help systems to meet EU eco-design directive ErP/EuP Lot 6 (<1W in standby mode) due to improved, high-efficient 5V standby (+5Vsb) circuitry.
* only in combination with an ErP Lot 6 ready Mainboard
• 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).
• Multi Rail Design*
Stable and safe power supply thanks to up to six high-performance and massive 12V rails each with separated over current protection (OCP). Extremely low ripple noise.
* except EPM1000EWT
• Special OC Edition
EPM1000EWT with one powerful and rock stable 12V rail for maximum performance to support systems with extremely overclocked CPU and/or GPU.
• 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.
• Intel ATX12V v2.3
Compliant with latest desktop power supply design guide. Full support of most current CPU: Intel® Core 2 Duo™ / Quad™ / Extreme™ / Core i7™ / i5™ / i3™, “Sandy Bridge“ and AMD® Athlon™ II X2 / X3 / X4 Phenom™ II X2 / X3 / X4 / X6, “Bulldozer™“ or “Llano™“.
Compliant with SSI PSDG for the new Intel® Core™ Extreme/i7, Xeon™ and AMD® Opteron™ and downward compatible with EPS12V v2.92, v2.8.
*only EPM850EWT, EPM1000EWT, EPM1200EWT and EPM1500EGT
• 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™ and CrossFireX™ systems.
• 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).
Path-breaking and leading fan speed control to ensure effective and silent cooling. Unmatched 300 to max. 1,000 RPM.
* EPM1200EWT: 600 to 1,500 RPM / EPM1500EGT: 900 to 2,000 RPM
Keeping PSU fan running for 30-60 seconds after shut down to dissipate the remaining system heat and prolonging system lifetime.
Industry-leading multiple protection circuitry of OCP, OVP, DC UVP, OPP, OTP, SCP & SIP.
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.
* EPM1200EWT/EPM1500EWT: non-stop industrial performance at 40°C
• High-quality Japanese Capacitors
Highest Enermax quality standards for leading stability and maximum durability. 105°C Japanese electrolytic capacitors without exception.
As I've come to expect from Enermax, the list is certainly long and was no doubt compiled by a team of marketing guru's to ensure it could easily fill every square inch of the packaging. One thing that I do find quite intriguing is that a lot of the features are model dependent and are only available on the higher output models. You won't see all these features in the list above (as I needed to trim it down a tad), but things like the FMQ Design, Copper Bridge Array, Fully-Modular Cable Management and Extreme Density Transformers are only available on the 1200w and 1500w models - not the 1000w model I've got here today.
However, the 1000w model does have something going for it that the others don't - a single beefy +12v rail! This is what makes the model I'm reviewing today the "Super Overclock Edition"...and of course...all of the other models not-so-super overclock editions! Of course, I jest. But it is quite intriguing to see that Enermax, a company that have always backed the multi-rail +12v design for its superior safety, going against the grain and producing a 1000w PSU with enough amps on the +12v rail to tig weld scaffolding together!
|Enermax Platimax 1000w Rail Layout|
It's not all flying sparks and welding masks across the entire rail layout though, with the +3.3v and +5v rails putting out a rather limp wristed 20A each and a maximum of 100w between them. This is the lowest output I've seen in a long while, and even including PSU's with outputs as low as 750w, still falls around 40-50% short of what I'd consider the norm. Maybe this is due to the lack of devices in the modern PC that operate at these voltages, or possibly a necessity in order to reach platinum level efficiency. Regardless, buyers of the Platimax will have the last say in whether they need the extra power on these rails - and my guess is that they won't.
Moving on to the actual contents of the packaging, it would seem that Enermax have taken a more traditional approach to delivering the Platimax in comparison to the MaxRevo reviewed recently. A single cardboard box has been used along with three cardboard inserts to create sections for the modular cables, mains cord and hard-wired cables to be stored. Also included in the bundle is some branded velcro cable ties, some screws, an Enermax badge and a mains cable retainer clip.
The appearance of the Platimax is, in a word, sublime. I've never been one to go for the whole 'gamer' appearance of garish red/green PSU's with flashing LED's and LCD screens, so it's great to see that Enermax have kept the Platimax relatively simple despite being in the "Super Overclock Edition" guise. The entire unit is finished in a textured grey/black powdercoat along with white "Platimax" decals down the sides. The fan grille and surround are also electroplated in a highy reflective gunmetal style coating which completes the look. If only all Enermax PSU's were this gold-free :)
Now let's move on and see what the inside of the PSU has in store...
Internals & Cables
PSU's have progressed a lot over the last few years, and it certainly shows in their internal designs. For example, if we take a look at the images below of the Enermax Revolution 950w released in 2009 (Right) against the Platimax 1000w (Left) it's clear to see that improvements in efficiency have resulted in a much cleaner PCB layout with a smaller number of components required for generating roughly the same output. Additionally the need for heavy duty heatsinks has also been reduced with much less energy being wasted as heat.
Pictured below-left are the two main transformers for the Platimax. As many of you will already know from previous reviews, the larger of the two is used to step down mains voltage to +12vDC, which is then converted by the two daughter-boards in the image on the right for producing the +3.3v and +5v outputs. As I mentioned in the introduction, these two rails are only capable of delivering a total of 100w combined which is reflected by the small PCB sizes. The smaller of the two transformers is uses solely for delivery +5v stand-by voltage when the PSU is effectively switched off.
Japanese is the dish of the day when it comes to the capacitors with both the primary and the secondary side of the unit sporting some nice Nippon Chemicon KZE/KMR components. As promised in the specs, all caps are rated to 105c which should ensure longevity - but in all seriousness this specification is becoming more a case of keeping up with the jones' rather than an actual requirement.
The fan used inside the Platimax is labelled up as an Enermax EA142512M-0A. Unfortunately the actual specs of this fan are quite elusive, and other than the fact that it employs a 'twister bearing' to reduce noise and improve performance, there's very little else I can say. I will however let you into a secret though (which is normally saved for the conclusion), it was VERY quiet during my testing, even with the PSU running at full output.
Finally I need to say something about the Platimax's modular cables. They are ugly. Seriously though, as I mentioned in the MAXREVO review, it really is about time that Enermax switched to a less vulgar sleeving and made more of an effort to run the sleeving right up to the base of the connector. It may seem like I'm nit picking here, but with a plethora of good quality PSU's on the market these days, a consumers purchasing decision can often be swayed by appearance alone.
|Enermax Platimax 1000w Connectors|
|ATX Connector||Native||1x 24 Pin|
|EPS-12v / P4-12v Connector(s)||Modular||1x 4+4 Pin / 1x 8 Pin|
|Floppy Disk Connectors||Modular||1x|
|PCI-E Connectors||Native / Modular||6x 6+2 Pin|
In terms of what you actually get though, the Platimax is quite well equipped. Twelve SATA connectors for those monster RAID arrays, 8 Molex connectors for the cathodes and fan controllers, Six PCI-E connectors for that SLI/Crossfire fix and finally a hard-wired ATX connector and two motherboard connectors for that power thirsty dual-CPU server board.
Now on to the fun stuff...
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.
It looks like we're off to a good start with the +3.3v rail which sits at a supremely accurate 3.33v in test one and drops by only 0.10v by the time it hits full load in test four. This stability also continues into the cross-load results where we can see the application of load on only the +3.3v and +5v rails on TX1 has very little effect on the output, and neither does the load only being placed on the +12v rail in TX2. In fact, the only place that the Platimax shows signs of weakness is during the TMax test which overloads the PSU by 333w.
The +5v rail follows suit with an almost exact trace of the graph from the +3.3v rail. Voltages start of at 5.03v in test one, which is pretty damn good (and shows that Enermax aren't artificially increasing the idle voltages so that the load voltages appear to be better) and dip to 4.94v by test four giving a fluctuation of 0.09v from idle to full load. The cross-load results match those of the +3.3v rail, whereas the TMax overload result is ever so slightly better.
Moving on to the +12v rail, we can see from the graph that it doesn't follow the trend of the other two rails, but is in fact even more stable with only a very shallow gradient representing the 0.14v voltage fluctuation from the idle to full load results. The cross-load results are also admirable with only a small dip in voltage output in TX2 when the +12v rail is subjected to a full load of 998w. Furthermore, unlike the +3.3v and 5v rails the +12v rail does not suffer in the TMax load test, with the output staying perfectly in-check at 11.98v.
Efficiency is one of the primary selling points of the Platimax unit and therefore it's relieving to see that it manages over 90% efficiency across tests 1-4 and peaks at 95.6% efficiency during the cross-load test TX2. Most importantly of all though is that our results back up Enermax's claims to an 80PLUS Platinum badge with 94.69% efficiency at 50% load (94% required), 93.44% efficiency at 100% load (91% required) and 90.35% efficiency at 25% load (~90% required).
Now let's move on to the raw data results and ripple testing over on the next page...
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 PLATIMAX 1000w 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 provide the extra grunt for our max load testing.
As usual, all testing is conducted at 50°C (±5%) with the results being recorded using a Fluke Multimeter and Thermostat.
|Enermax Platimax 1000w @ 50c|
|+3.3v||+5.0v||+12v||+5vSB||-12v|| AC Watts /|
|Efficiency|| Intake /|
|94.69%|| 50.2°C /|
|93.44%|| 50.4°C /|
To reiterate what has already been said over on the previous page, the Enermax Platimax manages excellent voltage stability on all rails under both normal usage scenario's and also our additional cross-load and max-load testing. The highlight of the testing however has to be the fact that the Platimax 1000w was able to pump out 33% more power than what was written on the box. At 1333w the +3.3v and +5v rails did start to show signs of some strain with the voltages dipping to their lowest outputs, but the rock solid +12v rail continued to supply a whopping 98.20A with a voltages just a smidgen below 12.0v.
|Enermax Platimax 1000w Scope Results @ 50c|
Ripple refers to the small fluctuations in voltage that occur in all PSU's on a millisecond scale. Large quantities of ripple on a PSU can damage or kill components in your PC over time and therefore testing a PSU's performance in this area is just as important as any other part. ATX specification states that ripple should be no higher than 50mV on the +3.3v/+5v rails and 120mV on the +12v rails, so what we're looking for in the screenshots above is for all rails to stay well within these limits during Test 1-4 at the very least.
The good news is that they do, and despite the ripple results not being what I would consider 'excellent', they are certainly in the 'very good' territory and perfectly acceptable for a high-end PSU. In fact, maybe I'm being a tad harsh on the Platimax because even when overloaded by 33% (1333w) in the TMax1 test all of the rails manage to remain within specifications.
Now to sum everything up....
With the Platimax 1000w review coming fresh off the back of my previous MaxRevo 1350w review, it's hard not to make some comparisons between the two. Firstly in terms of looks, the Platimax is certainly an improvement. Gone is the garish gold fan surround in favour of a gunmetal black finish, and likewise the gold lettering down the sides of the unit have be replaced with white. Unfortunately though, the Platimax still uses the damn ugly gold/red striped sleeving which clashes with just about everything. Seriously Enermax, would it have really blown the budget to replace this with some black sleeving interwoven with some subtle silver stripes to mark the release of your first 80Plus Platinum PSU?
Moving on to the more important things, efficiency is obviously where Enermax have concentrated their efforts on the Platimax in order to bring it up to 80PLUS Platinum standards. The good news of course is that the unit met these standards during our testing, if only by the skin on it's teeth. What I find quite curious though is that the 80Plus Gold rated MaxRevo actually offers slightly better efficiency at lower load levels! For example, if we compare the two graphs here and here we can see that the MaxRevo offers 3% better efficiency at 25% load and 1% at 50% load. This may well be a moot point though as anyone investing in a 1000w+ PSU is unlikely (I would hope) to run it at such low load levels.
Often when pushing the boundaries of one area in a PSU's design, another area will suffer. I've seen this situation in the past when manufacturers have tried desperately to improve voltage stability, but as a result cross-load results or maximum power output suffer. Thankfully though the Platimax doesn't appear to have this trait, and performs excellently in both the voltage stability and ripple testing. I would possibly even go as far as to say the Platimax has some of the most stable voltages of any PSU tested recently here at OC3D. Ripple suppression is also quite good, but once again slightly overshadowed by the MaxRevo..although not to the point where it should affect a purchasing decision.
So in summary, the Platimax is a highly efficient, stable PSU with decent ripple suppression and good looks. I can't lie and say that it is perfect, but it certainly offers a high enough mix of goodness to earn our OC3D Gold award.
Thanks to Enermax for the Platimax on test today, you can discuss your thoughts in our forums.