Quantcast
 


Mushkin XP-650AP (w/PFC) Power Supply Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     April 24, 2007




Mushkin XP-650AP (w/PCF) Power Supply Review





Table of Contents:
Intro
1- The Packaging
2- Exterior Observations
3- Interior Impressions
4- Efficiency Testing
5- Voltage Regulation Testing
6- +12V AC Ripple Testing
7- Noise and Heat
8- Conclusions


Price: PRICE DROP ANNOUNCEMENT!!! $130CAD
Packaging: Retail
Fan Size: 2x 80mm

Cord Lengths and Connectors:
- Molex: 6 Connectors
o 2x 24 ” length (2 connectors each)
o 2x 19 ” length (1 connector each)

- SATA: 8 Connectors
o 2x 30” length (4 connectors each)

- PCI-E: 2 Connector
o 2x 21 ” length

- 4-Pin Floppy: 1 Connector
o 2x 25” length (at end of Molex cord w/one molex connector)

- 20+4 ATX Connector: 18” Length

- 8-Pin CPU Connector: 18” Length



Mushkin has been a name which has been synonymous with high-quality ram and great customer service for years now. About two years ago Mushkin branched into the power supply business about with the release of their HP-550 and XP-650 units. These releases were then followed by their HP-580AP unit which was introduced to rave reviews.

The XP-650 lineup was first released without Active PFC but Mushkin soon decided to refresh this particular power supply by adding Active PCF. This is the unit we will be reviewing taking a look at today. Mushkin is one of the few companies which has released only modular power supplies and this unit follows that trend.

Since their inception, all of Mushkin’s power supplies have been made by Topower. This OEM has had quite mixed results with other power supplies in the past, with some performing quite well while others had lackluster performance. We hope that this unit is one of Topower’s better performers.

All of Mushkin’s power supplies come with a 5 year warranty along with Mushkin’s amazing customer support. From my experience, their phone lines are manned by friendly and helpful representatives who all seem to give the impression that they care about their products and really want to help you.

This review is also being treated as a de-facto price drop announcement!!! This power supply has now dropped in price to $130 or less at major Canadian e-tailers.


1- The Packaging



Just like we saw with the Mushkin HP-550 a few months back, this power supply comes in a massive box. All of the pertinent information is written on the outside even though the design of the box itself is primarily minimalist. Without a doubt, this giant of a box is meant to sell this product if it is seen in a retail store.





Inside of the large box is a smaller box which contains all of the modular cables along with numerous accessories and a very well-written instruction manual.


The numerous accessories that are included show a bit of Mushkin’s attention to detail. They have thought to include the usual power plug and retention screws but they have gone a step further and included zip-ties and Velcro tie-wraps as well. While this package is more than complete, it would have been nice to see black tie-wraps instead of the rainbow of colors that are included.



The power cord itself is so unique it deserves special mention. It is made out of sleeving that looks like plasticized snakeskin and carries an EMI/RFI filter. While it is rare that someone has their power cord in a viewable location, this cord makes you want to show the thing off.


The power supply itself is located at the bottom of the box. Some power supplies have next to zero protection at the bottom of their boxes but Mushkin has added padding everywhere within the inside of their box. The unit is wrapped with bubble-wrap in typical Topower fashion with a prominent “Open” tag displayed on the top.


2- Exterior Observations




Like the HP-550, this Mushkin unit is finished in the same blackened mirror finish which gives it a great look but also makes it magnetic to fingerprints and scratches. There are two 80mm fans which circulate air throughout the power supply; one of them is a clear fan with a green LED attached to it. This Mushkin unit is also larger than many other units out there and this should be taken into account if your case has limited space available around the power supply mounting area.
All of Mushkin's units are modular. ALL of this power supply's cables are modular except the 20+4-pin ATX and the 8-pin CPU connector. The modular interface itself is a simple affair which only needs you to plug in the needed cable (PCI-E connectors are in blue) and you are good to go.

We can also see the normal area where the input voltage switch is normally located is covered with a sticker advertising APFC on this power supply. There is also a “Rail Fusion” light that is supposed to activate when the +12V power requirement is above the individual rails’ 20A maximum output. Rail Fusion is supposed to combine the +12V rails to make one large +12V rail but no matter how many power-hungry components I threw at it, I could not get it to activate. Well, maybe it did activate but the light did not come on.




All of the cables on this unit are sleeved to perfection. The PCI-E cables are sleeved with the same snakeskin-like material as the power cord and are extremely bendable for easy cable routing even though they have an EMI/RF filter on the end (the end with this filter should be plugged into the power supply). The other cables are sleeved with a tightly-knit weave nylon mesh which all other power supply manufacturers should study as a benchmark of how cables should be sleeved.

On the other hand, people with larger cases will find some of the connectors maddeningly short if they want to do some cable routing. For those who have cases with bottom-mounted power supplies and a motherboard with the 8-pin placed in an odd location (can anyone say 680i?) the length of the 8-pin connector may cause a bit of a problem. The same goes for using a large case with a top-mounted power supply and graphics cards in SLI or Crossfire where there may be a problem having the PCI-E connector attach to the bottom card.

Since this is a modular power supply, I would have liked to have seen the inclusion of one of the new 8-pin PCI-E connectors to ensure compatibility with upcoming DX10 graphics cards.


The label shows that this power supply is supposed to have 4 distinct +12V rails which have a combined output 44A (528W). This is a healthy figure for any 650W power supply and it is even more so with the inclusion of the Rail Fusion technology. However, there is something extremely interesting with the rail distribution of this particular power supply; even with 4 +12V rails, nearly all of the connectors draw power from the +12V3 rail according to the manual. It is next to impossible to confirm this due to the cables terminating at the modular interface but here is the breakdown according to the manual:

+12V1: ATX connector
+12V2: CPU connector (4-pin and 8-pin)
+12V3: PCI-E connectors, SATA connectors, Molex connectors
+12V4: Not used

For some reason, even though the +12V4 wire is attached to the modular interface, it doesn’t seem to be actually used. What is even more surprising is 2 overclocked 8800GTS cards (consuming about 130W each), an SATA hard drive spinning for all its worth, 4 case fans (attached to Molex connectors) AND a DVD drive burning a video DVD all working at the same time did not trip the 20A (240W) OCP. Nor did that load on a SINGLE +12V3 rail cause the Rail Fusion light to illuminate or even flash. In short, the Mushkin XP-650 does not behave like a multi-rail unit.

This leads me to believe that this power supply should be treated as a single +12V unit instead of a multi-rail unit. This is in no way a bad thing but should rather come as a pleasant surprise to people looking for a single-rail power supply. But why add a light in the back claiming “Rail Fusion” if the light doesn’t even turn on?


3- Interior Impressions



In typical Topower fashion, the Mushkin XP-650’s interior is populated by massive black heatsinks. They are strategically placed so the two 80mm fans can provide good in / out airflow while effectively cooling the interior of the unit. A lot of airflow is needed since the secondary filtering stage is extremely cramped with all of the wires and capacitors competing for space. Both fans are sourced from Globe fan and are have the exact same specs even though one is clear with a green LED. They are both output-controlled sleeve bearing fans operating at a maximum of 3000rpm at 32.6 dBA.



The primary side is residence to a single large Jenpo 330uF capacitor rated at 85*C. While Topower seems to like playing musical chairs with their choice of caps, Jenpo seems to be one constant in nearly all of their power supplies.



On the densely-packed secondary we see mostly Asia X capacitors (another Topower-typical capacitor) but there are also some unbranded 105*C caps. I couldn’t make out anything other than the lettering “TMX” on them and a quick internet search brought up nothing.



PERFORMANCE TESTS:

Instruments Used:
Belkin 1100VA UPS
Rexus PSU tester
Fluke 187 Digital Multimeter
UPM Power Meter
Tektronics TDS3032B Oscilloscope

Test Platform:
DFI Lanparty SLI-DR Expert
AMD X2 3800+ (at 2.6Ghz)
2GB Corsair PC4000 Ram (at 520Mhz)
EVGA 8800GTS (Stock, OC 650/1900, SLI, SLI OC 650/1800)
1x Samsung Spinpoint 250GB SATA Hard drive
Gigabyte 3D Aurora 570 Case
Pioneer DVD Writer
4X 120mm fans

Important note:

Because of processor limitation, 8800GTS cards in SLI are seriously bottlenecked in Company of Heroes. Thus, while they still drew quite a high amount of power, when coupled with a higher end system or playing at higher resolutions they would probably draw much more.

One way or another, I would NOT recommend anything under a good 700W power supply for a pair of 8800GTS cards. These tests are done as benchmarks ONLY.



4-Efficiency Testing:

To test efficiency, I plugged in my UPM power meter to the Belkin UPS and determined what the highest sustained power draw from the outlet was over a 1 hour test period. All tests were run twice and if there were anomalies, I tested a third time. All “Startup” results are the peak power output required while powering on the computer between the POST screen and a usable WindowsXP desktop.

The first efficiency test’s “Load” value was done with an overclocked processor and the graphics card at stock speeds while running Company of Heroes. The values are the highest sustained power draw over the 1 hour test period.

The second efficiency test’s “Load” value was done with an overclocked processor and a heavily overclocked (both 2D and 3D overclocked to the same value) graphics card. Company of Heroes was played while Orthos was running on the processor in the background.

The third efficiency test was run with 2 8800GTS 320MB cards in SLI running at stock speeds with the processor overclocked to 2.6Ghz. Company of Heroes was then run for 1 hour to determine load values.

The final and NEW test was run with 2 8800GTS 320MB cards running in SLI and overclocked to 650/1800. Company of Heroes was played for 30 minutes while the overclocked processor (at 2.6Ghz) ran Orthos in the background. In addition, HDtach was looped in the background and a full DVD was burned at the same time as well.

I compared the results generated by the XP-650 to the Apex 600W unit I reviewed in the last roundup.


Efficiency Test #1




Efficiency Test #2




Efficiency Test #3




Efficiency Test #4



Unfortunately, the efficiency tests do not look that good for the Mushkin XP-650 power supply when compared to the Apex unit. While it idles at the same efficiency as the Apex power supply, when it is placed under load it requires between 3-4% more power to get the job done. While this is still a great result (take a look at past tests to see what horrible results are possible here) it would have been nice to have seen the Mushkin come out on top. Something that is very interesting is how much power is required for the new SLI OC test; this is one test that should prove to stress even 700W units considering most of the required power comes from the +12V rails.



5-Voltage Regulation Testing:

To test voltage regulation I used the same tests as the efficiency. They were all done over two tests of 1 hour where the voltage drops were logged with the Fluke 187 multimeter installed on a typical Molex connector. The tests were as follows:

The “Idle” value was done with an overclocked processor and the graphics card at stock speeds while running the Windows Desktop.

The “Load” value was done with an overclocked processor and the graphics card at stock speeds while running Company of Heroes.

The “Load (OC)” value was done with an overclocked processor and a heavily overclocked (both 2D and 3D overclocked to the same value) graphics card. Company of Heroes was played while Orthos was running on the processor in the background.

The “Load (SLI)” value was run with 2 8800GTS 320MB cards in SLI running at stock speeds with the processor overclocked to 2.6Ghz. Company of Heroes was then run for 1 hour to determine load values.

The “Load SLI OC” test was run with 2 overclocked 8800GTS cards (650/1800) in SLI while playing Company of Heroes for 30 minutes. At the same time, Orthos was running in the background to put stress on the processor (OC’d to 2.6Ghz) while a DVD was burned and HDtach was running a hard drive scan.


+5V Voltage Regulation:

Once again, I am going to keep this short and sweet; because I do not have (and the typical user does not have either) enough components that draw power from the +5V rail to put much stress on it. Thus, I did conduct the tests with the system I had and all the power supplies passed the tests within +/- 5% of +5V. I did not add a chart as it would look VERY boring.


+12V Voltage Regulation Testing



Mushkin really hit the nail on the head with the voltage regulation of this unit. It stayed as steady as a rock no matter how much stress I put it under. Even with the overclocked cards in SLI and most of my other components running flat-out, the voltage barely even dropped.

I was even more impressed when I was actually watching the voltage readouts. Unlike most units whose voltage readings jumped around a fair bit, this power supply’s readings barely moved during the whole test. That is a very large accomplishment.


6- +12V AC Ripple Testing

This is a very significant test in the fact that AC Ripple can be the cause of many common computer problems. Short term effects of excess ripple can be anything from an unstable overclock to memory errors while long term effects can include premature component failure and decreased component performance. The ATX v2.2 ripple tolerance is anything below 120mV on the +12V rail.

To test for ripple the following tests were run twice for 30 minutes while the ripple was being measured by the Tektronics o-scope. The values were the highest peak ripple measurement.

The “Idle” value was done with an overclocked processor and the graphics card at stock speeds while running the Windows Desktop.

The “Load” value was done with an overclocked processor and the graphics card at stock speeds while running Company of Heroes.

The “Load (OC)” value was done with an overclocked processor and a heavily overclocked (both 2D and 3D overclocked to the same value) graphics card. Company of Heroes was played while Orthos was running on the processor in the background.

The “Load (SLI)” value was run with 2 8800GTS cards in SLI running at stock speeds with the processor overclocked to 2.6Ghz. Company of Heroes was then run to determine load values.

The “Load SLI OC” test was run with 2 overclocked 8800GTS cards (650/1800) in SLI while playing Company of Heroes for 30 minutes. At the same time, Orthos was running in the background to put stress on the processor (OC’d to 2.6Ghz) while a DVD was burned and HDtach was running a hard drive scan.



Impressive is the name of the game in this test as well with the XP-650AP. Its ripple protection seems to be head and shoulders above the “competition” I put it up against. Even with the added SLI OC test, the +12V ripple stays remarkably silent throughout the whole time this test was run. Even without competition in the SLI OC test, the result can be assumed to be much better than the immediate competition. Overall, this seems to be a great showing for Mushkin’s flagship power supply.


7- Noise and Heat

Since the Mushkin XP-650’s fan speed is controlled by the output of the of the power supply, it was whisper quiet through all of the tests until it came to the SLI test. When running the test, the fans ramped up until they were audible above all the other fans in the case. During the SLO OC test the 2 80mm fans were spinning for all they were worth while expelling waves of heat from the interior of the power supply. While the fans never became loud, the sound they gave off was noticeable above those located throughout the rest of the computer.


8- Conclusions


Without a doubt, at its new lowered price the Mushkin XP-650 presents an amazing value for your money. Not only do you get modular cables and Mushkin’s great warranty service but you also get a power supply that can run circles around almost anything else in this price category. While efficiency may not be where some of us might want (ie 80+ certified) it is still more than acceptable when compared to other power supplies.

Mushkin has proven that they can bring a high-performing product which is loaded with features into a price range that can fit nearly everyone’s budget. If this price would have taken effect months ago, I’m sure Mushkin would have already sold bucket loads of these power supplies. One way or another, this unit is a top pick no matter which way you look at it.





Please feel free to voice your comments and suggestions about this review here:
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/revie....html#post7007


SKYMTL