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OCZ ModXStream-Pro 600W

Today we’re going to have a look at another power supply, this time from OCZ. OCZ is a relative newcomer to the power supply market, let’s see if they’ve got a winner in the ModXStream-Pro 600W

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INTRODUCTION

Have you ever been to the local computer store, just browsing the aisles, and you begin to make comparisons based solely on how something looks, how it’s packaged, and so on? I know I’m guilty of it. You want to just spend some time looking around so you don’t bother checking out the reviews first, and now you’re thinking about buying that new power supply or that new motherboard because it seems like even the packaging was well thought out? To some, this may seem silly, but it happens more often than you think. What’s this all about you ask? It’s about the latest power supply available to us for review, the OCZ ModXStream-Pro 600W. It is certainly well packaged, but will it deliver the rock solid voltages that we’re looking for?

When the unit arrived at the doorstep, I got really excited. I did not realize until that day that OCZ is not just a single company, but a group of companies. When I got to the door, the box said PC Power & Cooling, which turns out to be part of that group, in big bold letters. For those of you that don’t know, they are the premier manufacturers of PC power supplies. They were the first ones to develop a 1kW PSU, for instance. They are also known for being rock solid. This particular power supply is from OCZ, not PC Power & Cooling itself, however, so let’s see if it will live up to the lineage and perform as well as its big brother.

 

ABOUT OCZ

From OCZ’s website:

Entering the memory market in August 2000, OCZ Technology was built around the determination to manufacture the best high speed DDR and RDRAM. OCZ was founded by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts, and our commitment to the end-user has not digressed. OCZ Technology has been an innovator in many areas. We were the first manufacturer to make Dual Channel optimized memory available to the public, which originally took advantage of nVidia’s Twinbank or Dual DDR architecture, found in their nForce chipset. We have now taken that technology and tailored it for the Canterwood, and Granite Bay chipset’s. OCZ developed and was the first to implement ULN technology, which has been a critical element in our manufacturing process for some time. We at OCZ diligently work to improve communication with CPU and motherboard chipset manufacturers prior to the release of their products. Only in this manner can we fine-tune our memory’s SPD settings, ensuring a synergistic relationship between the memory module, memory controller, and microprocessor. In today’s rapidly evolving semiconductor industry, such communication is not simply research, but a necessary component of our manufacturing process.

At OCZ we have one primary goal, and it is to make sure that every customer is 110% satisfied. Every employee at OCZ is dedicated to accomplishing this goal. Our engineers are constantly developing the fastest and best performing products. Our finance department works every angle to bring customers our product at the best price. Our marketing department ensures all the information needed to make an informed purchase is available and presented in an easy to understand format. The technical support department constantly studies and tests the latest hardware to be as informed as possible to help you with any issue you may have. Our customer service department is filled with customer satisfaction fanatics who will refuse to let you be unsatisfied.

OCZ has taken this commitment to excellence and moved into the power supply world. Building on the successes of their PC Power & Cooling brand, they have introduced the XStream line of power supplies.

FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS

I have been fairly impressed with the features delivered by the OCZ ModXStream-Pro (MXS Pro for short). It’s got features that I would expect to see in a slightly more expensive power supply and they seem to have been pretty well implemented. Let’s have a quick look at the features:

  • High efficiency; the MXS meets the 80-Plus efficiency standard with a extremely high 82%
  • Excellent cooling utilizing a 140mm top-mounted fan
  • Active Power Factor Correction delivering up to (.99 PFC)
  • Modular cabling system
  • Multi-GPU ready
  • 3-year PowerSwap warranty

Of all the things that the MXS Pro does offer, I think the modular cabling is the most valuable. I am a very big fan of modular cabling, at least when it is well executed. Cables need to be lengthy (a little lacking here), and there needs to be enough of them to power all your equipment (no problem with the MXS there).

As for being multi-GPU ready, be careful what you try and push it with. This thing is not equipped to handle two GTX-280′s. A couple of 8800 GT’s should do just fine, however, without taxing the system too much.

Some of you are probably wondering what the 80-Plus certification actually means It is essentially a certification standard for the efficiency rating given to a power supply. Here is the description from the 80-Plus website:

80 PLUS is an innovative, electric utility-funded incentive program to integrate more energy-efficient power supplies into desktop computers and servers. Participating utilities and energy efficiency organizations across North America have contributed over $5 million of incentives to help the computer industry transition to 80 PLUS certified power supplies.

To date, over 700 power supplies have been certified and many local and major computer manufacturers are selling qualified computers. Additionally, large commercial and institutional consumers are specifying 80 PLUS in their procurement policies at increasing rates.

 

OCZ MODXSTREAM-PRO 600 SPECIFICATIONS

AC Input

  100-240V 10A  50 – 60Hz
DC Output
+3.3V +5V
+12V1
+12V2 -12V +5Vsb
Max. Output
25A
25A
25A
25A 0.3A 2.5A

Max.
Combined
Wattage

150W 504W 3.6W 12.5W
Total Power
600 Watts

It was nice to see decent amperage output levels on the +12V rails. This PSU compares pretty evenly in most areas with the recently reviewed SP-600A2C, but I like seeing those extra 3 amps on the big rails.

A CLOSER LOOK: PACKAGING

When I got the box in the mail, I was surprised at how good the box looked. A lot of times power supplies are overlooked not only by consumers, but apparently by marketing teams as well. On the box you’ll find the typical information. A list of features in bold, basic info, etc… But the box itself is quite sturdy, which is a nice change.

How many times have you gotten a beat up looking box made out of flimsy cardboard, only to open it up and find no padding inside for the component? Not so with the MXS Pro. This thing was packaged professionally and in a way designed to actually protect the unit. Not quite visible in this picture is the foam that the PSU is sitting in to keep it in one spot during shipping. Take a look:

A CLOSER LOOK: POWER SUPPLY

Now we’ll have a look at the unit itself. It’s a solid black color with the requisite OCZ and specification labels. One thing you’ll notice is the extra large fan. I had a friend over last night that caught a glimpse and said “Geez, that fan is huge.” It’s something that’s easy to notice, and I like the idea of moving a little extra air with a little less noise.

Don’t worry, I know it looks pretty grey in the picture, but it’s actually a very nice black.

A CLOSER LOOK: THE BUNDLE

Well, it’s hard to find a power supply with a decent bundle anymore. It used to be you would find at least a couple adapters for the PCIe connectors. OCZ has eliminated that need, partially. This power supply is equipped with one 6-pin PCIe and one 6+2 PCIe connector. While it would be nice to have two 6+2 pin connectors, I suppose you’d probably being looking for higher wattage if you need to move that much power. The bundle for this unit consists of all the cables you need and some case screws. I thought the cloth bag to keep your extra cables in was a very nice touch.

 

Here’s a look at the entire bundle.

Finally, a little close-up of those cables.

TEST SETUP

For testing purposes, we will be looking at voltage output and the fluctuations, both at idle and load. We are looking for as little fluctuation as possible and as close to the desired voltage as possible. For the test rig, we will use my everyday test system, which is pretty standard nowadays.

We are not looking to push this power supply to its breaking point. It’s just not informative, nor is it feasible. Synthetic testing is great, and it has its place, but it’s not what we do here at Bjorn3D.com. Here, we take a more “real-world” approach. We test each component in a system that, while cutting edge, is not out of the realm of possibility for the average enthusiast. Recently, I heard rumors of a 1300W power supply being demonstrated by running two full quad-core systems, with no hiccups at one of the recent technology conventions, though I have not been able to substantiate it. That kind of testing just isn’t feasible for us, nor is it for you, our readers. A much more measured approach is often appreciated, and our testing, in my opinion, is far more realistic.

OCZ MODXSTREAM-PRO 600W
Case
Danger Den Tower 26
Motherboard
EVGA 780i Tri-SLI
CPU
Q6600 1.384v @ 3.2 GHz
Memory
Corsair XMS2 2x1024MB 5-5-5-15
GPU
EVGA 8800GT SC 714/1779/1032
HDD
2 X WD Caviar SE 160GB RAID 0
PSU
Silver Power SP-600A2C
ThermalTake PurePower 600W
OCZ ModXStream-Pro 600W
Cooling
Laing DDC 12V 18W pump
MC-TDX 775 CPU Block
Ione full coverage GPU block G92
Black Ice GTX480 radiator
Software
Prime95
Folding@Home GPU2 client
Nvidia PhysX Particle Fluid Demo

For measuring results, we will be using a Kill A Watt meter to determine the total load, in watts, exerted on my wallet. We will use a Craftsman digital multimeter to measure the individual voltages and their fluctuations at the connectors. For idle testing, all non-essential processes were stopped and the system was allowed to idle for ten minutes. For load testing, Prime95 was run with the “small FFT’s” test to maximize CPU usage in addition to using the Folding@Home GPU2 client to load the GPU, along with the “Nvidia PhysX Particle Fluid Demo” to further tax the system.

If you don’t know what Folding@home is, you can read about it in our forums here. It’s for a good cause and we at Bjorn3D.com would welcome your participation. Just remember that we are team #41608. And by the way, if you stop on in at our forums, why not go ahead and join? It’s simple. It’s easy, it’s free, and we give away prizes monthly (shameless plug).

The current ATX 2.2 specifications allow for the following variation in voltage outputs:

  • 3.3 Volt Rail:   3.135 – 3.465V
  • 5 Volt Rail:      4.75V – 5,25V
  • 12 Volt Rail:   11.4V – 12.6V

 

TEST RESULTS
 

Power Output Results(V)
Measured With Craftsman Multimeter
Power Rail OCZ ModXStream-Pro 600W
ThermalTake PurePower 600W
Silver Power 600A2C
Idle Load
Idle
Load
Idle Load
3.3v
3.36
3.34
3.33
3.31
3.29
3.27
5v
4.95
4.97
5.07
5.11
4.99
5.00
12v1
12.33
12.21
12.05
12.07
12.33
12.18
12v2 12.35 12.28 12.08 12.09 12.35 12.23
5vSB
5.11
5.10 5.04 5.08 4.98 4.97
Wattage Used 213 360
224W
370W
213W
357W

You can see with these results, just how closely the numbers put up by this PSU resemble the Silver Power that was recently reviewed. Both did pretty well with keeping ripple down, but the OCZ did fare better on the two 12v rails. The wattage pulled from the wall was virtually identical. All the numbers were well within the specification standard. This is a pretty rock-solid power supply.

You can also see the results of the higher efficiency of this unit compared to the ThermalTake through the lower overall power consumption driving the same components, which implies higher efficiency. Twelve or thirteen watts may not seem like much, but over time it equates to savings. Thirteen watts is the same amount of power used in a standard CFL bulb after all.

Power Factor Percentage
Measured with a Kill-A-Watt
Power Supply
Idle
Load
OCZ ModXStream-Pro 600W
0.98
0.99

 

The power factor here is incredible and at 99%, it’s among the best. We’re seeing more and more power supplies that meet that 99% standard, which is great for your equipment and your wallet. Here is a little description of what power factor means:

Power factor is the ratio of true power or watts to apparent power or volt amps. They are identical only when current and voltage are in phase, then the power factor is 1.0. True power or watts can be measured with a wattmeter. If the true power is 1870 watts and the volt amp reading is 2200, then the power factor is 0.85 or 85 percent. True power divided by apparent power. The power factor is expressed in decimal or percentage. Thus, power factors of 0.8 are the same as 80 percent. With low power factor loads, the current flowing through electrical system components is higher than necessary to do the required work. This results in excess heating, which can damage or shorten the life of equipment. A low power factor can also cause low-voltage conditions, resulting in dimming of lights and sluggish motor operation.

CONCLUSION

This power supply has been pretty impressive. On the actual working side of things, it’s as good as any that I’ve tested. It’s nice to have rock-solid power that you can rely on. It’s also nice to have the warranty that this one came with. I will be honest, I had a DOA power supply as an initial sample. As soon as OCZ was notified that it was bad however, they shipped another one out with a return label for the bad one. It even had their test results printed and inserted in the box. While my results were a little different, they were fairly close, which is pretty nice. It’s nice to know that they’re returning actual results, not just what they think some end user without a multimeter would like to see.

As for modular cabling, this is a toss-up. I am a big fan of modular cables, but I know some people are not. I’ve heard people complain of wasted power and what-not, but I just don’t see it. Empty connectors will not use any more electricity than having a cable there would. Most of all, it allows the installer to clean up the inside of the case. It’s a nice thing to have good airflow through your case, thereby allowing your gear to stay cool.

One thing that would have been nicer on the MXS-Pro is longer cables. The modular cables seem pretty long, but the ATX and CPU cables are just average. When you take the time to build a modular PSU, one would reason that it is to make airflow smoother and clean up the look. If your ATX cable isn’t long enough to run behind a motherboard tray, you’ve already defeated the purpose. This particular unit wouldn’t work in my DD Tower 26 if I ran the cables behind the motherboard because they’d be too short.

Also, something that was mentioned before, it’d be nice to see another 6+2 PCIe connector. It wouldn’t be difficult to swap them out, both of the connectors on the PSU itself are 8-pin, but the 6-pin cable just doesn’t run the two extra wires. That seems like a pretty easy fix to give users the added compatibility.

The price point on this PSU is great as well. It can be had on the web for $75 after rebate.

Pros:

+  Quiet performance
+  80 Plus efficiency compliance
+  Great warranty
+  99% power factor correction
+  Modular cabling
+  Great price

Cons:

-  Cables may be too short in a full tower case
-  Only one PCIe 6+2 pin cable

All in all, I was pretty impressed with this PSU. For under $100, you will be hard-pressed to find a more-stable, modular power supply. It’s a great bang for the buck, and it could even save you some money on the electricity bill. For all that, the OCZ ModXStream-Pro 600W will receive a rating of 8.5 out of a possible 10.0 and the Bjorn3D Seal of Approval!

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