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Efficiency – Unraveled

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LET’S GET EFFICIENT
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One of the core components to any computer system is the Power Supply Unit (PSU). The basic functionality of the PSU is to convert the Mains AC (Household, Line, Grid) Power into Low-Voltage DC Power that your components need to operate.

We will go more in-depth about what the internal components do, but for now we’ll focus on these topics:

80 PLUS STANDARDS

80 Plus certification is awarded to PSU’s that pass an independent testing program which gauges the efficiency of power supplies. It is designed to let the end user know how much electrical power is being lost via heat, or in other words, how much power they will save by purchasing a certified unit.

The process involves running a PSU at a specific load percentage in a controlled environment, and then measuring the amount of power being drawn from the wall. With these numbers you can easily calculate the efficiency rating of a power supply. Because efficiency is not constant across a power supply’s output, testing is done at 20, 50 and 100% load to ensure the legitimacy of the results. It is noteworthy to mention however, that some feel this sampling method is not thorough enough, arguing instead for 5 or more load percentages to be tested.

The minimum efficiency to receive an 80Plus rating is (as you might have guessed) 80%. With efficiencies beyond 80%, PSU’s are awarded the appropriate rankings of Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each represents an increasing level of efficiency, with the higher certifications becoming more common in modern power supplies.

As with any form of energy conservation, there are inherent benefits to saving money as well as your carbon footprint.
The better of an 80 Plus rating you use, the more you can save over less efficient power supplies.

Cost of Electricity Used By PSU

(Based on a 1000W system on a 1200W PSU used 8 hours a day. Using national average household electricity cost of $0.12/kwh
[July 2013, EIA.Gov])

v1200_graph

In the graph above, we show that with an 80Plus Platinum Power Supply  you end up saving:

  • Over $100* vs an 80Plus Gold certified PSU
  • Over $300* vs an 80Plus Bronze certified PSU
* Over the period of the product warranty length

You also gain a quieter, cooler running computer system because any wasted power from a non-efficient PSU means extra heat. And unnecessary heat is bad.

80 Plus Test Type Efficiency Rating Recommended Models
Fraction of rated load 10% 20% 50% 100%
80 Plus 80% 80% 80% N/A
80 Plus Bronze 82% 85% 82% GM Series, GXII Series
80 Plus Silver 85% 88% 85% SPM2 850W, SPM2 1000W, SPM2 1500W
80 Plus Gold 87% 90% 87% V SeriesV Semi-Modular Series
80 Plus Platinum 90% 92% 89% V1200 Platinum

While 80Plus is not a perfect testing methodology, it does provide consumers with an accurate idea of which PSUs have a power efficiency of at least 80%. This is useful knowledge for the user and also encourages manufacturers to meet or exceed the standard in order to achieve the highest rating possible. Use 80Plus and its spectrum of certifications as a guide when selecting a PSU, keeping in mind that power saving is not the only important feature in a PSU.

WHAT IS DEEP SLEEP?

Much like you, your computer can enter a Deep Sleep State that allows your Processor to drop to minimum power levels while preserving your current applications. Waking from Deep sleep takes less time than a cold boot and will allow you to resume your tasks immediately. These Deep States are designed to save power and can reduce the power consumption to below 1w.

Most motherboard manufacturers will leave the Deep Sleep options in Auto which means the Motherboard and CPU will manage the sleep states automatically. Although we do not anticipate any complications between these States and our Power Supplies we would like to give a brief walkthrough on how to disable those states if a problem does arise. If you find that your system is having difficultly going into a sleep mode, remaining asleep, or waking from sleep you can go into your UEFI (BIOS) and quickly disable these functions.

Here is an example showing the process:
These options will typically be found under an “Advanced CPU Core Features” or “Advanced CPU Configuration”

deep_sleep1

There has been a lot of talk about PSU compatibility for Intel’s 4th Generation Core Processors (code named Haswell) and issues with Deep Sleep settings. Among the technological improvements of Intels latest Core Processors, power consumption in idle mode has been greatly reduced from around 6W to less than 1W. This might cause some older power supplies to shut the system off when the CPU enters idle mode, or prevent the system from waking up out of sleep mode.

To our knowledge all mainboard vendors will disable this advanced power saving mode by default, and no customer upgrading to Haswell should experience any issues whatsoever. Below is a full list of Cooler Master power supplies that are fully prepared to support this next generation hardware.

Series Model
V Series V1200 Platinum (Fully Modular)
V1000 / V850 / V700 (Fully Modular)
V750 / V650 / V550 (Semi-Modular)
Platinum Series * Silent Pro Platinum 1000W *
Silent Pro Platinum 100W *
Gold Series Silent Pro Gold 1200W
Silent Pro Gold 1000W
Silent Pro Gold 800W
Silent Pro Gold 700W *
Silent Pro Gold 600W *
Silent Pro Gold 550W
Silent Pro Gold 450W
Hybrid Series Silent Pro Hybrid 1300W
Silent Pro Hybrid 1050W
Silent Pro Hybrid 850W
M2 Series Silent Pro M2 1500W
Silent Pro M2 1000W
Silent Pro M2 850W
Silent Pro M2 720W
Silent Pro M2 620W
Silent Pro M2 520W *
Silent Pro M2 420W *
M Series Silent Pro M 1000W
Silent Pro M 850W
Silent Pro M 700W
Silent Pro M 600W
Silent Pro M 500W *
GX2 Series * GX2 750W *
GX2 650W *
GX2 550W *
GX2 450W *
GX Series GX 750W
GX 650W
GX 550W *
GX 450W
GX 400W *
Series Model
GX Lite Series * GXL 700W *
GXL 600W *
GXL 500W *
i Series i700
i600
i500
G Series * G700 *
G600 *
G500 *
Thunder M Series * Thunder M 620W *
Thunder M 520W *
Thunder M 420W *
Thunder Series * Thunder 700W *
Thunder 600W *
Thunder 500W *
Thunder 450W *
B Series * B700 *
B600 *
B500 *
Extreme2 Series EX2 725W
EX2 625W
EX2 525W
EX2 475W
Extreme Series EX 700W
EX 650W *
EX 600W
EX 550W
EX 500W
EX 460W *
EX 400W *
EX 350W *
Elite Series Elite 460W
Elite 400W
Elite 350W

Glossary

BIOS:
Basic Input Output System is a specification that defines a software interface between an operating system and platform firmware.

UEFI:
Unified Extensible Firmware Interface replaced the traditional BIOS with a more graphical interface and includes support for more advanced features.

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