Cougar A-Series 560 W Power Supply Review
By Gabriel Torres on July 8, 2011


Introduction

Cougar is a brand that belongs to HEC/Compucase, originally targeted to the European market. Recently, they started expanding to the North American market as well. The A-Series is comprised of models from 300 W to 760 W, all featuring the 80 Plus Bronze certification. Let’s see how the 560 W model fared in our tests.

The reviewed power supply uses the same printed circuit board as the Cougar RS 650 W.

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 1: Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 2: Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply

The Cougar A-Series 560 W is 5.5” (140 mm) deep, using a 120 mm sleeve bearing fan on its bottom (Young Lin Tech DFS122512M).

This unit doesn’t have a modular cabling system, and all cables are protected with nylon sleeves. This power supply comes with the following cables:

All wires are 18 AWG, which is the correct gauge to be used.

The cable configuration is compatible with a 560 W product, as it only has two video card power connectors, installed on the same cable. The number of SATA power connectors and their distribution across three cables is excellent for a mainstream power supply.

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 3: Cables

Let’s now take an in-depth look inside this power supply.

A Look Inside the Cougar A-Series 560 W

We decided to disassemble this power supply to see what it looks like inside, how it is designed, and what components are used. Please read our Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies tutorial to understand how a power supply works and to compare this power supply to others.

On this page we will have an overall look, and then in the following pages we will discuss in detail the quality and ratings of the components used. As mentioned in the previous page, the reviewed power supply uses the same printed circuit board as the Cougar RS 650 W.

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 4: Top view

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 5: Front quarter view

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 6: Rear quarter view

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 7: The printed circuit board

Transient Filtering Stage

As we have mentioned in other articles and reviews, the first place we look when opening a power supply for a hint about its quality, is its filtering stage. The recommended components for this stage are two ferrite coils, two ceramic capacitors (Y capacitors, usually blue), one metalized polyester capacitor (X capacitor), and one MOV (Metal-Oxide Varistor). Very low-end power supplies use fewer components, usually removing the MOV and the first coil. 

In this power supply, this stage is flawless. It has two X capacitors and two Y capacitors more than the minimum required.

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 8: Transient filtering stage (part 1)

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 9: Transient filtering stage (part 2)

In the next page we will have a more detailed discussion about the components used in the Cougar A-Series 560 W.

Primary Analysis

On this page we will take an in-depth look at the primary stage of the Cougar A-Series 560 W. For a better understanding, please read our Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies tutorial.

This power supply uses one KBU10J rectifying bridge, attached to an individual heatsink. This component supports up to 10 A at 75° C, so in theory, you would be able to pull up to 1,150 W from a 115 V power grid. Assuming 80% efficiency, the bridge would allow this unit to deliver up to 920 W without burning itself out. Of course, we are only talking about this particular component. The real limit will depend on all the components combined in this power supply.

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 10: Rectifying bridge

The active PFC circuit uses two MDP18N50 MOSFETs, each supporting up to 18 A at 25° C or 11 A at 100° C in continuous mode (note the difference temperature makes), or 72 A at 25° C in pulse mode. These transistors present a 270 mΩ resistance when turned on, a characteristic called RDS(on). The lower the number the better, meaning that the transistor will waste less power, and the power supply will have a higher efficiency.

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 11: Active PFC transistors and diode

The electrolytic capacitor that filters the output of the active PFC circuit is Japanese, from Chemi-Con, and labeled at 85° C.

In the switching section, another two MDP18N50 MOSFETs are used in the traditional two-transistor forward configuration. The specifications for these transistors were already discussed above.

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 12: One of the switching transistors

The primary is controlled by an FAN4800 active PFC/PWM combo controller.

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 13: Active PFC/PWM combo controller

The primary of the A-Series 560 W is identical to the primary of the Cougar RS 650 W.

Let’s now take a look at the secondary of this power supply.

Secondary Analysis

The Cougar A-Series 560 W has four Schottky rectifiers attached to the secondary heatsink.

The maximum theoretical current each line can deliver is given by the formula I / (1 - D) where D is the duty cycle used and I is the maximum current supported by the rectifying diode. As an exercise, we can assume a duty cycle of 30 percent.

The +12 V output uses two SBR30A50CT Schottky rectifiers (30 A, 15 A per internal diode at 110° C, 0.55 V maximum voltage drop), giving us a maximum theoretical current of 43 A or 514 W for this output.

The +5 V output uses one STPS30L45CT Schottky rectifier (30 A, 15 A per internal diode at 135° C, 0.74 V maximum voltage drop), giving us a maximum theoretical current of 21 A or 107 W for this output.

The +3.3 V output uses one SBL30L30CT Schottky rectifier (30 A, 15 A per internal diode at 140° C, 0.57 V maximum voltage drop), giving us a maximum theoretical current of 21 A or 71 W for this output.

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 14: The +3.3 V, +5 V, and +12 V rectifiers

This power supply uses a PS223 monitoring integrated circuit, which supports over voltage (OVP), under voltage (UVP), over current (OCP), and over temperature (OTP) protections. This chip has four OCP channels, one for +3.3 V, one for +5 V, and two for +12 V, correctly matching the number of +12 V rails advertised by the power supply manufacturer (two).

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 15: Monitoring circuit

The electrolytic capacitors available in the secondary are from Teapo and Su’scon, and are labeled at 105° C.

Power Distribution

In Figure 16, you can see the power supply label containing all the power specs.

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 16: Power supply label

This power supply is sold as having two +12 V rails, which is correct, since this unit has two +12 V over current protection circuits (see previous page). Click here to understand more about this subject.

The two +12 V rails are distributed as follows:

This is the typical configuration of power supplies with two +12 V rails. It is adequate, as it puts the CPU (ATX12V/EPS12V connectors) and the video card in separate rails.

How much power can this unit really deliver? Let’s find out.

Load Tests

We conducted several tests with this power supply, as described in the article Hardware Secrets Power Supply Test Methodology.  

First we tested this power supply with five different load patterns, trying to pull around 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and 100% of its labeled maximum capacity (actual percentage used listed under “% Max Load”), watching the behavior of the reviewed unit under each load.

If you add all the powers listed for each test, you may find a different value than what is posted under “Total” below. Since each output can have a slight variation (e.g., the +5 V output working at +5.10 V), the actual total amount of power being delivered is slightly different than the calculated value. In the “Total” row, we are using the real amount of power being delivered, as measured by our load tester.

The +12VA and +12VB inputs listed below are the two +12 V independent inputs from our load tester. During this test, the +12VA input was connected to the power supply +12V1 rail, while the +12VB input was connected to the power supply +12V2 rail.

Input

Test 1

Test 2

Test 3

Test 4

Test 5

+12VA

4 A (48 W)

8 A (96 W)

12 A (144 W)

16.5 A (198 W)

20.5 A (246 W)

+12VB

4 A (48 W)

8 A (96 W)

12 A (144 W)

16 A (192 W)

20.5 A (246 W)

+5 V

1 A (5 W)

2 A (10 W)

4 A (20 W)

5 A (25 W)

6 A (30 W)

+3.3 V

1 A (3.3 W)

2 A (6.6 W)

4 A (13.2 W)

5 A (16.5 W)

6 A (19.8 W)

+5VSB

1 A (5 W)

1 A (5 W)

1.5 A (7.5 W)

2 A (10 W)

2.5 A (12.5 W)

-12 V

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

Total

114.9 W

217.4 W

330.4 W

436.6 W

562.8 W

% Max Load

20.5%

38.8%

59.0%

78.0%

100.5%

Room Temp.

46.2° C

45.8° C

46.4° C

48.4° C

44.6° C

PSU Temp.

48.8° C

49.0° C

49.8° C

50.4° C

50.0° C

Voltage Regulation

Pass

Pass

Pass

Failed on +5VSB

Failed on +3.3 V and +5VSB

Ripple and Noise

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Failed on +5VSB

AC Power

138.4 W

258.5 W

397.3 W

539.8 W

723.0 W

Efficiency

83.0%

84.1%

83.2%

80.9%

77.8%

AC Voltage

114.8 V

112.9 V

110.9 V

109.6 V

107.6 V

Power Factor

0.979

0.954

0.972

0.978

0.988

Final Result

Pass

Pass

Pass

Fail

Fail

The Cougar A-Series 560 W can really deliver its labeled wattage at high temperatures. However, as we always stress, maximum power isn’t everything you need to know.

This unit presented decent efficiency between 83% and 84% when we pulled between 20% and 60% of its labeled wattage (i.e., between 112 W and 336 W). At 80% load (448 W), efficiency dropped to 81%. At full load, however, efficiency dropped way below the 80% mark, at 77.8%. We wonder how this unit got the 80 Plus Bronze certification.

Voltages were closer to their nominal values (3% regulation) during tests one, two, and three. On test four, the +3.3 V was outside this tighter regulation, but still inside the proper range, at +3.15 V. However, on tests four and five, the +5VSB was at +4.70 V, below the minimum allowed (+4.75 V). Also, the +3.3 V was below the minimum allowed during test five, at +3.10 V. The ATX12V specification says positive voltages must be within 5% of their nominal values, and negative voltages must be within 10% of their nominal values.

Noise and ripple levels were low, except the +5VSB output, which surpassed the 50 mV limit at 61.2 mV during test five. Below you can see the results for the power supply outputs during test number six, with the unit delivering around 600 W. The maximum allowed is 120 mV for +12 V and -12 V outputs, and 50 mV for +5 V, +3.3 V and +5VSB outputs. All values are peak-to-peak figures.

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 17: +12VA input from load tester during test five at 562.8 W (50.2 mV)

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 18: +12VB input from load tester during test five at 562.8 W (57.4 mV)

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 19: +5V rail during test five at 562.8 W (17.4 mV)

Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply
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Figure 20: +3.3 V rail during test five at 562.8 W (31.4 mV)

Let’s see if we can pull more than 560 W from this unit.

Overload Tests

Below, you can see the maximum we could pull from this power supply. We couldn’t pull more than that because the power supply shut down, showing that its protections were working well. During this test noise and ripple levels were still inside the proper range, except on the +5VSB output (76.8 mV). All voltages were inside the proper range, except the +3.3 V output, which was at +3.05 V.

Input

Overload Test

+12VA

25 A (300 W)

+12VB

25 A (300 W)

+5 V

8 A (40 W)

+3.3 V

8 A (26.4 W)

+5VSB

2.5 A (12.5 W)

-12 V

0.5 A (6 W)

Total

683.2 W

% Max Load

122.0%

Room Temp.

44.0° C

PSU Temp.

54.1° C

AC Power

917 W

Efficiency

74.5%

AC Voltage

103.7 V

Power Factor

0.992

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Cougar A-Series 560 W power supply include:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

This is the third power supply from Cougar in a row that fails our tests. It seems that they test and label their power supplies at 25° C, and they behave badly under higher temperatures. (We test power supplies between 45° C and 50° C, and semiconductors lose their ability to deliver current and power, and efficiency drops, with temperature.)

The A-Series 560 W presented decent efficiency between 83% and 84%, when we pulled between 20% and 60% of its labeled wattage (i.e., between 112 W and 336 W). At 80% load (448 W), efficiency dropped to 81%. At full load, however, efficiency dropped way below the 80% mark, at 77.8 percent. We wonder how this unit got the 80 Plus Bronze certification.

Also, this unit has a voltage regulation problem, with its +5VSB and +3.3 V getting outside the proper range as you approach the unit’s labeled power.

Because of these problems, we can’t recommend this product.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Cougar-A-Series-560-W-Power-Supply-Review/1332


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