Mushkin Volta 600 W Power Supply Review
By Gabriel Torres on January 22, 2010


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Silver Award

Mushkin, a traditional memory manufacturer, decided to also enter on the power supply market. Volta 600 W is a single-rail model that they are going to release next week. Let’s see if it will survive our tests.

Volta 600 W is manufactured by Topower.

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 1: Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply.

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 2: Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply.

Mushkin Volta 600 W is relatively deep power supply (6 7/8” or 17.5 cm deep), using a 120 mm fan on its bottom that glows in either blue, red or green, having a switch for you to select the desired color. This unit does features active PFC circuit, of course.

A modular cabling system with eight connectors (two blue for video card power cables and six black for SATA/peripheral/EPS12V cables) is available, with the main motherboard cable and a cable containing two ATX12V connectors that together form an EPS12V connector permanently attached to the unit. These cables use nylon sleevings that come from inside the unit. The cables included with Volta 600 W are:

This configuration is compatible with a 600 W product, but we’d liked this product better if it had one more SATA power connector and one more peripheral power connector.

If you pay attention, the modular cabling system has a total of eight connectors, but this power supply comes only seven cables to be used with this system.

All cables use 18 AWG wires, which is the minimum recommended.

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 3: Cables.

Now let’s take an in-depth look inside this power supply.

A Look Inside The Mushkin Volta 600 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.

This page will be an overview, and then in the following pages we will discuss in detail the quality and ratings of the components used.

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 4: Overall look.

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 5: Overall look.

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 6: Overall look.

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. 

This power supply is flawless on this stage, with two Y capacitors, one X capacitor and one coil more than the minimum required.

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 7: Transient filtering stage (part 1).

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 8: Transient filtering stage (part 2).

In the next page we will have a more detailed discussion about the components used in the Mushkin Volta 600 W.

Primary Analysis

On this page we will take an in-depth look at the primary stage of Mushkin Volta 600 W. For a better understanding, please read our Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies tutorial.

This power supply uses one GBU1006 rectifying bridge, which supports up to 10 A at 100° C. At 115 V this unit would be able to pull up to 1,150 W from the 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 component and the real limit will depend on all other components from the power supply.

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 9: Rectifying bridge.

Two SPA20N60C3 power MOSFET transistors are used on the active PFC circuit, each one capable of delivering up to 20.7 A at 25° C or up to 13.1 A at 100° C in continuous mode, or up to 62.1 A at 25° C in pulse mode, presenting an RDS(on) of 190 mΩ (resistance when the transistor is turned on; the lower this number the better, meaning higher efficiency).

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 10: Active PFC transistors and diode.

The output from the active PFC circuit is filtered by a Japanese electrolytic capacitor from Chemi-Con, labeled at 85° C.

In the switching section, another two SPA20N60C3 power MOSFET transistors are used on the traditional two-transistor forward configuration. The specs for these transistors were already published above.

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 11: Switching transistors.

The primary is controlled by a CM6805 PFC/PWM combo controller.

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 12: PFC/PWM combo controller.

Now let’s take a look at the secondary of this power supply.

Secondary Analysis

This power supply has six Schottky rectifiers on its secondary, plus a diode used by the +5VSB output.

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. Just as an exercise, we can assume a typical duty cycle of 30%.

The +12 V output is produced by two STPS41H100CT Schottky rectifiers, each one supporting up to 40 A (20 A per internal diode at 150° C, 0.67 V maximum voltage drop), giving us a maximum theoretical current of 57 A or 686 W for the +12 V output.

The +5 V output is produced by two STPS30L45CT Schottky rectifiers, each one supporting up to 30 A (15 A per internal diode at 110° C, 0.50 V maximum voltage drop), giving us a maximum theoretical current of 43 A or 214 W for the +5 V output.

The +3.3 V output is produced by another two STPS30L45CT Schottky rectifiers, giving us a maximum theoretical current of 43 A or 141 W for the +3.3 V output.

All these numbers are theoretical. The real amount of current/power each output can deliver is limited by other components, especially by the coils used on each output.

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 13: +3.3 V, +5 V and +12 V rectifiers and +5VSB diode.

The outputs are monitored by a PS113 integrated circuit, which supports only OVP (over voltage protection) and SCP (short-circuit protection). Any other protection this unit may have is implemented outside this chip.

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 14: Monitoring integrated circuit.

One solid capacitor is present on the secondary (filtering the +5VSB output) and the rest of the capacitors are Taiwanese, from Hermei.

Power Distribution

In Figure 15, you can see the power supply label containing all the power specs.

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 15: Power supply label.

As you can see, this power supply uses a single-rail design on the +12 V output, so there is not much to talk about here.

Now let’s see if this power supply can really deliver 600 W.

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 how the reviewed unit behaved under each load. In the table below we list the load patterns we used and the results for each load.

If you add all the power listed for each test, you may find a different value than what is posted under “Total” below. Since each output can vary slightly (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. On 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 both inputs were connected to the power supply single rail (+12VB input was connected to the power supply EPS12V connector from the cable that is permanently attached to the power supply and all other cables were connected to the load tester +12VA input).

Note: We are now using the names +12VA and +12VB for the two inputs from our load tester because some people were thinking that the “+12V1” and “+12V2” names present on our table referred to the power supply rails, which is not the case.

Input

Test 1

Test 2

Test 3

Test 4

Test 5

+12VA

4 A (48 W)

9 A (108 W)

13 A (156 W)

17.5 A (210 W)

21.5 A (258 W)

+12VB

4 A (48 W)

9 A (108 W)

13 A (156 W)

17.5 A (210 W)

21.5 A (258 W)

+5V

1 A (5 W)

2 A (10 W)

4 A (20 W)

6 A (30 W)

8 A (40 W)

+3.3 V

1 A (5 W)

2 A (6.6 W)

4 A (13.2 W)

6 A (19.8 W)

8 A (26.4 W)

+5VSB

1 A (5 W)

1 A (5 W)

1.5 A (7.5 W)

2 A (10 W)

3 A (15 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

114.3 W

239.7 W

351.9 W

473.9 W

589.8 W

% Max Load

19.1%

40.0%

58.7%

79.0%

98.3%

Room Temp.

45.1° C

44.6° C

44.7° C

46.8° C

48.2° C

PSU Temp.

50.2° C

49.6° C

49.7° C

51.3° C

53.9° C

Voltage Regulation

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Ripple and Noise

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

AC Power

139.1 W

285.9 W

427.0 W

591.1 W

760.0 W

Efficiency

82.2%

83.8%

82.4%

80.2%

77.6%

AC Voltage

116.8 V

115.3 V

114.1 V

112.3 V

110.2 V

Power Factor

0.951

0.980

0.989

0.992

0.993

Final Result

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Mushkin Volta 600 W can really deliver its labeled power at high temperatures. However during test five the power supply would shut down several times, showing that a protection was kicking in.

This power supply presented efficiency above 80% while we pulled up to 80% from its labeled wattage (i.e., 480 W), peaking 83.8%. At full load (600 W) efficiency dropped below the 80% mark.

Voltage regulation was very good, with all voltages within 3% from their nominal values (except -12 V during all tests and +12VB during test five) – i.e., values closer to their “face value” than required, as the ATX12V specification allows voltages to be within 5% from their nominal values (10% for -12 V).

And then we have noise and ripple, below the maximum allowed level, however somewhat high at +5 V and +3.3 V outputs during test five. The maximum allowed is 120 mV on +12 V and 50 mV on +5 V and +3.3 V. All these numbers are peak-to-peak figures.

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 16: +12VA input from load tester at 589.8 W (56.4 mV).

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 17: +12VB input from load tester at 589.8 W (67.8 mV).

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 18: +5 V rail with power supply delivering 589.8 W (40.8 mV).

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply
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Figure 19: +3.3 V rail with power supply delivering 589.8 W (46.8 mV).

As explained, this power supply was already shutting down during test five, so we didn’t even bother overloading it.

Main Specifications

Mushkin Volta 600 W power supply specs include:

Conclusions

Mushkin Volta 600 W presented a performance similar to OCZ StealthXStream 600 W and like this model from OCZ, it may be a good buy for the average user that won’t be pulling the full 600 W from it.

This unit from OCZ is currently being sold for USD 75 in the US (or USD 55 if you can get the Newegg.com USD 20 mail-in rebate). Volta 600 W will arrive on the market next week with a USD 90 suggested price tag, but usually on-line stores sell PC power supplies for less than the manufacturer suggested price. If Newegg.com offers it for USD 85 or less, it can be a good buy, since it has a modular cabling system, feature not present on the OCZ model (of course if you can get the mail-in rebate from StealthXStream 600 W this other unit from OCZ is a no-brainer). At USD 85 it competes with Seventeam ST-650P-AF, which has a little bit higher maximum wattage with comparable performance but without a modular cabling system.

Efficiency peaked practically 84%, which is good enough for our buy recommendation, even though it can’t deliver efficiency above 80% under full load (and it shuts down when pulling 600 W at very high temperatures). Since most users won’t use a mainstream product like this at its full load, we don’t see a problem here.

We’d like this unit better if it had one extra SATA power connector and one extra peripheral power connector and presented lower ripple/noise levels at +5 V and +3.3 V outputs while the unit is delivering 600 W.

Of course there are better 600 W power supplies on the market, but not at the same price range.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Mushkin-Volta-600-W-Power-Supply-Review/910


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