OCZ StealthXstream 600W Power Supply Review

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Table of Contents

Intro

1- Packaging
2- Exterior Impressions
3- Interior Impressions
4- Output Characteristics

Performance Tests

5-Efficiency Testing
6- Voltage Regulation Testing
7- +12V AC Ripple Testing
8- Noise and heat

9- Conclusion

Product Number: OCZ600SXS
Price: $81.00 at Directcanada
Packaging: Retail
Fan Size: 1X 120mm
Warranty: 3 Years
Availability: Now

Cable Lengths and Connectors:

– Molex: 5 Connectors
o 1x 31” (3 connectors)
o 1x 24” (2 connectors)

– SATA: 3 Connectors
o 1x 35” length

– PCI-E 6-Pin: 2 Connectors
o 2x 17” length (on same cable)

– 4-Pin Floppy: 1 Connector
o 1x 31” length (at end of Molex cables)

– 20+4 ATX Connector: 17” Length

– 8-Pin CPU Connector: 17” Length

OCZ has long been known as one of the preeminent manufacturers of memory in the computer component industry. A few short years ago, they decided to branch off into the power supply business as well with their extremely popular Powerstream units. As a follow up to the Powerstream, they launched the Evostream and famous GameXstream units which have further cemented OCZ’s standing as a manufacturer of both high-quality ram and power supplies. Most recently, OCZ has made further moves to cement their position in power supply circles by releasing the ModXstream, StealthXstream and ProXstream series and buying the high-end power supply manufacturer PC Power & Cooling. While the influence of PC Power & Cooling has yet to reflect on OCZ’s mainstream products, they all still promise great bang for your hard-earned money.

In this review we will be looking at OCZ’s recently-released StealthXstream 600W power supply. This FSP-built unit is billed as a budget 600W power supply that is backed by OCZ’s outstanding 3-year warranty and second-to-none customer service. Basically, OCZ took a GameXstream 600W power supply and got rid of the LED-equipped 120mm fan and power switch and performed a few other changes to cut back on cost. “Stealth” becomes a very good name for his unit since there is really nothing on it that would make it stand out from a crowd. When all is said and done, the StealthXstream 600W comes in at a frugal $88.00CAD. Considering our last run-in with a budget 600W power supply didn’t turn out very well, we are hoping for a much better performance out of this OCZ product. How does it perform? Read on to find out.

1- Packaging and Accessories

The packaging of the StealthXstream power supply isn’t anything we haven’t seen before and there really isn’t anything that stands out as unique about it. There is mention of OCZ’s 3-year warranty along with the various other features that can be found on this power supply such as APFC, efficient operation, dual GPU compatibility and a number of other things.

The interior arrangement of the package is what we have seen time and again when reviewing FSP-built power supplies; there is a distinct lack of protection for the power supply. Luckily, the StealthXstream is somewhat protected by a bubble-wrap bag and by the multitude of cables at one end of the box. This is the same issue we always have with FSP-built power supplies and this one is no exception.

The accessory package is basic, though at least it includes a power cord which has been MIA form some of the past units we have reviewed. You get the aforementioned power cord, a basic instruction manual and a quartet of mounting screws.

2- Exterior Impressions

Taking the same approach as with their GameXstream series, OCZ has painted the entire exterior of the SteathXstream a durable black matte finish. The top of the unit is dominated by the single 120mm fan which pushes more than enough air to keep the interior of the power supply quite cool. There are various stickers on the top outlining various tests the power supply has undergone before its final release from the manufacturing facility.

Looking a little closer, we see that the entire back of this power supply has a mesh grille which is punched directly out of the metal casing. There is also a distinct lack of a voltage input switch which points to OCZ’s inclusion of Active PCF on this power supply. There is also the blue power switch that glows blue on the GameXstream series but OCZ saved money on this power supply and removed any and all LEDs so it does not illuminate. It is also good to see the inclusion of RoHS certification tags on the StealthXstream; this points towards a growing trend to make computer components more environmentally friendly. We can do nothing but applaud any company that adheres to this European Union-only certification.

All of the cables on the StealthXstream are completely sleeved though there is noticeably less sleeving than on the GameXstream series. The sleeving does not run right up to the connectors but rather stops an inch or two above them. This is another cost-saving measure being used by OCZ but it does not negatively impact the looks or the practicality of the power supply in any way. The cables are a bit shorter than those you will find on a GameXstream but they are still of acceptable length.

There are a few less Molex and SATA connectors than on the GameXstream series but there are still more than enough to satisfy literally any customer. All of the Molex connectors have quick-release clamps which can be pushed together to easily remove the connectors from the attached component. There are also two PCI-E connectors which makes this power supply ready out of the box for SLI or Crossfire systems as well as an 8-pin CPU connector. The only problem here is that both PCi-E connectors are on the same cable.

3- Interior Impressions

As with most FSP-built power supplies, the interior of the OCZ StealthXstream power supply has a spartan layout and extremely small heatsinks for a unit which claims to output 600W. The main transformer has the telltale SPI for Sparkle Power International which was a subsidiary of FSP until a short time ago. They continue to work hand in hand so FSP uses SPI components in the power supplies they build even though they are no longer parts of the same company. This power supply is actually based on the chassis of the FSP Epsilon series of power supplies. It is good to see that this OCZ unit has the cables sleeved all the way to the inside of the casing regardless of the cost-cutting measures taken; this is one area that needed to stay the same and luckily it was not messed with.

As with all of the Epsilon-based power supplies, the PCB of the StealthXstream 600W pulls double and triple duty as a basis for both higher and lower wattage FSP power supplies.

All of the wires can be traced back to their distinct soldering points of the PCB which are then split into the separate +12V rails. Since this is a budget unit, each of the rails is controlled by their own OCP circuit instead of a transformer. We have yet to see a power supply targeting even enthusiast-level consumers with separate transformers for each +12V rail since this would make the power supply extremely large and prohibitively expensive.

In typical FSP fashion a single 390uF OST cap is used on the primary filtering side while a forest of smaller CapXons are used on the secondary. While neither of these two cap types have the respected identity of the like of Nippon Chemicon or Hitachi, there have been no complaints leveled against them. Thus, these make a good choice for a budget power supply.

4- Output Characteristics

Like with all Epsilon-based power supplies, the OCZ StealthXstream has 4 +12V rails rated at 18A each for a total of 580W when combined with the +3.3V and +5V rails. Since in this day and age most components draw their power from the +12V rails, this layout gives the StealthXstream great flexibility to adapt to pretty much any circumstance. As we can see, the first PCI-E gets a +12V rail all to itself which means it can theoretically draw the whole 18A of power. This is great for high-powered graphics cards which seem to be drawing ever more power as new models are released. The +12V2 rail is occupied by the second PCI-E connector and four of the eight pins on the 8-pin CPU connector. The other +12V1 and +12V4 rails are occupied by the second half of the CPU connector and the SATA and Molex connectors respectively. All in all, this power supply looks ready to take on most high-powered systems but don’t look for it to power a dual 8800GTX or HD2900XT system. For those applications, you are better off looking at something with quite a bit more power.

PERFORMANCE TESTS:

Instruments Used:

Belkin 1100VA UPS
Rexus PSU tester
Fluke 187 Digital Multimeter
UPM Power Meter
USB Instruments Stingray USB O-Scope
USB Instruments Differential oscilloscope probe

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 Noctua NF-S12-1200 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.

5 -Efficiency Testing:

To test efficiency, plugged in the UPM power meter to the Belkin UPS and the highest sustained AC power consumption was recorded over the 1 hour test period. All tests were run twice and if there were anomalies, the test was run 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 peak 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 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 as well.

Efficiency Test #1

Efficiency Test #2

Efficiency Test #3

Efficiency Test #4

For a budget 600W power supply, the StealthXstream put up some very respectable efficiency numbers in all of the tests. As the load on the +12V rails increased, the efficiency seemed to drop off a bit but not enough to be of any concern. It is very interesting since all of the power supplies which are based off the FSP Epsilon platform we have reviewed have had very good efficiency numbers. Even though the Epsilon chassis is a few years old now, these numbers prove it can still compete efficiency-wise with some of the newer designs.

6- Voltage Regulation Testing:

To test voltage regulation I used the same tests as the efficiency. All tests were done over two tests of 1 hour where the voltage drops were logged with the Fluke 187 multimeter. The multimeter was installed directly on a connected PCI-E connector for the +12V tests and a SATA connector for the +5V and +3.3V tests. 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 “SLI OC” 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 as well.

+5V / +3.3V 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 and +3.3V rails in order to stress them. Thus, I did conduct the tests with the system I had and the StealthXstream 600W passed every test within +/- 3% of 5V / 3.3V.

+12V Voltage Regulation

The OCZ StealthXstream performs quite well in these tests as well with only minor dips in the voltages on the +12V rails. Usually budget power supplies show much larger drops especially in the SLI OC test but OCZ’s power supply held things together very nicely indeed. Many of the FSP Epsilons show these same characteristics so it is no surprise to see the same results here. This power supply is really looking like it’s a winner when it comes to the price / performance category.

7- +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 Singray o-scope. The values were the highest peak ripple measurement across all of the +12V rails. So, if the +12V1 rail shows a ripple of 20mV and the +12V2 rail shows a ripple of 40mV, the highest value will be graphed.

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.

The readings we were greeted with when testing the StealthXstream 600W were very interesting to say the least. This is the first power supply that has actually had ripple fall when more load was applied between the Load and the Overclock test. Unfortunately, when the SLI test was run the measurements shot back up in theatric fashion to a point which was flirting above the 70mV mark through the last test. For a budget power supply this result is acceptable but it was still quite alarming to see the day and night scenario presented by the StealthXstream in this test.

8- Noise and Heat

This part of the testing procedures presented a bit of a challenge for us and it involved some conversations with OCZ’s staff and ultimately the delivery of another test unit to our doorstep. When doing these reviews we really do our research by searching forums for comments about the review unit in question. Sometimes the comments are overly positive while other times they are continuous rants about a certain product. In the StealthXstream’s case there was one comment which dominated all others: many customers were receiving this power supply and finding it had a VERY loud fan.

Thinking these were isolated cases, we fired up the power supply….and discovered the customers were right; the fan noise was bordering on extreme even when the computer was sitting on the desktop. This was not a case of a problem with a bearing in the fan or the blades causing a vibration in the housing. Rather, it was the loud “whoosh” of a fan with a malfunctioning fan speed controller. If we had not read the posts on the forums, we would have gone about assuming that this was one of the few units with this problem. Luckily, we did our homework and have found this problem again and again when people speak of the StealthXstream 600W. It is not a problem with ALL of the units but it is common enough to warrant mention in this review.

On the other hand, the power supply OCZ sent us as a replacement unit which ended up being whisper quiet. This power supply was supposedly from a new batch of StealthXstream power supplies which are currently shipping to vendors. This second StealthXstream exhibited the same performance as the first unit but without all the fan noise. According to OCZ, they are in the process of shipping out these revised StealthXstreams into the retail channel. In addition, if you are worried about the fan noise your StealthXstream is making, you can send it to OCZ and have it replaced with a new unit.

9- Conclusion

A few months ago it was ludicrous to even think of the possibility of a quality 600W power supply which retailed for under $100. We can do nothing but applaud OCZ since they proved a great price does not equal lackluster performance by delivering power supply which performs as well as its more-expensive competitors. When it comes to the build quality and overall performance of the StealthXstream there is hardly anywhere the it fails to impress. OCZ should also receive a pat on the back for supplying cables that are of a good-length and are fully sleeved. Indeed, the StealthXstream 600W looks, feels and performs like a much more expensive power supply. Finally, OCZ’s Powerswap Warranty and excellent customer support put it head and shoulders above many of its competitors.

On the other hand, even the performance of the StealthXstream cannot hide the disappointment we felt when listening to the first unit’s fan give voice to its own sorrow. In our eyes, the noise our first unit made is in no way unique, but OCZ is doing a great job of looking into this and shipping revised units into the retail channel. They get a huge amount of brownie points for addressing the fan noise situation and trying to make it right.

With good performance and great value this power supply almost lost out because of the fan noise the first unit made. Luckily, OCZ pulled it together by realizing something was amiss and taking steps to make it right. Thus, the OCZ StealthXstream gets a 4 / 5 rating and a provisional Dam Good Value award based on the revised unit which is now making its way into the retail channels.

Pros:

– Price
– Good voltage regulation
– Good efficiency
– Cables are of good lengths
– OCZ warranty and support

Cons:
– Loud fan on non-revised units
– Ripple suppression is just ok

Comment Thread: https://hardwarecanucks.com/forum/threads/comment-thread-for-ocz-stealthxstream-600w-review.2370/post-19345

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