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Enermax Revolution 85+ 1050W Power Supply Review

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SKYMTL

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Enermax Revolution 85+ 1050W Power Supply Review




Product Number:
ERV1050EWT-01 (CrossfireX Certified)
ERV1050EWT-01 (SLI Certified)
Manufacturer’s Product Page: ENERMAX - Revolution
Warranty: 3-years
Price: Click here to compare prices


Thirteen months. That’s how long it’s been since the last power supply review here at Hardware Canucks. In that time, the Intel i7 processor family was introduced, the first lackluster AMD Phenoms made way for the Phenom II, a new president was elected south of the border and the ATI / Nvidia battle heated up to a fever pitch. Basically, a lot has happened in the world while we have been narrowing down our selection of power supply testing systems and running into a fair bit of problems to boot. I won’t bore you with the details because all that matters right now is the fact that PSU reviews are back at Hardware Canucks.

Over the past months we have been accumulating a few power supplies from various manufacturers and the first to meet our new test system is the Enermax Revolution 85+ 1050W. Yes, we decided to get things going with one of the highest-end products currently available but considering the ever-increasing requirements of today’s dual GPU enthusiast systems, a unit such as this is fitting.

As a company, Enermax has gone through a number of evolutions but one thing has always been constant: they know how to build a bloody good power supply. Granted, some of their designs fell on hard times due to either high prices or longevity issues but they were able to fight through the short-lived adversity and subsequently released some of the best power supplies available on the market at the time. Back then, their Galaxy and follow-up Galaxy DDX products were the crème de la crème and the overall positive reviews from the press backed up all of Enermax’s performance claims. This new Revolution series seeks to capitalize on the success of the Galaxy and add enough new features to retain Enermax’s lead among power supply manufacturers.

It should go without saying that the Revolution 85+ 1050W is one of the more expensive power supplies at around $290CAD / $270USD. This is justified to some extent considering it has an 80 Plus Silver rating along with a laundry list of other features enthusiasts drool over. Unfortunately, the $290CAD price also makes it about 15% more expensive than what many consider to be today’s gold standard of 1000W power supplies: the Corsair HX1000W. In today’s review we will find out just how well this new Revolution 85+ competes against the Corsair unit and if it is truly worth the price premium.

*Please note that even though there are two product numbers for this power supply (one being SLI certified, one being Crossfire X certified), there are NO differences between the two.

 

SKYMTL

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Specifications and Features

Output Specifications



Some might decry the use of multiple +12V rails on this power supply but as we have been saying for years now: if multiple rails are set up properly, they can provide all the functionality of a single rail design. Enermax has done just that with six +12V rails which are each rated for a whopping 30A (360W). To put this into perspective, you would safely be able to run TWO stock HD 4870 cards off each rail of the Revolution 85+ 1050W.

The connectors themselves are brilliantly laid out in relation to the rails as well. The two CPU connectors and the ATX 24-pin cable share the +12V1 and +12V2 rails ensuring that this unit can easily power any dual CPU system on the market. Meanwhile, the two non-modular PCI-E 8-pin connectors share the +12V3 rail.

When it comes to the modular cables, things get a little more complicated. Two of the modular interface’s PCI-E connectors are linked to the +12V5 rail’s 30A which means up to four PCI-E 8-pin connectors can be connected to this rail. At the same time, the other two PCI-E interfaces are each given a rail (+12V4 & +12V6) to share with the Molex / SATA cables.

The +5V and +3.3V rails get a good allotment as well but the main focus is of course on the all-important +12V power.

All in all, we feel that this is a perfect rail layout especially with 99.9% of the Revolution’s power being available on the +12V rails.


Features












 

SKYMTL

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What is the 80Plus Program and Does it Matter?

What is the 80Plus Program and Does it Matter?




The Enermax Revolution 1050W has an 80Plus Silver rating.

If you have been out of the power supply scene for the last year, you would be forgiven for not knowing what 80 Plus refers to or how it can affect your buying decisions when it comes to power supplies. The official designation has only been around in the industry since 2007 as part of the Energy Star initiative but it has since become extremely popular.

Before we go on, let’s give a quick, simple rundown about efficiency and what it means to you.

Efficiency numbers are based on the power loss that occurs when a power supply transforms the AC input power it draws from your household outlet into DC power. This DC power (12V, 3.3V etc.) is used by your components but the transformation process naturally causes some power loss. Higher quality power supply components will decrease this loss but only to a certain extent.

To put this into simple terms, a power supply which looses 30% of the input power through conversion has an efficiency of 70% and a power supply that looses only 15% has an efficiency of 85%. If we refine this down to the actual wattage consumption, if a system demands 600W of a power supply that has an efficiency of 80%, it will draw 720W from the mains. Indeed, you can begin to see how a mere 10% bump in efficiency can have a huge impact on the overall consumption of your system as well as your electricity bills.

In its most basic guise, the 80 Plus program provides manufacturers a way of certifying their power supplies for use above 80% efficiency. However, it isn’t the last word in efficiency measuring since manufacturers aren’t required to submit their power supplies to 80 Plus for certification. As such, there are plenty of power supplies on the market that exhibit amazing efficiency numbers but are not 80 Plus certified. It should also be noted that the 80 Plus certification does not guarantee you a quality power supply since it is possible that a highly efficient power supply could fall flat in other areas.

There are three certifications which are handed out by the 80 Plus organization for desktop power supplies. All of these certifications refer to the efficiency achieved by the power supply at 20%, 50% and 100% of its rated load.


At least 80% efficiency @ all stated loads & a PFC of .90 at 100% load


At least 82% @ 20% and 100% loads, at least 85% @ 50% load & a PFC of .90 at 50% load


At least 85% @ 20% and 100% loads, at least 88% @ 50% load & a PFC of .90 at 50% load


At least 87% @ 20% and 100% loads, at least 90% @ 50% load & a PFC of .90 at 50% load​


So what does the 80 Plus designation really mean to you? More and more consumers these days are looking for ways to save money while being environmentally conscious and normally this is a tall order of business. The 80 Plus certification allows people to quickly glance at the specifications of a power supply to easily determine what kind of pre-tested efficiency values that particular unit has. In this way they can know which products will be healthier for their electricity bill and the environment.

Without a doubt, this certification provides a great quick-reference point for the masses but as we already stated, it is not a requirement for manufacturers to have their PSU 80 Plus certified. This means that there are plenty of efficient units out there without the little 80 Plus sticker so make sure you do your research before making a decision on which power supply is right for you.
 

SKYMTL

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Packaging and Accessories

Packaging and Accessories



The Revolution 85+ 1050 comes in an imposingly large black box which doesn’t have much flash to its overall design and is quite sinister in appearance. Other than the main logo and a few other stickers here and there, its design is minimalistic and beautifully done.

Since this is the ATI version of the Revolution 85+, there are also AMD and ATI logos. It should be noted that both the ATI and Nvidia certified Revolution 85+ models share the exact same specifications.


Once the box is opened, we see that there are two additional boxes; one of which holds the power supply itself as well as the power cord, a bag for unused cables and a multilingual instruction manual. We were a bit surprised to see how this Enermax power supply is protected against damage since instead of the usual foam or bubble-wrap, all that protects the Revolution against bumps and bruises is a few layers of cardboard. Believe or not though, this should provide sufficient protection since other items like the power cord and box with the modular cables provide a buffer zone.


That additional box we alluded to earlier contains the modular cables as well as a number of Enermax-branded Velcro tie wraps. These tie wraps definitely come in handy when you are trying (usually in vain) to hide cables within your case.

Another thing we wanted to bring your attention is the positively beastly 3x14AWG power cord that is as thick as a baby anaconda. If power cords had a god, this would be it. This rounds up a perfectly well-rounded accessory package with a definite dash of quality and over engineering.
 

SKYMTL

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A Closer Look at the Enermax Revolution 85+ 1050W

A Closer Look at the Enermax Revolution 85+ 1050W



While opinions may differ from one person to another regarding what looks good and what doesn’t, let me interject my own thoughts regarding the look of the Revolution 85+ 1050W: it is drop dead sexy. Personally, I think this power supply’s allure comes from the fact that its whole color scheme simply screams masculinity and brute force. The red accent color really does give the Revolution that extra touch that sets it apart from the rest of the pack. All in all, it is a shame that people won’t see this thing when it is in your case. Also, at 7.5” long, it is slightly shorter than the Corsair HX1000W.


The 135mm fan on the Revolution is protected by a standard black fan grille along with the red accent color seen on other areas of this unit.


The casing of this power supply is simply stunning. It doesn’t have the smooth finish of its competitors but rather makes due with a slightly textured matte finish that protects it from any blemishes. Finger prints are also made a thing of the past with this finish.


The modular interface is pretty straightforward with the peripheral (SATA and Molex) connectors getting keyed 5-pin slots while the connectors needing higher amounts of power (PCI-E 6-pin and 8-pin) make use of 12-pin modular connectors. This layout means that users won’t be plugging an excess number of power-hungry components into a single rail.

Meanwhile, the back of the Revolution looks like most other power supplies on the market with a punched aluminum exhaust grille to ensure proper ventilation as well as the standard on/off switch and power connector. There is also a small LED that glows either green (PSU Ok), yellow (standby) or red (protection activated).
 

SKYMTL

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Cables and Connectors

Cables and Connectors



Click on image to enlarge

All in all, there really isn’t anything negative that we can say about this selection of the cables and connectors. There are more than enough PCI-E connectors (8 in total) to run a quad Crossfire configuration which is more than anyone would normally ask for. In addition, for all those dual CPU users Enermax has made sure to offer a pair of 8-pin CPU connectors.

Both the CPU and PCI-E cables are more than long enough to reach your critical components while the ATX cable is similarly well proportioned. It is also interesting to see that Enermax has included substantially more SATA connectors than Molex connectors. Considering the 4-pin Molex standard is quickly going down the path of extinction, we have to applaud this decision.

If I had to be extremely picky I would say that the CPU connector could have been an inch or two longer in order to ensure proper cable routing on larger cases with bottom mounted PSUs but that would be stretching things.


The Revolution comes with a mixture of fixed and modular cables with the connectors you use the most being hard wired to the power supply. Basically, the ATX, the two CPU connectors and a pair of 6+2 pin PCI-E cables are available without having to unpackage anything else. There is also a uniquely Enermax 2-pin fan header included if you wanted to monitor fan speed. The sleeving is quite well done but we would have still liked to have seen it run all the way to the connector instead of stopping a few inches higher up.


Every single one of the PCI-E connectors on this particular power supply are the newer 6+2 pin variety which means they are compatible with both 6-pin and 8-pin graphics cards. In addition, there is a single 4+4 pin CPU connector if you were planning on using this beast of a PSU with a lower end system.


The modular PCI-E cables each carry two 6+2 pin connectors and are sleeved up until the point where the two connectors branch off from the main cable. Unfortunately, the Molex and SATA cables don’t fare nearly as well since they are only sleeved to the first connector and then you are left with the ungodly multicolored mess of unsleeved cables. On a power supply that costs well over $200, this lackluster sleeving job is unforgivable and in our opinion downright reeks of cost cutting.


When it comes to the modular interface, things are pretty straightforward with all the cables being held in place by a simple anchor clip system. The setup for the PCI-E cables is particularly interesting since it allows for six dedicated wires to run to each of the connectors. This should allow the Revolution to retain an edge over similar PSUs which sport two PCI-E connectors per cable but attach it with a single 6 or 8-pin header.
 

SKYMTL

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Interior Impressions

Interior Impressions



Cracking open the Enermax Revolution 1050W reveals an extremely well-built setup which is supposedly rated to provide its maximum output at an incredible 50°C. As far as we can tell, Enermax doesn’t farm out the design and manufacturing of their power supplies. Rather, they do all the legwork themselves.


The trio of primary capacitors are 105°C rated Matsushita units which are bordered by a small PCB while the secondary filtering section holds Nippon Chemi-Con caps. All in all, these are top-tier components which go hand in hand with the high-end category this unit is priced in.


Next to the secondary side we have a vertical PCB that houses the fan controller components with one wire going directly toward the fan while the other runs to the exterior of the housing and serves as the fan monitoring wire.


The modular interface doesn’t hold any major soldering SNAFUs but a few of the components are held in place with some questionably inconsistent traces. It is pretty shocking to see even a minor issue like this in high end power supplies so we hope Enermax gets to work on their QA process. However, if this unit performs the way Enermax promises it will, these concerns could be flushed down the drain in record time.

Too many manufacturers forget two extremely important things: to sleeve the cables all the way into the housing and to then protect the cables from the sharp edges of the enclosure. Thankfully, the Revolution does both.


Much like the rest of this power supply, the transient filtering section is well appointed and the soldering shows only a minor amount of excess flash.


The 135mm fan used on the Revolution 1050W is a ball bearing-equipped unit rated at 1500RPMs. Hopefully, this power supply is reasonably efficient or this lower RPM fan may have some trouble keeping up with the heat produced by the internal components.
 
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SKYMTL

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Testing Methodology

Testing Methodology



Sub-700W PSU test system has not yet been determined.

Test System Setup


Processor: Intel Core i7 920(ES) @ 4.0Ghz
Memory: Corsair 3x2GB Dominator DDR3 1600Mhz
Motherboard: Gigabyte EX58-UD5
Graphics Card(s): HD4870X2 Single and Crossfire (@stock speeds)
Cooling: CoolIT Boreas mTEC + Scythe Fan Controller
Disk Drive: Pioneer DVD Writer
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB
Additional Fans: 2x Yate Loon 1200RPM
Monitor: Samsung 305T 30” widescreen LCD
OS: Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1
* Open test bench


Conditions & General Notes


General Notes

*Each test is run over the course of 30 minutes.

*Please note that the Crossfire setup is only used for 900W and higher PSUs

*Unless otherwise noted, the Boreas TEC runs at a constant 100%


Idle Conditions

Off: Is a load value where the system is turned off but a small amount of power is still required.

Idle: Idle values are determined by a stable Windows Vista x64 desktop.

Idle + TEC: Reflects an idle conditions mentioned above but with the Boreas TEC’s running at 100% load

Idle + CF: Same idle conditions as indicated above with a pair of HD 4870X2 cards installed.


Load Conditions

CPU Load: This test is run with 8 instances of a custom Prime95 test which we have found uses the most non-GPU power. The test is run for 30 minutes.

GPU Load: For this test we are aiming to show power consumption in a typical fast-paced gaming scenario. As such, we load a single HD4870X2 with custom timedemo of Far Cry 2 at 2560 x 1600 with 4x AA enabled and set it to loop for approximately 30 minutes.

Max Load: For this test we use the single GPU setup running 3DMark06 Batch Render Test at 2560x1600 4xAA / 16xAF while running our custom Prime95 test on the CPU in the background. Once again, this is a 30 minute test.

Extreme Load Test: This is the big one which separates the boys from the men. Basically, it is the same test as the Max Load test but we add another HD4870X2 into the mix and tested for 30 minutes.


Voltage Regulation Testing Methodology

Multimeters Used:
Extech 430 DMM x3

*Note: All voltage readings indicated in the review are the minimum voltages seen over the period of our tests

We always take voltage readings from a loaded connector in order to more accurately see the voltage fluctuations our components are experiencing. Thus, this is how voltages are measured:

+12V: In the CPU Load test the voltages are taken directly from the CPU connector and the used 8-pin PCI-E connector of the power supply. In the GPU Load test the voltages are taken from an 8-pin PCI-E connector which is plugged in to the topmost graphics card as well as the CPU connector. In the Extreme Load test, readings are taken from both the CPU and the PCI-E connectors and the lowest reading is recorded.

+3.3V / +5V: From the main ATX connector.

Please note: Due to the lack of load on the +3.3V and +5V rails in a modern PC, we WILL NOT be including charts for their results unless there are noteworthy fluctuations.


AC Ripple Testing Methodology

Tolerances:

+12V : 120mV Max
+3.3V: 50mV Max
+5V: 50mV Max

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.

Instruments Used:
USB Instruments Stingray Digital Oscilloscope
USB Instruments Differential Oscilloscope Probe

Since we do not have a load tester with a BNC connector for the standard o-scope probe, we needed a Differential probe in order to give us the proper capacitance to accurately determine ripple. In addition, the differential probe has a pair of connectors which are very much akin to a multimeter's probes which makes them ideal for use on SMPS designs. The locations of the probes for each test reflect the locations of the multimeter probes detailed in the Voltage Regulation Testing Methodology section.


Efficiency Testing Methodology

Instruments Used:
UPM Power Meter
Tripp Lite LC1800 Line Conditioner

The data points you see in our charts show the AVERAGE PEAK AC power consumption over all of the tests conducted.


Temperature Testing

Considering the amount of heat our open-air test system produces, it was found to be nigh-on impossible to properly regulate the temperature in the room even with a 10,000 BTU air conditioner. As such, we will be measuring the delta between room temperature and the exhaust temperature from the power supply.

To test temperature, we set up a pair of Type-K temperature probes. One is placed in the middle of the testing room at an elevation of 5 feet AFF to measure ambient temperatures. Meanwhile, the other temperature probe is placed 4” away from the exhaust grille of the power supply.


A few other tidbits

- AC Input Voltage: 120V constant
- Noise is subjectively tested
 

SKYMTL

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Efficiency Testing

Efficiency Testing



Idle Efficiency


At idle, the Revolution 85+ flexes its muscles to good effect and achieves lower overall power consumption figures than the HX1000. What really surprised us was the fact that the Enermax unit was a good 25% more efficient than Corsair’s flagship unit with the computer turned off.


Load Efficiency


With an 80 Plus Silver rating, we had our hopes pretty high for this power supply and it didn’t disappoint at all. It maintained a good 2-4% edge over the Corsair unit in all of the tests which is actually quite impressive.
 

SKYMTL

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Voltage Regulation

Voltage Regulation



+12V Regulation (CPU Connector)



+12V Regulation (PCI-E 8-pin Connector)


Ideally, we would like to see as straight a line as possible in these tests and while the Revolution 1050W more than held its own against the Corsair unit, it wasn’t quite perfect. Its voltage regulation was extremely tight with about a 0.10V variance from one test to the next over both tested connectors but the Extreme Load test rained on the party. While the Revolution did well in this stressful test, the readings on the PCI-E connector experienced a significant 0.23V delta between idle and load voltage readings. Nonetheless, this is still well within ATX guidelines and by any stretch of the imagination a great result.


+3.3V / +5V Regulation Notes

As our system does not draw much power from the +3.3V or +5V rails, the Enermax Revolution 85+ 1050W displayed next to no voltage fluctuations on either of these two rails. The maximum variance we saw was +/- 0.02V for each.
 
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