星期日, 4月 25, 2010

Evaluation of be quiet! Straight Power E7 CM 680W (80+ Bronze Certified)

be quiet! has made 2 revisions out of its own product line for the past 6 months,
respectively upgrading Straight Power Series into “Deluxe” version (coded as E6/non CM),
and upgrading Straight Power Series recently into CM version (coded as E7).
Therefore, you’ll find E6 and E7 versions of Straight Power series on the market.
The major difference between these two versions is whether it has CM or not.

be quiet! Straight Power E7 CM (Cable Management) has 3 wattages for you to choose from, 480, 580 and 680W.
This wattage range covers the wattage commonly required by most of the users.
In addition, all of them are 80Plus Bronze certified.

The efficiency test result of E7 680W’s 20/50/100% loading listed in 80Plus website is 85.84/86.86/83.05% respectively.
The test result looks quite satisfying. 80+ Bronze could be considered as an index of middle-high level power supplies.

Here is our start - Straight Power E7 CM 680W
There is no jaguar image as be quiet! usually would put on their color box this time.
Through the simpler color combination, the color box looks of even more quality.

Multi-language User Manual, CM Cable Kit, Cable Tie, Screws, Power Cord

Straight Power E7 680W Dimensions 160mm X 150mm X 86mm
The case is coated in titanium gray, making it quite different from black cases commonly seen.

The sand texture surface of the case is finger-print proof and the appearance of the heat sink is also a great feature of the product.   

CM Cables
1 X 12V P8
2 X 6 Pin VGA
2 X 6+2 Pin VGA

Connectors from inside of E7 680W
1 X 24/20 Pin
1 X 12V P4
2 X Fan connectors

12cm FDB fan with black symmetric grill-like fan guard is adopted into this series.
The fan guard does look like BBQ grill, ……anyway, quite a special design.
E7 series is integrated with a FDB fan, developed by be quiet!, which has a MTBF of 300,000 Hrs and a super low noise level down to 17dBA.

The rear end of the PSU is equipped with the commonly seen ventilation holes in honeycomb shape.
Active PFC, applicable in 110~240Vac

CM connection sockets
A sticker is pasted stating the name/function of each socket so that end users could avoid mistaken connections.
There are also 3 rows of ventilations holes beneath for enhancing overall cooling mechanism.

Spec of Straight Power E7 CM 680W; Model Name: BQT E7-CM-680W
+12V*4, with a combined current of 52A and a combined output wattage of 624W

Silient Wings, a FDB fan designed by be quiet!, is also specially integrated into E7 series.

The M/B used in this test is GIGABYTE P55A-UD5, a middle-high spec among LGA 1156 sockets.
Through my recent experience, I found out when LGA 1156 was under overclocking mode, it would demand quite a high consumption of +12V.

UD5 is integrated with USB3.0 and the latest MB technology.

Test Platform
CPU: Intel Core i7-870
POWER: be quiet! Straight Power E7 CM 680W
Cooler: Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme
OS: Windows7 Ultimate 64bit

OS system defaults
CPU 200 X 20 => 4000Mhz
DARM DDR3 2000 CL8 8-8-24 1T

OCCT V3.1.0
POWER SUPPLY mode, Shader Complexity 8

What above is the test platform used in this test. In order to display the status of power consumption during the test,
the consumption data would be obtained from the measurement made by “Power Angle”.

Upon entering the desktop screen of OS system- 225~226W

Active PFC - 0.97~0.98

The test items for the Power Supply in OCCT
i7-870 OC 4GHz, a 4-core CPU with simulated full-loading 4-core HT and a physical speeding up from GTX260 - 681~727W。

Running power supply test item in OCCT
i7-870 OC 4GHz, quad physical cores and quad HT virtual cores run in full speed plus GTX260 SLI 2WAY and GTX260 PhysX - 681~727W

Active PFC - 0.99~1.00

The measurement data outputted by Power Angel is only for reference, since its accuracy level is not that high.
Though 3WAY SLI couldn’t be applied to reach an utmost 3D efficiency and hence put the system under a full loading condition during the test,
still, I got an utmost consumption value, 727W, from this test, which could also be considered as a middle/high loading test for 680W.

OCCT test result
CPU temperature fluctuation

System temperature fluctuation

CPU voltage fluctuation
While in standby mode, it was around 1.38V; during full-speed operation, it was around 1.38~1.41V.
The fluctuation range of CPU’s voltage is majorly related to the voltage characteristic of M/B.

The utmost value measured was 3.34V; the fluctuation majorly lied in the range of 3.28~3.3V.
The fluctuation rate was around 1.80%.

It was around 4.95~5.03V. The fluctuation rate was around 1.59%.

The utmost value measured was 12.48V, majorly covering the rage of 12.03~12.10V. The fluctuation rate was around 3.6%.  

The voltage fluctuation rates of Straight Power E7 680W’s 3.3V & 12V were both under 1.8%, which is considered quite a satisfying number.
The fluctuation of 12V started to become less stable after OCCT operated over 10 minutes.
The rate was around 3.6%, a larger fluctuation rate than any other voltages tested. However,
this fluctuation rate still lied inside the range of +-5% required by Intel.
Also, the voltage measured for 12V was not actually the real voltage value.

Here, we used a multimeter for a more accurate result.
While in standby mode, 5Vwas around 5.07V, still a bit higher than that measured by M/B.

While OCCT was operating at full-speed, 5V was around 5.07~5.0V, making almost no difference from that measured in standby mode.  

While in standby mode, 12 was around 12.13V, a bit lower than 12.43V measured by M/B.

While OCCT was operating at full speed,
12V was around 11.92~11.93V; 0,20V lower than it was in standby mode.

With the application of the multimeter, the voltage fluctuation of 5V at full speed was only 0.02V and 12V was only 0.20V.
Both of these two values were much better than those measured by M/B in OCCT operation.
Though the fluctuation rate of 12V in OCCT operation was 3.6%, it was actually only 1.60% measured by multimeter, apparently a lot better.

1, the color box of Straight Power E7’s latest version is a lot more attractive
2, special case coating and fan guard design
3, 80Plus Bronze certified; equipped with APFC circuit
4, all capacitors are Japanese, and noise level is only 17dBA
5, 5-year warranty, free to exchange for a new one within 540days if malfunction happens, and free NG PSU collection and delivery within 3 years.

1, the fluctuation range of 12V still leaves room for improvement
2, it would be better if 12V is changed into single rail

Efficiency  ★★★★★★★★☆☆
Material    ★★★★★★★★☆☆
Spec.      ★★★★★★★★★☆
Appearance ★★★★★★★★★☆
C/P        ★★★★★★★★☆☆

Upon my first glance at Straight Power E7, I could tell it was quite a special product.
Its appearance and fan design both greatly differentiate it from other ordinary looking power supplies.
Also, in other points you could also see how hard be quiet! has tried to differentiate it from other PSU,
such as the external fan connectors that allows more silence for the system, honeycomb ventilation holes on both sides of the case, scratch-proof case,
and the rounding of case sharp corners that could prevent users from being hurt, etc.

During the system test, E7 CM 680W was very quiet in both standby and full-speed modes; hardly could you hear any noise.
The temperature measured from its surface was around 45~50℃.
The stability of 3.3V & 5V is relatively higher than that of 12V.
Though after voltage fluctuation of 12V was more accurately measured by a multimeter,
the fluctuation rate was proved 50% less than that measured by M/B, still there is room for improvement of 12V’s stability.

The market price range of be quiet! Straight Power E7 680W is around 5990NTD, roughly equal to 186USD,
making it neither an expensive nor an inexpensive PSU on the market.
Though the quality is good and the materials used are of high quality, personally, I think if the price could be lowered a bit, it would be even better.
At least, a lowered price would allow end users who are interested in this product more possibility to purchase this product. : )

AMD Mid-end MB with Phenom II X4 910e OC Review

Since AMD 45nm CPU was more popular in 2009, AMD is more aggressive in CPU, Chipset and VGA products this year.
You can see AMD launched more new product lines to ramp up their market share.

In VGA, ATI has been in market for long time and good market share.
For CPU, it cannot implement 45nm for long time. It caused CPU power consumption, temperature and clock is in bad performance.
These factors make AMD CPU was failed in 2008.
Finally, they only could drop price to maintain the CPU market share.

However, AMD 45nm production technology was more stable in 2009, they started to launch more CPU SKUs.
Phenom II X4/Athlon II product lines are defined by 2~4 CPU cores, L3cache and frequency.
Besides, there is some official way that users have chance to enable extra cores and L3 cache of low end AMD CPU.
It makes AMD X3/X4CPU price be lower. It’s a good news for CPU market.

Previous review, I shared "AMD 3x 785G models Unlock Cores and OC Guide " to show the higher C/P value.
If users can get the capable one, it’s really super value. However, it’s not 100% guaranteed.
As the users who don’t rely on luck, I suggest you can pick AMD Phenom II X4 CPU is better.

AMD launched several CPUs to compete with Intel Core i3/Core i5 recently.
This review is about new Phenom II X4, quad core CPU, structure to assembly a performance and style mid-end AMD PC.

AMD Phenom II X4 910e, power consumption 65W which is lower than the other Phenom II X4 95W.
Core name is Deneb. The voltage range is 0.85-1.25V, clock is 2.60GHz with L2 2MB and L3 6MB
The price is around 169USD. The Taiwan market popular one is 905e so far.

I use my most favorite CORSAIR XMS3 DDR3. The clock is 1600 CL8 8-8-24 1.65V.
In USA internet shop, you can see CMX4GX3M2A1600C7, 2GBX2 1600 CL7, price is only 125USD.
CL7 version is more suitable for AMD platform and the price is cheaper.
Due to AMD DDR3 high clock is not so well, I recommend users can just purchase 1333 or 1600.

This review is using ORSAIR DDR3 2GBX3 three-channel version to test 2GBX2.
As budget concerned users, you can choose lower clock or higher CL one.

I use the most popular All in one 785G chipset.
GIGABYTE GA-785GMT-USB3 is with the latest USB3.
The price is around 3100NTD, 97USD.

The pity is 785GMT-USB3 has no SidePort Memory.
If you need better 3D performance, SidePort Memory does help 785G product.

Power Supply
For this AMD platform, all in one MB power consumption is not high.
I pick be quiet! power4 350W. It’s capable to supply this platform.
The price is 1690NTD, around 53USD.

It passed 80Plus certificate. 100% Japanese made solid capacitors and 5 years warranty. The spec is quite good.

Normally, I don’t use chassis to write this kind of review. However, my friend’s experience show me that the good chassis is also key factor of building a PC.
This time, I choose Antec Performance One Mini P18, a high end Micro-ATX chassis.
The price dropped to 3900NTD recently, around 122USD. This chassis is also a good option for high end users.
Suddenly the pic turns to outdoor scene. I am not used to it yet, but everything needs the first time.
For 2010 articles, windwithme will show the review in varied way.

The back is 12cm fan, above is 20cm fan and both with rpm control and in 3 steps.
In front is 2x USB 2.0, 1x eSATA and audio output/input.

Although the size is similar with normal ATX Chassis, 43.5 cm(H) x 21.2 cm(W) x 43.6 cm (D).
However the quality and extendibility is very good. 5x 3.5/3x 5.25 and it’s able to install the VGA long cards.

Thermaltake contac 29 price is 990NTD, around 31USD.

Three cooper thermal pipes, the trouble is AM3 installation direction is not so good.
If you don’t OC over 3.4GHz, the original cooler is acceptable.

3.5 HDD product is only 2 brands in the market now. User can choose that by the capacity and own favorite.
HDD is not the key concerned part for building new PC.
Also, 785G BIOS OC guide is complete in last review. If you need it, please check it out.

Test Configuration
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 910e
VGA: ATI Radeon HD 4200
HD: WD 6400AAKS 640GB
POWER: be quiet! power4 350W
Cooler: Thermaltake contac 29
OS: Windows7 Ultimate 64bit

AMD exclusive software-OverDrive Utility. You can see all system information.

Diagram shows user configuration.

System Information shows voltage, temperature, fan speed and chipset clock.

Default System Performance
CPU 200.9 X 13 => 2611.6MHz
DDR3 1339.2 CL9 9-9-24 1T
VGA 500MHz

Nuclearus Multi Core => 10989
Fritz Chess Benchmark => 13.40/6431

CrystalMark 2004R3 => 140677

1 CPU => 3062
x CPU => 11265

OpenGL => 3.51 fps
CPU => 3.13 pts
CPU(Single Core) => 0.79 pts

PCMark Vantage => 5514

DDR3 1339.2 CL9 9-9-24 1T
Sandra Memory Bandwidth - 7915 MB/s
EVEREST Memory Read - 12019 MB/s

Due to use Phenom II X4 CPU, the multi-core benchmark is good.
This AMD platform is capable for graphic design, file transformation, multimedia and multi-tasking.

3DMARK2006 => 1687

StreetFighter IV Benchmark
800 X 600 => 24.37FPS

Biohazard5 Benchmark
800 X 600 => 10.4 fps

Call of Juarez
1024 X 768 => Avg 11.5

AMD 785G is almost the best performance IGP chipset in the market.
For mid to high end 3D Game, it’s still far away for smooth running.
But for entry 3D Game or software, 785G is enough.

Power Consumption
Standby - 69W

OCCT Full Speed - 141W
POWER SUPPLY mode,Shader Complexity 8

The whole system power consumption is very good, especially for quad core CPU plus 785G. It is good performance and green.
I hope AMD can launch more low voltage and power CPU.

OC Performance
CPU 300 X 13 => 3900MHz
DDR3 1600 CL8 8-8-20 1T
VGA 770MHz

Nuclearus Multi Core => 17145
Fritz Chess Benchmark => 19.64/9426

CrystalMark 2004R3 => 193687

1 CPU => 4506
x CPU => 16379

OpenGL => 5.08 fps
CPU => 4.57 pts
CPU(Single Core) => 1.17 pts

PCMark Vantage => 6141

DDR3 1600 CL8 8-8-20 1T
Sandra Memory Bandwidth - 9177 MB/s
EVEREST Memory Read - 13340 MB/s

Pulling CPU clock from 2600MHz to 3900MHZ, you can see CPU performance increases 40~50%.
CPU C2 version in 1.4~1.45V can reach around 3.75GHz. C3 version makes CPU clock be higher.。
AMD C3 version is not popular in the market now. I do hope it can be more and more popular. I think it’s also can enhance their core competition ability.

3DMARK2006 => 2209

StreetFighter IV Benchmark
800 X 600 => 33.55 FPS

Biohazard5 Benchmark
800 X 600 => 14.4 fps

Call of Juarez
1024 X 768 => Avg 21.1

Pulling IGP clock from 500MHz to 770MHz, the 3D performance is even higher.
StreetFighter IV Benchmark almost reaches 30FPS.
Call of Juarez 3D performance is doubled after OC.
As my personal experience, 785G IGP at least can achieve 700~750MHz.

Power Consumption
Standby - 83W

OCCT Full Speed - 226W
POWER SUPPLY mode,Shader Complexity 8

After OC, the standby consumption is similar.
However, it’s 75W difference in full speed.
The main reason is CPU and IGP all OC over 50%. It really increases the power.
Using be quiet! 350W Power Supply is enough. You even can use high end VGA card with this PSU.

Phenom II X4 910e OC to 4GHz is stable. The voltage is 1.504V
Hyper 4 X PI 32M=> 18m 55.588s
CPUMARK 99=> 549

Previous AMD CPU C2 stepping needs 1.52~1.6V to achieve 4GHz.
Also, there are still many C2 cannot reach 4G even with higher voltage.
However, I think AMD still can improve their manufacturing to lower voltage to 1.4~1.45V.

AMD platform is high C/P value in the market and also for budget concerned users.
Also, X2/X3 CPU is cheaper and probably able to enable extra cores and L3 cache to enhance performance. This is another selling point.
X4 product is mid end CPU line. It’s also can be considered by higher budget users.
If it plus 785G products, most MB brands provide fair price products.
For All in one, AMD CPU and MB are the most cost effective one.

This article is focus on AMD mid-end products. The products here are not the cheapest one, but the good quality and performance.
If you have the same demand, you can refer to this review configuration.
If the budget is lower or have favorite brands, you also can pick up your own combination.

AMD CPU performance is still 10-20% behind the competitor. However, their price control policy is quite well.
Most AMD CPU is for entry and mid-end market. It does attract many users who concern about C/P value.
In the future, AMD will launch 890GX. I hope the performance can be even better.
AMD 45nm CPU yield rate can be improved to achieve 4G in lower voltage.
It will help AMD to gain more market share in 2010.

These continuous AMD Athlon II Unlock Core and Phenom II X4 reviews are for AMD fans.

Wish all of you can find your perfect match system this year. :)