Mushkin Volta 600W Power Supply Review

paulktreg - 2009-11-12 13:28:11 in Power Supplies
Category: Power Supplies
Reviewed by: paulktreg   
Reviewed on: December 16, 2009
Price: $TBA

Introduction:

Mushkin Enhanced, founded in 1994, is located near Denver, Colorado in the United States. Probably better known for its high quality memory, Mushkin also offers a small range of power supplies and digital storage devices.

The PC power supply market is very competitive and especially so in the 500-600W range. I had a quick look on a popular US computer component website and there are nearly 160 power supplies available in this range, far more than any other. Good quality 500-600W power supplies are available for very reasonable prices these days and I see very little reason to fit anything lower in any new build with the latest components. A good quality 600W power supply will easily and safely power any currently available mainstream processor in combination with any single high end gaming graphics cards and will, with a little luck, hit the sweet spot for efficiency at 300W when pushed.

This time around, OCC will put the newly released Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W power supply through its paces. Let's have a closer look and see how well it performs.

Closer Look:

The packaging of the Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W power supply is relatively plain and simple. The front face of the box shows wind turbines and lightening striking an electricity pylon against a black sky. The rear face shows a photograph of the Volta power supply against a green background. Is this a representation of the available power in combination with eco-friendly features? We will see.

 

 

 

 

On the lid, you'll find the Mushkin Enhanced logo against a black background, while a production/part number barcode label is on the plain white base.

 

 

One side panel provides the electrical specification table, package contents, features, and connector types and quantities. The other panel gives a couple of paragraphs of text explaining the advantages of Mushkin Enhanced products, an explanation of some of the features, mentions the 5 year limited warranty, and then thanks the buyer for choosing the product.

 

 

Lift the lid and the power supply is covered with a box containing the modular cables and accessories with a couple of conveniently placed finger holes to assist in its removal. The power supply sits snugly in the bottom, protected by a bubble wrap envelope, with the captive cables and power cord tucked neatly down the side.

 

 

The bubble wrap enclosed power supply and the box contents, which include a power cord, user manual, modular cable set and a small plastic bag containing Velcro cable straps, cable ties and power supply mounting screws.

 

 

Very well packaged power supply in a simple black and green themed box. The accessory set is basic, but everything is included to make for a trouble free installation.

Closer Look (The Power Supply):

The Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W power supply case is painted satin black with a slightly textured finished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The exhaust grill has probably the largest surface area I have seen on a power supply and should allow for maximum airflow. The back panel also contains the IEC mains input connector, a power on/off switch, a five position miniature slide switch for fan LED color selection (Red, Off, Blue, Off, Green) and a green LED, which lights when the power supply is on. The rear face of the power supply contains the captive cable port (with plastic grommet to prevent cable damage) and modular cable connectors (black for peripheral devices and blue for PCI-E auxiliary power). These connectors are physically identical 8-way connectors with the same key layout, so a little care is needed when inserting the plugs.

 

 

There is a Mushkin Enhanced Volta sticker with logo on one side panel and small ventilation slots on the other.

 

 

The top face of the power supply carries the specification label, which is basic, but adequate. The cooling fan grill is gloss metallic grey in color with a Mushkin Enhanced logo at its center.

 

 

The Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W power supply carries two captive cables – a 20/24-pin motherboard and a 4+4-pin ATX12V/EPS12V connector. The sleeves on the captive cables are continued into the enclosure, which is nice to see and improves the overall appearance. The modular cables are not bound up with cables ties, which means they are relatively straight and unkinked – a small point I know, but it does help in keeping things a little bit tidier when routing them inside the PC enclosure. There are three different colored plugs, black for peripheral and motherboard, blue for PCI-E, and sky blue for ATX12V/EPS12V.

 

 

The 120mm cooling fan is by HS with the model number A1225M12S (which is the same model number as the Thermaltake TT-1225) rated at 12V 0.38A. A small clear plastic baffle has been installed directly behind the fan to divert the cooling to where it is needed. The four wires connecting to the rear panel slide switch control the cooling fan LED color. I couldn't find any specific manufacturer for the printed circuit board in the Mushkin Enhanced 600W power supply, but the layout is tidy and there is plenty of room inside the unit.

 

 

The electrolytic capacitors are by Hermei and rated at 105°C, the ones I can see anyway, apart from the main smoothing capacitor, which is rated at 85°C.

 

 

The Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W power supply build quality is excellent with a good set of accessories and sturdy packaging. Nothing else to say really, so let's see how well it performs.

Specification:

Ratings Table:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W Power Supply Specifications
AC Input
100-240VAC     10-6A     50-60Hz
DC Output
+3V3
+5V
+12V
-12V
+5VSB
Maximum Load
24A
24A
39A
0.5A
2.5A
Maximum
Combined
Wattage
130W
480W
6W
12.5W
585W
15W
600W

 

System Protection:

 

Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W Power Supply Protection Circuit
Protection Circuit
Protection Against
+3V3
+5V
+12V
Over Voltage
OVP
3.6~4.2V
5.8~6.3V
14~17V
Over Current
OCP
110 – 150%
Short Circuit
SCP
< 0.1 ohm
HV Discharge
ESD
2.2~3.0kV

 

Safety & Agency Approvals:

UL/CUL, TUV, CB, BSMI, CCC, FI, CE, FCC, RoHS compliant.

 

Power Supply Weight:

 

Power Supply Weight
Manufacturer/Model
Weight
Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W
1.8kg
4.0lbs

 

Power Supply Connectors:

 

Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W Connectors
20+4-Pin Motherboard
Captive
1
ATX12V/EPS12V 4+4-Pin
Captive
1
EPS12V 8-Pin
Modular
1
PCI-E 6+2-Pin
Modular
2
SATA Power
Modular
6
Peripheral 4-Pin
Modular
5
FDD
Modular
1

 

Power Supply Cable Lengths:

 

Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W Connector Cable Lengths
Captive
PSU > 21" > 20+4-Pin Motherboard
1
Captive
PSU > 26" > ATX12V/EPS12V 4+4-Pin
1
Modular
PSU > 21" > EPS12V 8-Pin
1
Modular
PSU > 21" > PCI-E 6+2-Pin
2
Modular
PSU > 21" > SATA > 6" > SATA
1
Modular
PSU > 21" > SATA > 6" > SATA > 6" > SATA > 6" > SATA
1
Modular
PSU > 21" > Peripheral > 6" > Peripheral
1
Modular
PSU > 21" > Peripheral > 6" > Peripheral > 6" > Peripheral > 6" > FDD
1

 

Features:

Exactly as printed on the box.

Testing:

For more information on how we test our power supplies, please browse our testing methodology.

Electrical Safety:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electrical Safety Test Class 1
Manufacturer/Model
Pass/Fail
Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W
Pass

 

Short Circuit Protection:

I short circuited the 3V3, 5V0 and the 12V rail in turn. The power supply did shut down, and once the short was removed and the unit switched off for at least one second, resumed normal operation. Although listed here at the beginning of the testing section, I tend to leave this test until the very end, in case it doesn't quite go to plan.

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation:

 

Mains Input Voltage 110VAC/50Hz

 

 

Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
Supply = 110VAC/50Hz
PSU DC Rail
Measured Voltage(V)
3V3
3.41
5V0
5.14
+12V
11.94
-12V
-11.18
5VSB
5.14
Total PSU Loading = 0W (0% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
Supply = 110VAC/50Hz
PSU
DC Rail
Rail Loading Amps (A)
Rail Loading Watts (W)
Measured Voltage (V)
ATX12V V2.2 Limits (V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.23
10.95
3.39
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
4.84
24.59
5.08
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
5.17
63.33
12.25
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
0.34
3.89
11.45
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
2.12
10.71
5.05
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total PSU Loading = 113.5W (19% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
Supply = 110VAC/50Hz
PSU
DC Rail
Rail Loading Amps (A)
Rail Loading Watts (W)
Measured Voltage (V)
ATX12V V2.2 Limits (V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
8.57
29.05
3.39
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
9.82
49.67
5.06
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
18.86
229.90
12.19
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
0.34
3.99
11.73
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
2.11
10.61
5.03
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total PSU Loading =  323W (54% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
Supply = 110VAC/50Hz
PSU
DC Rail
Rail Loading Amps (A)
Rail Loading Watts (W)
Measured Voltage (V)
ATX12V V2.2 Limits (V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
13.42
45.36
3.38
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
14.97
75.15
5.02
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
37.04
452.26
12.21
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
0.35
4.22
12.07
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
2.07
10.35
5.00
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total PSU Loading = 587W (98% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Mains Input Voltage 230VAC/50Hz

 

 

Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
Supply = 230VAC/50Hz
PSU DC Rail
Measured Voltage(V)
3V3
3.41
5V0
5.14
+12V
11.94
-12V
-11.18
5VSB
5.14
Total PSU Loading = 0W (0% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
Supply = 230VAC/50Hz
PSU
DC Rail
Rail Loading Amps (A)
Rail Loading Watts (W)
Measured Voltage (V)
ATX12V V2.2 Limits (V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.23
10.95
3.39
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
4.80
24.38
5.08
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
5.15
63.04
12.24
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
0.34
3.89
11.45
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
2.12
10.71
5.05
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total PSU Loading = 113W (19% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
Supply = 230VAC/50Hz
PSU
DC Rail
Rail Loading Amps (A)
Rail Loading Watts (W)
Measured Voltage (V)
ATX12V V2.2 Limits (V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
8.57
29.05
3.39
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
9.83
49.74
5.06
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
18.93
230.94
12.20
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
0.35
4.11
11.73
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
2.08
10.48
5.04
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total PSU Loading = 324W (54% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
Supply = 230VAC/50Hz
PSU
DC Rail
Rail Loading Amps (A)
Rail Loading Watts (W)
Measured Voltage (V)
ATX12V V2.2 Limits (V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
13.67
46.20
3.38
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
15.02
75.40
5.02
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
36.38
444.20
12.21
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
0.35
4.23
12.08
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
2.07
10.35
5.00
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total PSU Loading = 580W (97% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

All the DC rails stay well within the ATX12V V2.2 limits from zero to almost full load and even the -12V rail manages to climb above 12V, which doesn't happen too often. No problems here, so let's move on.

Testing (Continued):

Efficiency and Power Factor:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W
Output & Efficiency @ 110VAC
DC Load (W)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
0
7
0.49
N/A
N/A
113.5
143
0.94
79
Pass
323
399
0.99
81
Pass
587
771
0.99
76
Pass

 

Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W
Output & Efficiency @ 230VAC
DC Load (W)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
0
8
0.23
N/A
N/A
113
139
0.78
81
Pass
324
389
0.90
83
Pass
580
739
0.95
78
Pass

 

A respectable set of results in this section for the Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W. The power factor could be a better when supplied from 230VAC and the efficiency could be a little higher, but it meets all the requirements of the ATX12V V2.2 specification. The user manual states a maximum efficiency of 82% at a typical load on 115VAC, which is more or less what the Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W delivers, give or take a percentage point. The Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W does not carry 80 Plus certification, but still delivers reasonable efficiency at a level quoted in the user manual.

 

AC Ripple On DC Outputs:

 

I have consistently found the AC ripple levels on the DC rails to be more or less equal with a 110VAC or 230VAC mains supply. The results given below are for 230VAC only, but I will continue to check the levels at 110VAC during testing and publish them below if they differ in any way.

 

AC Ripple On 3V3 Rail at 230VAC

Oscilloscope settings: Amplitude = 2mv/div, Timebase = 5uS/div

 

AC Ripple On 5V0 Rail at 230VAC

Oscilloscope settings: Amplitude = 5mv/div, Timebase = 5uS/div

 

AC Ripple On 12V Rail at 230VAC

Oscilloscope settings: Amplitude = 5mv/div, Timebase = 5uS/div

 

Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W
AC Ripple/Noise
DC Rail
+3V3
+5V0
+12V
-12V0
+5VSB
ATX12 Max (mV p-p)
50
50
120
120
50
Ripple (mV p-p)
6
15
15
20
20
Pass/Fail
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass

 

The ripple/noise levels on the Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W are amongst some of the lowest levels I have ever seen on a power supply. Absolutely no problems here, so let's move on.

Testing (Continued):

Temperature, Noise Levels and Fan Speeds:

 

I am not going to give a pass or fail in this section, as the ATX12V V2.2 does not really have any references on which to base a decision.

Temperatures are purely for information only, as there are too many variables involved when installed in a case, which, by the way, it wasn't. Ambient temperature, processor cooling efficiency and case cooling fans all play their part on the temperature of the air entering the power supply, and consequently the temperature of the air leaving it. No valid conclusions can be made from this test.

 

 

 

 

Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W
Temperature & Fan Speeds @ 110/230Vac
DC Loading(W)
Temp In (°C)
Temp Out (°C)
Δ Temp (°C)
Fan Speed (RPM)
0
N/A
N/A
N/A
1312/1317
113.5/113
20.4/21.0
23.0/23.9
2.6/2.9
1323/1323
323/324
21.6/21.6
24.3/25.6
2.7/4.0
1332/1328
587/580
21.7/22.7
26.8/29.4
5.1/6.7
1631/1873

 

The Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W remained cool and quiet throughout the testing phase and even at 1800 rpm the noise from the fan wasn't too bad, but once again, without using a sound level meter, this is purely subjective.

   

 

The Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W in all its glory with green, blue and red cooling fan lighting. The photographs do enhance the effect somewhat, as they were done in complete darkness, so expect the effect to be a little more subdued under normal operating conditions. My position of choice would be off, but I can appreciate the appeal of fan/case lighting, especially if it's done well.

Conclusion:

Environmental Factors:

The packaging on the Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W is basic, but the sturdy cardboard box and bubble wrapped power supply does offer adequate protection with little waste and largely recyclable materials. Good efficiency and satisfactory power factor levels give it a few more points in this section.

 

Price Per the Watt:

Power Supply Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W at $TBA = $0.XX/Watt (12-2009)

 

The Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W power supply performed very well throughout testing with some impressive results. The DC voltage load regulation was excellent with very little voltage drop from zero to nearly full load and the ripple/noise levels on all the DC rails were very low, which all adds up to excellent DC quality. The efficiency and power factor could be better, but it did perform up to the levels outlined in the accompanying literature and easily met the ATX12V V2.2 specification. The Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W isn't 80 Plus or Nvidia SLI Ready certified, but don't let this put you off considering this power supply for your next build with an efficiency of around 80% and sufficient power for most SLI or Crossfire configurations, and any single graphics card. The ability to choose between three colors for the cooling fan LED lighting is a nice touch and I have no doubt there will be an option to have no lighting at all for some users.

The Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W power supply is a well built unit with a good set of accessories and great performance. The efficiency and power factor could be a little better, but it makes no exaggerated claims to the contrary and does exactly what it says on the tin. If you have a need for a 600W power supply then I have no hesitation in recommending the Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W power supply for inclusion on any shopping list.

My only reservation is price, and at the time of writing this review, it was information I didn't have. I hope the Mushkin Enhanced Volta 600W power supply pricing does not let the unit down in a highly competitive market.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: