Zumax 950 Watt X4 Review

ccokeman - 2008-01-20 21:09:39 in Power Supplies
Category: Power Supplies
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: January 29, 2008
Price: $144.00

Introduction:

As enthusiasts, we want to make sure that our latest build will have an adequate amount of power to cover the devices we plan to use to complete the system. If you cruise any enthusiast site's forums (preferably OverclockersClub) you will see no end of problems associated with inadequate power supplies. So how much is really enough when it comes down to choosing a power supply? 500 watts? 600, 700, 900 or more? The choice comes down to the number of devices consuming power in your build. If you are building an e-mail and gaming "lite" computer for the family, which features a single hard drive, mainstream discrete graphics card and not a whole lot else, then 500 watts or less will do the trick for that build. Now if you are building that high end rig with dual video cards, four hard drives, a water cooled Quad core processor, as well as a ton of high RPM fans, then 500 watts just wont cut the mustard.

The Zumax 950 watt power supply I will be testing today is part of the X4 linup of power supplies produced by Zumax. The X4 line includes power supplies from 750 watts the 1050 watts. The X4 950 features six +12v lines at 20 amps each, one 5v rail at 28 amps and the 3.3volt line at 28 amps as well. So will the 950 watts advertised by the Zumax X4 950 be able to stand up to a load and provide the power we all want? Let's find out.

Closer Look:

The Zumax X4 950 watt power supply comes in a flashy box with all of the necessary information about the unit integrated into all sides of the package. The front panel illustrates the X4 950 and highlights all of the specs. SLI-Multi GPU support and multi core CPU support are listed front and center. The rear panel mimics the front, minus a few specifications.

 

 

The left hand side panel highlights connectivity options and touches on the "Turbo fan switch" and included cable straps. The right hand panel lists the specifications of each power supply in the X4 lineup, including connectivity options.

 

 

The Zumax X4 is well packed to prevent any shipping damage. The power supply is enclosed in bubble wrap, protecting the finish. The rest of the contents are strategically placed to fill in the gaps.

 

 

Shipped with the Zumax 950 are a power cord, velcro cable ties, a detailed manual and a set of cable connector caps.

 

 

The protective cable end caps are pliable enough to fit over the end of the connection to seal out dust when not being used. They are included for the 6-pin PCI-E, 4-pin molex and SATA power lines.

 

Closer Look:

After pulling the Zumax X4 950 from its protective cocoon, the fit and finish of the components can be seen. Speaking of finish, the Zumax 950 is covered in what the company calls a "Black Nickel" finish. As you can see, the unit is a non-modular design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The front facing side panel lists each of the specifications and the current capacity of each line. The X4 950 is cooled by a thermally controlled 120mm blue LED fan that brings in air from the bottom of the power supply. The air is then directed through the back of the unit. Looking at the back end of the Zumax X4 you will not see a switch to manually change the incoming voltage. There is no need as it is done automatically. In addition to the on/off switch, there is a green button on the rear panel. This button is called the Turbo Fan switch. This device switches the fans connected to the fan headers of the power supply from a low noise low voltage state to a higher voltage, high performance mode to provide additional cooling for the chassis. You can now have it both ways, low and slow for a noiseless chassis or flip to the high performance mode for additional cooling - albeit with the associated noise penalty.

 

 

One thing you should never do is to open up your power supply. Several concerns are raised; first and foremost is safety, and second is the warranty of the power supply. In order to help preserve the warranty of the end users and answer questions about the components used in the Zumax X4 950, I will open this one up for inspection. The things that first catche the eye are the 120x25mm blue LED fan and the heatsinks used to cool the regulation circuits. The fan is manufactured or distributed by Globe fans and pushes out 94.92CFM at 2800RPM. The noise level at this fan speed is 43dBA, hence the Turbo Fan mode.

 

 

 

The primary side of the power supply features several large capacitors and coils, while the secondary side contains all of the cable connections.

 

 

Zumax has you covered when it comes to connectivity. 20+4pin ATX, 8-pin 12v EPS power, ATX 12v 4-pin, 1 x 6-pin physics, 2 x 6-pin PCI-E, 2 x 6+2-pin PCI-E, molex 4-pin, floppy 4-pin and SATA. There are three headers that are designed to be used exclusively for the chassis fans. These are tied into the Turbo Fan switch that, when activated, drives 12 volts to the fans to gain maximum cooling performance when needed. Since it is not a modular design, the downside is that while the connectivity is available, you need to hide the unused cables.

 

 

 

 

Specifications:

AC Input
110-240Vac 10/5A 60/50Hz
DC Output
950Watts
+3.3V
28A
+5V
28A
+12V1
20A
+12V2
20A
+12V3
20A
+12V4
20A
+12V5
20A
+12V6
20A
-12V
.8A
+5Vsb
6.5A

 

Connector Specifications

950 Watt
20+4 Pin
1
12V 4 pin
1
12V 8 Pin
1
Serial SATA
8
PCI-E 6pin
2
PCI-E 6+2 pin
2
PCIE 6 pin
1
Peripheral
6
FDD
2
Turbo Fan switch
1
Case Fan
3

 

Features:

Testing:

How will I know if this power supply delivers the watts? I need to test how it performs under load, verifying the voltages and airflow. With that being said, we can finally start testing the unit. To put this power supply through its paces, I will run a series of tests to load the Zumax X4 950 to simulate heavy gaming usage . The testing procedure will include running Stressprime 2004 Orthos Edition to stress the CPU and memory, HDtune to load the hard drives, and 3DMark06 Professional to stress both video cards. The test system includes five high CFM Silverstone fans to add additional load to the 12volt line. Additionally, I will check the airflow at both idle and load conditions to verify any increase in airflow through the rear of the power supply. Voltage measurements will be taken with my trusty voltmeter, while airflow will be tested using my Kestral 4100 pocket airflow tracker.

 

Testing Tools:

Testing Setup:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion:

Never having heard of Zumax before, I was skeptical about the quality and performance of the 950 X4 series power supply. Fortunately, the skepticism was unfounded as the X4 950 performed well across the board. The voltage rails held steady during the load testing I performed. Each line held within the specification for that rail. The thermally controlled fan definitely helps with case cooling when the load is ramped up. The "Turbo Fan Switch" gives the user the added ability to ramp up the power supply cooling fan as well as the case fans attached to the special fan cables on the X4 950. The voltage on these special lines runs at six volts when in non Turbo mode and run at almost twelve volts when the "Turbo Fan Switch" is engaged. What this does is give you the best of both worlds, low and slow for when you don't need the extra performance and right back up to normal fan speeds and performance in Turbo mode.

All of the main cabling was sleeved while the molex, floppy and SATA connections were left bare. I would have liked to see all of the cabling sleeved for a uniform look. At 43dBA, the fan in the Zumax power supply is a bit loud. Not annoyingly loud, but loud enough to hear it when in a quiet environment. All things considered, the Zumax 950 watt is deserving of consideration for your hard earned dollars the next time you go shopping for a power supply. With stable rails under load, Active PFC, connections for the latest high end video cards and power to feed the newest multi core CPUs, what else would you need?

 

Pros:

 

Cons: