Zalman ZM700-GVM 700W Power Supply

Here’s a name we don’t see every day here at the lab – Zalman. We have a brand new power supply from them here for testing in the form of the semi-modular ZM700-GVM. Zalman units used to be quite decent back in the day… what about now?

PROD LINK: ZM700-GVM Product Page
PRICE: $74.99 MSRP
Price is at the time of testing!

Good day, peoples. We’ll be looking at a Zalman unit here today. Though known more for coolers than power supplies, I can remember them offering power supplies since… well, as long as I can remember, and I have a pretty good memory. Back then, they went to FSP as an OEM for their products, and I remember recommending them more than once as a result.

But times change, and the power supply market is considerably more competitive than it used to be. Corsair, EVGA, and XFX to name three weren’t even thinking about power supplies back then. Has Zalman kept up with the times? We shall see. This unit is 80 Plus Bronze, so I’m not sure my hopes are up too high, but Zalman looks to be giving us a five-year warranty, too, so that’s good.

Meantime, we shall see the box first. Marketing is the order of the day here, as always, and I see really nothing new to talk about. Zalman attempts like all other companies to spin the various features to make them sound new and interesting (and why wouldn’t they – it’s Marketing 101), but nothing here is a surprise to me. Dual forward switching design? That’s old hat now – we’ve seen dual forward converter designs for years and years to the point it’s extremely common, and the high-end stuff has long since moved on to LLC resonant designs. Single 12V? Again, nothing new. High reliability? We’ll be the judge of that later in this review. If Zalman’s gone with a decent OEM, that shouldn’t be a problem.

So, with no surprises here, let’s move to the next box shot.

Again, we have a few features being shown to us. I’ve already talked about the dual forward converter stuff, so I won’t go into that again. Active PFC is necessary to get Bronze certification, so that part is a given. The single 12V image shows us a little bit of the circuit board, which, not being a double layer, tells us we’re dealing with a more cost-oriented design today.

I do have my suspicions about the OEM for this unit after the PFC picture, but we’ll wait a bit on that until I’m more certain.

That 5VSB Green IC picture puzzles me. There’s no such thing in the picture. There’s a transformer and what appears to be a MOSFET or some other transistor attached to a heatsink. Why don’t they show us the IC itself? A mystery… I like mysteries.

Already, we have ourselves a load table. The 12V output looks a bit on the low side, telling me this unit likely does not use VRMs to supply the minor rails. As this is usually done these days to cut cost, this often also means a group regulated design. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing unless the unit performs poorly and is also up against the competition at the same price that uses the more advanced VRM based designs. Those more advanced topologies have been getting cheaper lately themselves, so you really have to watch out for that when you’re putting power supplies into the market.

Enough about the marketing, I want to see what’s in the box. That’s a tiny looking user guide, there.

Inside the box, I found a power supply, a few modular cables, a power cord, some zip ties, a bag of screws, and of course the manual.

The user guide is better with specifications than a lot of the units I see but worse for actual installation instructions and warranty info. It’s better than nothing, as manuals go, but specs aren’t all I want to see in here. I’ll likely score against this.