Happy New Year Guruvians! The first review of the year is of the Zalman Heatpipe cooled 600W ZM600-HP.
Zalman is a company typically associated with quiet computing. In the past, Zalman has offered power supplies, but they have been limited in output power. Unfortunately, until we figure out how to make a power supply 90% efficient or better, power supplies generate heat and that heat need to get exhausted or nasty things begin to happen. You can put out a little bit of power, and generate a only little bit of heat, and chances are everything will be fine since the power supply will still be operating under it's operating temperature range. But if you want to put out, oh... let's say... 600W, things might get a little too hot at high loads if your fan is only spinning 1000 RPM.
Naturally, an actively cooled PSU is going to have a 120MM fan or larger, since a larger diameter fan can move more air than a smaller fan, like an 80MM fan, and produce less noise. But since the 120MM fan is blowing down onto the components of the PSU instead of across, hot spots are created inside the power supply housing. We've seen Seasonic's solution to this problem: put a 60MM intake fan on the front side of the power supply. Unfortunately, this small fan can actually add a bit of undesirable noise to the power supply.
So... we need to figure out how to cool this PSU with a low RPM 120MM fan, yet move the heat from the hot spot in the front of the PSU to the back of the PSU where the hot air is exhausted without additional sound. Zalman's solution? A heatpipe!
Heatpipes are cool... and keep things cool! Heatpips are hollow tubes of metal with a small amount of fluid inside. As the fluid is heated, it turns to vapor and moves up the center of the pipe, carrying the heat with it. When the fluid cools, it condenses and comes back down the sides of the pipe.
Zalman incorporates the use of heatpipes in the ZM600-HP by putting heatpipes on the secondary side (DC regulation) of the PSU. Heat is wicked up the heatpipe to the back of the power supply where the heat is dissipated into a radiator. Air sucked in by the ZM600-HP's 120MM fan...
...is then pushed out of the back housing, across the radiator shown below.
Below is a close up of the radiator. You can see the heatpipe passing back and forth through the radiator.
As the liquid inside the copper heatpipe is cooled, it condenses, works it's way back to the heatsink on the secondary and the process starts all over again.
The Zalman ZM600-HP is a semi-modular power supply. Fixed to the housing is the main 20+4 ATX connector, an 8-pin EPS12V connector (which splits in half so it can be used on ATX12V boards) and a PCI-e connector. Below is a photo of the cables we find fixed to the PSU housing...
Below is a picture of the ZM600-HP's modular interface. From right to left we have three four pin interfaces for peripheral Molexes and two floppy power connectors, two SATA interfaces and an 8-pin power connector that can be used for a second 8-pin EPS12V motherboard connector or a second PCI-e power connector.
Let's count the cables we get with the ZM600-HP...
Type of connector:
2 x 2 12V connectors
2 x 3 PCIe
8-pin Xeon/EPS connector
6-pin Xeon/AUX connector
5.25" Drive connectors
3.5" Drive connectors
SATA Drive power connectors
Fan only connectors (thermostatically controlled 12V only)
* There are two 8-pin connectors. One is fixed, one is modular. The modular type uses a socket on the PSU that is interchangeable with the modular PCI-e connector cable. Both of these 8-pin connectors can split in half, giving the user a 4-pin connector.
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