Monday, October 4th 2021

ZALMAN Intros MegaMax V2 Series Power Supplies

ZALMAN today introduced the MegaMax V2 line of entry-level power supplies. Available in capacities of 500 W, 600 W, and 700 W, these offer fixed cabling (black, ribbon-type), and 80 Plus (230 V EU) efficiency. Under the hood, you get a single +12 V rail design, active PFC, and DC-to-DC switching. You also get protection against over/under-voltage, overload, short-circuit, and overheat. A premium bit with this PSU is its 120 mm hydro-dynamic bearing fan. The 500 W model includes 8+4 pin EPS connectors, while the 600 W and 700 W ones include 8+8 pin. All three include at least a pair of 6+2 pin PCIe connectors, while the 700 W model includes four. The company didn't reveal pricing.
Update Oct 4th: ZALMAN expanded this series with an 800 W model in early-October 2021. It features the same set of connectors as the 700 W model, but comes with the added power.
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23 Comments on ZALMAN Intros MegaMax V2 Series Power Supplies

#2
GoldenX
That name almost got me.



Legends 3 when.
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#3
Valantar
Wait, 80+ white label? And only on 230V? With DC-DC switching for the minor rails? What kind of utter crap design+component choice must this be for efficiency to be that bad with DC-DC? That's rather mind-boggling. I don't think I've ever seen that before.
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#4
Tardian
ValantarWait, 80+ white label? And only on 230V? With DC-DC switching for the minor rails? What kind of utter crap design+component choice must this be for efficiency to be that bad with DC-DC? That's rather mind-boggling. I don't think I've ever seen that before.
+1. Avoid.
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#6
ExcuseMeWtf
ValantarWait, 80+ white label? And only on 230V? With DC-DC switching for the minor rails? What kind of utter crap design+component choice must this be for efficiency to be that bad with DC-DC? That's rather mind-boggling. I don't think I've ever seen that before.
Probably double forward primary, but low-end even for that as many double forward easily reach 80+ Bronze, I recall some even in Silver.
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#7
wolar
ValantarWait, 80+ white label? And only on 230V? With DC-DC switching for the minor rails? What kind of utter crap design+component choice must this be for efficiency to be that bad with DC-DC? That's rather mind-boggling. I don't think I've ever seen that before.
Its zalman, what did you expect xD
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#8
Tardian
wolarIts zalman, what did you expect xD
Better than this!
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#9
GoldenX
ValantarWait, 80+ white label? And only on 230V? With DC-DC switching for the minor rails? What kind of utter crap design+component choice must this be for efficiency to be that bad with DC-DC? That's rather mind-boggling. I don't think I've ever seen that before.
It's made by CAPCOM, what did you expect?
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#10
AusWolf
ValantarWait, 80+ white label? And only on 230V? With DC-DC switching for the minor rails? What kind of utter crap design+component choice must this be for efficiency to be that bad with DC-DC? That's rather mind-boggling. I don't think I've ever seen that before.
Who needs efficiency when you can have MegaMax in your system? :roll:

Though I think future models will need a name revision. Something like MegaMax Ultra Plus Super would attract more teenage buyers.
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#11
Bomby569
White isn't bad, on the contrary, at least they're honest, like it would be difficult to submit a golden sample and make it gold and call it a day.
And this rating like GN sayd is absurd, the difference in power savings is irrelevant, people spend insane amounts of money in platinum to save 1 dollar a mounth or something like that, what it should rate is the quality.
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#12
Valantar
Bomby569White isn't bad, on the contrary, at least they're honest, like it would be difficult to submit a golden sample and make it gold and call it a day.
And this rating like GN sayd is absurd, the difference in power savings is irrelevant, people spend insane amounts of money in platinum to save 1 dollar a mounth or something like that, what it should rate is the quality.
You understand that there are incentives for increased efficiency beyond saving money, right? Less waste is better, period. As you say, the monetary savings are negligible, but the idea of wasting 10% less energy from my PC certainly isn't, nor is the reduced thermal stress and fan noise that comes from there being less waste heat.
AusWolfWho needs efficiency when you can have MegaMax in your system? :roll:

Though I think future models will need a name revision. Something like MegaMax Ultra Plus Super would attract more teenage buyers.
MegaMax Ultra RGB Super Plus RGB Pro g4m3r? Then they can release an ARGB version half a year later, maybe get some esports pro to stick their name on it and make everyone buy the new version too. And a year later, a version with a display for all your memes and twitch emotes? They'd be raking in cash.
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#13
Bomby569
ValantarYou understand that there are incentives for increased efficiency beyond saving money, right? Less waste is better, period. As you say, the monetary savings are negligible, but the idea of wasting 10% less energy from my PC certainly isn't, nor is the reduced thermal stress and fan noise that comes from there being less waste heat.
We are talking about small percentage point changes in a PC and besides that you had to be aiming for the right spot on the curve where the PSU is most efficient or all this is just pointless, you do know that right.
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#14
Valantar
Bomby569We are talking about small percentage point changes in a PC and besides that you had to be aiming for the right spot on the curve where the PSU is most efficient or all this is just pointless, you do know that right.
Sure. But the designs that allow for better efficiency also generally provide flatter efficiency curves, including dramatically improved efficiency in idle PC wattage ranges (~10% for most builds). A cheap, low-efficiency design can easily see efficiency in the 60% range at low loads, compared to most good designs nowadays exceeding 80% even below 10%. Couple that with most people buying ridiculously overblown PSUs (the number of 700W+ units you'll find in <300W peak (which often means more like 200-230W in-game) gaming PCs is ridiculous), and there's a decent bump in actual real-world waste reduction. Of course, legislation mandating better efficiency has a much larger impact than any of this, but given that DIY parts are typically exempt from these regulations I still like to choose an efficient, good quality PSU when I'm in a position where I can do so. Whether it's platinum, gold or bronze doesn't matter all that much as long as it's suitably scaled to the workload, but I'd never buy white label, as the chances of that being even a remotely decent design is essentially zero. There's no direct causal link between efficiency and PSU quality, but if you design for one, you also tend to design for the other. Reviews are obviously necessary, but there's no reason to actively seek out trash.
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#15
Bomby569
ValantarSure. But the designs that allow for better efficiency also generally provide flatter efficiency curves, including dramatically improved efficiency in idle PC wattage ranges (~10% for most builds). A cheap, low-efficiency design can easily see efficiency in the 60% range at low loads, compared to most good designs nowadays exceeding 80% even below 10%. Couple that with most people buying ridiculously overblown PSUs (the number of 700W+ units you'll find in :love:00W peak (which often means more like 200-230W in-game) gaming PCs is ridiculous), and there's a decent bump in actual real-world waste reduction. Of course, legislation mandating better efficiency has a much larger impact than any of this, but given that DIY parts are typically exempt from these regulations I still like to choose an efficient, good quality PSU when I'm in a position where I can do so. Whether it's platinum, gold or bronze doesn't matter all that much as long as it's suitably scaled to the workload, but I'd never buy white label, as the chances of that being even a remotely decent design is essentially zero. There's no direct causal link between efficiency and PSU quality, but if you design for one, you also tend to design for the other. Reviews are obviously necessary, but there's no reason to actively seek out trash.
Sure the PSU determines the power consumption efficiency, but what dictates the efficiency of the PC is the sum of all the components. That's why that American new law that prevented some Alienware PC's to be sold in California target the total consumption and not the PSU efficiency.
That's why i said that, if you go for a 10900k overclocked then the PSU is not much relevant when you are consuming that much. It's like driving a big SUV to go buy the grosseries next door, and not using the AC to save power.

I'm in no way denying the PSU efficiency is relevant, it can save energy and money. But in the context of a PC it becomes absolutely irrelevant in most cases, especially the DYI PC market. Considering the parts most of us use and the difficulty in staying on the optimum point in the curve.

This rating is pointless and what i want is a rating to tell me the quality i can expect from what i guy, a quality certificate, not this.
Posted on Reply
#16
AusWolf
Bomby569Sure the PSU determines the power consumption efficiency, but what dictates the efficiency of the PC is the sum of all the components. That's why that American new law that prevented some Alienware PC's to be sold in California target the total consumption and not the PSU efficiency.
That's why i said that, if you go for a 10900k overclocked then the PSU is not much relevant when you are consuming that much. It's like driving a big SUV to go buy the grosseries next door, and not using the AC to save power.

I'm in no way denying the PSU efficiency is relevant, it can save energy and money. But in the context of a PC it becomes absolutely irrelevant in most cases, especially the DYI PC market. Considering the parts most of us use and the difficulty in staying on the optimum point in the curve.

This rating is pointless and what i want is a rating to tell me the quality i can expect from what i guy, a quality certificate, not this.
Based on what I've read, that legislation doesn't seem very well thought through (well, which legislation does nowadays?).

As for efficiency ratings and component quality, there actually is a slight overlap between the two. If you think about 80+ or 80+ Bronze rated units, they can be excellent, or utter crap, depending on the unit itself, but you don't really hear about 80+ Platinum or Titanium PSUs that aren't worth buying. To achieve high ratings, manufacturers have to choose high quality components, which results in a higher quality PSU overall. I'm not saying that these things are directly related, but there is some correlation.
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#17
Valantar
Bomby569Sure the PSU determines the power consumption efficiency, but what dictates the efficiency of the PC is the sum of all the components. That's why that American new law that prevented some Alienware PC's to be sold in California target the total consumption and not the PSU efficiency.
That's why i said that, if you go for a 10900k overclocked then the PSU is not much relevant when you are consuming that much. It's like driving a big SUV to go buy the grosseries next door, and not using the AC to save power.

I'm in no way denying the PSU efficiency is relevant, it can save energy and money. But in the context of a PC it becomes absolutely irrelevant in most cases, especially the DYI PC market. Considering the parts most of us use and the difficulty in staying on the optimum point in the curve.

This rating is pointless and what i want is a rating to tell me the quality i can expect from what i guy, a quality certificate, not this.
Those environmental laws have been massively misconstrued - they essentially only cover power consumption and efficiency when systems are idle, and scale with more powerful hardware (i.e. a PC with a high end GPU is allowed to consume more power at idle than one with an iGPU). GamersNexus covered this excellently. But to sum up: what you're saying is plain wrong, and the sales ban for the affected hardware had absolutely zero to do with total system power draw under load, and was only due to them using inefficient PSU designs, designs that failed to meet the new requirements for idle power draw. Blame Dell and the others for using outdated PSU designs, as they have known about this legislation for several years, and have had plenty of time to plan ahead.

You are of course right that component choice affects efficiency - and there are huge ranges depending on the age and price of your components, as well as factors such as overclocking. Higher end hardware is generally slightly less efficient, though the lowest end stuff also tends to be relatively inefficient overall. The thing is, PSU losses work the same no matter what, and are always on top of this 90% efficiency adds 11% to the wall power on top of whatever DC power your PC is drawing, whether that's 200 or 700W. Sure, the extra power draw is higher with the more powerful PC, but then it's also doing more work (hopefully!). And generally, you have the components you have - very few people are in a position to upgrade their CPU or GPU because it's inefficient, they do so for more performance (typically at a similar power level). And PSU losses add on top of that no matter what. That is of course an incentive to go for a more efficient PSU the more power your PC draws, as the overall gain will be more significant, but turning that around and using it as an argument against higher efficiency PSUs at the lower end doesn't work. The argument is still the same - if you care about efficiency and reducing waste, get a better rated PSU.

You're also at least in part arguing as if "efficiency" for PC parts is a simple and linear relation, which it clearly isn't. Efficiency is bound up in meeting performance requirements (it really doesn't matter if your GPU is extremely efficient if it only delivers 23fps in your favourite game), expected component lifetime, usage scenario (current Intel CPUs can boost to 250+W, but don't come even remotely close to that while playing most games, as the workload isn't a constant 100% all-core load; my ~130W (stock, slightly undervolted and limited to 120W) 5800X consumes 70-80W while playing most games), and so on. Efficiency is of course also a measure of performance/cost, separating it from pure power draw, which your arguments seem to link it directly to - a 250W CPU is just as efficient as a 50W CPU if it's doing 5x the work, after all. There are even scenarios where CPUs with more cores or higher clocks are more efficient than lower end parts as the lower end parts end up maxing out yet underperforming while the faster parts can complete the work faster, put some cores to sleep, have fewer thread stalls, etc.

Also, I'd say your argument about choosing more efficient parts (besides not being about efficiency, but about power draw) needs turning on its head: people generally buy the most powerful parts they can afford, which also correlates strongly with their power draw. Meaning, the more powerful parts you buy, the more reason for a high efficiency PSU. Should they also consider whether they actually need that performance? Sure. There's a ton of tech fetishism and general blind consumerism in the DIY PC space, and tempering those norms and desires is unequivocally a good thing. But arguing that more efficient PSUs isn't important doesn't bring us any closer to that.

The thing is: PSU quality is not directly related to efficiency. You keep arguing as if it is. Yes, I'm aware that a lot of people think 80+ is a stamp of approval, some sort of quality assurance. It isn't, and never has been. And that isn't 80+'s fault, that is PEBKAC. Should there also be some sort of standardization of PSU quality testing? Absolutely! But that is, once again, fundamentally unrelated to efficiency, and certainly unrelated to 80+. As @AusWolf said above, and as I said in my previous post, it's more difficult to make a low quality PSU the higher your desired efficiency, but it's in no way a hard causal link. And arguing as if there is is part of the problem here.
Posted on Reply
#18
LTUGamer
Looks worse than fan made renderings.

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#19
AusWolf
LTUGamerLooks worse than fan made renderings.

Are those 3 pipe-looking things between the fans warp cores from Star Trek, or neon lights?

Btw, I think you're in the wrong thread.
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#20
Valantar
LTUGamerLooks worse than fan made renderings.

Yep, wrong thread. Also, you noticed that that render had literally nowhere for air to escape the fins, right?
Posted on Reply
#21
Operandi
ValantarThe thing is: PSU quality is not directly related to efficiency. You keep arguing as if it is. Yes, I'm aware that a lot of people think 80+ is a stamp of approval, some sort of quality assurance. It isn't, and never has been. And that isn't 80+'s fault, that is PEBKAC. Should there also be some sort of standardization of PSU quality testing? Absolutely! But that is, once again, fundamentally unrelated to efficiency, and certainly unrelated to 80+. As @AusWolf said above, and as I said in my previous post, it's more difficult to make a low quality PSU the higher your desired efficiency, but it's in no way a hard causal link. And arguing as if there is is part of the problem here.
It sort of used to be. When 80+ first was a thing and later when Gold and higher ratings came out it was pretty difficult and expensive to design and build a PSU that could hit those figures and required top shelf components to do i. So say 5 years ago more often that not grabbing any 80+ Gold rated PSU was going to be solid only because it required very high quality and expensive components. Today with modern topologies you can hit Gold levels with cheaper components and with cheaper components quality and reliability usually follows so it dosn't mean what it once did.

That said I doubt there is a Platinum or Titanium rated PSU out today that doesn't just crush it in just about ever category, and any PSU being sold today that can barely hit 80+ vanilla like this Zalman is probably going to be pretty shit everywhere.
Posted on Reply
#22
Valantar
OperandiIt sort of used to be. When 80+ first was a thing and later when Gold and higher ratings came out it was pretty difficult and expensive to design and build a PSU that could hit those figures and required top shelf components to do i. So say 5 years ago more often that not grabbing any 80+ Gold rated PSU was going to be solid only because it required very high quality and expensive components. Today with modern topologies you can hit Gold levels with cheaper components and with cheaper components quality and reliability usually follows so it dosn't mean what it once did.

That said I doubt there is a Platinum or Titanium rated PSU out today that doesn't just crush it in just about ever category, and any PSU being sold today that can barely hit 80+ vanilla like this Zalman is probably going to be pretty shit everywhere.
Yep, that's that correllation we've been mentioning; needing a good design to reach really high efficiency, but not needing so to reach middling efficiency, and newer designs consistently enabling "better" lower grade products. And as you say, only hitting 80+ whitelabel (and only at 230V!) is downright scary. That it manages to do so while using DC-DC conversion for the minor rails? I honestly didn't think that was possible. Even Ebay-grade DC-DC boards are ~94% efficient, which begs the question of just how inefficient the main 12V rail is. I'm also curious as to whether these have DC-DC switching - it's mentioned in the article here, but Zalman's spec sheet and product page doesn't, and the PSUs are only rated for 90% output on the 12V rail. I guess this might include headroom for the minor rails being converted off of it, but it's still a weird specification to see, given that most DC-DC-based PSUs provide 100% power on the 12V rail.

The weird thing is, according to the 80+ test database, this should easily clear Bronze - but it might seem they've only had it tested for the 230V EU suite, and not the general 115V 80+ test suite? But that listing also dates it in mid-2019, which ... is weird, given that this is marketed as a 2021 refresh (the previous version is also in the database, it's the ZM700-TX (not TXII), and is notably lower efficiency).

Edit: ah, nvm, Bronze in the 230V EU test suite requires 88% efficiency at 50% load, this only hit 87%. That explains it. Still, overall this looks really surprisingly good for a whitelabel PSU - it even manages nearly 85% at 10% load! Assuming Zalman didn't submit a golden sample (which of course they might have done), that is fantastic low load efficiency. Now I really want to see a review of this PSU - it looks downright fascinating.

Edit2: Wait, this is only rated for 200-240V input voltage? I don't think I've ever seen a modern active PFC design that isn't universal AC input. Wtf?
Posted on Reply
#23
AusWolf
ValantarYep, that's that correllation we've been mentioning; needing a good design to reach really high efficiency, but not needing so to reach middling efficiency, and newer designs consistently enabling "better" lower grade products. And as you say, only hitting 80+ whitelabel (and only at 230V!) is downright scary. That it manages to do so while using DC-DC conversion for the minor rails? I honestly didn't think that was possible. Even Ebay-grade DC-DC boards are ~94% efficient, which begs the question of just how inefficient the main 12V rail is. I'm also curious as to whether these have DC-DC switching - it's mentioned in the article here, but Zalman's spec sheet and product page doesn't, and the PSUs are only rated for 90% output on the 12V rail. I guess this might include headroom for the minor rails being converted off of it, but it's still a weird specification to see, given that most DC-DC-based PSUs provide 100% power on the 12V rail.

The weird thing is, according to the 80+ test database, this should easily clear Bronze - but it might seem they've only had it tested for the 230V EU suite, and not the general 115V 80+ test suite? But that listing also dates it in mid-2019, which ... is weird, given that this is marketed as a 2021 refresh (the previous version is also in the database, it's the ZM700-TX (not TXII), and is notably lower efficiency).

Edit: ah, nvm, Bronze in the 230V EU test suite requires 88% efficiency at 50% load, this only hit 87%. That explains it. Still, overall this looks really surprisingly good for a whitelabel PSU - it even manages nearly 85% at 10% load! Assuming Zalman didn't submit a golden sample (which of course they might have done), that is fantastic low load efficiency. Now I really want to see a review of this PSU - it looks downright fascinating.

Edit2: Wait, this is only rated for 200-240V input voltage? I don't think I've ever seen a modern active PFC design that isn't universal AC input. Wtf?
Agreed - this product seems way more interesting than good. :D

I'm wondering what happened to Zalman as a brand. They used to be the leading manufacturer of aftermarket CPU and GPU cooling solutions, and now they're making cheap PSUs with questionable quality? :confused:
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