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OCZ PowerStream 420W PSU OCZ PowerStream 420W PSU: OCZ, known for their ram, is gaining quite a rep with their new PSUs. We grabbed a 420W version and hammered away.
Date: October 11, 2004
Manufacturer:
Written By:
Price:

 

Typically when discussing Power Supply units for PC's, sexy and stylish are two words that do not apply. This is not the case with introduction into the mainstream PSU market segment. The OCZ PowerStream line is not only stylish and sexy; it's the type of equipment you want to break out your Carnauba car wax to keep it shiny and new. Well enough of my fawning over the looks, let's go over the specifications and get down to the heart of the matter; does it perform as well as it looks?

Specifications

Type: BTX Form Factor with ATX adjuncts
Input Voltage: 100-120VAC / 200-240VAC
Input Current: 10A / 6A
Input Freq range: 60Hz / 50Hz
Available Colors: High Gloss Charcoal
Output Capacity: 420W Continuous / 520W peak for 60 seconds
Features: OCZ ConnectAll (BTX/ATX connectors for future proof)
PowerFlex (Dedicated circuitry for each voltage output)
PowerShield (REMI shielded Hard Drive and Video Power)
PowerWhisper (noise levels are maintained at sub 23dBA)
OCZ Over-Voltage and Over-Current protection technology
OCZ 5 year warranty

Initial Thoughts

The OCZ PowerStream arrived with a forward thinking 24-pin connection. Not to worry, OCZ has included a 24 pin to 20 pin motherboard connector for use with ATX systems should you lack the 24 pin connector as found on the LGA775 format motherboards. The only downside is that the 20 pin adapter is not shielded as is the 24 pin cable, but this would likely only be a temporary issue if you upgraded your computer often.

You can easily see the mirror finish in the above shots, which shows up fingerprints quite easily. A quick wipe and everything is clean again.

The PowerStream feeds 360W on the 12V rail, 150W on the 5V rail and 92W on the 3.3V rail. You might be asking yourself, how is this possible, it is only a 420W PSU, not 602W? OCZ has built the unit so that if your requirements are higher on the one rail, such as the 12V rail (water cooling and the like) the overhead is available, likewise, if you require additional 5V appliances (PC Cards etc.), there is overhead available on that rail as well. Obviously you can not crank the load up on all three rails at the same time, and with current equipment, you would be hard pressed to do so, even on a 420W PSU.

What do I mean by "crank it up"? Well, the PowerStream comes with 3 adjustment knobs on the back of the PSU , along with that are lights that allow you to visually ascertain the current status without opening the case and pulling out your voltage meter. The ability to do a quick spot check by looking at the back of the case is a great touch for enthusiasts and novices alike. All lights green, everything is good to go.

Above images used courtesy of

Cooling of the PowerStream is handled by 2 high performance low rpm fans, positioned at front and rear of the PSU. I removed the "Warranty Void if Removed" sticker and popped the top, if you were wondering where OCZ has OEM'd this particular product, this could give us some clues. We see several similarities with the Tagan line, but with some added OCZ flair. The internals appear to be designed for appearance as much as function, this is somewhat peculiar in that most people won't break the seal to look inside the unit. You can see by the layout of the Heat Sinks and how air would flow from the fans that this is designed to cool as efficiently as possible, this is a good thing in the PSU world. A unit that is producing too much heat is a unit that delivers dirty power.

Power connectors are abundant and well identified, especially in the case of the Video and Hard Disk Drive connectors. There is 6 standard Molex connectors, 2 Floppy connectors, 1 AUX connector (does anyone ever use this?), the P4 4 pin (which also has an 8 pin BTX connector upstream from it), 2 SATA connectors and 2 REMI shielded HDD/VGA. I am just wondering, if the standard Molex connector HDD's need a REMI shielded connector, why doesn't the SATA HDD connector's afford such a high quality solution?

Now that everything is accounted for lets hook it up and see what this puppy can do under load. The test beds are as follows -

Intel P4 2.8E (478 Pin Prescott), Abit AI7 Innovatek XXS Water Cooling, 1GB Kingston HyperX PC4300, ATI Radeon 9600xt (AGP8x, No VGA power req'd), WD800 SATA (80GB, 7200RPM), Samsung ATA100 (80GB 7200RPM), AOpen DVD +/- R, Lite-On DVD-ROM, Matsushita Floppy Drive, 2x80mm ThermalTake Fans

Initial power on had the 3.3V rail in the "red", a quick adjustment and it was glowing green like the others. A quick note here, adjustments need to be made slowly and at small increments, don't worry if one of the rails is in the red, if it is to far out of spec, the PSU has built in Overvoltage and Overcurrent protection and will shut itself down. To say that the PowerStream is quiet is to say that Niagara Falls is a waterfall, there is no noise coming out of the back of the case and the test bed is water cooled, so silent to begin with. Now that everything is setup and within tolerance let's run the tests.

To stress the PSU's I ran 2 instances of folding (Hyper Threading) while running Newsbin Pro (a resource hog) and writing to a DVD +RW with Nero on the AOpen 8x DVD writer.

Thermaltake Results

OCZ Powerstream Results

As you can see, the OCZ PowerStream keeps pace with the ThermalTake, and TT is no slouch in the PSU arena. The 12V rail is one to note, the OCZ maintains a much more stable rail, I also like that the OCZ maintains this above 12.0V, not below. An interesting note is the DDR voltage requested in the BIOS is 2.6V, the TT keeps that about 0.1V high throughout. With this said, everything is within tolerance on both power supplies, either would be a good choice.

Overclocking

This is where a PSU really comes into play. The above tests were done at 3.43GHz (it is a 2.8E), which is where I typically run my machine on a day to day basis. The most I have ever been able to achieve with this system is 3.85GHz (275FSB). This was with the ThermalTake PSU; let’s see how the OCZ fairs in comparison .

As you can see, 4.06GHz, or 290FSB, and most think a power supply wont make that much of a difference.

Final Words

The OCZ PowerStream has hit the mark, and then some. Not only is this power supply of the highest quality, it is quiet and sexy. OCZ has hit a homer with the PowerStream line, it would have been a Grand Slam had they wrapped up all of their power leads, but that is only a small issue and you can wrap them yourself to get the colors you desire. In a PC world where clean and high power is becoming more and more of an issue as we continue to push the performance envelope, the OCZ PowerStream meets the challenge head on.

Pros: Sexy / Stylish Design, Good cooling with almost no noise, Rear LED's for quick check on status, Adjustable 3.3V, 5V and 12V rails, Quality power being delivered to the system, Forward looking to BTX standard while maintaining ATX compliance.

Cons: All Power Leads are not wrapped, No REMI shielding for the SATA connectors

Bottom Line: You push your system to the extreme; you get every drop of horsepower possible out of it, and your peripherals. You dress it up so that when people look, they know, it is a work of art. If this statement describes you, you need this power supply, because it will do all of that, and look good while doing it. The should be on your short list.

Hit us up in the Forums if you have any questions.

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