400w-500w PicoBox PSU

Discussion in 'Hardware/Parts' started by minihack, Jun 12, 2015.

  1. minihack

    minihack

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    Jun 12, 2015 at 5:32 PM #1
    minihack

    minihack

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    To avoid cluttering or hijacking the thread over in the Powermac G4 Cube section I thought I would put up findings about this psu here.

    The PSU in question is the X7-ATX-500 that I first mentioned here.

    I ordered it as did NeilHart and Neil has carried out his own testing which sadly it failed. Here are my experiences as an initial impression that I will be expanding on when I get the chance for a more thorough look over a longer time period.

    Mine arrived today, it took 12 days to arrive in the UK from China and this is the first look at it inside the box.

    IMG_0241.jpg

    IMG_0242.jpg

    There is a single 24 to 20/24pin ATX lead, a 6 pin to 3 x Sata power + 1 x Molex lead, an 8 pin to 8 pin EPS power lead and 2 PCI-e cables which are each 8 to 6 + 2 pin types.

    There are no instructions in the package at all, so you need to look at the website descriptions and work it out from there.

    Here are the front and the rear views:
    IMG_0243.jpg
    IMG_0244.jpg

    There are two 7.54/5 input connections of the type used by some Dell and HP laptops and this allows two adapters of 19 or 19.5 volts ideally to be used in master/slave configuration for the claimed high power needs.

    Unfortunately for me my adapter has an over sized plastic housing adjacent the electrical output end and the two input sockets are too close together to allow both to be plugged in at the same time. So, until I have made up a new cable to connect directly to the onboard electronics of the PSU my testing is limited to using a single power brick.

    Anyway, on to my results so far.

    My system is an Asus Maximus VI Impact with i5 Devils Canyon CPU and 16GB of Corsair Vengeance 2400MHz RAM. I have been setting it up this week just on the standard cooler for the moment until it is ready for insertion into a rig. Up until now I have been using a Silverstone 850W modular PSU, so before swapping to the PicoBox item I took a quick photo of the voltages with that from the UEFI monitor:

    IMG_0248.jpg

    If you look at the enlarged picture you'll see the voltages registered are all nicely in regulation.

    And here is the same screen after switching to the PicoBox:

    IMG_0247.jpg

    The only real difference in regulation here (at idle of course) is in the 12v line which for the Silverstone modular supply is at 12.192v and in the PicoBox item it is at 12.48v. Apart from that the lines are virtually identical from one PSU to the other. I do not know if these readings though are BEFORE the extra regulation that is carried out by the Asus Maximus Impact daughter board or after so that is something to think about.
    In any case, all voltages are easily within the 5% allowed by the ATX standards - see here for an explanation.

    I have not independently tested the direct outputs of the rails with a volt meter, but will take a look at that to see if they give the same readings as NeilHart found.

    The good news is that the unit booted up nicely - once I actually connected the EPS output to the correct on board socket. As mentioned earlier there are no instructions for this board, but initially I connected the EPS board connection to a graphic card output of the PSU and from there it did not boot, after then reading the markings on the PCB (doh!) I got it right and it did indeed boot.

    There is a slight wheezy noise from the PicoBox unit but I found that this was very faint and then disappeared once the Mobo was actually at desktop, but I will keep an ear open for it!

    I did do a quick geekbench test and nothing bad happened and the results were practically identical to what were obtained by the Asus mobo when powered by the Silverstone 850W PSU.

    So, there we have it, so far so good. I do not know if this can be recommended for anyone else to buy just yet - as it seems that quality control might be variable if Neil received a dud.

    I will come back to this in the coming days and let you know what I think once i have tried it with 2 power bricks and done some overclocking and attached a GPU.
     
  2. luchazo

    luchazo

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    Jun 12, 2015 at 5:41 PM #2
    luchazo

    luchazo

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    Nicely done minihack!
    Hopefully it performs well under load!


    (I'm dealing now with the install of OSX in the ASRock X99E-ITX/ac, which is not easy, so, I'm keeping in quiet until I get it done and I'm able to move to the Cube's modifications to fit everything in)
     
  3. rafamundez

    rafamundez

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    Jun 12, 2015 at 6:03 PM #3
    rafamundez

    rafamundez

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    Awesome! Good luck guys!!!
     
  4. rafamundez

    rafamundez

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    Jun 12, 2015 at 6:11 PM #4
    rafamundez

    rafamundez

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    Something else I noticed that is interesting is that on Pico-Box's website, the MAX power PSU they have is 400 W only. So I'm not sure if it was incorrectly labeled on the Aliexpress website or on the Pico-Box website (I'd assume it would be incorrect on the Aliexpress website).

    Source: http://pico-box.com/products.html

    I'd be curious to find out what the actual power of the PSU is.

    Good luck and awesome work again!
     
  5. minihack

    minihack

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    Jun 12, 2015 at 7:45 PM #5
    minihack

    minihack

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    I think that the Aliexpress store of Pico-box is more up to date than their own website as the 400W version is older. Having said that I am not convinced necessarily that power claims are always accurate on the chinese sites.

    My power bricks are 230W each and I have no interest in trying to approach the limit of 460, but it'd be nice to see if somewhere around 400W peak is achievable and I won't try that until I have a forced air ventilation of the board. I always think that trying to push something to a rated maximum too often is not a good idea in the real world unless you like blowing up your components.....
     
  6. minihack

    minihack

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    Jun 13, 2015 at 8:24 PM #6
    minihack

    minihack

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    So today I made up a pair of connectors to enable me to hook up both bricks. These I tested of course prior to hooking up and all was good.
    What is frustrating about the product is the lack of a manual, because for the moment I do not know whether the "slave" power brick is actually doing anything yet!
    The psu only gives out power if the connection Vin1 has a brick attached to it. If there is one then the lights on the psu come on and the mobo can boot.
    If instead just a single brick is attached to Vin2 then there are no lights and no boot.
    As far as i know this is normal, but it would be nice if there were documentation to reassure about that!!!
    Bearing in mind I am still on the stock cooler today I did not want to do too much to stress the CPU etc, but I did put in an overclock to 4.6 GHz turbo (up from 3.9 stock) and I enabled XMP to take the RAM to 2400MHZ.
    Geek bench (32 bit multicore) went up from 11770 to 14400 and all still good.
    Tomorrow I will hook back to my silverstone 850W PSU and find a decent cooler to hook up and then see if I can force power consumption under load to above 230W. Once that is achieved I'll then switch back to the Picobox psu, hook up both bricks and cross my fingers.....if the psu passes that test without a power brick incident then it must be that both power connections to the pico box are active as the bricks are each rated at 230 max!
     
  7. minihack

    minihack

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    Jun 14, 2015 at 12:49 PM #7
    minihack

    minihack

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    Good news and bad news.

    I added my GTX 660 to my overclocked system and fired it up. I found it hard to get the power consumption of my combination to rise over 200W. However by checking the different power draw from Vin1 (main power input) and Vin2 (slave?) it was evident that Vin2 still did not seem to be pulling any power from the attached power brick.

    So I ran some benchmarks - Unigine Valley and Geekbench. When run alone the Unigine valley managed to push my power draw from Vin1 up to around 200W. So I decide to start Geekbench and then to run Unigine Valley at the same time.

    Power from the brick attached to Vin1 rose to 230W (the maximum it can stand) and then the power brick safety cut out activated and the system stopped.

    It seems evident that either the supposed master/Slave arrangement is not enabled and needs to be somehow (no documentation again an issue here), OR my board is faulty and the master/slave thing should be working OR the master/slave issue is actually not implemented and is a marketing ploy!

    I have sent the contact of PicoBox a message to explain what I have done and to ask if there is anything I need to do to enable master/slave or if my unit is faulty.

    The good news is that the PSU did not actually fail (it was the power brick output that was exceeded) and that up to the cut out everything all looked good and stable.

    I imagine that if I had a more powerful brick (they are available up to 330W) then the system could be pushed to that limit and so the PSU does have promise - especially for a Cube implementation where I will not in reality want to push the power consumption any higher than that.

    I await the reply from Mr Frank Tang at PicoBox...
     
  8. neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Jun 14, 2015 at 2:43 PM #8
    neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    minihack please check the -12VDC rail (digital vometer) and share what your item is generating under load.

    Good modding,
    neil
     
  9. minihack

    minihack

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    Jun 15, 2015 at 10:18 AM #9
    minihack

    minihack

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    The -12v line is certainly outside of ATX spec as it is at only -9.27 on my DVM.
     
  10. minihack

    minihack

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    Jun 15, 2015 at 10:36 AM #10
    minihack

    minihack

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    So after contacting Mr Tang it became evident that I was not connecting the PSU up correctly.

    To summarise there are two inputs Vin1 and Vin2.

    Then on the output board sockets there are three sockets on one side of the board: 24pin ATX - 8 pin EPS (CPU supply) - 8 pin GPU. And then on the other side there is another socket - 8 Pin GPU (12v2).

    If you are using one power brick then this must be connected to Vin1 and you use the three sockets that are on the same side of the board.

    If you are using two power bricks and you have a separate GPU then you connect your second power brick to Vin2 and your GPU MUST be connected to the socket 12v2 which is the one separate from all the other output sockets.

    So what this supply does is it does not share the load equally, but it has a separate regulated 12v section for the GPU which is fed only by Vin2/12v2.

    So when I crashed on only one supply yesterday it was because I had not plugged the GPU into 12v2 but had instead plugged it into the (identical) GPU socket next to the EPS socket.

    Today when connected correctly I could see that using Unigine Heaven my GPU was happily sucking 70watts or so from my second power brick.

    What we do not know though is how much 12 power there is potentially from each part of the ATX supply, so in reality we do not know for sure what the different parts are capable of driving. My guess is that as the website says 12v1+12v2 have a max current of 36A combined then if both 12v regulator circuits are identical it may be the case that the max 12v draw from each power brick connection would be 18Amps = 216W.

    So, from all that it might be possible to conclude that as the website claims a possible load on the 5v line of up to 15Amps (75 watts ) then this might be better thought of as a PSU capable of 291Watts total power from the Vin1 line from the first power brick with an additional up to 216W of pure 12v power being deliverable from Vin2 from the second power brick to the 12v2 connector.

    However, with this kept in mind I am personally happy that this supply does what it should do. it is a shame though that there is not the documentation there to actually explain this properly. Hopefully this post will now help others!!

    Oh, and if your board does need a -12v line to boot then obviously you should NOT buy this power supply.

    If I get time I will test the supply with different mobos to see if they will boot.
     

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