1000W-1200W Roundup: Five High-End PSUs

Today we're looking at some of the most expensive ATX power supplies on the market. All of these PSUs deliver more than enough power for SLI and CrossFire systems, and the highest wattage units are capable of running tri-SLI with GTX 480. Even so, there are still plenty of differences between the offerings. We'll find out which handle overload situations the best, who has the highest efficiency, and which PSU provides the best voltage regulation. Based on all of the criteria, we'll try to separate the wheat from the tares and pick out the best choice overall; we might end up with a split decision, however, so let's start by meeting the contenders.

Our first candiate comes from OCZ and is one of the oldest 80Plus Gold power supplies on the market. The OCZ Z1000M is the 1000W model from their Z-series; it comes EuP-Ready (which means low power loss during standby mode) and is available for $205 online. In contrast to the Z1000, this model includes modular cables like most high-end power supplies, and you get an SLI-Ready certificate. A powerful single-rail +12V rated at 83A indicates that this PSU uses a DC-to-DC converter (like most other high-end PSUs these days), so the smaller rails are fed by +12V.

The next 1000W PSU comes from AeroCool with a lesser 80Plus Bronze certification. To compensate the "low" efficiency AeroCool catches our eyes with blue 140mm LED-fans, a lighted panel for cable management, and "Carbon Fiber" finishing. The AeroCool V12XT-1000 1000W is not available in the United States, but you can get it for €165 in Germany (about $230).

Cougar is a newcomer and the retail-brand of HEC, who has a long OEM history. Cougar is using HEC's best build options and robust cases for their power supplies. The Cougar GX G1050 1050W can be bought in Europe, with a few models also showing up in the USA. In Europe you've to pay €190 (a rather expensive $265) to get this beautiful PSU. Is it a good high efficiency option, with another 80Plus Gold certificate? We'll find out.

Besides the three 1000W PSUs, we also have two 1200W models for this roundup. The first is the Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 1200W. Yet another 80Plus Gold PSU - notice a trend? - can it meet the specs and live up to its "silent" name? Most PSUs above 1000W need powerful cooling at high load, so any suggestion of silence seems like pie in the sky. Regardless of the noise levels, we'll test this Cooler Master to see how the single +12V rail rated at nearly 100A stands up to the competition. Pricing is only slighly higher than other 1000W PSUs, checking in at $210.

Our final entrant in today's roundup comes from Antec, a familiar name to most computer enthusiasts. Their latests creations is the Antec High Current Pro HCP-1200. Priced at $300 online, it's the most expensive PSU in our list and it once again boasts an 80Plus Gold certification. Unlike most of the other PSUs, the HPC-1200 has eight +12V rails, but it also uses DC-to-DC conversion and Japanese capacitors (almost a requirement to high 80Plus Gold). An unusual features is the 80mm fan for cooling, rather than the typical 120mm or 140mm fans we see elsewhere. Antec has created a new design with two PCBs to increase airflow and allow for optimal use of the 80mm fan. We'll see if this works well, or if it simply result in higher noise levels but similar temperatures and efficiency.

OCZ Z1000M Overview
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  • Marlin1975 - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    How about more reviews on items that most would use, not a very small subset.

    I have a 600wat power supply and only bought that due to sale/coupon over the 500watt. My HTPC has a 380 etc...

    Test the PS's that are lowwer priced but still 80% rated and see if they really hold up for most builders.
  • Minion4Hire - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    It has been a while since they did a large mid-range PSU roundup, but different people are in the market for different products.

    The thing is that the vast majority of mid-range power supplies ARE perfectly adequate for the vast majority of users in that market segment. Some are better, some are worse, but everything will generally come out okay. But if you're going to drop +$200 on a power supply it BETTER damn well perform! Of course if someone is looking to spend $20 on a 500W PSU for a gaming rig then they'll get what they're paying for.
  • Taft12 - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    If modular is a requirement (and it should be for mid-range+) Seasonic M12II 520W or 620W is probably the best you can do in the $75-100 range.
  • michaelheath - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    Minion, Taft, those are good responses but don't really address Martin's point: Why would I, a reasonable enthusiast who has a quad core CPU, a decent single GPU, a hard drive or two and a DVD burner, really care about what's going on in the 1000w+ PSU market? Other than pure curiosity? I need a 550w power supply at worst, and I too would like to see more reviews reflect the need of the majority of users. This article was interesting, but it's ultimately useless for ~95% of the readers viewing it.
  • MeanBruce - Friday, December 10, 2010 - link

    Useless is right!

    AnandTech for SSDs and Smartphones and Applegear.

    JonnyGuru.com for Power Supplies.

    Tom Logan at Overclock3D for cases, cooling, and motherboards.

    Experience is Everything!

    Experience is Everything!
  • poohbear - Sunday, December 12, 2010 - link

    Totally agree. Xmas is coming n we're all shopping, n they do a 1000wt psu review? This review is for da .01% of users out there, by da reviewers own admission, why even bother?
  • Martin Kaffei - Monday, December 13, 2010 - link

    3x 550

    1x 460

    1x 380

    1x 300
    coming soon
  • RagingForces - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the article. I am in the market for these type PSUs and am glad to see a roundup article. This is why I come to Anandtech :)
  • Vicey - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    I'm surprised that the AX1200 by Corsair wasn't included as to be honest that is the only PSU in the 1200W range I'd consider buying.
  • dajeepster - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    I'm surprised too... I have both the Corsair AX1200 and the OCZZ1000

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