Zalman ZM1000-HP 1000W Modular PSU

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Product: Zalman ZM1000-HP 1000W Modular PSU
Provided by: Zalman USA
Price:

Introduction:

We've looked at a few Zalman PSUs over the past year or so  and today we have the largest unit from Zalman on our bench today.  We've got the 1000W heatpipe cooled PSU plugged into our system and will take a look and see if it has enough power to keep a high-end system up and running.  This unit shares a few similar characteristics with the 850W sibling including physical size, but the 1000W unit has heavier 12v rails.  Both have six +12v rails and four PCIe connections that should run pair of GTX graphics cards in SLI with no issues.  There should be plenty of power left over to run the CPU and the rest of the system.  Keep on reading as we drop this unit in a system and use our digital scope to see if this PSU delivers stable power.

Front of Box
Front of Box

 

First Impressions:

The PSU comes in a very nice retail package and proudly boasts a 3 year warranty among other features.  This PSU features 80%+ Power Efficiency rating - meaning that if you're drawing 1000W from the wall, the PSU is actually only providing a little better that 800W to your system.  This is something to keep in mind if you're using a Watt Meter on the input side of things.  Coming from Zalman we already expect this unit to be quiet, and this is due to a nice quiet 14cm fan as well as some heatpipes inside the unit.

One thing that I'm happy to see is that Zalman has included the important specifications on the outside of the box for the consumer.  The number of rails and amperage on these rails is really handy to know before you buy a PSU.

Box Specs
Box Specs

 

Inside the main box are a couple of smaller boxes.  The box on the top is larger and contains a well protected PSU.  The box on the bottom has is full of cables, including a fan connector that allows you to run system fans at either 12v or 5v.  Hopefully this PSU works and detects input voltage, as there is no switch to select between 110v and 220v.  There are a few bundles of modular cables including a pair of PCIe cables, three SATA bundles and three Molex bundles of cables.

 Inside Boxes
Inside Boxes
Accessory Box
Accessory Box

 

PSU First Look:

This PSU is a little longer than other standard ATX units and if you've got a really crammed case it may pose some problems.  The overall length is 21cm long, but it should fit in many mid-tower cases without issues.  If you have a top exhaust fan, measure before you purchase this unit.  The PSU looks identical to the ZM850-HP PSU that is pictured in the set below.

 

 Attached Cables
Attached Cables
 Rear Grill
Rear Grill
   
 Fan Outside
Fan Outside
 Modular Connectors
Modular Connectors

 

PSU Closer Look:

The Zalman 1000W PSU is almost identical physically to the ZM850-HP PSU including the three Molex modular connectors, three modular SATA connectors and the two additional PCIe connectors.    Zalman has one again included the "Standby Noise Filter Switch" although many have argued that it should be removed and the filter left engaged.  There is still no power switch and no voltage selector to choose between 110v and 220v but this can be easily taken care of by switch circuitry.  The chassis of the PSU looks virtually identical and this will help cut cost down when it comes to marketing a new model.  Thankfully, the rear grill is still nice and vented and this allows excellent ventilation and cooling from the large 14cm fan.  We'll see in a bit if the insides are pretty much the same as well.

 Modular Connectors
Modular Connectors
Rear Grill
Rear Grill



Features & Specs:

Zalman is more known for its cooling products than for its Power Supplies, but with their products now reaching 1000W, they are getting some well-deserved attention from the enthusiast community.  While they don't yet have the same reputation as Antec or Enermax, they are building a reputation that should take them into the cases of many computer gamers in the near future.  Below is a list of the features of this unit according to Zalman.

Dual Heatpipes Installed for Maximum Cooling Performance and Ultra-Quiet Operation
Dual heatpipes with ultra-high cooling performance incorporated on the main heat sources enable high load operation even at low fan RPM for a dramatic reduction in noise levels.

Module Sleeved Cables
Modular cables provide organized cable management and improved air circulation inside the computer case.
All power cables are sleeved for easy cable management and improved air circulation inside the computer case.

Ultra Quiet 140mm Fan
The ultra quiet 2 ball-bearing 140mm fan maximizes the airflow and minimizes the noise level enabling a noiseless computing environment with optimized cooling.

Standby Noise Filter Switch
The 5Vsb Noise Filter eliminates high frequency noise in standby mode.
* The Standby Noise Filter Switch is NOT a power switch. The AC Power Cord MUST be unplugged in order to turn the power supply OFF.

Six Independent +12VDC Outputs
Six +12VDC rails supply power independently to the CPU, VGA, motherboard, and peripheral components for the highest level of stability and performance.

Four PCI Express VGA Power 6-Pin & 6+2 Pin Connectors
Four independent 6-Pin Power Connectors (two 6-pin & two 6+2 pin) provide support for Nvidia’s Quad SLI.

Improved Power Factor & Reduced Harmonics through Active PFC
By implementing Active PFC(Power Factor Correction), the Power Factor (PF) is improved up to 99% while harmful harmonic frequencies are reduced to meet the Line Harmonic Distortion Requirement of IEC61000-3-2 Class D Specification.

High Efficiency Design and 80 PLUS Certified
This power supply is capable of reaching a maximum of 86% efficiency (230VAC, Full & Typical Load) through its use of high switching frequency and low power-loss circuitry. This product has been certified with the 80 PLUS Power Supply Certification and guarantees a higher efficiency compared to uncertified products.
* 80 PLUS is an innovative, electric utility-funded incentive program that strives to integrate more energyefficient power supplies into desktop computers and servers.

EZ Grip Connectors for ODDs & HDDs
EZ Grip Connectors for easy removal of the plugs from ODDs & HDDs.

Supports ATX12V CPU 4-Pin and EPS12V CPU 8-Pin
Two ATX12V CPU 2 2 (4-Pin) power cables can be combined to form an EPS12V CPU 8-Pin power cable.

Gold-Plated Terminals & 16AWG Wires
All connector terminals are gold-plated to minimize contact resistance and power lose.
16AWG (thicker than 18AWG) wires are incorporated to minimize voltage drop during high load operation.

Multiple Safety Features
Over-Voltage Protection, Over-Current Protection, Short-Circuit Protection, Under-Voltage Protection, Over-Temperature Protection.

WEEE & RoHS
Complies with WEEE & RoHS environmental directives of the European Union.
- WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment)
- RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances)

 



Not only does this PSU have a decent list of features, according to the label, it has enough wattage to power almost every computer around.

PSU Label
PSU Label

 

More detailed information in the chart below.

Specs

The specs between the ZM850-HP and this ZM1000-HP are an interesting study.  Generally speaking a higher output PSU has heavier +12v rails, but they are actually the same between the two units.  The gain in output comes from a 15A heavier 3.3v line and a 10A heaver 5v line.  The reality is that Zalman has underestimated all the output values and is conservative (at least from a theoretical standpoint) when the label this PSU a 1kW model.  If we do the math, we total up almost 1900W at Max and over well over 2kW at peak values.  There is no way this can produce this kind of power without blowing a standard breaker, but this shows that it should be able to provide 1000W of clean power.


Modular Cables:

Identical to the ZM850-HP this unit has a lot of connected non-modular cables as well as a whole bunch of modular cables to boot.  The connected cables include the 20/24 Pin Motherboard Connector, 4/8 Pin CPU Power Connector, 3 SATA Connectors, 3 Standard Molex Connectors and two PCIe 6/8 pin connectors.  These are not modular - they are hardwired to the PSU.  The modular connectors include an additional 2 PCIe 6 pin connectors, 7 Standard Molex connectors, 9 more SATA Connectors, and 2 Floppy Connectors.  The diagram below shows all the cables and connections.  There are a bunch - 12 SATA, 10 HDD/ODD, 2 Floppy and 4 PCIe.

Cable Chart

 

All of the cables are sleeved with a nice flexible material that helps maintain cable clutter while being co-operative enough to bend where you need it to go.  Below are a couple pictures of the different cable bundles.

 Molex Cables
Molex Cables
 SATA Cables
SATA Cables

 


Inside the PSU:

As we open this unit, please keep in mind that opening a Power Supply will completely void the warranty.  Not only that, but because of the large capacitors, you can suffer a serious electrical shock if you touch the wrong thing.  Please do not open your PSU to compare what the insides look like.  Instead, click on the images below for a closer look.

 PSU Inside
PSU Inside
 Wire Mess
Wire Mess

 

 Heatpipes
Heatpipes
Modular Backplane
Modular Backplane

 

The heatpipes appear to cool the unit quite well as it stayed quite cool during heavy testing and prolonged use.  We managed to pull a maximum of 867W through this unit during some Futuremark Vantage in 3-Way SLI and the hottest component we measured reached 52C, but remained quiet and appeared to be solid as the system didn't suffer any instability.

 

Test Setup & Info:

In the past, we've prided ourselves on real-world testing.  For graphics cards, CPUs and memory, what matters is what takes place in real applications and games.  We also held that philosophy for PSU testing, but after a while, we realized that there is more to a PSU that being able to run a machine stable over a few weeks or months.  In reality, if there is a lot of ripple, this can damage sensitive traces on your $700 graphics card or $1300 CPU.  A multi-meter alone is not good enough to check PSU voltage stability.  It's for this reason that we've updated our PSU testbed, and will continue to improve the detail and quality of our PSU reviews.  That being said, we will still be testing the PSU in a system and will be including stress tests from real components in the real world.

We recently purchased a Tektronics TDS2002 60MHz Dual Channel scope and it has already become invaluable around the shop here at BCCHardware headquarters.  I've used it to troubleshoot everything from PSU's to Radars, and we are using it today to check the stability of the Zalman 1000W PSU on the next page.


Testing - 9W, 380W & 850W: 

We initially plugged the PSU into an EZ PSU Tester 3 in order to power it on for our "idle" measurements.  As noticed below, the voltage rails were fairly stable with no load, but these aren't necessarily indicative of overall load performance.  According to our Kill-a-Watt, the power draw was 9W.  We thought these results would be interesting to include and compare with other power supplies to see how they manage a non-load situation, and how much power the PSU itself will draw.  This PSU claims to have active PFC and be 0.99 efficient in this regard - our equipment showed 0.28 without a load.  With any load, the PFC measures 0.99.

 Clean 3.3v Line
Clean 3.3v Line
 Clean 5v Line
Clean 5v Line
Clean 12v Line
Clean 12v Line

 

No matter what type of load I put on this PSU, the voltage rails stayed clean, and had very little noise.  As you can see by clicking the images above, we captured a 16mv ripple & noise measurement on the 3.3v rail, 26mv on the 5v rail and 32mv on the 12v line.  This is nice and clean power as ATX specifications state 50mv is allowable on the 3.3v and 5.0v rails while 120mv is acceptable on the 12v rails.  Even with a heavy load the Zalman ZM1000-HP stayed well within specifications on the rails - although the 5v line strayed close to its 50mv limit there were no stability issues.

 

Instead of taking a ton of pictures of each voltage line under different load, we've graphed the results below.

 

Voltage
(Click for larger chart)

 

Ripple
(Click for larger chart) 


The voltage is very solid with the Zalman ZM1000-HP.  It starts a little above the rated value and drops only slightly on any of the lines.  The highest 12v rail (12v2) drops 0.2v and levels off at 12.2v with a heavy load.  The 5v rail stays above 5v at 5.08v - down from the non-load 5.09v.  The 3.3v line is even more solid and we didn't measure any drop in voltage when going from a non-load situation to a heavy 850W load on the entire PSU.

All of the lines are super solid and have very little ripple or noise.  All lines stay within spec, with the 5v line being the only one that wanders close to its limit when measuring noise and ripple.  In the end, it tops out at 48mv and doesn't affect stability at all.  Overall, this PSU does show a stability improvement over the smaller 850W Zalman ZM850-HP we've referred to throughout this review.

Although these two PSUs share the same chassis, cables and close specifications, the ZM1000-HP has been refined, tuned and beefed up in order to handle a greater load.

Conclusion:

The Zalman ZM1000-HP is currently the biggest and best PSU from Zalman and it comes in at 1000W.  It pushes out a lot of watts through six +12v rails and hefty 3.3v and 5.0v lines.  While it looks almost identical to their earlier 850W ZM850-HP, the 1000W model has better voltage regulation and lower ripple and noise which in turn enables it to handle a bigger load with ease.  Using some "Y" adapters, we loaded up this PSU with three 8800GTX/Ultra cards, an overclocked Q6600 and a CoolIT Freezone Elite system.  It handled it with ease.

The only downside to this PSU is that it lacks a couple extra PCIe cables.  With six +12v rails - two of which are rated at 28A, I'd hoped for a total of six PCIe cables, but Zalman has opted to go with only four.  If you are running a Tri-SLI system, you'll have to use adapters in order to power up all of your cards.

Pros:

  • Low electrical noise
  • Rated at 1000W continuous
  • Mostly modular with lots of peripheral and SATA connectors
  • Very stable with a fairly heavy load
  • 14cm and heatpipes keep it cool and quiet - inaudible over any other fan
  • Should work in all but extreme systems.


Cons:

  • Only four PCIe connectors
  • No power switch

 

This PSU can be found for around $230 online and for a quality 1000W PSU, it's a good price.  It brings a lot of power, features and connectors to the table and leaves the noise at the door - in true Zalman CNPS style.  It is a worthy choice for a PSU even though it falls short of our Top Pick.

 BCCRating

 

I'd like to thank Zalman for sending over this PSU for us to test and stick in a system for a little torture time.  If you have any questions, comments or general feedback, please post it at the "Comments" link below.  Don't forget to check out our PSU Testing methods as they will be constantly updated to show how we test PSUs.