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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

The AK6 is the latest power supply series from 3R System, offered in two wattages, 500 W and 600 W, with (models ended with “M”) or without a modular cabling system. They come with the 80 Plus Bronze certification. Let’s test the 500 W model with a modular cabling system, which the manufacturer promises a peak wattage of 600 W.

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 1: 3R System AK6-500M power supply

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 2: 3R System AK6-500M power supply

The 3R System AK6-500M is 6.3” (160 mm) deep, using a 120 mm sleeve bearing fan on its bottom (Yate Loon D12SM-12).

The modular cabling system from this power supply has six connectors. The product comes with only four cables to be installed on them, so two connectors are left unused. Differently from most modular cabling systems, the connectors can be used by any kind of cable; the unit doesn’t have special connectors for the video card power cables. The motherboard cables are permanently attached to the unit, and they have nylon sleeves, which come from inside the unit. This power supply comes with the following cables:

  • Main motherboard cable with a 20/24-pin connector, 19.7” (50 cm) long, permanently attached to the power supply
  • One cable with two ATX12V connectors that together form an EPS12V connector, 23.6” (60 cm) long, permanently attached to the power supply
  • Two cables, each with one six/eight-pin connector for video cards, 17.7” (45 cm) long, modular cabling system
  • One cable with three SATA power connectors, 17.7” (45 cm) to the first connector, 5.9” (15 cm) between connectors, modular cabling system
  • One cable with three standard peripheral power connectors and one floppy disk drive power connector, 19.7” (50 cm) to the first connector, 5.9” (15 cm) between connectors, modular cabling system

All wires are 18 AWG, which is the minimum recommended gauge.

The cable configuration is adequate for a mainstream 500 W power supply. In fact, most mainstream 500 W power supplies will come with only one video card power connector, while this power supply comes with two of them. On the other hand, this unit comes with a very limited number of SATA power connectors (three on the same cable). It would be nice if the unit came with another cable with three SATA power connectors in order for it to be considered by us “flawless” in this department.

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 3: Cables

Let’s now take an in-depth look inside this power supply.

[nextpage title=”A Look Inside the 3R System AK6-500M”]

We decided to disassemble this power supply to see what it looks like inside, how it is designed, and what components are used. Please read our “Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies” tutorial to understand how a power supply works and to compare this power supply to others.

On this page we will have an overall look, and then in the following pages we will discuss in detail the quality and ratings of the components used.

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 4: Top view

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 5: Front quarter view

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 6: Rear quarter view

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 7: The printed circuit board

[nextpage title=”Transient Filtering Stage”]

As we have mentioned in other articles and reviews, the first place we look when opening a power supply for a hint about its quality, is its filtering stage. The recommended components for this stage are two ferrite coils, two ceramic capacitors (Y capacitors, usually blue), one metalized polyester capacitor (X capacitor), and one MOV (Metal-Oxide Varistor). Very low-end power supplies use fewer components, usually removing the MOV and the first coil. 

In the transient filtering stage, this power supply is flawless, with all of the required components.

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 8: Transient filtering stage

On the next page, we will have a more detailed discussion about the components used in the 3R System AK6-500M.

[nextpage title=”Primary Analysis”]

On this page we will take an in-depth look at the primary stage of the 3R System AK6-500M. For a better understanding, please read our “Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies” tutorial.

This power supply uses one U15K80R rectifying bridge, which isn’t attached to a heatsink. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the exact datasheet for this bridge, but we can assume it is a 15 A component. (The real limit is lower, as this bridge isn’t attached to a heatsink.) So in theory, you would be able to pull up to 1,725 W from a 115 V power grid. Assuming 80% efficiency, the bridge would allow this unit to deliver up to 1,380 W without burning itself out. Of course, we are only talking about these particular components. The real limit will depend on all the components combined in this power supply.

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 9: Rectifying bridge

The active PFC circuit uses two SPP20N60C3 MOSFETs, each one supporting up to 20.7 A at 25° C or 13.1 A at 100° C in continuous mode (note the difference temperature makes), or 62.1 A at 25° C i
n pulse mode. These transistors present a 190 mΩ resistance when turned on, a characteristic called RDS(on). The lower the number the better, meaning that the transistor will waste less power, and the power supply will have a higher efficiency.

The output of the active PFC circuit is filtered by one 270 µF x 400 V electrolytic capacitor from Asia’x, labeled at 105° C.

In the switching section, another two SPP20N60C3 MOSFETs are employed using the traditional two-transistor forward configuration. The specifications for these transistors were already discussed above.

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 10: One of the active PFC transistors and the switching transistors

The primary is managed by a CM6802 active PFC/PWM combo controller.

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 11: Active PFC/PWM combo controller

Let’s now take a look at the secondary of this power supply.

[nextpage title=”Secondary Analysis”]

The 3R System AK6-500M uses a regular design in its secondary, with Schottky rectifiers.

The maximum theoretical current that each line can deliver is given by the formula I / (1 – D) where D is the duty cycle used and I is the maximum current supported by the rectifying diode. As an exercise, we can assume a duty cycle of 30 percent.

The +12 V output uses four PFR20L60CT Schottky rectifiers, each one supporting up to 20 A (10 A per internal diode at 120° C with a 0.65 V maximum voltage drop). This gives us a maximum theoretical current of 57 A or 686 W for the +12 V output.

The +5 V output uses one PFR40L45PT Schottky rectifier, which supports up to 40 A (20 A per internal diode). Unfortunately, we couldn’t find its datasheet. This gives us a maximum theoretical current of 29 A or 143 W for the +5 V output.

The +3.3 V output uses two PFR30L45CT Schottky rectifiers, each one supporting up to 30 A (15 A per internal diode at 110° C with a 0.52 V maximum voltage drop). This gives us a maximum theoretical current of 43 A or 141 W for the +3.3 V output.

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 12: One of the +3.3 V rectifiers, two of the +12 V rectifiers, and the +5 V rectifier

This power supply uses a GR8323 monitoring integrated circuit, which supports over voltage (OVP), under voltage (UVP), and over current (OCP) protections. There are two +12 V over current channels, correctly matching the number of +12 V rails announced by the manufacturer.

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 13: Monitoring circuit

The electrolytic capacitors that filter the outputs are from Asia’x and labeled at 105° C, as usual.

[nextpage title=”Power Distribution”]

In Figure 14, you can see the power supply label containing all the power specs.

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 14: Power supply label

According to the label, this unit has two +12 V rails. Inside the unit, we could clearly see two “shunts” (current sensors), one for each +12 V rail. The monitoring circuit really has two +12 V over current protection channels. Click here to understand more about this subject.

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 15: Shunts

The two +12 V rails are distributed as follows:

  • +12V1: The cables attached to the modular cabling system
  • +12V2: The cables permanently attached to the power supply

Usually, on power supplies with two +12 V rails, one rail is dedicated to the ATX12V/EPS12V connector. However, on this power supply, the manufacturer added the main power supply connector to the same rail, which is fine.

How much power can this unit really deliver? Let’s find out.

[nextpage title=”Load Tests”]

We conducted several tests with this power supply, as described in the article, “Hardware Secrets Power Supply Test Methodology.” 

First we tested this power supply with five different load patterns, trying to pull around 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and 100% of its labeled maximum capacity (actual percentage used listed under “% Max Load”), watching the behavior of the reviewed unit under each load. In the table below, we list the load patterns we used and the results for each load.

If you add all the powers listed for each test, you may find a different value than what is posted under “Total” below. Since each output can have a slight variation (e.g., the +5 V output working at +5.10 V), the actual total amount of power being delivered is slightly different than the calculated value. In the “Total” row, we are using the real amount of power being delivered, as measured by our load tester.

The +12VA and +12VB inputs listed below are the two +12 V independent inputs from our load tester. During this test, the +12VA input was connected to the power supply +12V1 and +12V2 rails, while the +12VB input was connected to the power supply +12V2 rail.

Input Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 4 Test 5
+12VA 3.5 A (42 W) 7 A (84 W) 10.5 A (126 W) 14 A (168 W) 17.5 A (210 W)
+12VB 3.5 A (42 W) 7 A (84 W) 10.5 A (126 W) 14 A (168 W) 17 A (204 W)
+5 V 1 A (5 W) 2 A (10 W) 4 A (20 W) 6 A (30 W) 8 A (40 W)
+3.3 V 1 A (3.3 W) 2 A (6.6 W) 4 A (13.2 W) 6 A (19.8 W) 8 A (26.4 W)
+5VSB 1 A (5 W) 1 A (5 W) 1.5 A (7.5 W) 2 A (10 W) 2.5 A (12.5 W)
-12 V 0.5 A (6 W) 0.5 A (6 W) 0.5 A (6 W) 0.5 A (6 W) 0.5 A (6 W)
Total 103.8 W 19
6.4 W
299.1 W 401.8 W 497.8 W
% Max Load 20.8% 39.3% 59.8% 80.4% 99.6%
Room Temp. 46.0° C 45.0° C 45.2° C 46.8° C 49.8° C
PSU Temp. 46.5° C 46.7° C 47.0° C 48.2° C 51.8° C
Voltage Regulation Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
Ripple and Noise Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
AC Power 124.6 W 228.8 W 351.1 W 479.6 W 610.0 W
Efficiency 83.3% 85.8% 85.2% 83.8% 81.6%
AC Voltage 118.4 V 117.3 V 116.5 V 114.8 V 113.5 V
Power Factor 0.976 0.988 0.994 0.996 0.997
Final Result Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass

The 3R System AK6-500M passed our tests, with efficiency between 81.6% and 85.8%, which is great for a mainstream product. The 80 Plus Bronze certification promises 82% minimum efficiency during full load, but unfortunately, it is common for power supplies with this certification level not be able to deliver this efficiency level at real-world temperatures, as the tests to obtain the 80 Plus certification are conducted at 23° C, and efficiency drops with temperature.

Voltage regulation was superb, with all voltages closer to their nominal values (3% regulation) during all tests. The ATX12V specification states that positive voltages must be within 5% of their nominal values, and negative voltages must be within 10% of their nominal values.

Let’s discuss the ripple and noise levels on the next page.

[nextpage title=”Ripple and Noise Tests”]

Voltages at the power supply outputs must be as “clean” as possible, with no noise or oscillation (also known as “ripple”). The maximum ripple and noise levels allowed are 120 mV for +12 V and -12 V outputs, and 50 mV for +5 V, +3.3 V and +5VSB outputs. All values are peak-to-peak figures. We consider a power supply as being top-notch if it can produce half or less of the maximum allowed ripple and noise levels.

The 3R System AK6-500M provided very low ripple and noise levels for the +12 V and +5 V outputs, but at the +3.3 V, +5VSB, and -12 V outputs, these levels were too high for us to consider this unit “flawless.” The noise levels were always within the allowed range, though.

Input Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 4 Test 5
+12VA 17.8 mV 25.2 mV 34.6 mV 44.2 mV 48.2 mV
+12VB 13.4 mV 21.6 mV 28.0 mV 35.8 mV 40.0 mV
+5 V 13.2 mV 13.0 mV 15.2 mV 16.8 mV 19.2 mV
+3.3 V 27.2 mV 28.6 mV 31.2 mV 36.2 mV 44.8 mV
+5VSB 27.4 mV 28.6 mV 31.8 mV 35.4 mV 41.4 mV
-12 V 65.6 mV 78.2 mV 94.8 mV 112.6 mV 111.6 mV

Below you can see the waveforms of the outputs during test five.

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 16: +12VA input from load tester during test five at 497.8 W (48.2 mV)

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 17: +12VB input from load tester during test five at 497.8 W (40.0 mV)

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 18: +5V rail during test five at 497.8 W (19.2 mV)

3R System AK6-500M power supplyFigure 19: +3.3 V rail during test five at 497.8 W (44.8 mV)

[nextpage title=”Overload Tests”]

Below you can see the maximum we could pull from this power supply. The objective of this test is to see if the power supply has its protection circuits working properly. This unit passed this test, as we couldn’t pull more than shown in the table below because the power supply would shut down, showing that its protections are present and working well. During this extreme configuration, noise and ripple levels were higher than the maximum allowed: 142.8 mV at +12VA, 167.8 mV at +12VB, 61.8 mV at +3.3 V, 51.6 mV at +5VSB, and 228.8 mV at -12 V. The +5 V output was the only one with noise and ripple levels within specs (at 26 mV).

Input Overload Test
+12VA 25 A (300 W)
+12VB 25 A (300 W)
+5 V 10 A (50 W)
+3.3 V 10 A (33 W)
+5VSB 3 A (15 W)
-12 V 0.5 A (6 W)
Total 698.2 W
% Max Load 139.6%
Room Temp. 49.8° C
PSU Temp. 49.9° C
AC Power 910.0 W
Efficiency 76.7%
AC Voltage 109.6 V
Power Factor 0.999

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

The main specifications for the 3R System AK6-500M power supply include:

  • Standards: ATX12V 2.3
  • Nominal labeled power: 500 W continuous, 600 W peak
  • Measured maximum power: 698.2 W at 49.8° C
  • Labeled efficiency: 80 Plus Bronze, 82% minimum at light (i.e., 20%) and full loads and 85% minimum at typical (i.e., 50%) load
  • Measured efficiency: Between 81.6% and 85.8%, at 115 V (nominal, see complete results for actual voltage)
  • Active PFC: Yes
  • Modular Cabling System: Yes
  • Motherboard Power Connectors: One 20/24-pin connector and two ATX12V connectors that together form an EPS12V connector, permanently attached to the power supply
  • Video Card Power Connectors: Two six/eight-pin connectors on two cables, modular cabling system
  • SATA Power Connectors: Three on one cable, modular cabling system
  • Peripheral Power Connectors: Three on one cable, modular cabling system
  • Floppy Disk Drive Power Connectors: One
  • Protections (as listed by the manufacturer): Over voltage (OVP), under voltage (UVP), over current (OCP), over power (OPP), over temperature (OTP), and short-circuit (SCP) protections
  • Are the above protections really available? Yes
  • Warranty: NA
  • More Information: https://www.3rsys.com
  • MSRP in the U.S.: NA

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

The 3R System AK6-500M proved to be a nice mainstream power supply with a modular cabling system. Its highlights include efficiency between 81.6% and 85.8%, superb voltage regulation, and the presence of two six/eight-pin connectors for video cards, since most 500 W units will bring only one of them.

On the weak side, we have a low number of SATA power connectors (the manufacturer could have included another SATA cable).

Noise and ripple levels were too high on the +3.3 V, +5VSB, and -12 V outputs for us to consider this unit “flawless,” but they were still inside the allowed range.

If you are looking for a mainstream 500 W power supply with a modular cabling system and are able to find this power supply in your country, it can be a good pick.