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Cougar is a brand that belongs to HEC/Compucase, originally targeted to the European market. Recently, they started expanding to the North American market as well. The CMX is comprised of 80 Plus Bronze units with a modular cabling system, in 550 W, 700 W, 1,000 W, and 1,200 W versions. Let’s see if the 700 W version is a good pick.
The 1,000 W and 1,200 W versions use a DC-DC design in their secondary, feature not available in the 550 W and 700 W models.
The Cougar CMX 700 W is 6.3” (160 mm) deep, using a 140 mm fan on its bottom (Power Logic PLA14025S12M). The fan sticker says that it has a hydro-dynamic bearing, however, the part number decodes to a sleeve bearing model. (See the letter “S.” Hydro-dynamic bearing fans would have the letter “H” there.)
This unit has a modular cabling system with six connectors (two red for video card power cables and four black for SATA and peripheral power cables), and four cables are permanently attached to the power supply. This power supply comes with the following cables:
- Main motherboard cable with a 20/24-pin connector, 23.6” (60 cm) long, permanently attached to the power supply
- One cable with one EPS12V connector and two ATX12V connectors that together form an EPS12V connector, 23.6” (60 cm) to the first connector, 11.8” (30 cm) between connectors, permanently attached to the power supply
- One cable with one six-pin connector for video cards, 19.7” (50 cm) long, permanently attached to the power supply
- One cable with one six/eight-pin connector for video cards, 19.7” (50 cm) long, permanently attached to the power supply
- One cable with one six-pin connector for video cards, 20.1” (51 cm) long, modular cabling system
- One cable with one six/eight-pin connector for video cards, 20.1” (51 cm) long, modular cabling system
- One cable with three SATA power connectors, 19.7” (50 cm) to the first connector, 5.9” (15 cm) between connectors, modular cabling system
- One cable with three SATA power connectors and one standard peripheral power connector, 19.7” (50 cm) to the first connector, 5.9” (15 cm) between connectors, modular cabling system
- One cable with two SATA power connectors and two standard peripheral power connectors, 19.7” (50 cm) to the first connector, 5.9” (15 cm) between connectors, modular cabling system
- One cable with three standard peripheral power connectors, 19.7” (50 cm) to the first connector, 5.9” (15 cm) between connectors, modular cabling system
- One adapter to convert any standard peripheral power connector into a floppy disk drive power connector, 5.9” (15 cm) long
All wires are 18 AWG, which is the correct gauge to be used.
The cable configuration is excellent for a 700 W product.
Let’s now take an in-depth look inside this power supply.
[nextpage title=”A Look Inside the Cougar CMX 700 W”]
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.
[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 this power supply, this stage is flawless. It has one X capacitor, two Y capacitors, and one coil more than the minimum required.
In the next page we will have a more detailed discussion about the components used in the Cougar CMX 700 W.
[nextpage title=”Primary Analysis”]
On this page we will take an in-depth look at the primary stage of the Cougar CMX 700 W. For a better understanding, please read our Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies tutorial.
This power supply uses one GBJ1506 rectifying bridge, attached to the same heatsink as the active PFC transistors. This component supports up
to 15 A at 100° C, 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 this particular component. The real limit will depend on all the components combined in this power supply.
The active PFC circuit uses three IPP60R190P MOSFETs, each supporting up to 20.2 A at 25° C or 12.8 A at 100° C in continuous mode (note the difference temperature makes), or 59 A in pulse mode at 25° C. 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 electrolytic capacitor that filters the output of the active PFC circuit is Japanese, from Chemi-Con, and labeled at 105° C.
In the switching section, another two IPP60R190P MOSFETs are used. The specifications for these transistors were already discussed above.
The primary is controlled by an FAN4800 active PFC/PWM combo controller.
Let’s now take a look at the secondary of this power supply.
[nextpage title=”Secondary Analysis”]
The Cougar CMX 700 W has eight Schottky rectifiers attached to the secondary heatsink.
The maximum theoretical current 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 PFR30L60CT Schottky rectifiers (30 A, 15 A per internal diode at 110° C, 0.60 V maximum voltage drop), giving us a maximum theoretical current of 86 A or 1,209 W for this output.
The +5 V output uses two SBR30A40CT Schottky rectifiers (30 A, 15 A per internal diode at 110° C, 0.50 V maximum voltage drop), giving us a maximum theoretical current of 43 A or 214 W for this output.
The +3.3 V output uses another two SBR30A40CT Schottky rectifiers, giving us a maximum theoretical current of 43 A or 141 W for this output.
This power supply uses a PS223 monitoring integrated circuit, which supports over voltage (OVP), under voltage (UVP), over current (OCP), and over temperature (OTP) protections. This chip has four OCP channels, one for +3.3 V, one for +5 V, and two for +12 V, correctly matching the number of +12 V rails advertised by the power supply manufacturer (two).
The electrolytic capacitors available in the secondary are from Teapo, and are labeled at 105° C.
[nextpage title=”Power Distribution”]
In Figure 16, you can see the power supply label containing all the power specs.
This power supply is sold as having two +12 V rails, which is correct, since this unit has two +12 V over current protection circuits (see previous page). Click here to understand more about this subject.
The two +12 V rails are distributed as follows:
- +12V1: Main motherboard cable, the two video card cables that are permanently attached to the power supply, and the SATA and peripheral connectors
- +12V2: The ATX12V/EPS12V cable and the two video card cables available on the modular cabling system
The power supply has a sticker on the modular cabling system saying that one of the video card cables is connected to the +12V1 rail, and the other one is connected to the +12V2 rail. However, this information is not correct, as internally, both connectors are linked to the +12V2 rail using a yellow/green wire.
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 rail, while the +12VB input was connected to the power su
pply +12V2 rail.
|Input||Test 1||Test 2||Test 3||Test 4||Test 5|
|+12VA||4.5 A (54 W)||9.5 A (114 W)||14.5 A (174 W)||19 A (228 W)||25.5 A (306 W)|
|+12VB||4.5 A (54 W)||9.5 A (114 W)||14.5 A (174 W)||19 A (228 W)||25.5 A (306 W)|
|+5 V||2 A (10 W)||4 A (20 W)||6 A (30 W)||8 A (40 W)||11 A (55 W)|
|+3.3 V||2 A (6.6 W)||4 A (13.2 W)||6 A (19.8 W)||8 A (26.4 W)||11 A (36.3 W)|
|+5VSB||1 A (5 W)||1.5 A (7.5 W)||2 A (10 W)||2.5 A (12.5 W)||3 A (15 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||135.0 W||269.8 W||407.3 W||528.4 W||698.9 W|
|% Max Load||19.3%||38.5%||58.2%||75.5%||99.8%|
|Room Temp.||46.6° C||45.9° C||46.3° C||48.0° C||45.9° C|
|PSU Temp.||49.2° C||49.0° C||49.2° C||50.2° C||52.1° C|
|Voltage Regulation||Pass||Pass||Pass||Failed at +5VSB||Failed at +3.3 V and +5VSB|
|Ripple and Noise||Pass||Pass||Pass||Pass||Pass|
|AC Power||159.7 W||313.9 W||479.2 W||632.0 W||867.0 W|
|AC Voltage||114.9 V||113.3 V||111.5 V||110.6 V||108.8 V|
The Cougar CMX 700 W can really deliver its labeled wattage at high temperatures.
Efficiency was high when we pulled between 20% and 80% of the labeled wattage (i.e., between 140 W and 560 W), ranging from 83.6 to 86.0 percent. At 700 W, efficiency dropped to 80.6%, which is below the 82% minimum required for the 80 Plus Bronze certification. As we always explain, the 80 Plus certification tests are conducted at a room temperature of only 23° C, while we test power supplies above 45° C, and efficiency drops with temperature.
This power supply has voltage regulation issues. During tests one and two, all positive voltages were within 3% of their nominal values, which is great. During test three the +5VSB output exited this tighter range, but was still inside the allowed 5% range, at +4.78 V. During test four, the +3.3 V also exited this tighter range, at +3.18 V, with the +5VSB dropping below the minimum allowed, at +4.72 V. And, during test five, the +12 V and +5 V outputs were outside the tighter 3% range, but still within the allowed 5% tolerance. (The +12VA input was at +11.63 V, the +12VB input was at +11.59 V, and the +5 V output was at +4.84 V.) However, the +3.3 V output dropped below the minimum allowed, at +3.11 V, and the +5VSB output dropped even more, to +4.65 V. The ATX12V specification says positive voltages must be within 5% of their nominal values and negative voltages must be within 10% of their nominal values.
Because of this issue, we requested a second sample to the manufacturer, since we may have received a defective unit. However, the second sample presented the exact same problem, showing that it is caused by a design flaw.
Noise and ripple levels, on the other hand, were always very low. Below you can see the results for the power supply outputs during test number five. The maximum allowed is 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.
Let’s see if we can pull more than 700 W from this unit.
[nextpage title=”Overload Tests”]
Below you can see the maximum we could pull from this power supply. We couldn’t pull more than that because the power supply shut down, showing that its protections were working well. Under this scenario, the voltage regulation issue got worse, with the +3.3 V dropping even further to +3.04 V. The +5VSB output was at +4.74 V, the +5 V output was touching the lower limit at +4.75 V, and the +12 V was within the proper range, at +11.57 V (+12VA) and +11.52 V (+12VB).
|+12VA||33 A (396 W)|
|+12VB||33 A (396 W)|
|+5 V||15 A (75 W)|
|+3.3 V||15 A (49.5 W)|
|+5VSB||3 A (15 W)|
|-12 V||0.5 A (6 W)|
|% Max Load||127.9%|
|Room Temp.||42.6° C|
|PSU Temp.||51.0° C|
|AC Power||1,182 W|
|AC Voltage||104.3 V|
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the Cougar CMX 700 W power supply include:
- Standards: NA
- Nominal labeled power: 700 W
- Measured maximum power: 895.6 W at 42.6° C ambient
- Labeled efficiency: Up to 89%, 80 Plus Bronze certification
- Measured efficiency: Between 80.6% and 86.0%, at 115 V (nominal, see complete results for actual voltage)
- Active PFC: Yes
- Modular Cabling System: Yes
- Motherboard Power Connectors: One 24-pin connector, two ATX12V connectors that together form an EPS12V connector, and one EPS12V connector, permanently attached to the power supply
- Video Card Power Connectors: Two six-pin connectors and two six/eight-pin connectors on separate cables, one of each permanently attached to the power supply and one of each on the modular cabling system
- SATA Power Connectors: Eight on three cables
- Peripheral Power Connectors: Six on three cables
py Disk Drive Power Connectors: One, converted from one peripheral power connector
- Protections (as listed by the manufacturer): Over voltage (OVP), under voltage (UVP), over current (OCP), over power (OPP), and short-circuit (SCP) protections
- Are the above protections really available? Yes.
- Warranty: Three years
- More Information: https://www.cougar-world.com
- Average Price in the US*: USD 110.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
The Cougar CMX 700 W can really deliver its labeled power at high temperatures, providing high efficiency between 83.6% and 86.0% when we pulled between 140 W and 560 W. At 700 W, efficiency dropped to 80.6%, which is below the 82% minimum required for the 80 Plus Bronze certification. As we always explain, the 80 Plus certification tests are conducted at a room temperature of only 23° C, while we test power supplies above 45° C, and efficiency drops with temperature. Ripple and noise levels were always very low.
The main problem with this power supply is voltage regulation. Starting at 560 W, voltages got outside their allowed range, what can make your computer behave erratically. We tested two samples, and both presented the same problem. Therefore, we can’t recommend this unit.