MSI Turbostream 600 W (a.k.a. MS-4600-010) is a rebadged Solytech SL-8600EPS power supply, featuring active PFC, two 80 mm fans and two auxiliary power plugs for video cards under SLI or CrossFire configuration. Is this a good product? Can it really deliver 600 W? Let’s see.
This power supply from Solytech is found in three different versions:
- With a 120 mm fan like Rosewill RD600N-2SB-BK and Apex SL-8600EPS;
- With two 80 mm fans like Rosewill RD600N-2DB-SL, Rosewill RD600N-2DC-SL, MSI TurboStream 600 W and Satellite SL-8600EPS;
- With a modular cabling system, like Satellite SL-8600EPS-Modular and Antler EPS600W.
Besides the external aspect, internally all these power supplies are exactly the same product. So even though this is a review for MSI Turbostream 600 W power supply the results should be valid for all the power supplies listed above. In fact we have already reviewed Rosewill RD600N-2DB-SL and we could check that internally both power supplies are completely identical, using the exact same components, even though the model from Rosewill has one 120 mm fan and the reviewed model from MSI has two 80 mm fans.
Solytech is also known by several other names, like Deer, L&C, Apex, Allied, SuperCase, Antler, Austin and others, and they seem to be around since the beginning of times with a not so good reputation (read this review and this comment to get a background on this company).
Besides this bad reputation, Rosewill RD600N-2SB-BK achieved good results during our review and thus we expect the same thing from MSI Turbostream 600 W.
We are still intrigued why MSI chose Solytech as the vendor for their power supplies. Usually big manufacturers prefer to choose an exclusive model for their line of power supplies, but power supplies from Solytech are far from exclusive and can be found on the market under several different brands, as you can see from above.
Another intriguing thing was how MSI chose the name of their power supply series. We think the name used – “Turbostream” – is too close to the name OCZ uses to their power supply series. We think MSI should have been more careful here.
Figure 1: MSI Turbostream 600 W power supply.
Figure 2: MSI Turbostream 600 W power supply.
This power supply comes with a 20/24-pin motherboard cable, an ATX12V connector and an EPS12V connector (installed on the same cable) and five peripheral cables: one auxiliary power cable for video cards with two 6-pin connectors, two cables with three standard peripheral power connectors and one floppy disk drive power connector each and two cables with two SATA power plugs each.
In our opinion the number of connectors isn’t enough for the target audience of this power supply, with only two SATA power plugs. This power supply should have at least six SATA power plugs. Curiously Rosewill RD600N-2SB-BK uses a different cable configuration, with four peripheral power plugs and four SATA power plugs.
Also the two video card auxiliary power connectors are installed on the same cable and we prefer power supplies where the use individual cables for a better power/current distribution.
All wires from this power supply are 18 AWG, which is perfect for a 600 W power supply.
On the aesthetic side all wires are protected with a nylon sleeving, but this protection doesn’t come from inside the power supply housing.
Now let’s take an in-depth look inside this power supply.
[nextpage title=”A Look Inside The Turbostream 600 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.
This page will be an overview, and then in the following pages we will discuss in detail the quality and ratings of the components used.
The first thing that caught our eye when we disassembled this power supply was the fact this power supplies uses a transformer instead of a coil on its active PFC circuit (see the transformer with the “APFC” marking on top).
[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.
This power supply brings all the recommended components plus one extra X capacitor (and another extra X capacitor after the rectifying bridge) and two extra Y capacitors (behind the X capacitor in Figure 6). The MOV is located after the rectification bridge, and not before as usual (not shown on the pictures below, but you can see it in Figure 9 in the next page). And the fuse is located on the first part of the transient filtering stage, i.e., on a small printed circuit board attached to the main AC power plug. This power supply uses
a fuse holder, a thing that is rare to see nowadays (most power supplies nowadays come with their fuses soldered directly on the printed circuit board).
Figure 6: Transient filtering stage (part 1).
Figure 7: Transient filtering stage (part 2).
In the next page we will have a more detailed discussion about the components used in the MSI Turbostream 600 W.
[nextpage title=”Primary Analysis”]
On this page we will take an in-depth look at the primary stage of MSI Turbostream 600 W. For a better understanding, please read our Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies tutorial.
This power supply uses one GBU1006 rectifying bridge in its primary, capable of delivering up to 10 A at 100° C, if it has a heatsink attached, which is the case (without the heatsink the current limit drops to 3.2 A). This is an adequate rating for a 600 W power supply. The reason why is that at 115 V this unit would be able to pull up to 1,150 W from the power grid; assuming 80% efficiency, the bridge would allow this unit to deliver up to 920 W without burning this component. Of course we are only talking about this component and the real limit will depend on all other components from the power supply.
On this power supply the rectifying bridge comes protected by a rubber tape, which was removed in Figure 8.
The active PFC circuit uses two FQA24N50 power MOSFET transistors, each one capable of delivering up to 15.2 A at 100° C (or 24 A at 25° C, see the difference temperature makes). They are located on the same heatsink as the switching transistors.
The active PFC capacitor is from Teapo (Taiwanese) and rated at 85° C.
As we mentioned before, this power supply uses an active PFC coil that looks like a transformer. If we didn’t have the experience we have we could assume that this unit had passive PFC, but this isn’t the case as the active PFC transistors are present. These two components (capacitor and coil) can be seen in Figure 9, where you can also see the MOV from the transient filtering stage.
Figure 9: Active PFC capacitor and coil.
The switching section from this power supply uses two SPW20N60C3 power MOSFET transistors in the traditional two-transistor forward configuration. Each switching transistor can handle up to 13.1 A at 100° C (or 20.7 A at 25° C, once again see the difference temperature makes).
Figure 10: Switching transistor, active PFC transistor and the other switching transistor (the second active PFC transistor is on the other side of the heatsink).
The primary is controlled by a CM6800 integrated circuit, which is a very popular PFC/PWM combo controller.
Figure 11: PFC/PWM controller.
As briefly mentioned, all components found on both primary and secondary are identical to the ones used on Rosewill RD600N-2DB-SL.
[nextpage title=”Secondary Analysis”]
This power supply uses six Schottky rectifiers on its secondary.
The +12 V output is produced by two MBR40100PT Schottky rectifiers connected in parallel, which can deliver up to 40 A each (20 A per internal diode each, measured at 162° C). The maximum theoretical current the +12 V 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 (which in this case is made by two 20 A diodes in parallel). Just as an exercise, we can assume a typical duty cycle of 30%. This would give us a maximum theoretical current of 57 A or 684 W for the +12 V output. The maximum current this line can really deliver will depend on other components, in particular the coil used.
The +5 V output is produced by two MBR4045PT Schottky rectifiers connected in parallel, which support up to 40 A (20 A per internal diode each, measured at 125° C) each. The maximum theoretical current the +5 V 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 (which in this case is made by two 20 A diodes in parallel). Just as an exercise, we can assume a typical duty cycle of 30%. This would give us a maximum theoretical current of 57 A or 285 W for the +5 V output. The maximum current this line can really deliver will depend on other components, in particular the coil used.
The +3.3 V output is produced by two other MBR4045PT Schottky rectifiers connected in parallel. The maximum theoretical current the +3.3 V 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 (which in this case is made by two 20 A diodes in parallel). Just as an exercise, we can assume a typical duty cycle of 30%. This would give us a maximum theoretical current of 57 A or 188 W for the +3.3 V output. The maximum current this line can really deliver will depend on other components, in particular the coil used.
As you can see this stage is clearly overspec’ed, which is terrific.
Figure 12: Three of the six Schottky rectifiers used on the secondary.
The thermal sensor from this power supply is located on the secondary heatsink, as you can see in Figure 12. This sensor is used to control the fan speed according to the power supply internal temperature.
This power supply uses a PS223 monitoring integrated circuit, which is in charge of the power supply protections, like OCP (over current protection). This IC also provides over voltage protection (OVP), under voltage protection (UVP) and over temperature protection (OTP – not implemented on this power supply), but not over power protection (OPP).
Figure 13: Monitoring integrated circuit.
All electrolytic capacitors from the secondary are also from Teapo and rated at 105° C, as usual.
All components found on both primary and secondary are identical to the ones used on Rosewill RD600N-2DB-SL.
[nextpage title=”Power Distribution”]
In Figure 14, you can see the power supply label containing all the power specs.
Figure 14: Power supply label.
As you can see this power supply has two virtual +12 V rails. These two rails are divided as following:
- +12V1: Main motherboard cable, auxiliary power cable for video cards and all peripheral cables.
- +12V2: EPS12V/ATX12V cable.
Now let’s see if this power supply can really deliver 600 W of power.
[nextpage title=”Load Tests”]
We conducted several tests with this power supply, as described in the article Hardware Secrets Power Supply Test Methodology.
We tested this power supply under five different load patterns, trying to pull around 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and 100% of its maximum capacity (actual percentage used listed under “% Max Load”), watching how the reviewed unit behaved under each load.
If you add all the power listed for each test, you may find a different value than what is posted under “Total” below. Since each output can vary slightly (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. On the “Total” row we are using the real amount of power being delivered, as measured by our load tester.
+12V2 is the second +12V input from our load tester and during our tests it was connected to the power supply EPS12V connector, which is the only thing connected to the unit’s +12V2 rail. So this time +12V1 and +12V2 inputs from our load tester where really connected to the +12V1 and +12V2 rails from the reviewed power supply.
For the 100% load test we used two patterns. On the first one, test five, we respect the limit written on the power supply label for the maximum combined power we can pull from the +12 V outputs (480 W). In order to respect this limit we had to pull more power from +5 V and +3.3 V than we’d like so. So we also used another pattern, test six, where we pull more current/power from +12 V outputs (above the limit printed on the unit’s label) and less from the +5 V and +3.3 V outputs. The results you can see below.
|Input||Test 1||Test 2||Test 3||Test 4||Test 5||Test 6|
|+12V1||4 A (48 W)||9 A (108 W)||13 A (156 W)||17.5 A (210 W)||20 A (240 W)||21.5 A (258 W)|
|+12V2||4 A (48 W)||9 A (108 W)||13 A (156 W)||17.5 A (210 W)||20 A (240 W)||21.5 A (258 W)|
|+5V||1 A (5 W)||2 A (10 W)||4 A (20 W)||6 A (30 W)||12 A (60 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)||12 A (39.6 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)||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)||0.5 A (6 W)|
|Total||116.2 W||244.0 W||358.3 W||482.6 W||596.4 W||595.0 W|
|% Max Load||19.4%||40.7%||59.7%||80.4%||99.4%||99.2%|
|Room Temp.||46.5° C||46.4° C||48.2° C||51.7° C||49.4° C||51.9° C|
|PSU Temp.||50.3° C||50.3° C||51.3° C||54.4° C||53.9° C||56.6° C|
|Ripple and Noise||Pass||Pass||Pass||Pass||Pass||Pass|
|AC Power||138 W||283 W||422 W||581 W||743 W||741 W|
Bad reputation or not the fact was that we were able to pull 600 W at 52° C from this power supply with it working just fine! In fact we could pull even more than that, as we will discuss in the next page.
With Rosewill RD600N-2DB-SL we had a problem where our unit wouldn’t turn on when we tried to turn the unit on with the load tester configured to pull 600 W then the unit was hot. This didn’t happen with MSI Turbostream 600 W, probably showing us that the two 80 mm fans were cooling this unit better than a single 120 mm device.
Efficiency was excellent, especially for a product on this price range. If you pull between 40% and 60% of the unit’s maximum labeled power (between 240 W and 360 W) you will see efficiency between 85% and 86%, which is a terrific number. When we pulled 600 W from this unit efficiency dropped a lot, but still above the 80% mark, which is what we want.
Voltage stability, on the other hand, was the highlight of this product, with all outputs between 3% of their nominal voltage in almost all tests (the only exception was -12 V, which was outside this range when we pulled 600 W from the reviewed product), which is excellent (ATX standard allows voltages to be up to 5% from their nominal values – 10% in the case of the -12 V output).
Noise level was higher than the noise level found on good power supplies, but still inside ATX specs. Below you can see noise level for the test number six.
Interesting enough noise level at +12 V was lower than the one presented by Rosewill RD600N-2DB-SL a>, but on the other hand noise level at +5 V and +3.3 V was higher.
Figure 15: Noise level at +12V1 with power supply delivering 595 W (58 mV).
Figure 16: Noise level at +12V2 with power supply delivering 595 W (64.6 mV).
Figure 17: Noise level at +5 V with power supply delivering 595 W (36.4 mV).
Figure 18: Noise level at +3.3 V with power supply delivering 595 W (30.2 mV).
Now let’s see if we could pull even more power from this unit and our tests of the power supply protections.
[nextpage title=”Overload Tests”]
Before performing our overload tests we always like to test first if the over current protection (OCP) circuit is really active and at what level it is configured.
We configured +12V1 input from our load tester with a low current (1 A) and increased current on +12V2 input (which was connected to the power supply +12V2 rail) until the power shut down. This happened only when we tried to pull more than 22 A. So OCP was active and configured the way we like: very close to the limit printed on the power supply label (20 A on this case).
Here is the biggest difference between MSI Turbostream 600 W and Rosewill RD600N-2DB-SL. Even though they are the same power supply with a different set of fans and different sticker, on Rosewill’s model the OCP is either disabled or configured at a value that is too high. Read its review for further information.
The maximum amount of power we could pull from MSI Turbostream with it still working inside ATX specs can be found below. Above that voltages would go out of the expected range. As you can see this is more than we could pull with the model labeled by Rosewill (746 W vs. 675 W). Noise level was still inside ATX specs (83 mV at +12 V, 37 mV at +5 V and 29 mV at +3.3 V).
|+12V1||22 A (264 W)|
|+12V2||22 A (264 W)|
|+5V||24 A (120 W)|
|+3.3 V||24 A (79.2 W)|
|+5VSB||2.5 A (12.5 W)|
|-12 V||0.5 A (6 W)|
|% Max Load||124.33%|
|Room Temp.||52.3° C|
|PSU Temp.||58.2° C|
|AC Power||992 W|
Of course you should not run this unit above its labeled power, as efficiency drops a lot: see how it dropped to 75% during this test.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
MSI Turbostream 600 W power supply specs include:
- ATX12V 2.2
- EPS12V 2.91
- Nominal labeled power: 600 W.
- Measured maximum power: 746 W at 52.3° C.
- Labeled efficiency: At least 80%.
- Measured efficiency: Between 80.3% and 86.2% at 115 V.
- Active PFC: Yes.
- Motherboard Power Connectors: One20/24-pin connector, one ATX12V connector and one EPS12V connector.
- Video Card Power Connectors: Two 6-pin connectors.
- Peripheral Power Connectors: Six.
- Floppy Disk Drive Power Connectors: Two.
- SATA Power Connectors: Two.
- Protections: over voltage (OVP, not tested), over power protection (OPP, not tested) and short-circuit (SCP, tested and working). Over current protection is not listed by the manufacturer but it is active and working.
- Warranty: 16 months from the manufacturing date.
- Real model: Solytech SL-8600EPS
- More Information: https://www.msicomputer.com
- Average price in the US*: USD 79.00.
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]
We were surprised with this power supply. With so many people saying bad things about the many previous incarnations of Solytech we were expecting a power supply with low efficiency and that couldn’t deliver its labeled power.
This unit could deliver its labeled 600 W at 52° C, which is wonderful, plus we could pull up to 746 W from it, and it survived!
But this isn’t a “perfect” power supply. Its main problem is the presence of only two SATA power plugs. If you have more than one hard disk drive you will need to use an adapter to convert a standard peripheral power plug into a SATA power plug. If this bothers you, then you need to choose a different product.
The real problem with this unit is warranty. MSI offers a ridiculous 16-month warranty from the manufacturing date (and not from the date you purchase the product). Yes, you read it right. If you buy a power supply that was manufactured six months ago you get only a 10-month warranty. This is probably the stupidest warranty term available in the US right now and we really wonder why a company with the size of MSI would do such a nasty thing. Even Rosewill gives a 3-year warranty for their customers.
On the good side, we didn’t face the same problem we had with Rosewill RD600N-2SB-SL-BK where the power supply wouldn’t turn on with we set our load tester to pull 600 W with the unit hot. This probably indicates that the cooling solution used by this unit (two 80 mm fans) is more efficient than the one used by Rosewill RD600N-2SB-SL-BK (one 120 mm fan). Also over current protection (OCP) proved to be active and working, while on Rosewill RD600N-2SB-SL-BK this circuit was either disabled or set at a value that was too high.
MSI Turbostream 600 W is certainly a good product for the user on a budget: it is an honest product that can be found as low as USD 56. If you’d like a product that is better, we recommend OCZ StealthXStream 600 W, which provides more SATA power cables. In fact the reduced number of SATA power cables is the only real motive we are giving this product our “Silver Award” instead of “Golden Award.”
Keep also in mind that there are several other power supplies that are internally identical to MSI Turbostream 600 W (see a complete list on the first page) and they should get the same performance as the reviewed model.
In summary, comments saying bad things about this power supply on forums around the web are pure speculation, based solely on Solytech’s past and not
on actual testings. Of course there are better 600 W units around, if you have the money to buy them. If you don’t, this unit is a very good choice if you have only up to USD 70 to spend on a power supply.
Some questions, however, remain answered: why MSI chose Solytech as their vendor? Why MSI gives such short warranty? Why MSI entered the power supply market offering low-end models if they are better known as a tier 1 motherboard manufacturer?
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