I have previously been asked if buying a digital (DSP) PSU is worth it, I.E why bother? Previous to this testing, I hadn’t really had much hands-on time with one, so I didn’t really see the point and with the Link 3 being a little….problematic, I wasn’t going to take the plunge and hope for the best. Now I have some time with an AX 1200i and Link 4 so hopefully, it will be worth it, we shall see.
Just like the other hardware you are able to control via the Link software, you have some basic stats on view straight away, so for my AX1200i we can see our 12v rail is showing 12.03v , our 5v is 5.03v and our 3.3v is showing 3.31v. This is just basically showing us that everything is healthy, this is basically doing the same job as one of the cheap PSU testers that you can buy. The temperature is self-explanatory as is the fan rpm. When the PSU is doing very little, the fan won’t kick in, hence the 0 rpm.
If we want to look a little more into the PSU though we can just click on the area showing the basic information and we get a far more in-depth view. Straight away you will notice the graph, the two lines are basically the power in from your wall compared to the power to your components . This is also then shown in figures in the “Main” area. So currently, at idle, the system is using 143W but the PSU is pulling 160W from the wall, with these two figures we can work out the efficiency by dividing the output power by the input power
so 143w / 160w = 89.37% efficient. This is really nice information to have, we can see straight away whether the power supply is wasting power when we are using it. Usually, when looking at efficiency, we will get a curved line, so at very low load, the PSU will be at its worst efficiency and at very high load it will be less efficient too, this is why you want to try to aim for a PSU that puts your usage between the two extremes.
This time, I put a little bit of load onto the GPU to see what happens with the Link software, as you can see, we go to just above 425W. Using the Link software we can see that we are pulling 456W from the wall. This instantly enables to work out that the PSU is running at 93.42 % efficiency. I am really impressed with this little idea, it just gives the user complete piece of mind.
This time, I added a little bit extra load, but also want to look at some of the other features. So we already know how to work out the efficiency (93.49% this time) but this time, we are going to look at the individual rails, so we have the 12v rail pulling 47A and 440W and it is supplying a steady 12v. The 5v is pulling 5A, 25W and is supplying a steady 5.03v. The 3.3v rail is doing very little.
Next to the 3.3v rail statistics, we can see Temp and Fan statistics, this works exactly the same as the ones we looked at earlier, clicking on them gives us the options to set what happens if they go above set parameters, such as shutting down the system, changing the LED colours or running a program.
So you have seen this screen 3 times now and I haven’t mentioned the “Enable OCP ” toggle switches, so let’s look at them now. OCP Stands for over current protection and certainly isn’t a new idea, what is new however is the ability to control the OCP. In layman’s terms, OCP is basically a limiter, stopping too much current getting to a certain component, this can be useful as if there is a short in the system and a certain connector tries and pull too much current, it will shut down the PC in an attempt to save your hardware.
The idea that we can control when OCP kicks in is yet another way of putting us in control, we have a choice of anywhere between 20 and 40 amps per PCI-e output by just using the slider, or alternatively, we can turn it off completely.
Now, this is already getting quite a long article, but there are even more features to Link 4 which I want to briefly go through…