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Cybenetics Introduces Mining Ready PSU Certification

Disclaimer: Aris Mpitziopoulos is Tom's Hardware's PSU reviewer. He developed the Cybenetics certification methodologies apart from his role on Tom's Hardware. He is the Chief Testing Engineer of Cybenetics. Neither Tom's Hardware nor its parent company, Purch Media, are financially involved with Cybenetics. Aris does not perform the actual certifications for Cybenetics.

For over a decade, the 80 PLUS program played alone in the PSU certifications field. That changed when Cybenetics revealed the ETA and LAMBDA programs to introduce new PSU efficiency and noise certification standards. Cybenetics has certified close to 80 PSUs in the short time since, and the company recently devised a certification that aims to reveal the units most suitable for powering cryptocurrency mining systems.

Ethereum and Zcash have made crypto-mining popular again, and many people are using their systems to mine those "coins." Even highly specialized (and super expensive) ASICs use normal desktop or server PSUs, so it's important to pick the right one, given that a mining rig will put a heavy burden on the PSU. The unit's output noise isn't the first priority, naturally, so efficiency and reliability come first. On top of that, given that the PSU will have to operate at very high loads for very long periods, the cooling fan must rotate at high speeds to remove heat from inside the unit and prolong the of sensitive-to-heat components like electrolytic caps.

Cybenetics clearly states that the purpose of its mining-ready certification isn't to torture test the candidate PSUs. Besides being practically impossible for a large number of units, this can also deliver inaccurate results, because the conditions cannot remain stable for all samples for such prolonged test periods. After all, during the ETA certification, which is essential for a mining-ready unit, the sample is highly stressed under very high operating temperatures and with loads that exceed its nominal capacity. Moreover, all protections are evualated in every ETA certification, although this is not currently depicted on the PSU's evaluation report.

All candidate units for the Cybenetics Mining Ready certification will be fully broken apart and closely examined to see if they are equipped with the components required to survive highly stressful conditions in the long term. For example, a PSU with a bulk cap rated at 85°C will have a significantly shorter lifetime compared to a PSU with a 105°C rated bulk cap under hard operating conditions. The same applies to the filtering capacitors on the secondary side. A PSU that uses low quality filtering capacitors with 1-3,000 hours lifetime under 105°C won’t last as long as a PSU that uses 6-10,000 hours caps rated at the same temperature. Another important factor is the cooling fan, because if the fan breaks down the PSU will most likely follow immediately, especially if it doesn’t have over temperature protection.

In order for Cybenetics to provide a Mining Ready certification, the PSU needs to meet the requirements listed below.

750W or higher capacity.

  • ETA-B and higher efficiency certification.

Lower than 50mV ripple at +12V under full load at increased operating temperatures (>45°C).

Quality Fan (sleeve-bearing and rifle-bearing fans are automatically excluded).

Two EPS connectors.

At least four 6+2 pin PCIe connectors on dedicated cables. In case a cable hosts two PCIe connectors, it needs to have 16AWG gauges up to the first connector for the six out of the eight pins at least. For PSUs with over 1kW capacity the number of minimum PCIe connectors is eight and for PSUs with over 1.4kW capacity the minimum is ten.

At least four 4-pin Molex connectors on more than two cables in 1kW and stronger PSUs and six 4-pin Molex connectors in three cables for 1.4kW and higher wattage PSUs.

All peripheral cables should use 18AWG wires minimum.

AC power cord with up to 14AWG wires and C19 coupler for 1.4kW and stronger PSUs. For all the rest 16AWG is required.

The essential protection features (SCP, OPP), including Over Temperature Protection.

Over 18ms hold-up time and an accurate power OK signal.

Complete EMI filtering stage (minimum components: 4x Y caps, 2x X caps, two CM chokes, an MOV) along with inrush current protection (thermistor and bypass relay).

Impeccable build quality including quality MOSFETs and high quality bulk and filtering capacitors (105°C and the majority of filtering caps on the secondary side much have higher than 4,000 hours lifetime). The extended use of polymer caps on the secondary side is preferred.

You can learn more about the Cybenetics Mining Ready certification here.

  • velocityg4
    They should also add 80+ Platinum rating as a requirement. A few percent difference in efficiency makes a noticeable difference in power usage on a 1+kW rig running 24/7.

    I'm surprised there isn't a motherboard manufacturer jumping on board with a 40 PCIe x1 slot x99/x299 motherboard or a bunch of specially designed risers, splitters and extensions. Then partner with a PSU manucturer to make a 50A 220V PSU (11kW) for it. Unless the chipsets don't allow each PCIe lane split to its own slot.

    Serious miners would probably go for something which could run on a dedicated 220V outlet in the US. As a lot of countries aren't limited by the 110V 15A standard.
    Reply
  • Aris_Mp
    Cybenetics has its own efficiency certification program called ETA, which is much more detailed compared to 80 PLUS programs.

    https://www.cybenetics.com/index.php?option=eta_13-04-53

    A PSU that it is highly efficient with 115V, will be highly efficient with 230V as well (actually 1-2% more).

    So if we have two PSUs tested with 115V input (X and Y models) and X has higher overall efficiency than Y with 115V, the same will be the case with 230V.
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    How is the quality of the fan going to be determined? From Hardwaresecrets' article here, a lot of fans that claim to be FDB aren't actually a real FDB fan. Are the fans going to be opened up and inspected, or is the manufacturer's word going to be taken for it?

    Additionally, since sleeve and rifle are not allowed, what about variants of sleeve and rifle? For example, long life bearings, hydro dynamic, and all those other ones that have crazy names and don't come to mind.
    Reply
  • Aris_Mp
    19938521 said:
    How is the quality of the fan going to be determined? From Hardwaresecrets' article here, a lot of fans that claim to be FDB aren't actually a real FDB fan. Are the fans going to be opened up and inspected, or is the manufacturer's word going to be taken for it?

    Additionally, since sleeve and rifle are not allowed, what about variants of sleeve and rifle? For example, long life bearings, hydro dynamic, and all those other ones that have crazy names and don't come to mind.

    There is a more comperhensive piece about fan bearings etc at Toms.

    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/power-supplies-101,review-33299-18.html
    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/power-supplies-101,review-33299-19.html

    The fan's detailed spec sheet should be provided along with the test report and the fan will be taken apart if there is any doubt about its bearing.

    All the variants of plain sleeve bearing will be rejected. Rifle bearing is also an enhanced version of the sleeve bearing, which however doesn't have the lifetime of an FDB/HDB. Indeed many manufacturers and brands use weird names or just call their fans rifle or even HDB, while they are plain sleeve so someone has to pay extra attention in this section, in order to find the true bearing type.

    Reply
  • Aris_Mp
    A note about rifle bearing fans since some state that there are some of high quality. Given that we always keep an open mind in any area (this is the only way to move forward), if we do meet a rifle bearing fan with a proven lifetime of at least 40-50,000h (under 35-40C) then we will accept it and we will make a special note about this. Nonetheless, most rifle bearing fans out there are just renamed sleeve-bearings or just have minor modifications, so this is why this category was excluded at the first place.

    In general the field is very dark when it comes to fans since very few brands share the actual test sheets of the fans, which have some information about their lifetime. And even if you have the detailed test sheet you still don't know how accurate this is. Also don't just look at the provided lifetime without checking at which ambient this is supposed to be. A fan can have 40,000h lifetime at 25C but as the operating temp increases its lifetime decreases dramatically and inside a mining PSU you don't expect of course an 25C ambient.
    Reply