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Zalman ZM750-EBT PSU Review

Zalman's new EBT line consists of four PSUs ranging from 650W to 1kW capacity. Today, we're testing the ZM750-EBT, which, thanks to a low price, achieves a good value score. But how does it fare in terms of absolute performance?

Transient Response Tests

Advanced Transient Response Tests

For details on our transient response testing, please click here.

In these tests, we monitor the response of the PSU in two different scenarios. First, a transient load (10A at +12V, 5A at 5V, 5A at 3.3V and 0.5A at 5VSB) is applied to the PSU for 200ms while the PSU works at 20 percent load. In the second scenario, the PSU is hit by the same transient load while operating at 50 percent load. In both tests, we use our oscilloscope to measure the voltage drops caused by the transient load. The voltages should remain within the ATX specification's limits.

These tests are crucial because they simulate the transient loads a PSU is likely to handle (such as booting a RAID array or an instant 100 percent CPU/GPU load). We call these tests "Advanced Transient Response Tests," and they are designed to be tough to master.  

Advanced Transient Response at 20 Percent

VoltageBeforeAfterChangePass/Fail
12V12.253V12.125V1.04%Pass
5V5.090V4.982V2.12%Pass
3.3V3.340V3.216V3.71%Pass
5VSB5.139V5.095V0.86%Pass

Advanced Transient Response at 50 Percent

VoltageBeforeAfterChangePass/Fail
12V12.188V12.056V1.08%Pass
5V5.055V4.940V2.27%Pass
3.3V3.304V3.183V3.66%Pass
5VSB5.101V5.041V1.18%Pass
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The +12V rail performs well enough, and the same applies to the 5V and 5VSB rails as well. At 3.3V the deviations are significant, though during the first test we observed this rail keeping its voltage above 3.2V. Only during the second test did it drop lower, costing the PSU performance points in our final rating.

Here are the oscilloscope screenshots we took during Advanced Transient Response Testing:

Transient Response At 20 Percent Load

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Transient Response At 50 Percent Load

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Turn-On Transient Tests

In the next set of tests, we measured the response of the PSU in simpler transient load scenarios—during the PSU's power-on phase.

For the first measurement, we turned off the PSU, dialed in the maximum current the 5VSB could output and switched on the PSU. In the second test, we dialed the maximum load the +12V could handle and started the PSU while it was in standby mode. In the last test, while the PSU was completely switched off (we cut off the power or switched off the PSU by flipping its on/off switch), we dialed the maximum load the +12V rail could handle before switching on the PSU from the loader and restoring the power. The ATX specification states that recorded spikes on all rails should not exceed 10 percent of their nominal values (+10 percent for 12V is 13.2V, and 5.5V for 5V).    

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During the first two tests, the slopes were very smooth. Only during the last test did we notice a small drop before the rails settled down to their nominal voltage. This is nothing to worry about, and in general Zalman performed quite well here.

  • Onus
    Although the article does mention safety, a very valid point, it still managed to imply that a single-rail PSU was "better" due to the complexity of managing rail assignments so as to not trip OCP protections. I've have not seen a multi-rail PSU actually get dinged for this in a review for maybe 8-10 years; it seems that everyone does OCP "right," so this is no longer an issue, ever. That being the case, the greater safety of a multi-rail design is superior.
    I'll need to make at least another pass through this article, but failing on +5V ripple under heavy load probably makes this a solid tier-3 unit; I'm not going to run screaming if I see one, but I wouldn't buy it either.
    Reply
  • JQB45
    Tier-3 might be generous. There were a lot of cons. What good is a 7 year warranty if the PSU takes something else out in addition to the PSU.

    CONS: Ripple • Noisy under stress • Hold-up time • Inrush current • Sleeve-bearing fan • Single EPS connector • Inaccurate PWR_OK signal

    Also it must also be strongly pointed out that this unit does not meet ATX specifications.
    Reply
  • Onus
    True, but the tier-3 units are the ones considered solid for lighter loads. Those cons are why I certainly would not buy one for a gaming or rendering rig, but for the typical PC that may not need even half this power, I wouldn't worry about it.
    Reply
  • Sakkura
    The fact that it's not just barely breaking the ATX spec at 100% load, but already starts to go out of spec at 80% and then has two rails well out of spec at 100%, is what makes this a tier 4 unit, and a clear "do not buy" regardless of price.
    Reply
  • yyk71200
    One would expect that a gold rated powersupply would be at least a solid unit and a safe buy. Guess not. Shouldn't buy one simply based on advertised efficiency rating.
    Reply
  • Onus
    That's definitely true. Coolermaster taught that lesson quite well.
    Hmmm, this one does seem a little worse than I thought at first. Any chance this particular unit had a problem? I'd think ripple could be fixed with a minor capacitor improvement, without adding too much to the price. Hopefully Zalman is paying attention.
    Reply
  • JQB45
    17328110 said:
    That's definitely true. Coolermaster taught that lesson quite well.
    Hmmm, this one does seem a little worse than I thought at first. Any chance this particular unit had a problem? I'd think ripple could be fixed with a minor capacitor improvement, without adding too much to the price. Hopefully Zalman is paying attention.

    agreed
    Reply
  • COLGeek
    It is interesting to see Zalman developing this line of PSUs. Hopefully, they will be better than previous generations. Had a couple Zalman PSUs a few years ago, when I used to use Zalman heatsinks.

    One died days after the warranty expired and the other about a month after. I'll give Zalman credit, they made right by me by exchanging both, but it was a painful process.

    While I would not recommend these current products, I can at least "tolerate" them in budget builds.
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    I would think anything out of spec should be Tier 4. Ripple is trash. 3.3V rail was on the brink of being out of spec. 12V was also quite terrible at 90mv.

    Anyway, I like your power supply reviews, Toms. You go more in-depth than any review site for power supplies (Hardwaresecrets, Johnnyguru).
    Reply
  • Sakkura
    17328110 said:
    That's definitely true. Coolermaster taught that lesson quite well.
    Hmmm, this one does seem a little worse than I thought at first. Any chance this particular unit had a problem? I'd think ripple could be fixed with a minor capacitor improvement, without adding too much to the price. Hopefully Zalman is paying attention.

    Considering the same platform performs decently in the Silverstone unit, there's at least some hope that Zalman can go back, adjust a few things, and get a decent budget unit out of this.

    Edit: I went back and looked at the Silverstone review. Ripple suppression was really good up to 90% load, then the 5V and 3.3V rails jumped hugely, especially the 3.3V. They did stay within ATX spec, but just barely. The 5V ripple went from 13.1mV at 90% to 40.5mV at 100%, 3.3V ripple went from 14.1mV at 90% to 49.9mV at 100%. Obviously the 3.3V ripple went out of spec at 110% load, as well as one of the crossloads, but that's a lesser sin.
    Reply