OCZ Z-Series Z1000M 1000W ATX PSU

Introduction & Specifications
 Fraction of Rated Load  20%  50%  100%  80 PLUS  80%  80%  80%  80 PLUS Bronze    82%  85%  82%  80 PLUS Silver    85%  88%  85%  80 PLUS Gold    87%  90%  87%
Back at the beginning of 2008 PSU efficiency organisation 80PLUS revised their certification program to include three new standards on top of the original 80PLUS (80%+) certification. The Gold, Silver and Bronze levels introduced new efficiency targets for PSU manufacturers to meet in an effort to reduce global energy consumption in PC’s and other devices. While none of these new certifications were by any means mandatory the PSU market (in terms of PC’s at least) is immensely competitive, and having a PSU certified to one of these new standards would be a sure-fire way to attract the energy conscious consumer who is looking to save money on their electricity bills while also doing their little bit for the planet.
So the race was on. First to 87/90/87% efficiency at 20/50/100% load levels gets the gold medal!
But manufacturing a PSU that is capable of delivering 90% efficiency is no easy task by any stretch of the imagination. On a 500w PSU running at full load this would mean less than 50w finding its way out of the unit as heat from the components. This is in contrast to the 100w of wastage by an 80% efficient 500w PSU running at the same load. In most cases it would take a complete re-design of an entire PSU along with stringent checks of each and every component used inside. As a result very few PSU manufacturers to date have actually be able to achieve gold status, instead settling for the runner up medals of silver and bronze.
So, why the big efficiency speech I hear you say? Well today I’m going to be taking a look at the latest PSU from well known performance DDR and SSD manufacturer OCZ Technology. Branded the Z-Series and available in 850w and 1000w models, this is THE FIRST PSU to pass through the OC3D labs with a shiny gold 80PLUS sticker on it’s packaging. Impressive, yes? Well let’s just wait and see. But first, the specifications taken from OCZ’s website:
OCZ Z Series Gold / 1000W / SLI-Ready / Active PFC
True to our enthusiast roots, OCZ Technology designed and developed the Z Series for power users searching for nothing but the best. Paving the way toward the most efficient means of achieving high-end performance, these PSUs feature ultra-high efficiency of 90% and have achieved the 80+ Gold Certification. OCZ strived to make the Gold Z Series a true “best-in-class” power supply, including a powerful single +12-volt rail design and an industrial-grade core engineered for maximum stability and reliability. Built for excellence, the Z Series raises the bar in power management and provides an unparallelled solution for enthusiasts who won’t settle for anything less.

Delivering 1000W of continuous output and utilizing a high-performance architecture, the Z1000 provides rock-solid power for the systems of gamers, enthusiasts, and power users. With a peak wattage of 1100W and a single +12V rail (83A) design, the Z1000 doesn’t put limits on your system the way competing PSUs do.

High-performance doesn’t need to translate into over-the-top energy use. With an ultra-high 90% efficiency rating, the 80 Plus® Gold certified Z1000 power supply offers ultimate stability without driving up your energy costs.

The Z1000 is tested and certified at industrial levels (50°C) to provide the ultimate powerhouse for those that require long-lasting, industrial-grade components for their mission-critical system or cutting-edge gaming machine

Premium Cooling & Acoustics
Powerful yet cool, the Z1000 maintains ideal temperatures and superior air flow thanks to a large 135mm double ball bearing fan that adapts to the system’s load and thermals while remaining ultra-quiet at high speeds.

Active PFC
Each Z1000 features Active PFC (Power Factor Correction) to regulate input voltage and deliver premium sag and surge protection (.99PFC), allowing for effective distribution of power in a wider range of environments and varying voltages.

Multi-GPU Ready
Equipped to fuel the demands of gaming systems, the NIVDIA® SLI™Certified Z1000 solution has an array of connectors and the stable output to power dual GPUs—an essential element of top gaming builds.

OCZ 5 Year Warranty
Premium power supplies deserve the finest warranty available, and OCZ stands behind the Z1000 with its 5-year PowerSwap warranty for ultimate peace of mind. No more endless return-for-repair loops!

There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that OCZ can talk the competition into submission, but how about when we peel back the layers of marketing spiel. Well to start with we have of course the all-important 90% efficiency. There’s no mention of whether this is achievable at all load levels, but we can be sure that it has at very least met the 87/90/87% requirements of the 80PLUS Gold certification.
Then there’s the 50°C “Industrial-Grade” testing. This essentially means that the Z-Series can deliver its full rated output while sweating it out in a poorly ventilated chassis. Very good to know, as the Z-Series is going to get a full roasting in our hot-box later on in the review.
OCZ Z-Series 1000w Rail Layout
DC Output +3.3V +5V +12V1 +12V2 +12V3 +12V4 +12V5 +12V6 -12V +5VSB 25A 25A 83A – – – – – 0.8A 6A Max Power 180W 1000W 9.6W 30W 1000W (1100W PEAK)
Moving on to the rail layout it’s hard to miss the stupendously powerful single +12v rail rated at 83A! This is the kind of layout that put PCP&C on the map with the enthusiasts, so its interesting to see OCZ taking a leaf from their book. Both the +3.3v and +5v rails are rated at 25A with a combined output of 180W which is about average for a 1000W PSU, and the only other real area of interest is the +5VSB rail which is rated at 6A – around 2x higher than most other PSU’s.
Now let’s move on to the appearance of the Z-Series…