Spire have released some pretty good power supplies in the past. Today I have one of their higher end units, the Spire Rocketeer SP-ATX-600w. Supporting multiple graphics cards, lets see what this PSU can manage…
Founded in 1991, Spire is a leading premier brand for computer thermal solutions, power supplies and pc cases. In order to meet the needs and demands of the global market, we have established our production facilities in China and corporate office located in the USA. Our overseas branches are located in The Netherlands, The U.K, Germany, France, Taiwan, Japan and Brazil. All locations are located strategically to better work with the customers we serve.
Spire ideals, to which our employees give full recognition, are (1) constantly striving to become stronger, (2) being sincere and active and (3) seeking the latest innovative technology. After years of hard work and dedication in running its business, Spire today is a major presence in three major business fields: computer thermal solutions, power supplies and pc cases. It has received full recognition in its products as well as its services.
The purpose built Spire factory and all of the products were approved by CE, UR, CSA, and TUV in 1998. We gained AMD and VIA approvals along with recognition by International Standard Commission for Quality Assurance in 1999 against ISO-9002 & ISO-9001. Spire is also proud of shipping all its products compliant to the standards of The European Union ROHS and WEEE.
Spire Products are dedicated to bringing you the latest technology in computer cooling as it becomes available and to offer a variety of solutions to combat the growing concern of overheating. With todays high-speed processors functioning at an unprecedented speed and output, the demand for better and more reliable cooling solutions has become one of the most important issues in the computer industry today. As a premier manufacturer of high quality cooling solutions, we are able to meet the demands of the computer industry by providing competitively priced products, next day delivery and lifetime warranty.
With reliability of products having such high precedence in the business, Spire has earned the loyalty of many well known manufacturers and distributors throughout the world. We have maintained close business ties with international names in the computer industry.
At Spire we continually strive for success and quality products. To improve and develop a wide range of computer products, we have invested heavily in our quality manufacturing process and Research & Development. Our objective is to provide top quality products for national distributors as well as for ODM and OEM clients.
Our focus is to build on the current success of the Spire brand so that our brand is recognized world wide as a provider of top quality computing solutions. We will continue to work to maintain the satisfaction of our customers and share the knowledge of our experts – Spire ‘Powered by Innovation’.
|Application:||Intel ATX 2.01, ATX 12V Power Supply Design Guide Ver. 1.3|
|Voltage:||95VAC ~ 132VAC/ 190VAC ~ 264VAC|
|Frequency:||47Hz ~ 63Hz|
|Hold-up Time:||16.6 ms|
|P.G. Signal:||100 ~ 500 ms|
|Voltage Protection:||+5V output is between 5.8V to 6.3V ; +12V output is between 14.0V to 17.0V; +3.3V output is between 3.6V to 4.2V|
|Cooling:||One (1) 120mm crystal blue silent LED fan|
|Noise Level:||21.0 dBA Max.|
|Dimensions:||163mm (L) x 150mm (W) x 85mm (H)|
|Connectors:||20+24pin ATX (Motherboard) x1 | 4-pin 12V (Motherboard) x2 | Multi-use x6 | SATA x2 | PCI-Express x2|
|Cables:||ATX adapter x 1 | 4-pin (3IDE) / (1 Floppy) x 2 | 4-pin (HDD/VGA) x1 | 4-pin (3 IDE Multi-use) x1 | 15-pin (2 SATA) x1 | PCI-Express x2|
|Warranty:||3 Year Limited Warranty|
|Safety Approvals:||UL, CSA, TUV, CE, CB, FCC, C-Tick|
The new Spire series power supplies give even the most demanding PC users a way to keep it cool. Housed in nickel coated enclosures, these power supplies feature multiple, low-noise dual ball bearing fans to ensure smooth and silent operation in the workplace or home office. Whether it is work or play, business presentations or games, applications can take center stage because they no longer have to compete with typical PC cooling noise.
600W silent power supply
Intel ATX 2.01 Specification Compliant
Supports Intel Pentium 4, AMD Athlon XP and Athlon 64
3 Speed Variable Fan Speed Auto-Control
I/O Short Circuit & Overload Protection
Redundant Cooling System
SATA Power Connector
3 Year Warranty
The retail box of the Rocketeer is the usual affair with an inset of the power supply itself and the blurb about what it can do. Oddly, in the background there is some kind of schematic of a Star Wars-esque fighter.
Inside, you find the power supply in bubble wrap, with the usual Spire cable management tools, which include the multi coloured Velcro straps which act like cable ties but are adjustable. There are also a few black cable ties for a more permanent solution. Also included is the manual, a kettle cord and screws to mount the Rocketeer in your case; they kindly give you five screws unless you manage to lose one.
The power supply itself is nickel coated to prevent corrosion and to add a little eye candy. Spire PSU’s aren’t meant to be the most interesting part of your system and hence they haven’t gone for anything special in the way of a finish; in contrast to either ultra glossy or matt finishes used by other manufacturers.
To cool the Rocketeer, Spire have decided on using a single blue LED equipped 120mm fan which sucks in air from the bottom of the unit and blasts it out of the back. The back is pretty much clear of any obstruction, allowing better airflow and less turbulence (read: lower noise).
On the rear of the unit, there is the usual power in socket, an on and off switch. The back isn’t honeycombed, but slotted which seems to have big enough gaps for a large air flow. There is a small Spire logo which would be half visible from the back of your case. The only other indication that this isn’t just a generic brand PSU is the large label telling you the voltage/amps each rail spits out.
This power supply, unfortunately, isn’t modular, however all of the cables are compact. The standard molex/SATA cables are all twisted together meaning that they are essentially sleeved. The main ATX plug is sleeved in black. The Rocketeer comes equipped with two PCI-e connectors allowing you to power two graphics cards (or one in the case of some GeForce 8800’s). All the plugs, with the exception of the molex and FDD power connectors are labelled or colour coded making installation that much easier.
There are plenty of available connectors for most peoples systems, and there is a good tradeoff between excess cables and connectivity. However, if you are the kind of person that uses plenty of cooling fans, disc drives and case mods, the six molex connectors may not suffice. There are only two SATA connectors, considering as most people have at least 2 drives, the Spire sadly lacks in this area. The two FDD plugs seem almost pointless these days as CD’s/DVD’s/flash discs have become the order of the day to transfer files.
The Rocketeer is RoHS compliant meaning that the components aren’t full of arsenic, anthrax and other nasties. This Rocketeer is the usual size for a PSU, unlike Spire’s SP-500w modular power supply with is slightly longer than average.
The only differences between the 500w Spire and this one is the 5v rail, instead of 36A, the SP-600w pumps through 54A if needed. There are two 12v rails which each have a max of 20A. While there is no documentation on this, I’m guessing that they second 12v rail is used exclusively for the PCI-e connectors.
Unlike modular power supplies, this one doesn’t require you to choose which cables you need, but you do have to hide the ones that you don’t use; with a little imagination you can easily do this.
As the power supply is the usual size, there are no awkward space limitations. Simply slot it in as you would usually do and you are all done.
The ATX 24pin connector has the usual detachable 4pin part which allows it to be used with older type motherboards.
The 24pin plug was VERY tight to insert into the motherboard. In fact I used an old motherboard to try and wear down the connector so that it would easily fit into my other boards. I had to use a lot of force to get it into the socket. However, after a few insert/removals the plug was worn down enough for testing to continue.
To test the Spire Rocketeer, I installed the power supply into various systems, but used an Athlon 64 rig as it gave me the most accurate motherboard readings.
AMD 64 3500+
DFI SLI-DR motherboard
1gb OCZ PC4000 RAM
XFX PCX 6600
For both tests, idle and load, the ambient temperature was 21C however the power supply became noticeably hotter after the full load segment of the testing. The results were monitored using SpeedFan and they were double checked with a digital multimeter connected to an unused molex.
To test full load, the power supply was hooked up to the system with Stress Prime
running on the CPU (along with folding@home), 3Dmark06 running, music playing at full volume, and all the fans were at maximum. There was also file transfer over the network to the hard disc.
This was carried out for 30 minutes after startup. The results are below:
3.3v rail – Load
5v rail – Load
12v rail – Load
Once this was completed, the idle results were taken by restarting the computer, closing down everything that was running and letting it stand for 30 minutes.
3.3v rail – Idle
5v rail – Idle
12v rail – Idle
As you can see, the 5v rail seems to be varying a whole lot more than you would like.
owever, SpeedFan is graphing very small changes in the power supplies output. Idling, the Rocketeer changes between 5.00v and 4.95v. As you can see, that is a VERY small difference in voltage even though the graph looks horrendous. The 5v rail when under load actually is more stable, varying less – between 5.00v and 4.957v.
The 3.3v rail sits at 3.33v during idle, varying by a small amount sporadically. Overall, during idle the 3.3v rail is good and a solid performer. The story changes when under load. The rail changes dramatically between 3.34v and 3.26v. Whilst this band of error is very small – only a difference of 0.08v – the graph looks very messy and the rail isn’t that stable, however its better than most other power supplies that we have tested.
The 12v rail is fantastic in idle, varying between 11.98v and 12.02v, although it mainly sits at 12.02v. This is a great level to stay at and this graph would please many overclockers who need a stable power supply to get the best overclocks. When looking at the load graph, the accolades barely stop. The rail varies a lot, but only between 11.90v and 11.98v. This is hardly different from the idle tests.
With all of the systems that I tested this power supply with, the rails were stable, even with a dual x1900 setup. These systems were not tested as SpeedFan would return wildly inaccurate rails (14v+ etc.) and the multimeter wouldn’t have been an effective method of graphing the power supplies abilities.
As the Rocketeer is cooled simply by one 120mm fan, there is little noise polution caused by this unit. The fan doesn’t appear to change its speed depending on the temperature. Instead, its set at a level that creates little noise whilst providing enough cooling for the PSU to opperate safely.
With 600w of power under its hood, the Spire Rocketeer 600w is a fine choice for anyone looking to beef up their PSU and the stable rails go further to cement this as a power supply for the future. The only things that let this unit down are the lack of modular cables and the fairly unexciting look.
|Stable rails||Not modular|
|Quiet operation||Doesn’t look the best|
|Tight 24pin ATX connector|