Reviewer: Jim Clark
Date: October 11, 2011
Article url: http://www.wegotserved.com/2011/10/11/hands-istarusa-xeal-is500r8p-500w-ps2-mini-redundant-power-supply/
Product page: http://www.istarusa.com/xeal/products.php?model=IS-500R8P
Xeal is the Industrial Power division of iStarUSA. From this division you will find power supplies of many different configurations ranging from Pico ITX power supplies to typical ATX power supplies to redundant Industrial Power Supplies. Basically, you won’t find these products at your local Best Buy. The redundant IPC models, which are designed for industrial servers, are what I am interested in today.
While designed for industrial environments, if you have a critical home or small business server that you rely on for 24/7 uptime, a redundant PSU may be on your shopping list.
Many of you may know (or guess) what a redundant power supply is. A very short primer follows:
A redundant power supply is a power supply that actually includes two (or more) units within it, each of which is capable of powering the entire system by itself. If for some reason there is a failure in one of the units, the other one will seamlessly take over to prevent the loss of power to the PC. You can usually even replace the damaged unit without taking the machine down. This is called hot swapping, and is an essential productivity backup for use in servers and other machines used by a number of people.
All this brings us to the iStarUSA/XEAL IS-500R8P 500W PS2 Mini Redundant Power Supply
which is the subject of today’s discussion. Please note that I am not equipped to stress test a power supply, but hopefully I can give you idea of what you getting into with an item such as this particular type of power supply.
What’s In The Box?
Being an industrial product, you will not find fancy consumer packaging; just a plain cardboard box
with a UPC label designating this as an IS-500R8P.
Once opened, you will find the unit adequately encased for shipping protection.
First out of the box is a plastic bag containing two power cables, cable ties, hardware and brackets.
What follows are pictures from various angles of the power supply itself.
Being that this a hotswap redundant power supply, the modules are easily removable if needed.
A couple of pictures of each end of one module.
An attempted shot of the backplane.
Finally, a shot of a module with the nameplate specs.
What impresses me about this particular device and other iStarUSA equipment that I have dealt with previously is the attention to detail and general build quality. Built like a tank with the finish of a luxury vehicle.
The singular item I am sure you have noticed are those small fans. Small fans normally means big noise, something we will take a listen to shortly.
Features and Specifications
- Universal Input, Active PFC
- Efficiency: 74% at full load
- Industrial Japanese components 40 degrees temperature
- Automatic Thermal Control (reduce Fan Speed)
- Backward Compatibility, -5V Available
- Industrial DIN-Connector for Reliability
- Remote Sensor on +5v & +3.3V
- Power Failure Alarm & Signals
- OPP (Over Power Protection)
- OVP (Over Voltage Protection)
- OCP (Over Current Protection) / module
- SCP (Short Circuit Protection)
- MTBF > 100,000 Hours
|RoHS Compliance Version
||Main Connector :: 20+4 pin
4pin 12V :: 1
8pin EPS 12V :: 1
Molex :: 8
SATA :: 4
Floppy :: 2
6pin PCIE :: 2
||5.91" x 3.35" x 7.83"
150.1 mm x 85.1 mm x 198.9 mm
A couple of the items that stand out are
- the 74% efficiency rating
- the active PFC feature
- RoHS certification
- protection features
This item does not meet the 80% standard, but this is probably not the main focus for an industrial server power supply. In this segment, stability of the power output is all important, as well as the protection features offered by the IS-500R8P.
Installing the IS-500R8P and Usage
Prior to installation of the IS-500R8P, you have to install some mounting brackets on the power supply. To install one of the brackets, you need access to the inside of the power case, so we will need to remove the power supply modules.
First bracket installed:
Please note that for use with the case I was installing this unit into, that particular bracket needed to be removed.
Second bracket installed:
Third bracket installed:
It is now time to install this unit into a case, so first we need to remove the original power supply.
Next, we need to remove the original ATX mounting plate
and install the IPC mounting plate.
Finally, we get to install the power supply case (note the removed bracket),
and attach the power cables.
One of the features that comes with this unit is a set of LEDs for module status.
If you happen to be an OEM supplier, you may want to mount the LEDs in the front of the case as status indicators. If you are building your own setup, you may mod the case yourself or simply stuff them inside the case.
In any event, these LEDs are duplicated on the back of the power supply.
Finally, the finished installation of the power supply. If you compare the picture of the ATX PSU and this PSU, you will notice a substantial increase in length.
To see how much wattage I using, I compared the UPS reading with the original Seasonic PSU
and the UPS reading with the iStarUSA PSU. It is interesting to note the lower reading with one module being in an “idle” state.
At this point, you may have two important questions that you might ask. The first question might be is what happens when a module dies? Quite simply, you will get a visual indication from the LEDs discussed earlier and you get a audible indication from a rather loud beeping.
If a module goes South, it is safe to say you will know about it if you are in the vicinity of the computer. As far as the computer itself is concerned, there is an instant switch-over from one supply to the other. It has no “idea” anything happened.
The second question relates to the noise factor of those four little fans. If you have this unit in a closet, the basement, the garage, or some other remote location, you will not mind any noise generated from these items. If the computer is in your bedroom, or in your work area (office), you will soon begin to hate the IS-500R8P. These fans are not screamers, but they are quite noticeable.
As these power supply modules are designed for use in an industrial environment, such as a data center, this is not really a problem to be considered for that particular environment. For a home environment or a small business, location is everything!
I do not have the equipment or apparatus necessary to stress test a power supply unit. As such, I cannot provide a “performance” section. What I can say is:
- If you need a redundant power supply, here is one choice.
- From past experience with other iStarUSA products, they build industrial-quality products, so you should be able to expect their products to last and perform well.
- Make sure you locate the computer in an area where noise will not be a problem. Those fans in these modules are not silent.
- While this should be obvious, it is still best to state that iStarUSA does sell the individual power modules separately in case one does die on you.
- This units are designed for rackmount cases, partially due to the length of the unit and partially due the special IPC mounting plate that is needed, which you find mostly only with rackmount cases.
This leads me to the one question I always answer last: how much does this item cost? As you might guess, a redundant power supply unit is going cost more than your typical ATX power supply. At Newegg, this particular item will set you back $474.99, which is $25 off the normal price.