If you have not heard of Glacial you are not alone; they are a small but effective company that makes a nice line of products. Glacial is divided up into three divisions:
Glacial Tech – Is the main division and you can find most items under this heading with CPU coolers, chassis, and case fans being the most prominent.
GlacialLight – Makes… well lights, from wind up flashlights to high output bulbs.
GlacialPower – As the name suggests they make power supplies, all kinds of power supplies.
Today we have a power supply from GlacialTech (Power) on the table. This nice little PSU is dubbed the GP-AL-650A and has the tag line “The best power supply, the best cost performance for the gamer solution”. We will see if this claim can hold up.
Product: GlacialPower GP-AL 650A
Author: Sean Kalinich
Manufacturer: GlacialPower (GlacialTech)
Spelling and Grammatical editor: Planetx64 Staff
The Box the GP-AL-650A ships in is the standard PSU box with a handle on the top (making it look like a lunchbox). The box is understated and clean, specifications are easy to read and the graph (yes there is only one) showing off performance highlights is not hard on the eyes.
There is no listed support for Crossfire or SLI on the box and with only 2 12v Rails and 2 PCI-E connectors it is a sure bet you would be getting either of these running in with high end cards. This makes the claim of being for the gaming solution a little off at this point.
The 650A is as the name implies a 650Watt PSU, it has an 80% efficiency rating and also features the nice touch of having two 6-pin PCI-e plugs that can both convert to 8-pin.
Specifications and Construction:
Specs are taken from GlacialPower’s site:
ATX12V Version 2.2
Design with active PFC function
Dual +12V rails and +5Vsb capability 15 W
Full output power from 0°C to 50°C
Full protection features of SCP, OVP, OCP, OPP, OTP
Power efficiency meet Energy Star 80 plus program criterion
Fan speed control and delay shut down to extend components life time
Fan switch off (0 dBA) at low load and selectable between 8cm and 12cm
RoHS compliance and 2 yesr warranty
Manufactured with high reliability and in strict processes
The GP-AL650A has a large fan that spins on demand to keep things cool, during most of my testing the fan sat idle. It was not until my gaming testing that it started to spin. This would seem to indicate that the 650A is not a heat monger and probably would be at home in an SFF case or HTPC system.
One down side that I noticed right away is the lack of any kind of sheathing for the power connectors.
This makes keeping the cables clean and neat a problem, granted it is one that can be solved but annoying still.
For testing the Glacial Power 650A for voltage and amperage droop I borrowed three Fluke 87V Digital Multimeters and connected them to the 12v (one for each rail in turn), 5v and 3.3v lines. Next I placed a P3 Kill A Watt wattmeter inline to test power draw from the wall.
After I had my test gear I needed to come up with methods for testing idle and load efficiency. Idle was easy I simply connected the test gear as listed above and turned on the system. For load testing I needed to make sure I covered all type of usage and did not concentrate on gaming only. For this I came up with 4 types of Load tests these are listed below.
Load -1 –This is really nothing more than a full 32MB run of Hyper Pi 0.99b. HyperPi uses the CPU, memory and hard drives causing a good amount of power usage. I will test for 3.3, 5, and 12 volt stability as well as seeing what the wattage use from the wall is. I will take a wattage measurement at each loop and then average this for the final wattage score. I will also take the Voltage reading at each loop and this will result in my average. Final numbers will be high, low and average for each reading.
Load -2 – For this test I will run a full render in LightWave 9.3 (x64) I will use Moonbase as the sample for rendering. I will take readings for Wattage, and voltage every 10 minutes and average these out. The same High, low and average will be recorded. Final numbers will be high, low and average for each reading.
Load-3 – Load test 3 will consist of a full defragmentation using O&O Defrag Professional Edition (Space) of the system drive. Again voltage readings will be done every 10 minutes.
Load -4 – Finally, the gaming tests. For this test I will run Crysis Warhead and then Bioshock for 1 hour each. Readings will be taken every 10 minutes and every level load. Final numbers will be high, low and average for each reading.
Settings for both games shown below:
Crysis Warhead – Resolution 1920×1200, no AA, all image quality settings set to Gamer
Bioshock – Resolution 1920×1200, all settings maxed out, DX 10 surfaces enabled V-Sync off.
Intel QX9770 (3.2GHz 1600MHz FSB)
2GB (2×1GB) Kingston HyperX DDR3 1625
Asus P5E64 WS Evolution
150GB RaptorX Western Digital HDD
Sapphire HD 4850 X2
GlacialPower GP-AL-650A PSU.
Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate x64
I chose this configuration as I felt it would stress the GP-AL-650A but not push it over the edge.
The HD 4850 X2 is a power hungry card and requires the use of one 8-pin PCI-e connector and a 2nd 6-pin. This should cause a heavy draw on both 12v Rails. The rest of the system should also be able to determine if the 650A has what it needs to power a good gaming system.
|Idle||Load-1||Load-2||Load-3||Load-4 -Crysis Warhead||Load -4 Bioshock|
Number for Voltage are represented as low/high. Single number indicate no fluctuation was noted for that line.
The GP-AL-650A, did pretty good, I was actually surprised that it was able to keep up with the HD 4850 X2. For most apps that just pushed the CPU all lines ran very close to idle specs with minimal fluctuation. When I started gaming the real stress began. I was very surprised to see the 12v lines drop as drastically as they did while power draw from the wall went way up. I was even more shocked to see Bioshock cause more of a drop than Crysis Warhead. This was more than likely due to the extra overhead from the DX10 surfaces and textures. The settings used for Crysis Warhead did not bring all DX10 textures and features into play.
Although the 12v drop was surprising it posed no issues in terms of performance or stability, I was able to play both games for more than an hour with no problems.
The GalcialPower GP-AL 650A is a nice little PSU. It is not going to meet the needs of the enthusiast gamer or the person that wants SLI’d GTX 280s but it can run under some pretty heavy stress without faltering. Despite not being listed as SLI/Crossfire capable I feel that it could handle SLI or CF of cards that need only a single power connector (like the 4830 or 4850). This is especially true after seeing it take the punishment of the HD 4850 X2. The quite operating and low heat output will make this PSU perfect for any SFF system and will also be right at home in even a high end HTPC. Although these are rare if you are looking for a dependable hardworking PSU for your SFF gaming rig or HTPC and can find one I would certainly recommend grabbing it.