Review: 80 Plus Silver Certified beast
XFX, the company famous for Radeon and Geforce graphics has decided to venture into the world of power supply units, and has launched its first PSU - the 850W Black Edition. As the name suggests, the PSU packs 850W and efficiency of over 85%, meaning that XFX is aiming at gamers and enthusiasts alike. The company made sure that their product isn't lacking in design or features, and decided on modular design, a quiet fan, Crossfire and SLI support with four PCI-E 6/8-pin connectors, and a strong 12V rail at 70A.
In case you've forgotten, the 80 PLUS certificate requires a power supply unit to provide >80% efficiency under 20%, 50% and 100% workloads. XFX 850W Black Edition is >85% efficient in all the aforementioned scenarios and proudly bears the 80 PLUS Silver certificate.
The PSU's full name is Black Edition 850W XFX Power Supply, Model: XPS-850W-BES, but we'll stick to the shorter Black 850W for convenience.
Features and specs
* Tight voltage regulation (±3%)
* High efficiency operation up to 88% (80 Plus Silver)
* High quality Japanese brand capacitors (105°C)
* Tight voltage regulation (±3%)
* Single, high power +12V rail (up to 70A/840W)
* DC to DC voltage regulator modules for +3.3V/+5V
* Solid polymer caps provide enhanced reliability and stability
* Ultra quiet 135mm ball bearing fan provides superior cooling
* Supports multiple high-end graphic adapters (Crossfire & SLI)
* Supports the latest ATX12V and EPS12V standards
* Energy Star 4.0 and RoHS compliant
* Detachable modular cables
* Warranty, 5-Year subject to registration
* Wattage Range 850W
* DC Output Voltage Regulation ±3%
* DC Output Quality (AC Ripple & Noise) +12V@120mV,
* Efficiency Range up to 88%
* 80PLUS Certification Silver
* Maximum Operation Temperature 50°C
* Industrial Grade Components √
* High Quality Capacitors √
* Temperature Rating of Capacitors 105°C
* Solid Polymer Capacitors √
* Quiet Cooling Fan 135mm
* +12V Output Rail Design Single Rail
* Modular Cables √
* Fully Sleeve Cables √
* DC to DC Converters (+3.3V & +5V) √
* Active Power Factor Correction (PFC) √
* Protection OVP,OPP,SCP
* Safety Approval UL,CUL,CE,CB,FCC Class B,C-tick
The XFX 850W Black Edition's box is quite practical, with a handle on top for easier carrying. We must admit that we look forward to unboxing XFX products as they tend to surprise with each new product, whether it's a gift or new packaging design. This time we recieved a black 850W beast with modular cables wrapped in a nice bag that you can put to good use elsewhere. As always, everything's neatly packed and secured.
The company green dominates the box and combined with black is quite an eye-candy. The picture on the front resembles some kind of machinery, and after seeng the PSU you'll realize it's a not-so-far-off representation, as the Black 850W really stands out among other PSUs.
The box features XFX's logo "Play Hard", which remins us of the countless gaming hours with XFX's equipment. Furthermore, we'd advise you to visit XFX's booth on the next show you visit so that you can catch a piece of the "Play Hard" atmosphere there. XFX guys really know their marketing and are definitely experts in attracting attention. In the meantime, you can go and check out the unofficial marketing video we've accidentally come across on forums, here.
The box is made of two physically separate cardboard parts. The smaller part contains the modular cables as well as a short user's manual, whereas the larger part houses the PSU. XFX's boxes tend to be somewhat puzzle-like, where small boxes are placed into larger ones, but the packaging is nice and tough.
We found modular cables within the bag, which you can use to keep the excess cabling left after mounting the unit. The cables will of course be added if they're needed, which is an advantage that modular design brings. Obsolete cables will no longer lay around the case and gather dust. The cable bag is pretty big and you can use it to carry your mouse, various adapters, USB sticks and such on your travels. XFX also ships two power cables, which isn't quite usual but is surely welcome, one European and one US model as well as a short manual and some screws.
The PSU certainly looks anything but standard, and we're pretty sure many will like the design. The fan is painted green, but with such a silent fan, who cares about color. Noise is often one of the key factors that goes into consideration when choosing a PSU, but the same goes for virtually any component bearing a fan. You can view higher res pictures by clicking on photos.
Black 850W is a modular PSU, but it does come with a set of basic cables that can't be removed. These are: two 6/8-pin PCI-E cables 60cm long, ATX cable 53cm long, one 8-pin EPS12V cable 54cm long and a 4+4 pin EPS12V cable also 54cm long.
The rest of the cables you'll need are connected to the green connectors (picture below) and it doesn't matter where you put them as they all go to one 70A line (PCIe cables are an exception to this of course, as they use 8-pin connectors). Additional cables are: two 6/8-pin PCI-E (55cm), which you'll need if you want to install another high-end graphics card, 11x SATA 15-pin, 8x Molex 4-pin and two FDD 4-pin cables. All the cables are woven in some kind of flexible material that helps with better cable management and minimum airflow hindrance.
There are three featured SATA and Molex cable lengths - the longer ones feature three connectors whereas the shorter ones come with two. The reason is that not all the connectors will be used on every cable, so there's no reason for them to gather dust around the case.
The longer SATA cables measure 55cm to the first connector, 15cm to the second and another 15cm to the third one. The shorter one measure 45cm to the first one and 15cm to the second and third each. The shortest cable measures 35cm to the first connector and another 15cm to the second one, and the same goes for Molex cables. Molex cables also get a small addapter for spliting the cable in two 3.5'' floppy drive connectors.
As we've already said, XFX excells in marketing, but sometimes it seems to be too much. For instance, the power supply features XFX's logo on a couple of places, although we're confident one would've sufficed.
A 135mm ball bearing fan takes care of cooling and in order to improve airflow, XFX used a mesh grill for the entire rear side where the power connector is located.
The previous photo shows a table featured on the Black 850W's side, and it confirms the 850W spec.
Unfortunately, we don't have the adequate equipment to put the 80 Plus Silver Certificate to our own test, but we've found some results at www.johnnyguru.com, where you'll find that this unit indeed deserves it. What we did was simply test it in real world scenarios so we've used MSI's P45D3 Platinum, HD 4870X2 and overclocked Intel's Core 2 QX9770 Extreme Edition to 3.6GHz. Coupled with two hard disks, a DVD writer and a caouple of fans within the case, our rig didn't draw more than 500W and XFX's PSU ran cool and quite the entire time. For a high end system such as ours, a quality PSU is a must, and we're currently unaware of a better one than XFX 850W Black Edition - XPS-850W-BES, especially after taking price into consideration.
We've tested XFX's 850W Black Edition - XPS-850W-BES, so let us recap. This PSU has a lot to offer, and while you might not like the looks or the fan color, those are still minor design features that won't matter by the time you mount it in your case. The most important point is the actual muscle this PSU can muster, and 850W with a 80 Plus Silver Certificate speaks for itself. After taking price into consideration, this turns into a no brainer as we'd dare you to find a better PSU for 150 euro.