Page 4 - Minor Tests and Conclusion
Power supplies are interesting products -- because often, reviews of products in this category are conducted and tested in methods that make it difficult to distinguish one power supply from another. Many aspects must be taken into consideration -- of which certain criteria consists of efficiency, noise, power ripples, and of course the ability to pull out the rated specifications. Because many cannot afford such equipment to obtain results regarding those aspects, articles covering power supplies often come out with less than adequate and acceptable information. As this is a product report -- not a review -- what we are doing is a close examination of the power supply and the internal hardware and build. But what we can do for you is do some minor testing with the results we can present to you with and let other review sites with professional equipment show you the actual test results. We are not going to try to create useless test results by installing the power supply into the latest gaming rig and try to take readings from that, as this is not even remotely the correct way to test power supply units. We understand that many websites do that as a means of load testing, but the results, even if you use an oscilloscope and multimeter at each output location, it is not sufficient, nor does it accurately reflect the performance of the power supply.
Using our power supply tester which exerts minimal load on the power supply, the initial consumption was 11W as measured by our wall meter unit -- indicating that the basic load-free power consumption of the power supply was very good. Independent reviews from websites with professional load testing equipment showed the NZXT E850 850W delivered very good efficiency and excellent voltage regulation and ripple across all rails. This is an 80 Plus Gold certified power supply unit and is almost identical to the Seasonic FOCUS Plus 850 Gold 850W we reviewed last year.
Voltages with minimal load are generally accurate, which is a basic requirement of power supplies out of the box. In this situation all are all bang on. The PG (Power Good) delay seems to be well within its rated range and general power supply standard of 360ms.
Active power correction is important to correct AC load line loss. In AC power, there are three components to it; as there is a phase difference between current and voltage. This makes up the power triangle, which consists of the following: Average usable power (P, measured in watts), reactive power (Q, denoted as VA-R), and total power (S, written as VA). While they all have the save physical units, it is not the same thing as aforementioned. What we want is the average usable power -- with as little wasted reactive power as possible. The total power provided over the AC line is the magnitude of the two combined (sqrt(P^2+Q^2)). Power factor can then be easily calculated by P/S. The ideal value is 1.00, and this is where active PFC comes in. A nominal load of 160W (18.8%) on the NZXT E850 850W had the power factor at 0.99. This is excellent as expected.
The NZXT E850 850W is silent to reasonably quiet power supply, depending on the amount of power being drawn and the profile you set in NZXT's CAM software. Under idle level loads -- less than approximately 100W -- the E850 850W is inaudible, because the fan is shut off completely. Under moderate to high loads -- above 50% -- the E850 is reasonably low noise. Personally, I found the HA1225H12F-Z to be pretty good, except you can definitely hear some coarseness in the motor noise at higher speeds. While this is very subjective, I am quite a picky person on noise. On a scale from 0 to 10 where 0 is silent and 10 is the loudest, I would rate the NZXT E850 850W to be at 0.0/10 when the fan is off, because, well, the fan is off. Above that, under typical settings, I would peg it at 2.0/10 acoustically under moderate loads, because the fan does not spin that fast. The fan is out of the way to approximately 70% of its maximum speed, but it will become exponentially more audible when it kicks in. If you are a silent PC enthusiast, the NZXT E850 850W is still a respectable choice, but the fan motor's smoothness may bother the pickiest.
The digital signal processor, which provides built-in voltage monitoring and fan control for the NZXT E850, require you to plug your PSU into your motherboard's internal USB header and install NZXT's CAM software to operate. CAM is NZXT's PC monitoring and controller program. In the latest version, I found it to be clean and intuitive to use, whether it is looking at the performance statistics of the power supply or setting up fan profiles. Our screenshots above show the monitoring screen in regular and advanced mode, respectively. In regular mode, four graphs monitor the CPU, GPU, others, and total wattage over time, as well as the power on time, internal temperature, and voltage of the three rails. In advanced mode, you can see the voltage and current for each rail. Over current protection can be enabled in software if you wish to lower the default threshold.
NZXT provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
Based off the excellent Seasonic FOCUS Plus 850 Gold 850W, the NZXT E850 850W delivers very good efficiency and excellent voltage regulation and ripple across all rails according to our affiliates with professional load testing equipment. It is backed by the company's excellent support and ten-year warranty where they pay for shipping both ways in the unlikely event anything goes wrong. Of course, the highlight of this PSU is its real time digital monitoring capabilities, where you can conveniently see how your power supply is performing and play around with the fan profile to your liking. This does come at a price premium though. For about $150 at press time, the E850 is an extra $40 over the Seasonic FOCUS Plus 850; while you can go wrong with neither, you will need to consider whether the extra money is well-spent.
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1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Minor Tests and Conclusion