Introduction, Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Post CES, we always find ourselves drooling over a ton of products that may or may not ever see the light of day. Of those that will make it to the market, we are often tantalized with prototypes that will be six months or more from seeing the retail market. PC Power & Cooling gave us something this year that we were told we would see very shortly. They have a refresh of their Silencer Mk III series that will provide some updates for power users.
This time around, they are introducing two new units. The two power supplies are capable of 750W and 850W, which will take care of the needs for most with up to dual GPU systems. These round out the Silencer Mk III series rather well as there are now six different wattages available from 400W to 1200W. The unit we are taking a look at today is Silencer Mk III 850W.
On the surface it appears to be a simplistic, semi-modular 850W unit coming to an already very crowded market segment so hopefully it will stand out a bit from the rest.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Silencer Mk III 850W power supply provides 12V power via a single rail design rated for 70A or 840W. Both of the minor rails are rated for 24A each with a combined maximum output of 120W for the 3.3V and 5V rails. This left us scratching our heads a little bit as even the Silencer Mk III 600W had stronger minor rails, but it should still be plenty of power. The 5VSB rail is rated for 3A or 15W. Maximum combined output for the Silencer Mk III 850W is 850W.
As with the rest of the Silencer Mk III series, the new 850W model is packed full of features, except for Over Temperature Protection. We think that this would be something of a standard for a legendary name such as PC Power & Cooling, but it apparently isn't. The power supply features both native and modular cables. All cables are fully sleeved or of the flat ribbon variety. Finally, the power supply is rated for 80 PLUS Gold efficiency and 100% continuous output at 50C.
This PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 850W power supply has an MSRP of $169.99. This is exactly what you'll find the power supply listed for on Newegg plus $5.99 shipping, and the cheapest you'll find it anywhere on the web at the time of writing this article. PC Power & Cooling backs the new Silencer Mk III 850W by a seven year warranty.
As you would expect, the same packaging is used for the new 850W power supply. On the front, we find the 80 PLUS logo has been updated to reflect the Gold rating the new units are rated for.
The left half of the back gives lists of both technical and I/O specifications.
The other half of the back explains more about the dual thermal control system. You can set the fan mode to Silent Mode or Normal Mode. Normal mode ensures that the fan is always running and thermally controlled. Silent mode forces the fan off until the unit reaches 50% load at which it then becomes thermally controlled. This is made easy by the selector switch on the back of the power supply.
One side of the box contains a great list of cables and their length and the other is blank.
Both top and bottom mimic the front of the box.
Inside the Box
As is always the case with PC Power & Cooling power supplies, the unit is well packed and protected during shipping.
As with all of the Silencer Mk III units, the new 850W is pure white with the I/O specification label on the top.
Both sides feature the same logo with the opposite side inverted in case it is installed in the bottom of a case.
The back is standard with the honeycomb venting as well as the AC input and on/off rocker switch. The switch below is for selecting the fan mode that we spoke about earlier. As we mentioned in the 1200W review, the switch isn't labeled in any way.
Moving to the front, we find the same metallic modular connectors that were seen with the 1200W model. All the connectors come with dust covers to keep them clean and dust free until needed.
In order to keep things quiet, the Silencer Mk III 850W utilizes a 140mm fan on the bottom with a black wire grill.
All modular cables are flat which should provide for easier routing and increased airflow within the case.
Also included with the power supply is the user manual, mounting screws, zip ties and AC input cord.
Cabling Arrangement and A Look Inside
Very little has changed with the cable/connector availability compared the 1200W to the 850W. The only changes are the number of PCI-E connectors available as the cable list is the same. The Silencer Mk III 850W provides two ATX 4+4 cables and two PCI-E 6+2 cables natively wired to the power supply. Modular connections proved four more PCI-E 6+2 cables, three SATA cables, and a single Molex cable.
Rail distribution is as simple as it gets with a single 12V rail. There is no need to worry about load balancing here.
A Look Inside
Opening the power supply, we find a pair of heatsinks that run the length of the unit. These provide the passive cooling for the unit while still allowing fresh air to permeate through to most of the components on the PCB.
A pair of Nippon Chemi-Con capacitors reside on the primary side of the Silencer Mk III 850W power supply.
More Nippon Chemi-Con capacitors are soldered in on the secondary side as well.
Active cooling for the Silencer Mk III 850W is provided by the Glob Fan RL4Z B1402512H 140mm fan.
Test Results and Final Thoughts
Our load tests utilize a couple of FAST ATE active load testers and a variety of other equipment such as an oscilloscope, power conditioner, temperature probe and a power consumption meter. You can read more about our standard testing approach here.
The tests performed are based around six conceivable setups that are out there and progressively load down the PSU up to the power supply's limits or 1000W, whichever comes first. Since our test equipment's limits are higher than that of the PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 850W power supply, we can test it to the maximum.
The above tests represent typical loads that we have measured from various systems and are meant to give a rough idea of where your computer might fall in line with our tests. Please keep in mind that each system is different and actual loads can vary greatly even with similar hardware.
Let's start by taking a look at the voltages to see how well this unit did during testing. Starting with the 12V rail, we see 2% regulation from start to finish with a total drop of .14V. The 5V rail managed to stay within 2% of specification with a total drop of .08V from start to finish. Moving towards the 3.3V rail, we see that regulation was within 3% of specification with a total voltage drop of .08V.
DC Output quality for the Silencer Mk III 850W was excellent and well within specification. During Test 1, we saw 15mV of noise on our scope. When we increased the loads in Test 3, the ripple climbed to 21mV at a little over half load. During Test 5 under a load of 850W, the oscilloscope showed a maximum of 33mv on noise on the 12Vrail.
The PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 850W is rated for 80 PLUS Gold efficiency. This means that the power supply must perform at 87%/90%/87% efficiency at 20%/50%/100% loads respectively. As you can see, the Silencer Mk III 850W passed on our bench, and wasn't close to failing at any point.
As we have seen from the past, the Silencer Mk III series of power supplies is a solid lineup. The problem until today is that it has been for those who were seeking entry level or full on enthusiast grade power supplies with nothing in between. The introduction of the Silencer Mk III 750W and 850W power supplies fills the void very nicely.
Looking at the power supply from a performance perspective, one can't argue that the Silencer Mk III produces solid results and provides just what power users and entry level enthusiasts seek. Voltage regulation is great all the way around, staying within 2% of specifications on both the 12V and 5V rails and barely stepping into 3% with the 3.3V rails. Ripple suppression is fantastic as well and never manages to go above 33mV at full load. The efficiency delivered is just as promised as well. While there may be more efficient models on the market, 80 PLUS Platinum units tend to run a bit more expensive, too.
It is nice to see that the issue of having such low output available on the 3.3V and 5V rails for the 1200W model has been addressed. We'd still like to see a few things addressed such as the lack of OTP and the fan mode switch being labeled, but no unit is completely perfect and these two issues are part of the drawbacks of the Silencer Mk III series.
Pricing for the Silencer Mk III 850W puts it very much in the middle of the pack for 80 PLUS Gold rated units which is right where this unit should sit. It is very much a strong jack of all trades and master of none. Aside from color, it doesn't have much that makes it stand out from what is on the market. That is both a curse and a blessing as it makes the choice even more difficult for the end-user, but more to choose from to suit their individual needs. Rest assured that if you do choose the PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 850W power supply, you won't be disappointed.