Introduction, Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Following up on the heels of our review of the Enermax NAXN ADV 650W power supply, we have another low wattage unit from Enermax for your viewing pleasure. Just as we discussed with the NAXN ADV, power requirements for systems are currently shrinking and as such, you're going to see an influx of lower wattage units to accompany this. Some of these will be entirely new designs and yet others will be product refreshes just as we have today.
The power supply we have today is the Enermax Triathlor FC 650W. The power supply features the same 80 PLUS Bronze efficiency and 650W total output that we saw from the NAXN ADV 650W, but that is just about where the similarities end. The Triathlor FC series is the replacement for the well-received Enermax Modu82+ series. For quite some time, the Modu82+ series stood as a PSU lineup that offered a bit more than an entry level power supply, but less than an enthusiast level unit. The price point was right in the middle too so that you were truly getting what you paid for.
Let's see what the new Triathlor FC 650W is made of and see just how well it fills that void.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Triathlor 650W utilizes dual 12V rails to deliver most of the power from this unit. Each 12V rail is rated for 30A each with a combined maximum output of 54A or 648W. The 3.3V and 5V rails are rated for a rather beefy 24A each with a maximum combined output of 140A. The 5VSB rail is rated for 2.5A or 12.5W. Maximum combined output of the unit is 650W.
As you would expect from Enermax, the Triathlor FC 650W is full of features. All protections are present, including SCP, OVP, OCP, OPP and OTP. The power supply is 80 PLUS Bronze certified for efficiency. All native cables are fully sleeved and all modular cables are of the flat ribbon type. Enermax does not rate the Triathlor FC 650W for 100% continuous output at 50C, but does so at 40C.
Enermax lists the Triathlor FC 650W with an MSRP of $119.99. The unit seems to have limited stock at the moment, but Antares Pro does list the unit as being available for $98.99 with $15.00 shipping. This still makes the Triathlor FC one of the most expensive 80 PLUS Bronze units available on the market and makes it comparable with several other 650W enthusiast units rated for Gold or higher. Enermax backs the Triathlor FC 650W by a three year warranty.
This time around Enermax at least gives us a glimpse of the unit inside the box. Also present on the front is the wattage, efficiency rating, and something called "T.B. Silence inside."
The features list on the top half of the back doesn't give us too much to spark our interest other than the mention of 100% Japanese capacitors.
Towards the bottom left we see what T.B. Silence is all about. T.B. stands for Twister Bearing which reduces noise and increases fan life. This, along with the Batwing Blades on their fan help keep noise down while airflow up. Also present are the I/O specifications for the entire Triathlor FC line.
The other half of the bottom gives us some efficiency information as shows the modular cable system included with the Triathlor FC 650W.
The sides and the top of the box are blank, but the bottom presents us with connector availability for the Triathlor FC series.
Inside the Box
Opening the box presents us with how the Triathlor FC is packed. The bubble wrap isn't much, but it proved to do its job and made sure our unit arrived safely.
As always, the top gives us our first glimpse at the unit and a good view of the color. The unit is finished in a semi-gloss black and the I/O specification label resides on top of the unit.
Each side features the same Triathlor FC logo with the other side being inverted.
The front of the power supply is labeled fantastically. Even if you lose the manual and have no internet access, you'll always be able to tell which rails power what.
The back has the standard honeycomb mesh exhaust grill with AC input and on/off rocker switch. There is quite a bit of space here that could be utilized for better venting that isn't stamped out.
The bottom houses the 120mm fan which cools the Triathlor FC 650W power supply. As you can see, the blades are not your standard blades.
The modular cables that are included are all of the flat ribbon type.
Included with the package are the mounting screws, reusable Velcro cable ties and the AC power cord.
Also present is the user manual and product catalog.
Cabling Arrangement and A Look Inside
Enermax does a good job of making sure that you've got the connectors you need with the Triathlor FC 650W. Only the 20+4 pin and ATX 4+4 pin cables are natively wired which you are guaranteed to need. The rest are modular and my only complaint is in the dual PCI-E cables. Instead of the two connectors being daisy chained off of each other, they both come off the same modular connector for 20 inches.
This is nice for high-end setups where you are pulling lots of Amps across many GPUs, but in a lower end power supply this just isn't necessary. In the case of a power supply like this and, for example, someone utilizes the new GTX 650 Ti that only requires a single PCI-E connector, the end user is still left with cable clutter in their case that they can't get rid of.
Enermax makes load balancing simple and easy with the Triathlor FC 650W power supply. As you can see, it is virtually impossible to unbalance the unit as the Main and ATX 4+4 connectors are on separate rails and each PCI-E connector shares its load across both rails. The only way to put more load on one rail than the other is in the form of peripheral connectors and you would be hard pressed to overload one rail with a few extra hard drives on this unit.
A Look Inside
Inside we find plenty of passive cooling going on to help remove heat from the unit while still keeping a clean design so that fresh air can penetrate all the way down to the PCB.
A single Panasonic capacitor sits on the primary side of the power supply.
The secondary side of the power supply features many Nippon Chemi-Con caps.
Enermax utilizes their own ED122512S-DD fan to provide active cooling for the Triathlor FC 650W unit. Here you can also see the Batwing Blades they spoke about on the back of the box.
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 equal to that of the Enermax Triathlor FC 650W 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 .18V. The 5V rail managed to stay within 2% of specification with a total drop of .09V from start to finish. Moving towards the 3.3V rail, we see that regulation was within 2% of specification with a total voltage drop of .11V.
DC Output quality for the Triathlor 650W was great and well within specification. During Test 1, we saw 17mV of noise on our scope. When we increased the loads in Test 2, the ripple climbed to 24mV at around half load. During Test 4 under a load of 650W, the oscilloscope showed a maximum of 42mv on noise on the 12V rail.
The Enermax Triathlor FC 650W is rated for 80 PLUS Bronze efficiency. This means that the power supply must perform at 82%/85%/82% efficiency at 20%/50%/100% loads respectively. As you can see, the Triathlor FC 650W passed on our bench, and wasn't close to failing at any point.
As was stated at the beginning of this review, the Triathlor FC is meant to replace the Modu82+ series of power supplies. These units are meant to sit somewhere in between entry level units and enthusiast units in terms of features, build quality and performance. The Triathlor FC 650W power supply that we tested has done just that.
As far as features are concerned, there isn't much that the Triathlor FC doesn't have. All the protections you'd hope for are present and the unit provides great cable management with the exception of the PCI-E cables. Build quality and performance are spot on with several enthusiast grade units that we've taken a look at, so there isn't much pick at on the surface.
One of the key features that is missing from an enthusiast grade power supply is that the unit isn't rated for 100% continuous output at 50C. On top of this, the unit's efficiency is rather low considering this day and age of 80 PLUS Gold/Platinum units that are everywhere. This is exactly what this unit should have since it is meant to fill the void between entry level and enthusiast grade units.
What the power supply does have is a high price tag and that is something that just doesn't make sense. The $119.99 MSRP puts it right in the line with other units that have more features and better performance at the same price. It just doesn't make sense to spend the same amount of money to get less and that is the one area that the Triathlor FC 650W fails to fill the void between entry level and enthusiast grade power supplies. As soon as we see the price slip a little or it go on sale, the Triathlor is sure to make a much better deal and a lot more sense.
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