Introduction, Specifications, Availability and Pricing
As I stated not too long ago, the power requirements have been dropping for gamers and enthusiasts lately and will continue to do so with next-generation hardware right around the corner. Even though most will never need more than an 800W power supply to power a pair of video cards for their gaming rig, there are still quite a few who utilize three and four GPU systems for gaming with cards like the GTX Titan or Radeon 7990. These systems eat a ton of power and that's where today's review comes into play.
The be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 1200W power supply is a monster that is ready to take care of whatever you throw at it. We've taken a look at a few of their units in the past, and they've proven why they've been rated Germany's number one rated manufacturer for a while now. They're rapidly expanding their market and while the units we looked at in the past were a bit difficult to get your hands on in the US, they're now available via Newegg. With the quality we've seen from these guys, we feel it safe to say that it won't be too long before you can find them available everywhere you're able to get your hands on an Antec or Thermaltake PSU.
Let's start looking at the specifications and see what the Dark Power Pro 10 1200W is made of.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
As you can see, the Dark Power Pro 10 1200W is a quad rail power supply. Each 12V rail is rated for 35A with a combined maximum output of 99A or 1188W. As each of the 12V rails are capable of 420W, you should have no trouble with video cards like the dual-GPU Radeon 7990. Both the 3.3V and 5V rails are rated for 25A each with a combined maximum output of 150W. The 5VSB rail is rated for 3A or 15W. As with the other Dark Power Pro 10 series units that we have looked at, the power supply can be configured to run as a single rail power supply and that is how we intend to test today.
You don't become a number one rated manufacturer by skimping on features and that is exactly what we see here with the feature summary. All protections are present including SCP, OVP, OCP, OPP and OTP. The Dark Power Pro 10 is certified as 80 PLUS Gold. The unit is fully modular with the exception of the natively wired 20+4 Main connector and all cables are fully sleeved. The power supply is also rated for 100% continuous output at 50C.
be quiet! lists the Dark Power Pro 10 1200W power supply with an MSRP of $309. The cheapest we could find the unit was at Newegg for $319.99 with free shipping at the time of writing. This puts it towards the more expensive end of the spectrum of 1200W units. We suspect that the price is a bit high as Newegg knows they are currently the sole distributor in the US, but I bet that will change before too long. The Dark Power Pro 10 1200W power supply is backed by a five year warranty.
Nothing is different here on the front from the rest of the lineup. There are a few highlights on the front along with a good shot of the power supply so you can see what it looks like before you buy if it is sitting on a retail shelf.
The back left side of the box gives us a great cable length and connector availability diagram. Yes, there really are that many cables in the box.
The other half gives us some features, dimensions and I/O specifications for the power supply.
While one side of the box covers the same information in other languages, this side gives us a bit more concerning the efficiency of the power supply and some information about the SilentWings fan used to cool the PSU.
Inside the Box
Inside we find that you simply couldn't ask for things to be packed any better. Everything is well protected on all sides.
As expected, the I/O specification label is present on the top of the unit. As you can see, the power supply is finished in a dark glossy color somewhere between a very dark grey and black.
Both sides feature the same logo, with one side being inverted.
Maximum ventilation is available on the back of the Dark Power Pro 10 1200W power supply along with the on/off rocker switch and AC input.
This gives you a great look at the built-in vibration dampeners to reduce noise from the power supply.
All of the modular connectors are labeled for your convenience.
Towards the bottom we find the SilentWings fan that cools the unit being protected by the fan grill that is different than most.
Modular cables are most certainly available in quantity here. Though you may not be able to utilize all of them at the same time, the different cables allow you to reduce unused connectors inside your case.
Also included in the box are reusable Velcro cable ties, zip ties, the fan cables if you wish to power your fans directly off the PSU, and two sets of mounting screws. Note that you will have to utilize the included screws due to the anti-vibration mounts on the back of the power supply. The included screws are longer to accommodate this.
Also included are what are referred to as the Overclocking Keys or OCK. The one on the left is simply a jumper than you can use if you don't want to take up an expansion slot on the back of the case. The other performs the same function, but can be switched on and off at will via the back of the computer. These OCK's are how you change the power supply from a quad rail unit to a single rail unit. We will be testing our unit with the jumper installed.
Rounding out the contents of the box are the user manual and AC power cord. Don't worry about the connector on ours as it came from overseas. If you order from Newegg, it will contain the proper power cable.
Cabling Arrangement and A Look Inside
If you think that is a long list of cables, then you're right. There are a ton of ways to go with this power supply and all are geared towards making sure that you're able to utilize the least amount of cabling as possible to reduce case clutter and improve airflow.
You'll not be able to use all of the cables at the same time though as there are eight peripheral connectors, but only five modular connectors for them on the unit.
For our testing purposes, 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
We honestly expected a bit more passive cooling on the inside of the unit, but sometimes less is more. The open design lets fresh air move all the way to the PCB and start moving heat away at the source, rather than waiting for it to be transferred via heat sinks.
Three Nippon Chemi-Con capacitors sit on the primary side of the power supply.
More Nippon Chemi-Con caps are all over the secondary side of the power supply, too.
be quiet! uses their own BQT T13525-YF28 fan to provide the active cooling for the Dark Power Pro 10 1200W.
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 lower than that of the Dark Power Pro 10 1200W power supply, we can only test it to 1000W.
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 .10V. The 5V rail managed to stay within 1% of specification with a total drop of .05V 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 .07V.
DC Output quality for the Dark Power Pro 10 1200W was great. During Test 1, we saw 8mV of noise on our scope. When we increased the loads in Test 3, the ripple climbed to 17mV at around half load. During Test 6 under a load of 1000W, the oscilloscope showed a maximum of 27mV on noise on the 12V rail.
The be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 1200W 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 Dark Power Pro 10 1200W passed on our bench, and wasn't close to failing at any point.
Even though we were not able to test the Dark Power Pro 10 1200W to the full output, we have no reason to suspect that any full load results would be anywhere near failing, given the results above.
From the moment you open the box on the Dark Power Pro 10 1200W power supply, you can tell that there is pride and care taken all the way from conception to delivery of the unit to the customer. The design, packaging, documentation and included accessories all hint at a level of care that few bring to the market. There is no disappointment and you can feel that the performance is going to match what you are presented with.
The performance did match exactly what we were presented with, which was no surprise, given what we have seen from be quiet! in the past. Voltage regulation was rather close to being within 1% and make this one of the top five power supplies we've seen over 1000W. Likewise, the DC output quality was fantastic and there is little to complain about. Finally, efficiency was spot on and exactly as advertised.
Once again we run into the problem of price vs. performance. At the MSRP of $309, the unit sits in the middle of road for both performance and price. The $10 premium that Newegg puts on the unit hampers things a bit as that moves it a lot closer towards the likes of the Corsair AX1200i of which I still believe is the best power supply the consumer market has ever seen.
If you don't have the extra few bucks to splurge on the AX1200i, the Dark Power Pro 10 is going to be a great alternative. Likewise, the Dark Power Pro 10 is worth the few extra bucks above the rest of the competition if nothing more than for the increase cable selection to help tidy things up in the case.
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