Introduction, Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Be Quiet! is a name that came out of nowhere here in the USA. The company has built a name for itself overseas by introducing German engineering and ingenuity to the computer industry. They've won award after award for performance and design in Europe and the surrounding areas and have made the push to go worldwide with their offerings. They are doing very well over here in the States and we've always liked what they have shown us.
Up to this point, we've only looked at their enthusiast-class offerings when it comes to power supplies and they have proven to be great units. Today we are looking at something a little bit more on the lower-end of the spectrum.
The Pure Power L8 500W isn't meant to fuel a quad GPU system or break world records with overclocking. It is instead intended to power a budget gaming system with one high-end or two lower-end video cards.
The Pure Power L8 lacks modular cables, high efficiency, and a large price tag. Let's dig into the Pure Power L8 500W a little more and hope that it retains the quality and performance we've come to expect from them and that they haven't sacrificed too much to keep the cost down.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Pure Power L8 500W power supply features dual 12V rails. The first 12V rail is rated for 28A, while the second is rated for 20A. They have a combined maximum output of 38A or 456W. The 3.3V rail is rated for 24A and the 5V rail is rated for 15A. These two rails have a combined maximum output of 120W. The 5VSB rail is rated for 3A. Maximum combined output for the Pure Power L8 500W is 500 Watts.
When we start talking about budget power supplies, features are often what define one power supply from another. Protections are the primary area to be cut, but Be Quiet! doesn't skimp here. They know that the protections are important and include SCP, OVP, OCP, OPP and OTP to keep you safe. What they do cut though is the modular cabling as all the cables for the Pure Power L8 500W are natively wired. This makes most sense, however, as it adds quite a bit to the cost of the unit since it requires additional connectors and a second PCB for the power supply to make it work.
They do keep all of the cables fully sleeved, though. The Pure Power L8 500W features an 80 PLUS Bronze efficiency rating. Finally, the Pure Power L8 500W is not rated for 100% continuous output, but Be Quiet! states that it can make it as that is their standard.
Be Quiet! has an MSRP of $74.90 on the Pure Power L8 500W power supply. Be Quiet! still hasn't reached the availability status that many other companies have so you have to do some searching to find their stuff. Luckily we were able to track it down on NCIX for $79.99 with $10.98 shipping at the time of writing, bringing the grand total to $90.97. This makes it slight higher priced than a middle of the road 500W power supply, but few have the same features as the Pure Power L8 500W. Be Quiet! backs the Pure Power L8 500W with a three year warranty.
Simplicity is present in the packaging for the Pure Power L8 500W. The front presents us with just a few features and a teasing image of the unit itself.
The back gives us the I/O specifications, cable length, connector availability, dimensions, and a few tidbits of info on the unit. The left and right sides feature the same list but in different languages.
The top and bottom are simplistic as well as there isn't anything worthwhile on them.
Inside the Box
The packaging for the Pure Power L8 is rather simplistic as well. Aside from the bubble wrap, only the cardboard protects the contents inside.
The Pure Power L8 500W has a semi-gloss black finish on it.
This side of the power supply features the I/O specification label and serial number.
The other side has the Be Quiet! name stamped in it.
Towards the back, we find a honeycomb mesh grill with AC input and on/off rocker switch.
The Pure Power L8 500W is a non-modular unit, so there isn't much going on up in the front. There is a small area of perforation though to aid in heat dissipation.
Be Quiet uses their own Silent Wings fan to provide the cooling for this power supply.
Included with the Pure Power L8 500W is an AC input cord, zip ties, mounting screws and user manual.
Cabling Arrangement and A Look Inside
One of the things I've always found fantastic about Be Quiet!'s power supplies is an excellent selection of cables and connectors with their units - the Pure Power L8 500W is no different. It has just what you need with a little bit of a twist. There are two PCI-E connectors with one on each cable. Peripheral connectors are spread out over three cables, one with all SATA, one with all Molex, and one with SATA, Molex, and an FDD connector.
The Pure Power L8 500W power supply features dual 12V rails. The first 12V rail supplies power to the motherboard, one of the PCI-E cables and all peripherals. The second 12V rail feeds the other PCI-E cable and the auxiliary power for the motherboard. Unfortunately, these aren't clearly labeled and the only way you can tell is by looking at the yellow wires. 12V2 has yellow 12V wires with a blue stripe to differentiate them.
A Look Inside
Inside, we find a tiny PCB with minimal components and cooling. Even though it will only hinder the cooling capabilities of the power supply a tiny bit, I find it odd that they've placed a sticker on top of one of the heat sinks.
A single Teapo bulk capacitor sits on the primary side of the power supply.
The secondary side is littered with more Teapo caps.
Be Quiet!'s Silent Wings T12025-MS-16 fan provides the active cooling for this power supply.
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 Be Quiet Pure Power L8 500W 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 12V1 rail, we see 1% regulation from start to finish with a total drop of .14V and it faired the best. Looking at 12V2, we see 2% regulation from start to finish with a total drop of .15V. 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 .06V.
DC Output quality for the Be Quiet Pure Power L8 500W was good and well within specifications. During Test 1, we saw 17mV of noise on our scope. When we increased the loads in Test 2, the ripple climbed to 20mV at a little over half load. During Test 3 under a load of 500W, the oscilloscope showed a maximum of 31mV on noise on the 12V rail.
The Be Quiet Pure Power L8 500W 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 Pure Power L8 500W passed on our bench, and wasn't close to failing at any point.
Given the track record that we've seen from Be Quiet!, we started this review with high expectations. I have to say that Be Quiet! has done a decent job of meeting these expectations. Being a budget unit, the Pure Power L8 500W power supply doesn't come with all the bells and whistles and it isn't intended for a true enthusiast rig. Instead it is intended for a single GPU gaming system users who desires a bit more out of their power supply than the cheapest thing on the market and it just that.
Performance wise, the Be Quiet! Pure Power L8 delivers on all fronts. From a voltage regulation perspective, the Pure Power L8 500W does a great job with all rails almost staying within 1% regulation and just barely breaking into the 2% area. Despite the all Taiwanese capacitor construction, the unit also does very well on the noise suppression. The Pure Power L8 500W also achieves 80 PLUS Bronze efficiency just as it is rated for.
We were actually quite surprised to see non-Japanese capacitors inside the Pure Power L8 500W when we opened it up as we've not seen them in any of their other units that we have reviewed in the past. Despite this, the unit managed to do well. Unfortunately, Be Quiet!'s market penetration just isn't where it needs to be yet in the US. Only certainly models are available at some websites and others charge an arm and a leg for shipping. If you can find the Pure Power L8 500W at MSRP, then it will be a steal and represents a great bargain.
Keep your eyes open and be patient if you can so that your pocket doesn't get gouged. Once they get some more market penetration which we know they are working hard on, they are going one hell of a company to compete with and are sure to be a favored company by many if they stick to what they're doing.
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