Introduction, Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Last month we took a look at a few new offerings from be quiet!. Up until then we had only taken a look at their higher-end offerings and we were always very pleased with what we had reviewed. We thought that we better take a look at what else they had to offer so we asked for one of their Pure Power L8 units. It turned out to be a great unit, so we thought we'd look at more of their low-end units.
be quiet! also gave us a chance to look at their modular cables which aren't even available in the USA yet. These proved to be good cables, but our review also pointed out a few quality control issues. be quiet! was very displeased that they let a product of subpar quality slip through the cracks and have assured us that they have not only found the issue causing it, but also corrected it.
Moving forward to today, we have their Power Zone 850W power supply on the test bench. It is another one of their lower-end power supplies. Unlike the Pure Power L8, the Power Zone series features a fully modular design. On top of this, the Power Zone also utilizes a single 12V rail for simplicity and offers the ability to connect your fans directly to the power supply so they can continue to run after turning your system off for a period of time.
It is quite a step up from the Pure Power L8 and fits in very nicely between that and the Dark Power Pro units for enthusiasts. Let's dig into it and find out more about it.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
be quiet! gives the Power Zone 850W unit a single 12V rail. This rail is rated for 70A or 840W. The 5V and 3.3V rails are rated for 25A each with a combined maximum output of 160W. This is much higher than most units that we've looked at including the Dark Power Pro 1200W unit, which is their flagship power supply. While I don't have any tests that would be able to confirm this, I strongly believe that overclockers are going to like this unit for the stronger minor rails. Finally, we have the 5VSB rail that is rated for 3A or 15W. Maximum combined output for the Power Zone 850W is 850W.
be quiet! never skimps on the features of a unit and this one is no exception. The full set of protections are present with the Power Zone 850W including SCP, OVP, OCP, OPP and OTP. The power supply features fully modular cables, all of which are fully sleeved. The Power Zone 850W also carries an 80 PLUS Bronze efficiency rating and is rated for 100% continuous output at 50C by be quiet!.
The Power Zone 850W has an MSRP of $159.90. This is a huge step up from the Pure Power L8. NCIX has a price of $159.99 on the unit and is the only place we can find it for sale in the USA. At the time of writing this review, they also have it on sale for $99.99, which is an amazing price. be quiet! backs the Power Zone 850W with a five year warranty.
The front of the box for the Power Zone 850W doesn't give us much to go on. Aside from the wattage and some small text, there isn't anything worth mentioning.
The back has much more information though and is just what we want to see. We have an image of the power supply, I/O specs, and a few features listed here as well. Most notable is the "COOL OFF" feature. This allows you to connect your fans directly to the power supply. Upon shutting your computer off, it will keep the fans running for a period of time in order to remove more heat from inside the computer.
The right side of the back is pure text in two languages. It gives a little more detail about the power supply.
This side of the box gives a complete list of cables and connectors available within the box and also gives lengths. It doesn't get much better than this.
Inside the Box
You can't really ask for better protection than this. The Power Zone 850W is cushioned on all sides.
Looking at the top, we find the I/O specification label and can see the matte black finish on the unit. The power supply also features their rubber isolators on each end which reduce vibrations and noise associated with the unit being mounted in the case metal to metal.
Both sides feature the same design featuring the Power Zone logo. The opposite side is inverted.
We find the AC input and on/off rocker switch on the back of the power supply. We also find that rubber isolator on the back isn't just around the edges, but also goes across the back of the unit. This blocks roughly 50% of the airflow out of the back.
Turning around to the front of the unit, we find that all of the connectors are clearly labeled and easily accessible.
be quiet! uses their standard fan grill on the bottom and it is always nice to see as it is a little difference and feels like it belongs with the Silent Wings fan.
All of the modular cables are fully sleeved. There are four bundles of cables inside the box and each bundle is wrapped with reusable Velcro straps that you can utilize for cable management inside your case.
Rounding out the contents of the box are long mounting screws, zip ties, the AC input cord and user manual.
Cabling Arrangement and A Look Inside
be quiet! does a good job providing the connectors and cables. Quad PCI-E connectors should take care of two GPUs and there are dual 4+4 power cables for the motherboard if they are required. There are also eight SATA, four Molex, and a single FDD connector available if needed.
I'm not much of a fan of putting the FDD connector at the end of a long cable as if it is needed, it often creates a bunch of cable clutter in the case. I'd much rather see it as an adapter that plugs into a Molex connector.
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
Inside we find an almost all black build on a rather simplistic PCB. There are four heat sinks present to aid in the passive cooling of the unit.
Inside we find a pair of Teapo caps sitting on the primary side of the unit. If we look at the back of the box, the last text item on the right half states that there are 105C capacitors inside for longer PSU life and maximum performance. Apparently only some of them are 105C caps as these are clearly rated for 85C.
The secondary side is littered with more Teapo caps. Just as I suspected above, these are the only ones rate for 105C.
be quiet! uses their own Silent Wings 135mm fan. This one is the SW3-13525-HHF-29 and is rated for 2900RPM.
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! Power Zone 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 .18V. The 5V rail managed to stay within 3% of specification with a total drop of .11V 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 be quiet! Power Zone 850W was good and well within specifications. During Test 1, we saw 15mV of noise on our scope. When we increased the loads in Test 3, the ripple climbed to 27mV at a little over half load. During Test 5 under a load of 850W, the oscilloscope showed a maximum of 43mV on noise on the 12V rail.
The be quiet! Power Zone 850W 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 Power Zone 850W passed on our bench, and wasn't close to failing at any point.
As with everything we have seen to date from be quiet!, we are pleased overall with what the Power Zone 850W power supply has to offer. As we looked over the product, we really didn't find anything to complain about, other than the FDD connector chained at the end of an already long cable. We also came across a bunch of Teapo capacitors, some of which did not meet the claim of 105C rated caps as stated on the back of the box. Although it doesn't say that ALL of the capacitors are rated for 105C, it feels implied.
When we talk about performance, we are happy to say that the Power Zone performs just as you would think it should for a unit that is in the middle of their low-end and high-end units. Voltage regulation was within 2% for the 12V and 3.3V rails and it dipped into 3% for the 5V rail. I find it somewhat unrealistic to expect more than this out of a mid-range unit. DC output quality was right where I expected it to be after seeing the full set of Teapo caps on inside of the unit. We've seen better numbers from be quiet! in the past, but they have all been units with Japanese capacitors. The Taiwanese caps have come a long way, but they are still subpar to what you get from the Japanese.
The real downer on this power supply is the price. At an MSRP of ~$160, it places is self in the price range of something like the Corsair RM850, which performs just as well, but has better efficiency and is able to be monitored via Corsair's software.
The sale at NCIX makes it a no brainer if you can catch it for $100, but otherwise, it needs a solid $20 price drop. Until that happens, I have to say the be quiet! Power Zone 850W is a good unit, but definitely overpriced.
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