Articles: Cases/PSU

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We’ll be talking in this review about four PSUs with a wattage rating of 800 to 860 watts. Such products are the most popular choice for top-end gaming systems that are not pushed to the extremes in configuration and overclocking. A PSU like that can easily power any desktop CPU plus a couple of top-end single-processor graphics cards plus a large disk array. The components can even be moderately overclocked and there will still be enough of reserve power for any emergencies.

Of the four PSUs we’ve got for this test session two are familiar to us. We’ve already tested same-series 1000W models from Seasonic and Cooler Master and the lower-wattage models do not differ much in their design. In fact, we only have to make sure that these PSUs are as high quality as their senior cousins.

The PSUs from Chieftec and Corsair come from new series we haven’t yet covered in our reviews, but their interior turns out to be very similar. This pair, being unfamiliar to us as yet, comes first.

Testing Methodology

The following article offers a detailed description of our testing methodology and equipment and a brief explanation of what the specified and tested parameters of power supplies mean: X-bit Labs Presents: Power Supply Units Testing Methodology. If you feel overwhelmed with the numbers and terms this review abounds in, refer to the Methodology.

You can also go to our Cases/PSU section to check out reviews of all other PSU models we have tested in our labs.

We will mark the actual power consumption of three system configurations (discussed in our article PC Power Consumption: How Many Watts Do We Need?) in the cross-load diagrams. This will help you see if the tested PSU can meet the requirements of a real-life PC.

Testing Participants

Chieftec BPS-850C2

We are already familiar with Chieftec’s Nitro 85+ series and they did well in our earlier tests. The BPS-850C2 comes from the new Nitro II 85+ series and currently represents its flagship model (the previous series went up to 1200 watts). The user manual says that the wattage range of modular models ends at 1200 watts, just like with the original Nitro 85+, but the manufacturer’s website doesn’t mention any products above 850 watts.

The BPS-850C2 is shipped in a plain-looking box which is not large and has no carry handle. The box design is uniform for all models in the series.

The accessories only include a user manual, a mains cord, modular cables and a pack with screws. The only extra accessory is the small velvet pouch for unused modular cables.

Exterior Design

The exterior design is Chieftec’s typical: the rough dark-gray paint seems to have become a distinctive trait of the company’s PSUs. The nonstandard fastening of the top panel, with two screws at the top and two more on each side panel, is a distinctive feature, too.

We had to peel off the label to uncover some of the screws. The PSU doesn’t look neat as the result.

The sticker with product specs is shaped originally, not like a conventional rectangle. An On/Off switch can be found on the back panel next to the mains connector. The back panel is mostly a vent grid.

Circuit Design

According to the marking on the power transformer, the PSU is developed by Channel Well. The product specs suggest the CWT PUQ (B) series because they coincide with those of the highest-wattage CWT PUQ (B) model. By the way, this explains the fact why there are no higher-wattage models in the Chieftec Nitro II 85+ series as yet. The original Nitro 85+ series was based on the CWT PSH II platform.

There’s only one choke in the output circuitry area. It is used to produce +12V voltage.

The rest of the voltages are produced by means of DC-DC converters located on the card with modular connectors.

The overall component density isn’t high because the DC-DC converters reside on the modular connectors card while the synchronous rectifier transistors have a dedicated daughter card for themselves. There are a lot of fuses on the main PCB.

The PSU has electrolytic capacitors from SAMXON at its output. That’s not a big name, but SAMXON components seem to be high quality.

Cables and Connectors

The Chieftec BPS-850C2 is equipped with the following cables and connectors:

  • One mainboard cable with a 20+4-pin connector (57 cm)
  • Two CPU power cables with one 4+4-pin connector on each (60 cm)
  • Two connectors for graphics card power cables
  • Four connectors for peripheral power cables

Included with the PSU are:

  • Two graphics card cables with two 6+2-pin connectors on each (60+15 cm)
  • One cable with two PATA power connectors (61+15 cm)
  • One cable with two PATA power connectors and one floppy-drive plug (61+15+15 cm)
  • Two cables with four SATA power connectors on each (60+15+15+15 cm)

This selection of cables is quite sufficient for any configuration the PSU can power but we wish the CPU power cables were longer. 60 centimeters is going to be too short to hide the cable behind the mainboard in a system case with a bottom PSU bay.

We don’t mind that both CPU connectors consist of two 4-pin halves. These halves can be tightly joined and easily plugged into a mainboard’s 8-pin receptacle.

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