This article is rather strictly limited to a narrow range of power supply wattage ratings: from 800 through 850 watts. But notwithstanding this restriction, we’ve got as many as 11 models from different brands. Some of the brands are known to everyone and others make their debut in our PSU tests.
Click the following link for a 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 In-Depth. If you feel overwhelmed with the numbers and terms this review abounds in, refer to that article for explanation.
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.
Antec TruePower Quattro TPQ-850
Although it is the Signature series that is officially positioned as the most prestigious one in Antec’s product line-up, the TruePower Quattro is superior in terms of wattage ratings. The topmost Signature series model is rated for 850 watts but that’s only the starting point for the Quattro series. So, I am going to discuss the junior model of the Antec Quattro series which has a wattage rating of 850 watts.
The PSU comes in a medium-sized box painted bright yellow. The wattage is printed on the box in large letters. The product name is in smaller print.
One feature of this PSU catches the eye right away: it uses an 80mm fan for cooling. Of course, I have seen even higher-wattage models being cooled by 80mm fans but that’s not a popular solution. Such PSUs are generally very noisy.
On the other hand, an 80mm fan is not overall inferior to 120mm or 140mm ones. A large fan blows at the PSU from above (and the 90-degree turn of the air flow leads to higher aerodynamic resistance) and creates a dead zone with slow air flow at the back of the PSU case. The manufacturers try to avoid this by covering a part of the fan with a piece of celluloid film. As opposed to large fans, an 80mm one blows along the heatsinks and PCB and distributes the air uniformly inside. There is no turning of the air flow and no dead zone. However, small fans can pump less air rotating at the same speed, and there may still be small dead zones if some components get obscured by larger ones.
Cutting it short, both large and small fans have their highs and lows, and you are going to learn soon whether this cooling solution works well in the TruePower Quattro.
The PSU is semi-modular, meaning that some of its cables are detachable. There are five connectors for them. Despite the different color, these connectors are identical electrically and mechanically – you can plug any cable into any connector. They only differ in the +12V lines attached to them.
The small number of connectors must be due to the 80mm fan. The developer had to make the back panel as “transparent” for the air flow as possible.
It is hard to see anything inside the PSU behind the huge heatsinks. One can note, however, that the TruePower Quattro features active PFC and dedicated voltage regulation.
KY series electrolytic capacitors from United Chemi-Con are used at the PSU’s output.
The PSU is rated for an output power up to 850 watts and, as the manufacturer notes, can yield it all at an ambient temperature up to 50°C just as required by the ATX12V standard. The +12V rail is split up into four “virtual” 25A lines and has a combined max load of 768 W (64 A).
Cables and Connectors
The PSU is equipped with the following cables and connectors:
- Mainboard cable with a 20+4-pin connector (52cm long)
- CPU cable with a 4-pin connector (52 cm)
- CPU cable with an 8-pin connector (52 cm)
- Two graphics card cables with one 6+2-pin connector on each (52 cm)
- Two connectors for additional graphics card cables
- Three connectors for peripheral power cables
Despite the different color and labels, the connectors for detachable cables are identical both mechanically and electrically. They only have different +12V lines attached to them.
Included with the PSU are:
- Two graphics card cables with one 6+2-pin connector on each (54 cm)
- Two cables with three PATA power plugs and one floppy-drive connector on each (54+15+15+15 cm)
- One cable with three PATA power plugs (54+15+15 cm)
- Two cables with three SATA power connectors on each (53+15+15 cm)
- One cable with two SATA power connectors (53+15 cm)
Take note that the detachable graphics card cables are connected to 6-pin PSU connectors in which two pins (+5 and +3.3 volts) are not necessary for graphics cards. The manufacturer’s solution to equip these cables with 6+2-pin connectors is dubious. I wouldn’t recommend using them for top-end graphics cards.
There are more cables included with the PSU than there are connectors in it, so you can choose what cables are necessary for your particular PC configuration. You won’t have to mess up with redundant cables (take note that there are peripheral power cables with either two or three connectors) and you won’t feel a lack of connectors with some very specific configuration (e.g. if you’ve got a lot of PATA drives). This is preferable to having fewer cables with more connectors on each.
I want to remind you that if the two fixed graphics card cables are enough for you, you can connect all six HDD power cables to the PSU connectors, which are all identical.
Working with my APC SmartUPS SC 620 uninterruptible power supply, the TruePower Quattro TPQ-850 was stable at loads up to 375 W when powered by the mains and up to 340 W when powered by the batteries. They had no problems switching to the UPS’s batteries.
Output Voltage Stability
The three main voltages deflect no more than 3% from their nominal values within the permissible load range. There is nothing to criticize this PSU for.
Output Voltage Ripple
Everything is all right with the +5V and +12V rails but the voltage on the +3.3V rail shows strange waves with a frequency of about 20 kHz. I say strange because it is unclear where this frequency originates from. PSUs usually have high-frequency pulsation at the frequency of the PWM regulator, i.e. over 100 kHz in modern models. Sometimes they also have low-frequency pulsation at a double frequency of the power mains (100 Hz in my region). Anyway, this pulsation is still within the permissible 50 millivolts.
This power supply is cooled by an 80x80x25mm fan from Adda (AD0812UB-A70GL).
The fan starts out at a speed of about 1900 RPM and keeps it nearly constant at loads up to 500 watts. Alas, the air produces a distinct sound passing through the densely packed innards of the PSU even at minimum loads. Therefore, the TruePower Quattro is only average in terms of noisiness. Its noise is neither loud nor irritating but may be noticeable in a home environment.
Efficiency and Power Factor
The PSU boasts a high but not record-breaking efficiency: higher than 88% at the peak and well above 80% at loads higher than 100 watts.
The standby source copes with its job just fine. Its voltage is never lower than 5 volts even at the highest permissible load.
Although the Antec TruePower Quattro TPQ-850 is not exceptional as today’s high-wattage PSUs go, it is quite a decent product in itself. It has perfectly stable voltages, high efficiency and a good selection of cables. On the downside are the fan which might be quieter and the PSU connectors for graphics card cables which are not designed for high loads.
The special feature of this PSU – its 80mm cooling fan – makes it an excellent choice for owners of system cases that do not allow to install a PSU with a 120mm fan, like many entry-level servers. Compared with most other high-wattage PSUs with 80mm fans, e.g. PSUs produced under the PC Power&Cooling brand, the TPQ-850 is preferable due to its rather quiet fan, small dimensions and modular design.