Articles: Cases/PSU

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XFX Black Edition XPS-850-BES

The last PSU to be discussed in this review comes from XFX which is mostly known for its graphics cards. The PSU market, already overcrowded with brands, seems to have some strange attraction to different manufacturers.

The PSU comes in a large box painted black and green.

Exterior Design

Despite its boastful Black Edition name, the XPS-850-BES is far less black than most of the above-described models. Its color is rather dark-gray and its fan is a nice-looking shade of green.

The case, especially the top panel, is shaped in a queer way but this has no practical function.

The PSU is modular and has eight connectors for power cables at the back: two for graphics cards and six for peripherals. The connectors are all the same color but differ in the number of pins, so you can hardly confuse them.

Interior Design

It is not simple to take this PSU apart. Taking the cover off, you can find that the fan is fastened to a separate frame rather than to the cover. The frame is secured to the case with self-tipping screws. This design has no effect on the airflows, but makes it more difficult to assemble the PSU or take it apart.

XFX designers do not seem to have tried to cut the cost as you can guess by the thickness of the back panel with the connectors. This is not a metal but plastic trim, yet it looks impressive anyway. And it serves a purely decorative purpose again. The connectors might have been hidden in an ordinary metallic case just as well by simply moving the card with them away from the back panel.

With the fan removed, I could easily identify a product of Seasonic. To be exact, it is the M12D series.

This PSU uses DC-DC converters to produce +5V and +3.3V voltages out of +12V. Otherwise, it is a standard enough model (it is the X series that Seasonic implements cutting-edge innovations in; we are going to publish a review of an X series power supply in near future).

Electrolytic capacitors from United Chemi-Con are installed at the PSU output. Polymer capacitors are used in the DC-DC converters.


The PSU can yield nearly all of its output power via the +12V rail which is not split into any “virtual” lines and offers full freedom in connecting the load.

Cables and Connectors

This PSU is equipped with the following cables and connectors:

  • Mainboard cable with a 20+4-pin connector (51 cm)
  • CPU cable with a 4+4-pin connector (55 cm)
  • CPU cable with an 8-pin connector (54 cm)
  • Two graphics card cables with one 6+2-pin connector on each (55 cm)
  • Two connectors for graphics card cables
  • Six connectors for peripheral power cables

Included with the PSU are:

  • Two graphics card cables with one 6+2-pin connector on each (55 cm)
  • One cable with two PATA power connectors (35+15 cm)
  • Two cables with three PATA power connectors on each (45+15+15 cm)
  • One cable with two SATA power connectors (35+15 cm)
  • Three cables with three SATA power connectors on each (45+15+15 cm)
  • One adapter from a PATA power connector to two floppy-drive plugs.

Again, one of the CPU cables is going to be idle in most computers whereas the available CPU cables may be a couple of centimeters too short to reach to the respective mainboard connector from a bottom PSU compartment in a large system case.

Otherwise, there are enough connectors and there are even two versions of HDD cables: with two and three connectors, so that you could choose what suits your configuration best.

UPS Compatibility

Working with my APC SmartUPS SC 620, this power supply was stable at loads up to 370 watts when powered by the mains and up to 360 watts when powered by the batteries. They had no problems switching to the UPS’s batteries.

Output Voltage Stability

Every voltage is stable, especially on the +12V rail.

Output Voltage Ripple

The output voltage ripple at full load is within the permissible range.


The PSU is cooled by an interesting fan from Adda that had large, nearly overlapping, blades. It should produce a good static pressure which is important for cooling a high-component-density power supply. The fan measures 135x135x25 millimeters and has a rated speed of 2200 RPM. A part of the impeller is blocked by a piece of plastic film to drive the air to the back of the PSU case.

The fan rotates at less than 700 RPM at loads up to 500 watts, which makes the PSU very quiet at that load range. Then, the fan speed grows up along with the load: the PSU is audible at 700 watts and higher and downright noisy at 800 watts. On the other hand, this load is rare in practical applications and is also associated with noisy components (such as GeForce GTX 480 or Radeon HD 5970 graphics cards), so the PSU can be viewed as quiet indeed.

Efficiency and Power Factor

The PSU is over 90% efficient at the maximum and 87% efficient at full load. It deservedly boasts its 80+Plus Silver certificate.

Standby Source

The standby source copes perfectly with its job. The difference between the minimum and maximum of its output voltage is less than 0.1 volts.


Taking to PSU production, XFX chose an experienced maker and did some good design work. The XPS-850-BES is a competitive product that can appeal to the customer with its original exterior, rich selection of connectors and good characteristics such as very quiet operation at low and medium loads.

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