Antec Signature 850W Reviewpaulktreg - September 18, 2008
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The power supply comes in a basic matte black paint finish with an Antec name plate recessed into the top cover. The back panel sports an honeycombe grill for the cooling fan, IEC mains input socket and an on/off switch.
Note the addition of the warranty sticker over the top panel case screw - break this and your warranty is invalid. Breaking warranty stickers is something I live for but please, do not do this at home unless you know what you are doing. There are some very dangerous voltages lurking around in power supply cases and there really is no need to open them. The often seen "no user serviceable parts inside" is usually the case, even fuses these days are often obscure types, difficult to obtain and sometimes soldered but there really is no excuse for a fuse to blow in high quality power supplies like the Signature as the protection circuitry should cut in and prevent this from happening. If a fuse has blown it's usually a sign that there is a serious problem. The photo below on the right shows the air intake grill, four connectors for the modular cables and the exit port for the hard wired cables.
You get the specification label on one side and that's it as far as labels and logos. The Antec Signature 850W comes with a good basic selection of hard wired cables which are listed later. You are given a total of 20 inches of cable up to the first connector, with multi-connector cables having a six inch spacing after that. I particularly liked the retention method used for the cable sleeve; instead of commonly used heat shrink sleeving, which often works loose, Antec has used hard moulded plastic collars that look like they will last forever.
Lift the lid and the first thing you see is an insulator sheet to prevent the top printed circuit board from shorting on the case. This has been removed for the photograph on the left. This power supply is unusual in that it contains two printed circuit boards. The photographs below show the top board inverted and after the removal of a few screws and two connectors, tipped over to reveal the component side. For your information the two main smoothing capacitors are by Rubycon, the rest are a mixture of Nichicon and Chemi-con. The top board takes the raw mains voltage for rectification, smoothing and processing via the switched mode circuitry before passing this processed voltage down to the bottom board for final regulation.
The Antec Signature, unlike most power supplies, uses DC to DC regulator modules to supply the 3V3 and 5V0 rails. These are located in the area of the copper plate seen in the photograph below. The white component on the heatsink is the temperature sensor that governs fan speed. The 80mm fan is a Nidec Beta SL 12V DC (Model D08A-12PS3) which is claimed to run far quieter due to its pulse width modulated (PWM) supply.
The final photograph in this section shows the rear of the modular cable connection sockets.
All in all the Antec Signature 850W is, externally and internally, a very well made unit. Let's see how it performs.