Sapphire Pure 1250W Power Supply Review

paulktreg - 2009-09-23 15:31:44 in Power Supplies
Category: Power Supplies
Reviewed by: paulktreg   
Reviewed on: October 29, 2009
Price: £218.99

Introduction:

Sapphire, probably better known for their high quality graphics cards, have recently introduced a new line of power supplies for the PC gamer, builder and enthusiast. The Pure PSU range is available in four variants from the workstation orientated Pure 650W, up to the top of the range Pure 1250W aimed at the power user. The Pure range offers efficiencies up to 80 Plus Silver, modular design, multiple 12V rails, LED cooling fan, active power factor correction and universal mains input capability. The Sapphire Pure 1250W is, according to the packaging, CrossfireX Ready and works with nVidia SLI. I can't see any official logos to back up these claims but, depending on how this power supply performs, does it really matter? Just because a power supply doesn't carry the official Crossfire or SLI Ready logo doesn't mean the power supply isn't capable of supporting the technology.

This is the first Sapphire power supply I have reviewed and 1250W is going to present a few challenges, so let's have a look at the unit and see how well it performs.

Closer Look:

Based on a satin black background theme the packaging of the Sapphire Pure 1250W really catches the eye. The top of the box carries a computer generated image of a tractor unit perhaps meant to reflect the power inside the box. A revolution counter type dial in the top corner is used to illustrate a claimed efficiency of up to 91% with a list of the main features given underneath down the left-hand side. Along the top edge is the Sapphire logo and power supply model and power rating with a small photograph of the power supply along with a 80 Plus Bronze logo completing the picture. The base of the box gives a complete list of power supply features along side a couple of photographs, one of which repeats the lid tractor unit image and another showing the Sapphire Pure 1250W power supply next to a black computer enclosure with red flame paint job down the side.

 

 

 

The edges of the box show the specification table and a complete list of all the available connectors with illustration photographs.

 

 

The same Pure 1250W logo is used on the front and inverted on the rear, so no need to show both sides.

 

Lift the lid and there are two more boxes bearing the Sapphire logo.

 

 

The larger box contains the plastic bag enclosed power supply inside a cardboard sleeve, user manual, power cord, a black Velcro sealed wallet for the modular cables and a small plastic bag containing four power supply mounting screws and a couple of ATI case badges.

 

 

The smaller cardboard box contains the modular cable set and a few cable ties to help tidy things up once the power supply is installed.

 

The packaging of the Sapphire Pure 1250W power supply is to a very high standard using sturdy cardboard boxes and contains everything needed for a successful installation, so let's move on and have a closer look at the power supply.

 

Closer Look (The Power Supply):

The Sapphire Pure 1250W power supply paint finish is slightly unusual in that there is a slight brushed texture underneath the high gloss metallic black paint. It looks very well, but fingerprints are easily visible and careful handling will be required to avoid unsightly scratches.

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

The exhaust grille at the rear of the power supply utilises as much room as possible with the IEC mains input connector, mains on/off switch and PowerGuard indicator LED occupying the top corner. The front face of the power supply also carries a small area of grille which will unfortunately mean some hot air is pushed back into the power supply enclosure, so good air flow through the case may be needed for some PC configurations. The modular cable connectors are neatly laid out with black connectors for peripheral/SATA cables and red for the PCI-E cables. Slightly puzzling that there are four red PCI-E connectors and only three modular cables to fit these sockets; perhaps this is for future upgrades, with extra cables available from Sapphire, for the mystery 12 pin connector mentioned in the feature list? The user manual does make reference more optional connectors being available but I was unable to find any reference to them on the Sapphire website.

 

 

A comprehensive specification label occupies one side of the power supply, the other left blank and if you look carefully, you can just see the slight brushed texture of the paint finish caught in the light.

 

 

The photograph below shows the 140mm polished silver case fan covered with a gold fan guard with the Sapphire logo at its centre. This particular fan is LED lit which I will show in all its glory later on in the review. The base of the power supply carries production barcodes and stickers used during the manufacturing process for quality control, testing and indentification.

 

 

The captive and modular cable sets. The more observant of you will notice the captive cable for the two 6+2 pin PCI-E connectors leaves the power supply as one braided bundle and then splits into two after approximately one quarter of the length and the three PCI-E modular cables follow the same design. It keeps things a little tidier. The cooling fan RPM detector cable can be seen at the rear.

 

 

The fan used in the Sapphire Pure 1250W is manufactured by Power Cooler, utilises Twister Bearing Technology and is rated at 12VDC/0.75A with a model number of PD1402512H. I couldn't find any information on this manufacturer or model number on the Internet, but similar designs point to the fan using dual ball bearings and a frictionless magnetic drive to reduce wear. The photograph on the left shows the fan mounting with a small clear plastic baffle utilised to direct the air where it's needed. The photograph on the right shows the LEDs and current limiting resistors mounted on the inside rim of the fan housing.

 

 

I couldn't find any marks on the printed circuit board to identify any particular manufacturer, but it does look exactly like the Enermax 85+ 1250W power supply. The printed circuit board is well made and uses a mixture of 85°C and 105°C electrolytic capacitors by Nippon Chemi-Con. The claim that the Sapphire Pure 1250W power supply uses solid state capacitors is partially true, because I can only see them on the printed circuit board at the rear of the unit on which the modular cables connectors are mounted. The main purpose of the base-mounted main printed circuit board would appear to be 12V production with the 3V3 and 5V rails derived via DC to DC convertors on the modular connector board mentioned previously and shown below in the photograph vertically mounted at the rear of the power supply.

 

It's not unusual to see two main transformers (the third smaller one will be for the +5VSB rail) in units of this rating, but I can't really see how they are configured. Quite often you find two 12V rails with the 3V3 taken from one and the 5V0 rail from the other, but this is usually reflected in the specification table and the combined wattage groupings, but the specification table for this unit doesn't indicate this configuration. The mains transient filter components are all there and the unit uses high quality aluminium heat sinks with a very large surface area, which will be needed to dissipate large amounts of heat when delivering 1250 watts of power.

 

 

The Sapphire Pure 1250W ticks all the right boxes so far with well designed and laid out packaging, good build quality and good looks. Let's have a look at the more important factor - performance.

 

Specification:

Ratings Table:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sapphire Pure 1250W Specification (Model No. SFI1250AWT)
AC Input
115-240VAC     15-6A     47-63Hz
DC Output
3V3
5V0
12V1
12V2
12V3
12V4
12V5
12V6
-12V
5VSB
Maximum Load
25A
25A
30A
30A
30A
30A
30A
30A
0.6A
5A
Maximum
Combined
Wattage
170W
1248W
7.2W
25W
1250W
Peak Wattage
1500W

 

System Protection:

 

Sapphire Pure 1250W System Protection
DC Over Current
Protection
DC Rail
OCP Trigger Point
3V3
30 - 45A
5V0
30 - 45A
12V1/2/3/4/5/6
34 - 45A
DC Under Voltage/Over Voltage Protection
DC Rail
UVP Trigger Point
OVP Trigger Point
3V3
2.0 - 2.4V
3.7 – 4.1V
5V0
3.3 - 3.7V
5.7 – 6.5V
12V1/2/3/4/5/6
8.5 - 9.5V
13.1 – 14.5V
-12V
-9.0 - -10.3V
-13.1 - -14.5V
AC Under Voltage Protection
Activated when AC input voltage is less than 70VAC.
Over Power Protection
Activated when output power is greater than 110 - 160% of rated maximum load.
Over Temperature Protection
Activated when PSU heat sink is greater than
90 - 110°C / 194 - 230°F.
Short Circuit Protection
Activated when DC rail is short-circuited.
Surge & Inrush Protection
Sustain 2kV surge stroke.
Sustain up to 70A inrush current at 240VAC at cold start

 

"This PSU features PowerGuard & Advanced Protection Guard function to monitor the PSU itself. With tri-color LED, PowerGuard tells you the current PSU status. In case of abnormal situations, the power supply will automatically turn off to aviod potential danger to itself and other system components."

 

Sapphire Pure 1250W PowerGuard Indication
LED
On/Off Switch
 
OFF
OFF
No AC Input – Turn the I/O switch to the ON position.
OFF
ON
No AC Input or PSU malfunction – Check if AC cable is firmly plugged into wall outlet and AC inlet. If LED still does not turn to orange light, then contact SAPPHIRE service center.
Orange
ON
PSU normal and system in standby/sleep mode.
Green
ON
PSU normal and system operational.
Red
ON
System abnormal, protection circuit activated.
If you push the system power button, and PSU refuse to turn on, the LED turn from orange to red light:
-Short Circuit protection activated.
-Completely check if all connectors are correctly inserted, and clean the chassis to prevent undesired objects, which might short circuit any device/terminal.
If during system operation, the PSU suddenly shut down:
-Touch the PSU housing and check if it is hot. If yes, wait till cool down and restart the system to see if all system fans and PSU fan are running. Add or replace the system fan if required.
-If same situation repeat, recheck if all connectors are well connected to system, or redistribute certain drives/PCI-E power to different 12V rail connector.

 

Safety & Agency Approvals:

 

UL/cUL(Level 6), TUV, CCC, GOST, CB, CE & FCC.

 

Power Supply Weight:

 

Power Supply Weight
Manufacturer/Model
Weight
Sapphire Pure 1250W
2.95kg
6.5lbs

 

Power Supply Connectors:

 

Sapphire Pure 1250W Connectors
24 Pin Motherboard
Captive
1
EPS12V 8 Pin
Captive
1
ATX12V 4+4 Pin
Captive
1
PCI-E 6+2 Pin
Captive
2
Fan RPM
Captive
1
PCI-E 6+2 Pin
Modular
6
SATA Power
Modular
16
Peripheral 4 Pin
Modular
6
FDD
Modular
1

 

Power Supply Cable Lengths:

 

Sapphire Pure 1250W Connector Cable Lengths
Captive
PSU > 23" > 24 Pin Motherboard
1
Captive
PSU > 25" > 8 Pin EPS12V
1
Captive
PSU > 25" > 4+4 Pin ATX12V
1
Captive
PSU > 25" > 2 X PCI-E 6+2 Pin
1
Captive
PSU > 21" > Fan 3 Way For PSU Cooling Fan RPM detection
1
Modular
PSU > 18" > Peripheral > 4" > Peripheral > 4" > Peripheral > 4" > FDD
1
Modular
PSU > 18" > Peripheral > 4" > Peripheral > 4" > Peripheral
1
Modular
PSU > 18" > SATA > 4" > SATA > 4" > SATA > 4" > SATA
4
Modular
PSU > 19" > 2 X PCI-E 6+2 Pin
3

 

Features:

Exactly as printed on the box.

Testing:

For more information on how we test our power supplies, please browse our testing methodology.

 

 

 

 

 

Electrical Safety:

 

Electrical Safety Test Class 1
Manufacturer/Model
Pass/Fail
Sapphire Pure 1250W
Pass

 

Short Circuit Protection:

I short circuited the 3V3, 5V0 and all six 12V rails in turn. The power supply did shut down and the PowerGuard LED turned red. Once the short was removed and the unit switched off for at least one second, it resumed normal operation. Although listed here at the beginning of the testing section, I tend to leave this test until the very end, in case it doesn't quite go to plan.

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation:

 

Mains Input Voltage 110VAC

 

 

Sapphire Pure 1250W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC Supply = 110V / DC Load = 0W
PSU DC Rail
Measured Voltage(V)
3V3
3.34
5V0
5.11
12V1,12V2,12V3,12V4,12V5,12V6
12.33
-12V
-11.66
5VSB
5.20

 

Sapphire Pure 1250W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
110VAC– Total Load at 279W which is 22% of Rated Maximum Output Power
PSU
DC Rail
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.33
7.54
25.11
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
5.09
8.79
44.74
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V1
12.30
2.60
31.98
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V2
12.30
2.60
31.98
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V3
12.28
2.59
31.80
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V4
12.28
8.07
99.10
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V5
12.31
0
0
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V6
12.31
0
0
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
11.83
0.33
3.90
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.17
2.09
10.80
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
279W
 

 

Sapphire Pure 1250W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
110VAC – Total Load at 692W which is 55% of Rated Maximum Output Power
PSU
DC Rail
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.33
7.44
24.77
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
5.08
8.84
44.71
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V1
12.28
8.17
100.33
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V2
12.28
2.60
31.93
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V3
12.19
8.08
98.49
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V4
12.26
8.16
100.04
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V5
12.23
11.55
141.26
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V6
12.24
11.10
135.86
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
11.52
0.33
3.80
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.07
2.09
10.60
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
692W
 

 

Sapphire Pure 1250W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
110VAC– Total Load at 1277W which is 102% of Rated Maximum Output Power
PSU
DC Rail
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.33
10.73
35.73
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
5.06
12.93
65.42
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V1
12.21
18.11
221.12
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V2
12.21
18.06
220.51
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V3
12.04
18.33
220.69
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V4
12.19
18.60
226.73
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V5
12.22
11.38
139.06
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V6
12.20
10.92
133.22
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
11.73
0.34
3.99
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.04
2.09
10.53
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
1277W
 

 

Mains Input Voltage 230VAC

 

 

Sapphire Pure 1250W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC Supply = 230V / DC Load = 0W
PSU DC Rail
Measured Voltage(V)
3V3
3.34
5V0
5.11
12V1,12V2,12V3,12V4,12V5,12V6
12.33
-12V
-11.66
5VSB
5.20

 

Sapphire Pure 1250W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
230VAC– Total Load at 279W which is 22% of Rated Maximum Output Power
PSU
DC Rail
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.34
7.64
25.52
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
5.09
8.62
43.87
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V1
12.30
2.58
31.73
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V2
12.30
2.58
31.73
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V3
12.28
2.57
31.56
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V4
12.28
8.15
100.08
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V5
12.30
0
0
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V6
12.30
0
0
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
11.90
0.33
3.92
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.10
2.09
10.66
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
279W
 

 

Sapphire Pure 1250W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
230VAC – Total Load at 690W which is 55% of Rated Maximum Output Power
PSU
DC Rail
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.33
7.44
24.77
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
5.09
8.77
44.64
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V1
12.28
8.18
100.45
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V2
12.28
2.60
31.93
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V3
12.22
8.07
98.61
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V4
12.26
8.05
98.69
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V5
12.23
11.56
141.38
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V6
12.22
11.08
135.40
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
11.52
0.33
3.80
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.07
2.09
10.60
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
690W
 

 

Sapphire Pure 1250W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
230VAC – Total Load at 1278W which is 102% of Rated Maximum Output Power
PSU
DC Rail
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.33
11.17
37.20
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
5.06
12.63
63.91
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V1
12.21
18.48
225.64
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V2
12.21
18.10
221.00
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V3
12.03
17.95
215.93
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V4
12.19
18.18
221.61
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V5
12.21
11.60
141.64
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V6
12.22
11.18
136.62
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
11.73
0.34
3.99
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.04
2.09
10.53
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
1278W
 

 

No problems here. The Sapphire Pure 1250W produced an excellent set of results in this section. All the rails held up well within the limits set down by the ATX12V V2.2 specification from zero, to a slight overload of 1278W.

 

Testing:

Efficiency and Power Factor:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sapphire Pure 1250W
Output & Efficiency @ 110VAC
DC Load (W)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
0
17
0.78
N/A
N/A
279
327
0.98
85
Pass
692
802
1.00
86
Pass
1277
1560
0.99
82
Pass

 

Sapphire Pure 1250W
Output & Efficiency @ 230VAC
DC Load (W)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
0
20
0.19
N/A
N/A
279
321
0.97
87
Pass
690
775
0.98
89
Pass
1278
1508
0.99
85
Pass

 

Efficiencies are well within the ATX12V V2.2 specification and as an added bonus they also meet the claimed 80 Plus Bronze certification following the OCC testing methodology. The power factor levels at 230VAC are also quite impressive when compared to other power supplies in this class. Let's move on and have a look at the DC quality.

 

AC Ripple On DC Outputs:

 

I have consistently found the AC ripple levels on the DC rails to be more or less equal with a 110VAC or 230VAC mains supply. The results given below are for 230VAC, only but I will continue to check the levels at 110VAC during testing and publish them below if they differ in any way.

 

AC Ripple On 3V3 Rail at 230VAC

Oscilloscope settings: Amplitude = 10mv/div, Timebase = 10uS/div

 

AC Ripple On 5V0 Rail at 230VAC

Oscilloscope settings: Amplitude = 10mv/div, Timebase = 10uS/div

 

AC Ripple On 12V1 Rail at 230VAC

Oscilloscope settings: Amplitude = 20mv/div, Timebase = 10uS/div

 

Sapphire Pure 1250W
AC Ripple/Noise
DC Rail
+3V3
+5V0
+12V
-12V0
+5VSB
Ripple (mV p-p)
30
20
60
80
25
Max Limit (mV p-p)
50
50
120
120
50
Pass/Fail
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass

 

Excellent! The Sapphire Pure 1250W DC quality is excellent. These noise/ripple levels are at 100% loading, a massive 1250W, and fall well within the ATX12V V2.2 specification. No problems so let's move on.

 

Testing:

Temperature, Noise Levels and Fan Speeds:

 

I am not going to give a pass or fail in this section, as the ATX12V V2.2 does not really have any references on which to base a decision.

Temperatures are purely for information only, as there are too many variables involved when installed in a case, which, by the way, it wasn't. Ambient temperature, processor cooling efficiency and case cooling fans all play their part on the temperature of the air entering the power supply, and consequently the temperature of the air leaving it. No valid conclusions can be made from this test.

 

 

 

 

Sapphire Pure 1250W
Temperature & Fan Speeds @ 110/230VAC
DC Loading(W)
Temp In (°C)
Temp Out (°C)
Δ Temp (°C)
Fan Speed (RPM)
0
N/A
N/A
N/A
1101/1104
279/279
21.0/21.7
28.9/28.2
7.9/6.5
1104/1103
692/690
21.7/21.5
36.2/32.4
14.5/10.9
1267/1073
1277/1278
21.9/21.8
40.5/37.7
18.6/15.9
2187/2125

 

 

 

 

Once again I should explain that these figures are for reference only. The exhaust temperature of 40.5° @ 110VAC is a little higher than I have seen on similar power supplies in this class, but the power supply was delivering 1250W with a moderately quiet fan running at 2187 rpm. If the power supply was installed in an enclosure giving increased air temperatures into the power supply then I could easily see this figure hitting 50°C at full load without further increases in fan speed, but how many systems out there pull 1250W? The power supply is rated at an ambient temperature of 50°C anyway, so is this a problem?

I have included a photograph of the LED lit fan in all its glory for you lovers of case lighting. It's not my cup of tea, but I have to say, with its eighteen bright white light emitting diodes spaced evenly around the fan mounting, the effect is quite stunning.

Going back to the features list and the Post Cooling design, I can confirm that the fan remained running for 45 seconds after shutdown. It's a useful feature that must do some good in the long run by cooling down the components at shutdown and preventing what Sapphire call the heat surge. This heat surge, however short, must happen if the fan is suddenly stopped at shutdown so it's a feature that should extend the lifetime of the power supply.

The Sapphire Pure 1250W does get a little hot at full load, which to some extent is to be expected, but the fan speed doesn't ramp up too severely and I have to be honest - it's quieter than I expected.

 

 

Conclusion:

Environmental Factors:

The Sapphire Pure 1250W actually scores quite high in this section and the only let-down is the inclusion of the black canvas bag for the modular cables which is really unnecessary. They come in a nice cardboard box that in my opinion is all that's needed. There is no foam used in the packaging and everything is neatly and securely packed in cardboard boxes making the majority of the packaging recycleable and the box is even printed in non-toxic vegetable oil based ink!

 

Price Per the Watt:

Power Supply: Sapphire Pure 1250W at $TBA = $0.XX/Watt (10-2009)

 

The build quality is excellent and the white LED lighting on the large chrome cooling fan will I'm sure, appeal to some enthusiasts with a liking for case lighting. The Sapphire Pure 1250W with its six 6+2 pin PCI-E connectors will easily power any SLI or Crossfire configuration using two or even three high-end graphics cards. We are starting to see the move away from devices with 4 pin peripheral (Molex) power connectors and the Sapphire Pure 1250W with only 6 of these and a massive 16 SATA power connectors reflects this trend. The modular cable connectors for PCI-E power on the Sapphire Pure 1250W power supply are 12 pin and with all the included cables utilised there is still one spare. Sapphire have pointed out in the enclosed literature that extra cables will be made available should any future developments require more than the 8 pin PCI-E connector and therefore avoid the need for a power supply upgrade.

The Sapphire Pure 1250W with its excellent electrical performance, great build quality and quiet running, puts it up there with the best and I have no hesitation in awarding it an OCC Gold award. If you need this much power or just want to install one because you can, then I have no hesitation in recommending it for serious consideration but check your case - because it's a little deeper than your average power supply at nearly 7.5 inches (190mm)!

 

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