Apevia Warlock 900W PSU Review

Sagittaria - 2008-03-14 18:02:07 in Power Supplies
Category: Power Supplies
Reviewed by: Sagittaria   
Reviewed on: April 6, 2008
Price: $179.99

Introduction:

Apevia recently released its Warlock power supply series, which come in three flavors: 750W, 900W, and 1100W. This is Apevia's first real venture into the high-end, energy gushing, power supply market and true to the Apevia name, they dressed up the units rather extravagantly. The Warlock shines with its glossy titanium case, which is windowed - rather unusual for a power supply. To top it all off, it's excellently cooled and lit with a user-controllable tri-color 135mm fan, so it can change colors to impress friends and match a case color scheme on the fly.

Apevia is widely known for its highly successful, flashy, and windowed entry-level to mid-range cases. Unfortunately, Apevia's glitzy approach in the PSU market has long been overshadowed with poor performance and quality among the veteran overclockers around the web. I got my hands on the 900 watt model and I'm pretty excited to find out how the Apevia 900W Warlock fares. Today's ultra high-end rigs use more power than ever before and no hardcore enthusiast wants a rig with a poor performing PSU - no matter how good it looks. So, will it fall back with the rest of its pretty, but mediocre performing brothers, or actually shine and make a dent in Apevia's reputation?

 

Closer Look:

The box itself is pretty self-explanatory. Apevia heavily emphasizes the selectable tri-color fan including red, blue, and green.

 

 

I opened up the box and found the Warlock resting comfortably in a protective plastic bag, wedged between two pieces of foam. The packaging looks plenty good to survive the rigors of long distance shipping.

 

I pulled out the Warlock and also found a short manual, four thumb screws, a standard power cable and Velcro straps for cable management - a nice touch.

 

Now for the real fun. I was pleasantly surprised with the look of the unit in person, as the Warlock certainly does look rather sharp. The titanium mirror finish first caught my eye - extremely snazzy. As you may tell, I had great difficulty taking photos without getting a shot of myself. Now, the Warlock has a large belly mounted 135mm fan, which is nice, as larger fans are generally quieter than smaller fans, moving the same amount of air or more. The windows are on the front and sides to show off the internals, which is to be lit with the LEDs from the fan. The unit felt very solid and quite heavy - a promising sign of a good PSU.

Looks pretty wild, doesn't it? Well, after I passed the initial excitement, I unexpectedly found an imperfection in the paint. I noticed that the paint has somewhat of a rainbow type shine to it, best seen in the first image of the unit. It looks like the clear, glossy coat was applied incorrectly; however, it is only noticeable when looking at the case under a glare, up close.

 

 

Closer Look:

Now, I'll get a closer look at the top and back of the Warlock. The rear side has several ventilation holes in which the PSU will expel hot air from the case, a typical PSU cooling setup. Out of the ordinary, however, is the large silver button, allowing the fan to change colors from blue, to red, green, 'automatic', or nothing at all. The top of the PSU has the specification table decal, which lists four 12V rails - as advertised on the box.

Unfortunately, most manufacturers heavily advertise dual or quad rails generating a belief within the unsuspecting customer that more rails are better than one. Strangely enough, multiple rails have nothing to do with performance; rather, it's simply a somewhat useless safety feature tacked on by Intel to the latest ATX standard. A few highly respected companies, such as PCP&C, have ignored the ATX standard all together to satisfy the enthusiast overclocking crowd, who believe that these separated rails may degrade performance. Again, take note of the odd looking paint job on the back of the Warlock - the same imperfections as mentioned before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'll move onto the cables and connectors. The cables are about 2 feet long to the first connector, plenty long for the majority of cases and have good quality black and blue sleeves - a nice feature for wire management, airflow, and looks. The connectors are nothing new - the Warlock includes: 1x20/24pin, 6xSATA, 1xEPS 4/8pin, 2xPCI-E 6/8pin, 2xPCI-E 6pin, 8xMolex, and 2xFloppy. However, I am not fond of the way the connectors are setup, having so many on a single cable. This can be a hassle when trying to route different items around a large case.

 

Now, I found the setup of the PCI-E connectors fairly interesting. The four PCI-E connectors are divided onto two cables. Yet, in many of today’s systems, high-end video card setups are the heftiest of power users, literally slurping up a majority of a computer's power. While I'm not fond of the idea of having two high-end graphics cards share a cable, this is not much of a problem unless one is running an extremely high-end setup, with three or more top of the line graphics cards. That is, until I saw the 6/8pin connector. The whole point of the introduction of the 8pin over the 6pin was to add more wire, and thus a greater capacity of power to the graphics card. Thus, Apevia adds insult to injury by not only sharing two 6pins on a single cable, but having the extra two pins share (again) with the same cable. I can do the same thing with a $0.50 adaptor. The PCI-E connector setup is definitely something I do not like seeing on such a high-end product.

 

Closer Look:

I'm going to take a look at the innards of the Warlock; this is generally not advised to the average Joe. Opening a power supply will void your warranty, as seen in the picture below, and can give you a nasty shock from some of the large 200V+ filter capacitors (these can build up a charge, even when off). Opening up a power supply is generally pointless, unless you’re very experienced with these circuits, or want to determine quality, which I'll take a look at now. Components used, especially capacitors, tell a great deal about a power supply. If the manufacturer chooses to use a junk capacitor, then chances are, the unit reflects the characteristics of the parts used.

Again, I'll be losing the warranty on this unit by taking a peek.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After pulling it apart, I found that the capacitors in the Warlock appear to be a Matsushita, the parent company of Panasonic - quite respectable. I also wanted to point out the plastic shield over the fan, which will help airflow cycle in the case, through the heated components towards the rear outlet.

 

 

 

I plugged the PSU in and switched her on - I decided to leave the switch on automatic to show all the colors of the fan in a video. Again, the unit can switch from blue, red, green, auto, and off. The Warlock also has color memory; it will remember the color setting that was originally set, even when unplugged.

 

Nice! I think I have covered just about everything, so on to the installation!

Installation:

Installing a PSU is pretty easy. Just pop it in and screw it down - or so I thought. After aligning it, I proceeded with screwing the Warlock in, only to find that I could not screw the right two thumb screws by hand. I took a screw driver to both, successfully forcing the bottom right screw in - the top, right screw, however, did not budge. I have never seen this before in all my years with computers; an unthreaded hole perhaps? I tried different screws, same results.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I pulled out the unit again and opened it up to see what happened and it appears that that particular hole was not threaded completely. Sloppy paint to unthreaded screw holes in a near $200 power supply?

 

 

Well, I put the PSU back together and installed it, with three screws. Other than the screws, installation went as normal. I found that the cables were extremely flexible than what I am normally accustomed to.

Here are a few random shots of connections on the motherboard and video card - along with a Molex fan connector. As you can see, the tabs on the top and bottom of the PSU Molex connector allows for a quick release - a cool feature found on most Apevia PSUs.

 

 

Well, it certainly looks cool in my NZXT Zero, but how does it perform? Taking a quick review of the specs and features, I quickly moved onto throwing everything I could at the Warlock in testing.

Specifications:

 

 

Model
ATX-WA900

Max Power

900W
Material
Metal with Coated Titanium
Color

Black Titanium Coated with white/Blue Sleeves

Switches

ATX Logic on-off additional power rocker switch 115/230 Volt selector switch

Input

Voltage valtagees:115V/230V
Input freguency:60Hz/50Hz

Connectors

1 x 20/24pin Main Power
2 x 6pinPCI Express
2 x 8pin PCI Express
1 x 4/8 pin + 12V and EPS  
8 x 4pin Peripheral
6 x Serial ATA
2 x Floppy

Electrical

Efficiency:80% at full load
Hold up time: 17ms at full load
Switching Frequency: 125K Hz at normal link input
Stability: +/- 5% for 24K hr after warm up

Protection

Short-circuit/ Over current/ Over voltage/ Over power/ Under voltage/ Over Temperature

Environment

Operation temperature:0˚C to 40˚C

EMI/RFI
FCC
Safety
UL, CUL, TUV, CE, CB
PFC
Active
Cooling

Forced air ventilation by 1 x 135mm ball bearing fan  

Fan Speed Controller

Automatically Thermal Controlled

MTBF
100,000 hours at full load/25˚C
Dimensions

150mm x 150mm x 85mm (W x L x H) 

Weight
5.0 lbs
Package
8 pcs/carton
Cu’ft
2.74 (per carton)

 

Features:

Testing:

I'll test the power supply by running a series of hardware-intensive programs - benchmarks such as 3dmark06 tend to be the most laborious by working the memory, processor, and graphics card at the same time. During this, I'll be monitoring voltages with my trusty multi-meter, comparing them to idle voltages and other power supplies in the same range. Due to the construction of most divided rail PSUs, the voltages remain generally the same, as these rails are not truly separate - they share components. In this case, I'll be measuring the first 12V rail (Molex) in the Warlock.

 

Testing Tools:

Testing Setup:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was very surprised when I found the results. The Warlock held its voltages down very well, beating the X-Finity and rivaling the Etasis - which is regarded as one of the best quality PSUs around. It looks like Apevia might have a winner! I could not pick out the PSU fan at all during load, thanks to the unit's large, thermally controlled fan.

Conclusion:

Well, I was pleasantly surprised with the Warlock. It not only has the looks but the performance to back it up - and quiet too! It appears as if Apevia has finally got its act together ... to a degree. Unfortunately, there were several small annoyances with the Warlock: unthreaded screw holes, an odd rainbow paint coat, and combining connectors onto a single cable - things I hate seeing on such a high-end product.

I'd also like to clarify this PSU's target market. While the PSU is definitely pretty - many do not have use for such a unit. You would not only have to have a windowed case, but a case with a huge window that actually showed the PSU bay. Not to mention that in most cases, only one side will be viewable! That is, unless you have a clear acrylic case. Also, 900W is more than enough for most systems out there - so most likely, 900W may actually be too much. The 750W version of the Warlock may also be an item of interest in such a case.  So, all in all, if you're looking for a power supply to power your high-end computer that looks snazzy and delivers good performance - than have a look at the Warlock series.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: