XFX XPS-850W Power Supply Review

paulktreg - 2009-09-01 14:47:47 in Power Supplies
Category: Power Supplies
Reviewed by: paulktreg   
Reviewed on: September 14, 2009
Price: $199.99

Introduction:

The already crowded PC power supply market just got a little more crowded with the recent introduction of a new power supply line from XFX. XFX, a division of Pine Technology Holdings Ltd. founded in 1989, is probably better known for its high performance graphics cards and motherboards.

The XFX Black Edition 850W power supply is the first offering in the series, with rumors of lower wattage units joining it in the future. There are a multitude of great power supplies available in the 850W bracket and it's certainly a brave move on the part of XFX, introducing a new power line in the current economic climate. PC enthusiasts are obviously going to expect the same high level of performance from this power supply that XFX graphics cards have, on the whole, produced. For it to succeed, at least in the enthusiast market, its performance is going to have to be up there with the best. There is, however, a group of PC users out there that will fall for how a power supply looks rather than how it performs – sad but true – and the XFX Black Edition 850W will certainly turn a few heads with its unusual appearance that you will either love or hate. I find it strange how so much work goes into the appearance of a power supply, since it will spend all of its working life out of sight in the majority of enclosures.

"The XFX Black Edition 850W modular power supply gives you the power you need with a brilliant combination of form and function. Giving more than just life to your PC, this power supply allows easy cable management with modular connectors, which helps increase airflow and reduces clutter. With tight voltage regulation, clean outputs, and high efficiency operation up to 88% (80 Plus Silver), this power supply will give you exactly what you need to keep your gaming charged and ready for battle."

Let's take a look at the XFX Black Edition 850W power supply and see if the claims hold true.

Closer Look:

The packaging for the XFX Black Edition 850W power supply uses black and green as its theme and a cardboard sleeve enclosing the boxed contents. The black areas are in a matte finish with splashes of high gloss to emphasise the green areas and the "850" numeric. A slightly abstract graphic of the power supply cooling fan side is shown on the top face of the sleeve, along with an 80 Plus Silver and Nvidia SLI Ready logo. The underside of the sleeve shows a photograph of the XFX Black Edition 850W power supply, along with a list of the key features and power supply connectors and quantities.

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Not a lot to see on the two end panels, but the inclusion of a sturdy carry handle is always welcome.

 

 

The front and rear faces of the sleeve show another graphic of the power supply along with a comprehensive specification table and a full row of icons representing the agency approvals awarded to the XFX Black Edition 850W power supply.

 

 

With the sleeve removed, you'll find the internal packaging is made of two boxes held together by tabs. The larger, lower box bearing the 'play hard' logo contains the power supply, while the upper narrow box contains the modular cable set.

 

 

Lifting the lid, you'll find two flaps on the sides of the box neatly framing the power supply fan. The left hand side bears the XFX website address, while the user guide is neatly held in place on the right hand side with diagonal slots in the cardboard at each corner. Lifting the flaps, you'll see that the power supply is held securely in place with lime green boxes matching the color of the cooling fan.

 

 

The left hand cardboard box contains the power cord and mounting screws and on the right there is a cardboard insert that sits neatly over the power supply captive cable set. The photograph on the right shows the modular cable set box, the power cord box, power cord, mounting screws and user manual.

 

 

The XFX Black Edition 850W packaging is very well done without the use of foam inserts, which is to be commended. It is well protected and contains an adequate set of accessories. Let's have a closer look.

 

Closer Look (The Power Supply):

The XFX Black Edition 850W certainly has a look all of its own. Lime green cooling fan and a matte black, slightly textured, paint finish, with an overall, what would you call it, industrial look? The cooling fan grill is part of the case and at the centre is an XFX logo with a clear plastic protector that will prevent scratches and keep it shiny and unmarked until removed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bottom left, you can see the large cooling grill on the rear with the IEC mains input connector, on/off switch and another XFX logo, again with a clear plastic protector that can be removed. The photograph on the right shows the front of the power supply with its green modular cable connectors and captive cable port. There isn't a protector grommet on the cable exit port, but the internal edges of the port are lapped over to prevent damage to the cables.

 

 

Here are the side panels showing the specification label on one side and an XFX logo label on the other.

 

 

The top of the power supply showing the cooling fan and a photograph of the power supply base.

 

 

The XFX Black Edition 850W power supply captive cable set. XFX has hard wired more cables than most other modular power supplies – 20/24-pin motherboard connector, ATX12V 4+4-pin connector, EPS12V 8-pin connector, and two 6+2-pin PCI-E connectors.

 

The modular cable box shown on earlier in the review contains a black, two-compartment, Velcro-sealed bag for the cables. Bearing the play hard logo and a part of the XFX logo in green, it is certainly different.

 

 

The full modular cable set contained inside the bag.

 

On all the other power supplies I have reviewed for OCC, when I have taken the lid off, I'm fairly certain that the cooling fan came with it, but not in this case. XFX has chosen not to mount the fan on the lid, instead opting to install an internal cooling fan mounting bracket. The fan used on the XFX Black Edition 850W power supply is an Adda model ADN512MB-A91 135mm 12VDC 0.27A, with a maximum speed of 2050 RPM.

 

 

The printed circuit board in the XFX Black Edition 850W is well laid out, but a quick look around didn't reveal any identification marks that could easily be nailed down to any particular manufacturer. What could be a manufacturer's part number of PF4AHT01B and a date of Oct 6 2008 are the only identifying marks I could see without dismantling the board. The electrolytic capacitors are all rated at 105°C, which are more welcome than the 85°C rated capacitors that are sometimes used. Going off the screen print near to the mains input fuse, the board is used on both 750W and 850W rated units, so it isn't run beyond its rated power.

 

The printed circuit board used in the XFX Black Edition 850W, after a little research, is almost certainly manufactured by Seasonic. Seasonic units on the whole are excellent, and this board is almost certainly the same as the one installed in the Seasonic M12D power supply, and probably others?

 

 

The XFX Black Edition 850W power supply ticks all the right boxes so far! The build quality is excellent and the looks and packaging, although possibly not to everybody's taste, are still nonetheless of the highest quality. Couple this with the fact that the printed circuit board is made by Seasonic, and it should be a winner. Let's have a look at the features and then put it to the test and see how it stands up to OCC testing.

 

Specification:

Ratings Table:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

XFX 850W Specifications (Model: XPS-850W-BES)
AC Input
90-264VAC     12A     47-63Hz
DC Output
+3V3
+5V
+12V
-12V
+5VSB
Maximum Load
24A
30A
70A
0.8A
3A
Maximum Combined Wattage
150W
840W
9.6W
15W
850W

 

System Protection:

Total Power Protection (OPP)

Total power 135% maximum with shutdown and latch off protection.

Over Voltage Protection (OVP)

 

Output
Active Range
Result
 
Min
Max
+3V3
3.76V
4.30V
Shutdown & Latch Off
+5V0
5.74V
7.00V
The Group 1 DC Output
+12V
13.4V
15.6V

 

Short Circuit Protection (OCP)

A short between ground and any group 1 output will shutdown all of group 1.

A short between ground and group 2 will shutdown both group 1 and group 2.

(Group 1 is everything but the +5VSB rail and Group 2 is the +5VSB. Short the +5VSB rail and the complete power supply is shut down, short any of the other rails and the +5VSB remains live.)

Reset After Shutdown

Whenever the power supply latches into the shutdown state due to a fault condition on any output, the power supply will return to normal operation only after the fault has been removed and the power switch cycled off/on with a minimum off time of 20mS.

 

Safety & Agency Approvals:

EMC

Complies to EN61204-3:2000, FCC Part 15 & Part 2 (CISPR 22 Class B), GB9254-1998 AGB17625.1:2003 standards.

Safety

Conforms to IEC60950-1:2000, EN60950-1:2001, UL60950-1 1st, GB4943-2001 standard: CB, TUV, CUL (Level 6), CE.

 

Power Supply Weight:

 

Power Supply Weight
Manufacturer/Model
Weight
XFX Black Edition 850W
2.8kg
6.2lbs

 

Power Supply Connectors:

 

XFX 850W Connectors
20+4-Pin Motherboard
Captive
1
EPS12V 8-Pin
Captive
1
ATX12V 4+4-Pin
Captive
1
PCI-E 6+2-Pin
Captive
2
PCI-E 6+2-Pin
Modular
2
SATA Power
Modular
11
Peripheral 4-Pin
Modular
8
FDD
Adapter
2

 

Power Supply Cable Lengths:

 

XFX 850W Connector Cable Lengths
Captive
PSU > 22” > 20+4-Pin Motherboard
1
Captive
PSU > 22” > 8-Pin EPS12V
1
Captive
PSU > 22” > 4+4-Pin ATX12V
1
Captive
PSU > 22” > PCI-E 6+2-Pin
2
Modular
PSU > 14” > Peripheral > 6” > Peripheral
1
Modular
PSU > 18” > Peripheral > 6” > Peripheral > 6” > Peripheral
1
Modular
PSU > 22” > Peripheral > 6” > Peripheral > 6” > Peripheral
1
Modular
PSU > 14” > SATA > 6” > SATA
1
Modular
PSU > 18” > SATA > 6” > SATA > 6” > SATA
2
Modular
PSU > 22” > SATA > 6” > SATA > 6” > SATA
1
Modular
PSU > 22” > PCI-E 6+2-Pin
2
Adapter
Peripheral > 6” >  2 x FDD
1

 

Features:

 

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
XFX Black Edition 850W
Pass

 

Short Circuit Protection:

I short circuited the 3V3, 5V0 and the 12V rail in turn. The power supply did shut down, and once the short was removed and the unit switched off for at least one second, 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

 

 

XFX Black Edition 850W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC Supply = 110V / DC Load = 0W
PSU DC Rail
Measured Voltage(V)
3V3
3.40
5V0
5.15
+12V
12.22
-12V
-12.00
5VSB
5.03

 

XFX Black Edition 850W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
110VAC - Total Load at 175W which is 21% of Rated Maximum Output Power
PSU
DC Rail
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.38
3.22
10.88
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
5.14
4.59
23.59
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
12.21
10.30
125.76
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
11.90
0.35
4.16
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.94
2.06
10.18
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
175W
 

 

XFX Black Edition 850W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
110VAC - Total Load at 419W which is 49% of Rated Maximum Output Power
PSU
DC Rail
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.37
8.36
28.17
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
5.14
8.88
45.64
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
12.19
27.13
330.71
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
12.06
0.35
4.22
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.94
2.06
10.18
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
419W
 

 

XFX Black Edition 850W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
110VAC - Total Load at 830W which is 98% of Rated Maximum Output Power
PSU
DC Rail
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.36
12.96
43.55
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
5.13
13.20
67.72
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
12.17
57.82
703.67
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
12.28
0.36
4.42
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.93
2.06
10.16
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
830W
 

 

Mains Input Voltage 230VAC

 

 

XFX Black Edition 850W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC Supply = 230V / DC Load = 0W
PSU DC Rail
Measured Voltage(V)
3V3
3.40
5V0
5.15
+12V
12.21
-12V
-12.00
5VSB
5.03

 

XFX Black Edition 850W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
230VAC - Total Load at 174W which is 20% of Rated Maximum Output Power
PSU
DC Rail
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.37
3.20
10.78
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
5.13
4.63
23.75
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
12.20
10.29
125.53
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
11.91
0.35
4.17
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.94
2.06
10.18
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
174W
 

 

XFX Black Edition 850W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
230VAC - Total Load at 420W which is 49% of Rated Maximum Output Power
PSU
DC Rail
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.37
8.37
28.21
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
5.15
9.15
47.12
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
12.20
27.09
330.50
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
12.06
0.35
4.22
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.94
2.06
10.18
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
420W
 

 

XFX Black Edition 850W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
230VAC - Total Load at 830W which is 98% of Rated Maximum Output Power
PSU
DC Rail
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.36
12.84
43.14
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
5.14
12.89
66.25
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
12.18
57.99
706.32
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
12.27
0.36
4.42
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.92
2.06
10.13
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
830W
 

 

The XFX Black Edition 850W power supply gave an excellent set of results for DC voltage load regulation. The rail voltages are all slightly elevated, but still within the ATX12V V2.2 specification. What was most impressive was a drop of only 0.03~0.05V on the 12V rail as the load went from zero to almost 60A. No problems here, so let's move on.

 

Testing (Continued):

Efficiency and Power Factor:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

XFX Black Edition 850W
Output & Efficiency @ 110VAC
DC Load (W)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
0
6
0.69
N/A
N/A
175
207
0.97
85
Pass
419
484
0.98
87
Pass
830
979
0.99
85
Pass

 

XFX Black Edition 850W
Output & Efficiency @ 230VAC
DC Load (W)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
0
7
0.42
N/A
N/A
174
200
0.90
87
Pass
420
470
0.93
89
Pass
830
968
0.96
86
Pass

 

No problems here. The XFX Black Edition 850W meets the requirements of the ATX12V V2.2 specification with power factor levels above 0.9 at all times and excellent efficiency. I will have a little more to say in the conclusion regarding the efficiency and the 80 Plus Silver level claimed by the manufacturer.

 

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 = 5mV/div, Timebase = 5uS/div

 

AC Ripple On 5V0 Rail at 230VAC

Oscilloscope settings: Amplitude = 10mv/div, Timebase = 5uS/div

 

AC Ripple On 12V Rail at 230VAC

Oscilloscope settings: Amplitude = 5mv/div, Timebase = 5uS/div

 

XFX Black Edition 850W
AC Ripple/Noise @ 830W Loading
DC Rail
+3V3
+5V0
+12V
-12V0
+5VSB
Ripple (mV p-p)
35
30
20
20
50
Pass/Fail
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass

 

Ripple/noise levels meet the ATX12V V2.2 specification at all times. The 12V rail levels are really excellent at only 20mV, but the +5VSB level is a little on the high side and came very close to exceeding the limits.

 

Testing (Continued):

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.

 

XFX Black Edition 850W
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
575/569
175/174
20.5/20.9
28.8/27.9
8.3/7.0
587/588
419/420
21.0/20.9
38.4/32.7
17.4/11.8
600/593
830/830
21.8/21.3
44.7/41.7
22.9/20.4
1196/1357

 

This time around, I have given temperatures and fan speeds at 110VAC/230VAC. Acoustically, the XFX Black Edition 850W power supply remained very quiet, even at full load. The temperature differentials measured across the power supply are rather high, but comparable to other power supplies in this class. The average system with just one high end graphics card will probably put the power supply in the 300~400W region when fully loaded and with a fan speed of only 600 rpm it will be very quiet and noise will not be a problem on the XFX Black Edition 850W.

 

Conclusion:

Environmental Factors:

No foam! The XFX Black Edition 850W is the only power supply I have tested so far (I think), that doesn't use any foam inserts to protect the power supply. The base of the power supply is only protected by two layers of thick cardboard, which could make it vulnerable to transit damage, especially if shipped in the original box. However, I think this is very unlikely and it would have to be heavy blunt force trauma to cause serious damage. The fan side of the power supply is shielded by the modular cable box, which is as good as any foam layer, and the sides by sturdy cardboard inserts that give a good buffer zone and reasonable protection. The modular cable bag is probably one of the best I've seen, if you like that sort of thing, but is it really necessary? In most cases I would argue that once the power supply is installed and fired up the cable bag is thrown to the back of the cupboard to rarely be seen again, if at all. Combine the recyclable packaging with great efficiency and the XFX Black Edition 850W power supply earns a few more green points than most other units I have reviewed.

 

Price Per the Watt:

Power Supply XFX Black Edition 850W at $199.99 = $0.23/Watt (September 2009)

 

The XFX Black Edition 850W does have a look all its own, with its industrial-themed case and lime green fan, which I feel will surely appeal to some people – but performance must come first. The XFX Black Edition 850W didn't really put a wrong foot forward, but what it didn't do, following the OCC testing methodology, is meet the requirements of its claimed 80 Plus Silver certification. The standard requires an efficiency of 85%, 88% and 85% at 20%, 50% and 100% loading, respectively. The XFX 850W just failed at 50%, actually loaded to 49%, on 110VAC with an efficiency that was rounded up to 87%. I could not load the power supply to exactly 50% and combined with test equipment measurement inaccuracies of up to ±2%, that must be taken into account. As such, it is a minor failure that can perhaps be overlooked. I would however like to mention the 80 Plus certification for the XFX Black Edition 850W, which shows the unit passing with an efficiency of 88.1% (very close to the minimum requirement of 88%) and I really cannot see the manufacturer getting the necessary consistency on the production line to meet the 80 Plus Silver level with every unit, but maybe I'm wrong?

Cast your eyes back to page three and the cable length table. The peripheral and SATA cables are supplied in three different lengths – a nice touch, which may go a little way to helping with cable management and that uncluttered look. One small bone of contention is a Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF) figure of 100,000 hours quoted at 25°C. This temperature is totally unrealistic, especially if the power supply is heavily loaded. Most power supplies will easily reach a working temperature of 40°C and rise to 50°C if pushed, so come on XFX, let's see a little more confidence shown in your products.

Putting the 80 Plus Silver issues aside, the XFX Black Edition 850W performed admirably. The DC voltage load regulation was excellent, DC quality well within specification, and excellent efficiency of up to 89%. If you are in the market for a power supply to run any high end system with graphics cards in an SLI or Crossfire configuration, then I have no hesitation in highly recommending the XFX Black Edition 850W power supply. Heck, if you like the looks, then fit one in your system anyway – not that you'll see it in most enclosures!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: