Hardware PSU Reviews

Cooler Master V850 Modular Power Supply Review

We are back at it again with another review. This time another high end power supply from Cooler Master titled the Cooler Master V850. This particular unit has a power rating of 850W; not only that, carries a strong efficiency rate giving it an 80+ Gold rating. In order to achieve the prestigious Gold rating, the PSU must be capable of running at 90% efficiency under a typical (50%) load. From what we’ve seen, power supplies which carry high efficiency ratings, such as the V850, tend to be built much better over lower rated power supplies. However, with performance and quality comes price. In addition to the excellent performance rating, The V850 is fully 100% modular unlike many other modular PSUs which have modular hookups alongside fixed cables.

The Cooler Master V850 comes from the V-Series family of enthusiast power supplies. In addition to this model, there is the V700 and the V1000. Each V-series power supply comes with the 80+ Gold rating.

In this review we will be carefully analyzing the CM V850 PSU to see if it measures up to it’s claimed efficiency rating. We will also be loading it up to it’s max rated power rating of 850W to see just how well it performs. Quality of construction and appearance will also be analyzed. But without too much introduction ramblings, lets get on with the review!

Features and Specifications

To begin, lets look at the the most attractive feature of the V-Series lineup It is without a doubt the 80 Plus Gold rating. A rating like this says more about the quality of the internal components over any other notable feature. Efficiency plays a huge role the effectiveness of the power supply so having an efficient computer is a must. The V-series PSU is rated at an outstanding 90% efficiency under a typical load. For the user running their machine at 100% constantly, will likely be shaving a few dollars a month off the power bill. This little amount will definitely add up over time.

Now lets take a look at some the the features built into this unit. The information below was taken from OCZ’s website.

 

Features

  • Fully modular cable design incorporates a single 1000W +12V output that delivers up to 70A.
  • 80 PLUS Gold certified: up to 93% efficiency @ 50% load
  • Silent 135 mm FDB fan for lower noise and longer lifespan
  • Six PCI-E 6+2 pin connectors to support high-end GPUs
  • 100% high quality Japanese capacitor ensures performance and reliability.
  • Reliable 5 year warranty

Specs

Model RS-850-AFBA-G1
Type Intel Form Factor ATX 12V V2.31
Dimension (W x L x H) 150 x 170 x 86mm / 5.9 x 6.7 x 3.4 inch
Input Voltage 90-264Vac (Auto Range)
Input Current 10 – 5A
Input Frequency Range 60 – 50Hz
PFC Active PFC (>0.9)
Power Good Signal 100-500ms
Hold Up Time >17ms
Efficiency 90% Typically
MTBF >100,000 Hours
Protection OVP/UVP/OPP/OTP/SCP
Output Capacity 850W
Operation Temperature 0~40°C
Regulatory CE/TUV/TUV-SUDNRTL/FCC/GOST/CCC/BSMI/C-tick/KCC
Fan Silent FDB 135mm
Certifications 80 Plus Gold
Connector M/B 20+4 Pin Connector x 1
CPU 4+4 Pin x 1
PCI-e 6+2 Pin x 6
SATA x 9
4 Pin Peripheral x 4
4 Pin Floppy x 1

Lastly, below is an image of the power ratings taken from the bottom of the PSU

 

A Closer Look

To begin, lets take a look at the packaging. The power supply arrived wrapped in plastic wrap, though not pictured. The outside of the packaging was very well themed with the typical Cooler Master color scheme of black and purple. Key information and specs were also well presented on the back of the box.

When opened, the outside box slides off of a more durable cardboard box which contains the power supply and it’s goodies. The power supply was packaged well. It sat inside a custom Cooler Master branded cloth bag inside a custom foam retainer. Based on this method of packaging, the odds damage to the power supply due to shipping mishaps, should be quite low. Also included inside the box is the hefty power cable and a bag containing the modular cables.

When the power supply is removed from the packaging for the first time, the first thing you’ll notice is it’s sleek appearance. The V850 comes in an almost two-tone color scheme: black and dark grey. The honeycomb mesh grill for the intake fan with the brushed metal mount, in my opinion looks fantastic. As a side note, this is probably the first power supply I’ve seen where the fan is screwed in with a hex pattern screw (allen).

The practicality of having a completely modular power supply became apparent as I was handling the unit. There were no awkward cables dangling from it’s base. The main advantage to a fully modular system would definitely be during installation and removal from a case. Once the power supply is installed, each cable can be added in, one at a time; rather than figuring about which you need and don’t need and worrying about where to hide them.

Below are images of the modular cable hookup side on the back of the power supply. Hooking up your cables is straight forward. Above the sockets is a diagram indicating the proper location for each cable.

The cables themselves are a flat, non-sleeved design. This design is intended to hold visual appeal, while increasing its functionality over the traditional style cables. A flatter cable will be easier to squeeze into tighter spots, such as behind a motherboard tray, making cable management easier.

The overall construction of the Cooler Master V850 is excellent. The main unit itself is heavy, and there are no noticeable flimsy or week points on the power supply. The modular cables also felt very strong, and when connected to the power supply, the connection felt strong and secure.

A Peek Inside…

It’s time to once again void a perfectly good warranty for the sake of information. When we open a power supply, the first thing we like to look at is the fan. This particular fan is a 135x25mm Protechnic with a model number of MGA13512XF-025 which runs on 12V at 0.38A.

As Cooler Master promised, the main filter capacitors are 103C temperature rated and are Japanese. The rest of the heat-producing components, such as the mosfets, regulators, and rectifiers, are all well heat-sinked and should stay nice and cool.

 

Performance Testing

When bench testing high end power supplies, the most important thing we look for is the behavior of the voltage as the load on the power supply is increased. This comes in two forms. First, the actual voltage drop when load increases and secondly, voltage ripple. Voltage drop is important because when you see a drop, such as a dip below 12V, at mid to high loads, it can cause serious problems to internal computer components if the drop is significant enough. We will test this by incrementing the load up by 100W for 20 minutes at each step. We will run each 100W increment all the way up to 1040W. Now we know this PSU is rated at 1000W but there is a lot to be said for stability past maximum ratings. Although Cooler Master claims a 90% efficiency rating under a typical load, we will also be performing our own efficiency calculations just to be sure. We will do this by placing a specific load on the power supply and then measuring the wattage going in to the power supply with our handy Killawatt meter. In addition to this, we will test the overall ‘quality’ of the unit by dropping the input voltage slightly below its rated value (100V AC). We will then measure the output DC voltage to see how it does under minimalistic operating conditions.

Testing

To provide a decent and accurate load, we used our own home brew power supply load tester. More info on this tester can be found on our unofficial page here:

The first test is the voltage drop test which we described above. In this test we loaded the power supply in 100W increments and took voltage measurements at each step. We loaded it all the way to 850W and took it a step further, running the V850 100W past it’s rated output at 950V. Below are the results.

Overall, not bad! As you can see, as the load increased, the voltage decreased very slightly. Between 100-850W we only saw a 0.03V drop. During the 950W load test, the V850 held it’s own, only dropping an additional 0.02V.

For our next test, we are going to take a closer look look at the V850’s efficiency. As you’ll recall, Efficiency = Power Out / Power In.

Overall, the efficiency rating of the V850 is quite good. The lower and upper levels were well above the Gold qualifying level of 87%, and the 50% load level just scraped the bottom of the claimed 90% coming in at 89.9%. Since, the numbers are so close, I’ll give this one to Cooler Master. Anything above 89.5% is technically considered Gold, as 80+ ratings do not carry over into tenths of percents. Therefore, the percent is rounded.

Lastly, We’ve got the voltage noise and ripple test, for this test, we maxed the load at 100% (850W) and used an oscilloscope to measure the voltage ripple (more load will always cause more ripple). Overall, the spikes and dips were quite minimal and brief. The largest voltage spikes ranged from 152mV to 248mV. This level of noise is very extremely minimal and well within normal operating conditions.

In a nutshell, your hardware is in good hands with the V850, it performed outstanding in our tests, while showing now signs of concern in both, voltage and noise.


 

Conclusion

Modern PCs require both performance, quality and visual appeal. No longer is the computer power supply shoved into the top of the case, and never seen again. Computer components are out in the open, photographed, and shared online. The Cooler Master V850 fits all three criteria. It’s performance was outstanding in all of our tests. Since it carries an 80+ Gold rating, the quality of components that went into the V850 are better prepared to handle demanding loads caused by high end systems. And it does all this while adding some eye candy to your case’s insides as well.

The one major drawback to the V850 is the price. Currently the MSRP is $189.99 which puts it up with many 80+ Gold rated power supplies rated at 1000W such as the Silverstone SST-ST1000 which carries the same 80+ rating and price.

The Breakdown

  • Appearance 19/20 – The Cooler Master V850 was one of the best looking power supplies we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. Overall, Cooler Master did a fantastic job with its design.
  • Construction 19/20 – The overall construction of the V850 was another strong point. The power supply felt heavy and solid in my hands, and the cables felt durable as well.
  • Performance 19/20 – The V850 preformed outstanding in all our tests, even when we took it up to 950W.
  • Functionality 20/20 – This power supply was an all around great performer. What landed the perfect score in this criteria was the fact that it was fully modular making installation and case maintenance easy.
  • Value 15/20 – Though the V850 is an outstanding power supply, in order for it to be competitive in today’s market, the power supply would benefit from a lower MSRP such as $169.99 would be the perfect price for this type of PSU.

Overall: 92/100

It's performance was outstanding in all of our tests.

9.2
Diamond Award:
9.2

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