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Be Quiet! is, despite the eccentric name, perhaps the most popular European manufacturer of power supply units. Today, the company retails several series and tens of power supplies, most having been designed with low-noise operation in mind. Their latest series is the Power Zone, which consists of four units (650W to 1kW) and the company claims a great balance of features, performance and price. The most powerful variation of the Power Zone series found its way into our labs. We will see how well it can perform in this review.
Specifications and Features
(Courtesy Be Quiet!)
- 1000 Watts of continuous power output with massive 12V rail design and DC-to-DC technology make this power supply ideal for overclocking
- Variable speed 135mm SilentWings® fan with airflow-optimized blades, copper core fluid dynamic bearing, and special 6-pole motor enables quiet operation
- COOL*OFF feature runs fans for three minutes after system shutdown to protect your valuable components at their time of maximum heat stress
- Connect up to three case fans for optimized system cooling that is thermally controlled by the PSU, quieting your whole system
- Full cable management with quality sleeved cables and six PCI Express connectors supports maximum build flexibility and superior airflow in your case
- 80PLUS® Bronze certification for high efficiency of up to 89%. Support of Intel’s Deep Power Down C6/C7 mode
- Product conception, design and quality control in Germany
Packaging and Accessories
The packaging of the Power Zone unit is large, with a simple, serious appearance. Only the series logo has been printed on the front of the package. Alongside the Power Zone 1000W power supply, Be Quiet! includes the basic power cable, five black screws, a few cable ties and a manual. As this is a modular power supply, the modular cables are also included of course, with each of the four packs held by a reusable cable strap. The sleeving of the cables is black with a decorative red tracing thread.
The Be Quiet! Power Zone 1000W offers the following number of connectors:
|ATX 24 Pin||1|
|EPS P8, 8 Pin||1|
|ATX 12V P4, 4+4 Pin||1|
|PCI Express 6 Pin||0|
|PCI Express 6+2 Pin||6|
The Power Zone 1000W also has dedicated connectors for fans, which will be speed-controlled by the power supply if connected to it. This is a feature reserved for case fans and it is not wise to connect a CPU, GPU or any other vital fan directly to these connectors, as the temperature of the power supply is definitely not a good reference for the operating conditions of other components.
The Power Supply
Be Quiet! obviously worked hard to make the Power Zone 1000W different than other power supplies. The fan cover has been replaced with a parallel-grid guard, which is in line with the engravings on the side of the power supply. A badge boldly stating the power output of the power supply has been placed over the center of the fan. The engravings on the sides of the power supply surround a sticker with the company logo.
Plastic covers have been placed on the front and rear of the power supply, which apparently serve aesthetic purposes only, as the metallic body beneath them is still fully present. The rear cover has the connector labels printed on it. The front cover has the company logo engraved on the bottom side and a sticker with the logo on the rear side, next to the power connector.
The company installed one of their SilentWings fans in the Power Zone. The 1000W version features a 13525-HHF-29 fan, which is a very fast and definitely not quiet 2900 RPM model. The 135 mm fan has a fluid dynamic bearing and, thankfully, a very wide RPM range.
The Power Zone 1000W unit is based on a Fortron-Source (FSP) design. It is a fully featured, complex layout, with DC to DC conversion and a full bridge primary side, which makes us wonder why it only achieves 80Plus Bronze efficiency levels. The filtering is good, with four Y capacitors, two X capacitors and two coils before the two input bridges, which are sandwiched together on the small heatsink before the PFC coil. The build quality is very good, but the choice of components could have been better; all capacitors are coming from Teapo, a Taiwanese company which is not terribly popular amongst enthusiasts. We have to say however that the quality of Teapo capacitors has improved vastly over the past decade.
Testing and results
For the testing of power supply units, we are using specialized equipment, details of which may be found in my article: Power Supply Testing Equipment & Methodology. At this point we should also stress that opening a power supply not only voids your warranty but also is very dangerous, even if the power supply is not connected to an AC outlet; the capacitors of modern PSUs can easily store enough energy to kill any adult. There are no serviceable components inside a power supply and one can gain nothing by opening it, so just do not do it.
The performance of the Power Zone 1000W PSU is good overall. As the company promises, the regulation of the 12V line is below 2% (1.6% to be exact), a great performance figure. The voltage regulation of the minor lines is a little worse, at 2.4%-2.7%, which remains very good and well below the 5% limit. Voltage ripple filtering is also very good, with very clean DC lines while the PSU is lightly loaded and a maximum of 68mV developing on the 12V line at full load. This is nearly half the 120mV limit and a good performance figure, which however could be improved further. Fortron-Source designs however rarely focus on very strong voltage ripple filtering, therefore even these figures are surprisingly good for a 1000W design.
The efficiency of the Power Zone 1000W unit is well above the 81%/85%/81% 80Plus Bronze requirements at 20%/50%/100% load respectively. The power supply surpassed 89% efficiency at 50% load, a figure which could give it an 80Plus Silver certification if the drop at low loads was not as severe. At 20% load the efficiency is below 83% and at 100% drops to 83.6%. Despite that, the average efficiency of the Power Zone 1000W unit is 85.9%, an excellent result for an 80Plus Bronze power supply.
Although the Power Zone 1000W is a really quiet power supply at first, this changes rapidly once the load of the power supply is over 500W. After that point, the speed of the fan will increase swiftly, making the power supply clearly audible from 1m away. As the load increases, the noise increases further, in levels annoying for comfortable casual usage; however, a load of over 500W is definitely not going to be caused by any PC while performing casual everyday tasks.
The operating temperatures of the Power Zone 1000W are not bad, nor good; more like exactly where we would expect the temperature of a 1000W power supply with such efficiency figures to be. It appears that Be Quiet! preferred to program the thermal control of the Power Zone to a balanced scheme, rather than focusing on acoustics at the expense of higher operating temperatures.
Final Words and Conclusion
Be Quiet! released the Power Zone series as their new mainstream offering for advanced users, gamers and enthusiasts. The units of this series are simpler and less expensive than those of the Dark Power Pro series, but better and more powerful than those of the Pure Power series.
The electrical performance of the Power Zone 1000W unit is very well balanced. Voltage regulation is excellent and ripple filtering is very good, especially for a Fortron-Source design. The efficiency also surpassed our expectations for an 80Plus Bronze certified design, although it does not manage to reach 80Plus Silver levels. It is very quiet up to 50% load, at which point the fan speeds up considerably, yet this already denotes an output of over 500W, much more than what a simple gaming system will ever draw, let alone while performing casual tasks.
With the Power Zone 1000W unit, Be Quiet! managed to create a fairly balanced product in every aspect. It is aesthetically appealing, fully modular, performs very well, and comes with a five year warranty. Furthermore, the retail price is fair, which is a vast improvement in value over the considerably better but ludicrously expensive Dark Power Pro 10 series. The power supply is currently available in the US for $189.99, a whooping $70 less than the Dark Power Pro 1000W and a reasonable asking price for a good, modular 1000W power supply. There surely is tight competition within the same category, but if you are looking for a balanced modular 1000W power supply for a reasonable price, then the Power Zone 1000W should definitely make it into your shortlist.
Editor’s Note 11/28/2013: The review initially stated the Power Zone 1000W comes with a three year warranty, but Be Quiet! confirmed that the warranty is in fact five years. All mentions have been changed above.