be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 550W Power Supply

We’ve now seen two of be quiet!’s best in the form of the P11 1200W and 850W units. And while those units came in here and impressed us, this line doesn’t stop at 850W. In order to get a full picture of the entire line, we need to go one step further and test the baby of the family… the 550W model. Let’s see how it does.

SUPPLIED BY: be quiet!
PRODUCT: Dark Power Pro 11 550W
PROD LINK: Dark Power Pro 11 Product Page
PRICE: $129.90 @ NewEgg
Price is at the time of testing!

Folks, what do you say we take one last look at be quiet!’s Dark Power Pro 11 series today? We’ve now seen what this series can do at 1200 watts and 850 watts, but the line extends further down than that; all the way down to today’s 550 watt unit. It’s one thing to say that one model in the line does well, but that doesn’t really give us an idea of what the whole range can do, as manufacturers often end up using different platforms to span the whole range of output power. Often, the same platforms used for high power are just not cost effective when the power output goes down. Even Super Flower’s Leadex based units use units at the 1600W end that barely resemble the ones under the 1kW mark.

So how did be quiet! manage to give us a line of units that manage 80 Plus Platinum over such a wide power output range? I think either they’re using more than one platform, more than one version of the same platform, or they’ve managed to come up with one of those few platforms able to scale up at a decent cost without changing very much. Or… this unit will simply come out at the end of this review with a high price tag. We’ll find out pretty quick which one we’re dealing with. Personally, I’m a bit nervous. Platinum is hard to do at a decent price at 550 watts. It could well be that be quiet! didn’t quite hit the sweet spot on this unit price wise.

This is going to be a very brief look at the box. Not much other than cable tables and power tables have changed about this box compared to this unit’s big brothers, so I’m not going to waste a second rehashing all the marketing hype we’ve already seen. As always, be quiet! makes much of the Silent Wings fan, and I have no problem with that. This is one of few companies actually trying to keep their fans quieter and more reliable than the rest, and they are so confident in them that this unit once again has no fanless operation mode. The fan is on all the time when the main power is online.

It’s time to open the box and see what’s inside. Here’s a completely pointless shot illustrating that fact. Looks like we get the same well-done manual that comes with the rest of this series. Can’t complain about that.

The contents of the box are roughly the same as the two larger units, cables notwithstanding. User guide, power supply, modular cables, power cord, and two accessories bags.

Though down here at 550 watts, this unit is still a quad 12V unit and as such it comes with the same “OCK” stuff the bigger units did to enable bypassing of the multi-rail overcurrent protection. While a well done quad 12V unit poses no threat to system stability, and I have no doubt be quiet! did plan things out correctly, there’s relatively little risk to running a unit this size as a single 12V.

Since quad 12V testing costs me a ton of time for no real benefit on most designs out there, and because it requires both load testers which reduces heat input to the hot box, I will be testing this one as a single 12V unit on this occasion.

I was a bit surprised to see all the extra fan control cables with this unit… at 550 watts, I thought be quiet! might have reduced the capacity of the fan controller. Apparently not. This unit still comes with four dedicated fan power cables, each with a three pin header and a Molex.

We also get the same assortment of zip ties, cable ties, and the two bags of screws with extras that came with the bigger models. Accessories? be quiet!’s got no problem giving them away. That will count in their favor come scoring time.