For quite some time now, I've been getting requests to look into the offerings of a company called Xigmatek. Recently, these requests started coming from Xigmatek themselves, and me being my usual curious self I decided to go ahead and accept.
Or, at least that's what I would like to think. In reality, the above pictured box showed up on my doorstep and said there would be dire consequences if I didn't unpack it and get started with the review. See that gun on the box up there in the picture? It's real, people. This is the only power supply line on the market that will maim you on purpose for not buying it. Dirty Harry Callahan must be running the marketing department at Xigmatek.
Fancy graphics of weaponry adorning the front of the box aside, there are a few points up there worth mentioning. Like many power supplies these days, this box brags about a nice big fan. It also would like you to know these units are good for over 80% efficiency, have active PFC, and carry a full compliment of protection circuitry.
Though none of the above boxes are checked, I am in fact looking at the NRP-PC501, the 500W top of the line in this series. You can just make out the UL file number in this picture as well. It belongs to Channel Well Technology, the OEM of the unit.
The back of the box, which is not large by the way, features a full set of load specs for all five models in the series. The printing is almost but not quite small enough to require the use of a magnifying glass to read. Illogically, some of the specs are printed in white against the orange background; bringing with it the potential to cause temporary blindness. I read those specs five days ago, and my eyes still hurt. Of course, it could also be from me rubbing soap in them too. Why was I rubbing soap in my eyes? Uh... no reason. It has nothing to do with staring contests and newspapers... nothing at all.
The side of the box carries all the bragging points for the unit. Not too much here to get excited about, as pretty much everything listed has been done before, and often. Hmm... that last one there on the right looks interesting. I wonder if this unit comes with free Honey Comb cereal. Hey! Maybe there are plans for building your very own Honey Comb Hideout in there!
Another side of the box brags about some of the features. Again, nothing we haven't seen in that last picture. Efficiency over 80% has become so common lately, it's gotten to be unremarkable when a unit is able to pull in around 85% during at least one load point. What has yet to become common though is the ability to maintain 80% or better throughout load testing, so this is something I'll be looking for on the next page. 80 Plus has certified this unit, so it should perform at least to their standards.
The final interesting part of the box is this shot of the end, which shows you in nifty black and white graphics what the connectors look like.
Upon opening the box my first instinct was to put my hands up, for I was confronted by a second firearm. I am now convinced that Xigmatek doesn't mind giving its customers heart attacks. I wonder if they'll consider branching out into the defibrillator business. I mean, they're already selling power supplies... why not?
On a more serious and less hokey jokey note, you can see up there how large the user guide is in relation to the power supply beneath it. This user guide is no threat to the shrubs out back, never mind the rainforests. I have to be honest - I have doubts about such a tiny user guide being able to supply any useful information. I'll open it up for you in a second, here.
Here are the box contents first. A power supply, a wee bag o' screws, a power cord, and the user guide. No Honey Comb cereal, and no plans for a Hideout. My inner child is sad now.
And this is the user guide opened up. It's printed not on paper, but thin cardboard for some reason. And it looks like Xigmatek tried to cram War and Peace onto it. Seriously, I'm shocked it doesn't have bios for every employee in the company, as well as the entire phone book for Hong Kong.
Unfortunately though, I have to take issue with this user guide. Not only is it too darned small with way too much information crammed onto it to be readable at the font sizes they used, the printing itself in the black areas above is rather... what's the word I'm looking for? Oh yeah... unreadable. I hope you know how to install one of these, because if you don't you're going to almost need a microscope to read this user guide.
The Xigmatek itself turned out to be finished in a pleasant gray color. While not my favorite matte black trim, the gray doesn't look all that bad to me.
While the cables on the unit are fully sleeved, they do not go all the way into the case. This means that a lot of cable flexing could cause the wires to chafe against the hard plastic grommet.
The load table sticker turned out to be this here work of art. To be blunt, I've seen no-name food container labels with better printing quality. Still, all the pertinent information is there. Watch me as I wow you with my 1337 table making skillz.
What's interesting about this load table isn't the 36A combined 12V capacity of this unit. That's actually not bad at all for a 500W low end unit like this. The interesting part is the 5V capacity, which is a full 9A lower than the 3.3V capacity, which is a substantial 24A. I have to ask... why? Are we marketing these at people who need 64GB of ram yet only want to run one hard drive? 15A isn't actually that bad considering most newer builds won't come near that, but the 3.3V rating seems like it's only that high to pad the unit up to 500W.
I must admit I do like the wire sleeving on this unit, even if it doesn't go into the case. It's nice and clean looking. But there sure aren't many connectors. And the wires are pretty short, too. This may not be the right unit for you if you have a big case.
Type of connector:
8-pin EPS12V connector (350mm)
ATX connector (340mm)
2 x 3 PCIe (350mm+150mm)
5.25" Drive (350mm+150mm+150mm)
3.5" Drive connectors (+150mm)
Unit Dimensions(L x W x H)
160mm x 150mm x 86mm
In typical fashion for a dual 12V unit, the CPU gets one rail to itself. You can probably get away with one GTX 260 on this bad boy, but anything more than that I'd suggest looking for more beef. See, the video card will be sharing power with the hard drives and mainboard too - with only 18A to go around on 12V1, you're going to have to plan things out to be sure the OCP, which splits the unit into two 12V rails by acting as virtual circuit breakers, doesn't start shutting the unit down every time you go to fire up Crysis.
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