Allow me to wax nostalgic for a moment. The year was 1987, and I was living in the small city of Swift Current, Saskatchewan. The music industry had just come up with the cassette single idea, Guns 'N Roses was being played non stop by every FM radio station in town (all one of them), and a certain electronics technician with a penchant for being as weird as humanly possible was just starting his career in the trade while helping out his folks with the family music store and simultaneously working through the eighth grade. 1987 marked another important milestone, when IBM decided to unleash the Personal System 2 on us consumers, better known as the PS/2.
What does this have to do with today's review? Plenty, says I, for a lot of the things IBM started with the PS/2 are still with us. We still have those PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports on most of our mainboards, but more relevant to today's review is the power supply. Yes, friends, your standard everyday ATX power supply is built on the PS/2 form factor.
Somebody over at Antec woke up one day and came to this realization: in looking at the backs of our cases at that power supply mount, we're dealing with a form factor over twenty years old now. While it has served us well over the years, power supplies have gotten bigger and bigger, to the point some of us are now stuffing 1600W units into that little opening. Antec figured they had a better idea: why not enlarge the PSU housing so there was not only more room for the guts, but less restrictions to hinder cooling? The result of this brainwave is the unit I'm looking at today, the CP-850. This is the very first product in Antec's new CPX form factor, and they're really hoping it catches on.
But before that can happen, it's gotta get past me. Muahahahaha!
Now, before I get started on the review proper, I just want to clue you in on one important detail: there are only three Antec cases right now that will take a CPX power supply. Those cases are the Twelve Hundred, the P183, and the P193. Any other case will need modding, assuming there's enough space. "But Wolf," you ask, "how well will it integrate into those Antec cases?" Fear not, intrepid readers, for I have a Twelve Hundred on hand that I will be reviewing next week. We're going to see just how well this new form factor integrates into that case, yes we will.
Another important point is that the CPX form factor starts and stops with the enclosure dimensions. These units will remain compliant with your usual ATX components. In other words, electrically these are still ATX units.
Meantime, let's come back to the CP-850. Going by the above box, Antec is taking the new form factor seriously by building in a 120mm PWM fan and seeking out 80 Plus certification. And if the above box is any indication, the CP-850 is one huge power supply, for the box was almost big enough to park my 1992 Chrysler Imperial in. Buy CP-850, you get free cardboard garage.
Going to the back of the box, which involved the use of a golf cart, we see a number of marketing bullet points. They're a bit hard to read, so I'll reprint them for you:
Unique power supply construction compatible with many new Antec cases, including the Twelve Hundred, P183, and P193
NVIDIA™ SLI™-ready certified
-ready certified? What? Huh? Que? Is it ready to be certified? Is it certified to be ready?
Meets 80 PLUS® certification standards
Electrical compliance with ATX12V version 2.3 and EPS version 2.91
Dual PCB layout optimizes cooling efficiency and allows for heavy duty components
-uh, not to burst your bubble, Antec, but the PS/2 form factor did fine with heavy duty components. It just got hot with them in there, is all.
Quiet 120mm PWM cooling fan
Four +12V output circuits
Safety protection circuitry prevents damage resulting from short circuits, over current and over voltage
-that's good, we wouldn't want our computers coming to life, escaping the lab, and having all sorts of wacky adventures while repeating "Number Five is alive!" would we? Yeah, you're right, I'd like that too.
Universal input with Active PFC
-universal voltage input is part of the APFC design
Two 8-pn(6+2) PCI-E connectors and two 6-pin PCI-E connectors
SATA connectors for Serial ATA drives
-aw, I was kind of hoping they'd throw in some SATA connectors for floppy drives too
MTBF: 100,000 hours
Safety approval: UL, FCC, TÜV, CE, C-tick, CCC, CB
-C-tick? Yes I do. I C him right now. Spooooooooooooooooooon!!! Yes, I know I need professional help.
Believe it or not, this might just be an Antec. This side of the box shows you which current cases you can use with the CP-850W.
Here's some more marketing for you. Excellent price-performance ratio? Is that before or after you spend a mint on the case that goes with this big boy?
Opening up our cardboard garage reveals that it's occupied by a bus. Oh wait, that's not a bus, it's a power supply. Let me just unpack here.
The contents of the box include that there CP-850 power supply, some modular cables, some black screws, a manual, and a power cord.
The manual is a half hearted attempt at manual-ing that only lists some basic information, opting to instruct the reader to go get a more detailed manual at the Antec website if one wants or needs more info.
It's, uh, not a small unit, is it?
Interesting. That modular connector panel looks a lot like the one on the Signature 850W. Another Delta sourced unit, perhaps? We'll find out for sure on page three. Say, wouldn't it be awesome if it turned out to be a Signature in there?
That's our 120mm fan right there. You know, with the sheer size of this thing, I can't help but wonder why they couldn't find room for that fan to go inside the case? It moggles the bind.
As you can see, the 12V rail assignments are printed next to each modular cable connector.
Taking this shot required nerves of steel. I kept waiting for the unit to drive forward and run me over. This thing looks like the front end of a Peterbilt from this angle. Hey, is that a food court in there?
Just for the ZOMG factor, I took this picture of the CP-850 next to my Signature 850W. Yes, I think that is a food court I see in there. It's big enough for one.
No clues to the OEM can be gleaned from the UL file number here, for it traces back to Antec. The hope that I might be dealing with a Signature in a big case increased when I saw this, for the 12V rails are rated identically. However, the 3.3V and 5V rails are not rated like an SG-850, so I'm still going to have to do my homework on page three. Also, the 12V combined rating is 1A lower on this model at 64A.
The tentacle shot kind of disappointed me for one reason above all others - Antec has seen fit to include both an ATX12V cable and an EPS12V cable. In addition to a single chain of Molexes and a single chain of SATA connectors. Again. Just like the Truepower New. Come on, Antec, you made this thing modular, how about making the hardwired stuff less cluttered? This is going to cost a point or two again.
And here are the modular cables. Red connectors for the PCI-E cables, and black for everything else.
Type of connector:
ATX connector (630mm)
5.25" Drive (540mm+150mm+150mm)
3.5" Drive connectors (+150mm)
8 pin EPS12V (650mm)
4 pin ATX12V (650mm)
6+2 pin PCIe (460mm)
5.25" Drive (545mm+150mm+150mm)
6 pin PCIe (460mm)
Unit Dimensions(L x W x H)
175mm x 170mm x 120mm*
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