A man once said that all his ex's lived in Texas. Well, today is my lucky day because my ex's live a bit closer than that. In fact, they're right next to me in this very room. I speak not of the human kind of "ex," but the power supply kind. You see, today's review sample is the brand new BFG EX1000.
And this kind of EX, as you can see from the above picture, is part of BFG's brand new modular high end line of units intended to compete with the likes of the Corsair HX1000 and Enermax Revolution 85+. We'll find out if it's able to do so later on in this review. Meantime, let's have us some more box pictures.
Unlike many units these days, this unit is only certified as a standard 80 Plus unit. This means that at 20%, 50%, and 100% load levels, it is only guaranteed to be above 80% efficiency. That being said, according to the box...
...this unit has an impressive sounding "Frequency Conversion" feature which promises to keep the unit at higher efficiency at lower loads than most of your average power supplies. I mean, think about it for a second. 80 Plus testing only starts at 20% of full power. On this unit, that's a 200W load. Granted, you folks with your two watt monster 4870x2 cards can easily exceed this load level when you're gaming, but what about when you aren't gaming? I don't know about you guys, but when I'm sitting there trying to feed my ego by Googling my own name, my rig isn't pulling down 200W. In fact, I'd be lucky if it's doing 60W. I'm usually expending more energy kicking empty pop bottles across the room from the results of said Googling than my computer is pulling from the power supply.
What's that got to do with the price of tea in China? Well, to be frank, most units this size don't keep that 80% efficiency for that long once you start turning down the load. In optimizing a power supply's efficiency to meet the 80 Plus guidelines, efficiency at low loads is often overlooked. But BFG figured they were going to do something about that in this unit, so we'll see what the load testing brings out of it.
Now that I've sat here paraphrasing that whole "Frequency Conversion" paragraph up there in a futile attempt to make myself seem smarter, I'll give you a moment to read through all those bullet points in the above picture. Most of these are pretty standard issue bullet points you'd find on just about any PSU box out there. I would suggest, however, that the efficiency one may need some revising. More and more units are exceeding 80% efficiency, so I'm not entirely sure that it's true anymore that most of them peak at 80%. But that's a small nitpick. What matters is how this unit does in load testing, and how it stacks up with the more recent competition I've tested.
As has become familiar to me, the back of the box gets the same basic installation guide I've seen on all recent BFG power supply boxes. There are also a couple of graphs showing both an efficiency curve and a noise curve. The efficiency curve is particularly interesting in that it starts above 80% at a zero load condition, which isn't that easy to do. Say, you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to set my test one load level for below 20%, just to see how this frequency conversion stuff works, metaphorically speaking. That's before I take it apart to see how it works, literally speaking.
Another side of the box helpfully provides us with a set of specifications, a load table, a connector list, and some fancy connector pictures. There is also a section that says yes, by golly, this unit will work on PCI-E, AGP, and PCI based mainboards. What's in the box? Well, that's listed too: a power supply, six modular cables, a power cord, a user guide, and some mounting screws.
A thousand watts at 40 degrees, you say Mr. Box? Do you mind if I just go ahead and verify that myself? Well, I'm going to go ahead and do it anyway on page three.
Well, at least the box was right about the user guide and the power supply being in there, because there they are. The power supply itself is nicely encased in protective foam, which is more than I can say for some more recent review samples *cough Revolution cough*.
Say, do you like it when you open something up and find more stuff than the box said there was going to be? Well, that's what's going on in this picture, because we can add Velcro cable ties to that list on the box. Everything else mentioned by the box is present.
Sadly, the user guide turned out to be largely useless. All you get is pretty much another set of installation instructions. Well, I suppose it could be useful if you chucked the box into the fire the moment you got it unpacked, and have never installed a power supply before.
The power supply itself turned out to be finished in a gorgeous mirror like black paint. My enthusiasm for such treatment knew no bounds, right up until I started getting fingerprints on it. And if you know me, you also know I'm a bit obsessive compulsive. It took me three years to move on to the next shot. I... may be exaggerating that number just a bit.
The hardwired cables on this unit, and there are a fair number of them, are well sleeved; getting the treatment all the way up into the case. This is fortunate, for the grommet used at the cable entrance is of a kind that can be pulled off, accidentally or purposely, rather easily. An extra bit of protection for the wires is a good thing here.
Taking a look at this here load table, my BFGR1000WEXPSU is capable of some noteworthy things. First, the 12V combined rating is a very healthy 82A, or 984W. That's almost the entire capacity of the unit. Often, this means that the unit uses DC to DC conversion, supplying the 3.3V and 5V rails directly from one big 12V rail. We'll see about that on page four.
Something else interesting is the capacity on each of the four 12V rails, where this unit is rated to a whopping 36A each. Depending on what the rail distribution is like, this unit shouldn't shut down on anyone from maxing these rails out.
Five hardwired tentacles in total reach out from this unit. They add up to one PCI-E chain, the ATX connector, the EPS12V/ATX12V cable, one Molex chain, and one SATA chain. Depending what your system is like, you may not even need the actual modular cables at all.
And here are those modular cables now. The box wasn't kidding, there are six of them. Two more PCI-E chains that go to eight pin connectors, one more Molex chain, and three more SATA chains.
And here's the modular cable panel now. The six pin connectors get the peripheral cables, and the eight pin connectors get the PCI-E cables. Which ones are on which rail? Well, the six pin connectors all get 12V1. Of the eight pin connectors, the top one in this picture is 12V2 while the bottom one (closest to the unit's fan) is 12V3.
Type of connector:
ATX connector (490mm)
5.25" Drive (510mm+150mm+150mm)
3.5" Drive connectors (+150mm)
8 pin EPS12V (520mm)
4 pin ATX12V (+150mm)
6+2 pin PCIe (500mm)
6 pin PCIe (+150mm)
5.25" Drive (500mm+150mm+150mm)
3.5" Drive connectors (+150mm)
6+2 pin PCIe (500mm)
6 pin PCIe (+150mm)
Unit Dimensions(L x W x H)
165mm x 150mm x 86mm
Oh... I don't know about this. It looks to me like the three PCI-E chains all get a 12V rail to themselves. That could be a good thing, but look there... the CPU connector, Molexes, ATX connector, and SATAs all have to share the same 12V rail. Granted, that rail is a whopping 36A monster, but with twelve SATA connectors there may be circumstances where one could max out this rail.
Methinks I'll be doing something I don't normally do on a review sample... test to see where the actual overcurrent shutdown point is on that rail. We're going to find out just how much headroom that rail has, and whether or not it's something to be concerned about.
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