Ok. I think I'm all ready for this review now. Got my winter parka on. Got my boots and gloves on. Got my toque and scarf on. Got the furnace turned way up, and the hot chocolate's a-brewing. Why am I putting all this stuff on? Here, I'll show you:
That's quite a different way of packaging a power supply, is it not? Today's review sample is the Arctic Cooling Fusion 550RF. Given the company name, I can only assume that it will be getting downright frosty in here before too long. Hey look, a polar bear... poster.
This is a unit that is certified 80 Plus standard and weighs in at 550 watts, if the model number is any indication. But we'll get to that stuff in due time. For now, let's take a closer look at this strange and unusual packaging.
I have to admit, while blister packaging isn't what you normally expect to see a power supply come in, it does stand out. Wait a sec... Payment Saving Unit? Oh boy! Now I can go buy my first new car and not have to make payments! This is the best day ever! There's no need to read the rest of this marketing mumbo jumbo, clearly my financial troubles are over! I'll be right back.
Folks... I showed the review sample to the people at the bank, and they laughed at me. Got the same result at the car dealership. They made me take a closer look at the packaging, and it's looking like I shouldn't have rushed off to the bank like that. The angle Arctic Cooling is taking here is that this here Payment Saving Unit will save you money on the power bill when compared to less efficient power supplies. You say I should have known that from the myriad other reviews I've done where similar marketing is used? Well... just you try being impulsive and reckless by reading and thinking about things first. It's a lot harder, I'll have you know.
Looking at the bottom of the packaging, we can see a few specifications and... oh. Guys, this is not a 550 watt unit, this is a 500 watt unit. Second line down. 550 watts is peak. Since I do not play peak-a-boo with my review samples, I will not be testing to that number. If you need a 550W unit, just buy one. Don't count on peak numbers, they're useless. This sample might do it, but the next one might not. Why take the chance?
Operating temp, 0-50 degrees - interesting. My hot box should have some fun with that. Hmm... getting a little toasty in here. I'm going to take the gloves off.
And here's the contents of our blister packaging: a power supply, a case badge, some screws, a power cord, and a rumpled user guide.
Here's the user guide now. Oh... that's where they stuffed all the usual marketing hype. Not on the packaging, but in the user guide you can't read until you buy the unit. I don't normally list everything in the user guide, but I'll reprint some of this for you here just this once:
Powerful PSU With a maximum output power of 550 watts, the Fusion 550RF / 550F is suitable for gamers and power users. -They sure are leaning on that 550W number, aren't they? I'll repeat myself here - peak numbers vary from unit to unit due to component tolerances. That 550W number? Like Chuck D and Flavor Flav said: can't truss it.
Extremely high efficiency: 82-86% As an eco-friendly and 80 PLUS certified PSU, the Fusion 550RF / 550F accomplishes up to 86% efficiency. It reduces power consumption and saves you approximately 100€* electricity costs. *Based on 200 d/y, 4 h/d full load at 0.15 €/kWh -Given that the monetary units are Euros here, that 86% number is probably specified at 230V. We'll have to see what this unit can do at North American voltage.
99% PFC With 99% active Power Factor Correction (PFC), the Fusion 550RF / 550F delivers clean and reliable power which reduces power loss in the network and thus, saves electricity costs. -Oh, where to begin on this one. First, PFC has little to nothing at all to do with the output of a power supply. What it does do is make a complex load (the power supply itself) appear more like, say, a light bulb to the utility. It is the utility that sees the main benefit here, not Joe Consumer. Now, this marketing blurb isn't outright wrong. In fact, the automatic AC voltage selection side effect of this circuitry is a pretty gosh darn nice feature. It's just worded in a way to make you think you're getting more benefit from APFC than you really are. Especially with that graph printed right below, which you can see in the above picture in the top right corner.
Quiet cooling by ARCTIC F8 Pro fan As a low noise cooling solutions provider, ARCTIC COOLING excels in fan and airflow design that balances cooling performance and noise control. -This could be a cool feature, pun very much intended. I just hope it doesn't have too frosty a personality. Hey, chill out... I'm just making jokes. Why the frigid expressions? Ow! Ok, who threw the slushball?
No hot spots Unlike other PSU fans, after installation, the PSU fan ARCTIC F8 Pro is located inside the PC case rather than at the rear wall. This lowers the noise level and ensures no hot spots occur. -Hmm... I'd have to say there's more of a noise benefit than a hotspot reduction benefit.
Patented fan holder & vibration absorption Eliminate buzzing sounds of the fan.
Fluid dynamic bearing This innovative bearing reduces rotation friction, seals the oil and hence, increases the fan service life.
Intelligent control This 80mm fan spins up to 2,000RPM. Fan speed is adjusted by the controller to provide the best thermal performance at different PSU temperatures. -Translation: this unit has a fan speed controller.
Quiet operation Optimises fan speed according to temperature and load. As result, the fan operates at the lowest noise level possible while providing sufficient cooling performance. -Translation: this unit has a fan speed controller.
High efficiency up to 86% Less heat is generated with high efficiency. It results in low fan speed and hence the PSU operates in quiet condition at all time. -I feel this user guide is getting a mite repetitive.
Case fan control Based on temperature and load, the programmed processor controls two case fans. In order to keep the noise level of the complete system as low as possible. -Translation: this unit has a fan speed controller... with two external fan connectors.
Dual 12V power rails More stable under heavy loads, the 12V cross bar function can transfer power to another 12V rail. This prevents system failure caused by uneven 12V load on the rails and allows to run the PSU at its maximum output. -I'm confused here. This blurb seems to imply that this unit is more stable due to it having two 12V rails, but then goes on to imply there's really only a single 12V rail internally. We'll find out the real story later.
Safe and reliable Over Power, Over Voltage, and Short Circuit Protection guarantees maximum safety for your system. -Notice that there is no mention of over current protection. Yet another indication that there is only the one 12V rail.
Dual video card support With two PCIe 6-pin and two PCIe 8-pin cables, the Fusion 550RF / is ideal for gamers using two video cards. -Uh... they'd have to be real light on power draw to work with a 550W unit, never mind the "500 Watts (continuous)" unit we're dealing with today.
3-year limited warranty High quality components guarantee a long service life. -I'll be the judge of that, thank you very much, on page four.
80 Plus® This is an international standard for power supply units. It certifies products that achieve more than 80% energy efficiency at 20% to 100% of rated output, and a power factor of 90% or above.
And now, having just typed by hand about 75% of the user guide, let's move on. After I take this parka off... I think I'm melting.
Here's the power supply itself in all its matte black glory. Looks good. All except for those scuffs on the top, that is... looks like there's a downside to that blister packaging.
Another angle, showing that F8 fan. It does look rather cool, I must admit.
This is your case window view of the unit. I'm liking the looks of this unit so far.
The front of the unit shows the fan in all its glory. What's up with the fan wires? They couldn't find a better way to plug it into the fan controller than by running a long cable out from the unit and back into the case via the normal cable exit hole? This makes the fan look like an afterthought - something tacked on when someone at the factory realized, "oops, we forgot the fan... just slap it on the back there, Ted."
No, the power supply isn't melting because the room temperature is now over thirty degrees. It's actually shaped this way on purpose, with the exhaust grille punched slightly outwards. Looks interesting, though I hope this doesn't mean a hassle in mounting the unit to my hot box.
Here's the top panel, showing off more scuffed matte black finish.
That fan wire really sticks out far, doesn't it?
Here's the label for the unit in an extreme close-up. Somehow, they've found a way to sneak more marketing onto this unit. Combined 12V output of 408 watts? That's 34A. Seems low for a modern unit. But maybe that's because they're again flogging that 550W peak number like this unit can do that all day long or something. Something else that seems low is the 2.5A standby rating - for most units these days, 3A is the average.
Arctic Cooling Fusion 550RF
Wow - these are some short cables. I have to wonder what cases Arctic Cooling is targeting with these units. Certainly not my Antec Twelve Hundred, for the ATX cable alone wouldn't reach. And no EPS12V, or at the very least a 4+4 pin modular 12V connector? That's an oversight that could use correcting. Well, at least they're all sleeved nicely.
Type of connector:
Arctic Cooling Fusion 550RF
ATX connector (335mm)
6 pin PCIe (455mm)
6 pin PCIe (515mm)
6+2 pin PCIe (440mm)
6+2 pin PCIe (525mm)
5.25" Drive (245mm+140mm+140mm)
3.5" Drive (+140mm)
4 pin ATX12V connector (570mm)
Fan Only (70mm+60mm)
Unit Dimensions(L x W x H)
135mm/165mm* x 150mm x 86mm
*165mm including rear mounted fan
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