Reviews - Antec HCP-850 850W
Sample Provided by: Antec (By OklahomaWolf on Mon, Jan-10-2011)

Page 1 - First Look

Hello, everyone. It's time for my first review of the new year. Come on in and sit down... I'm just looking over the notes I left myself last year on what I'm scheduled to review today. Let's see... January... I'm apparently supposed to be reviewing a hiccup today. What the... where in my colossal mishmash of a brain did that come out of? How am I... I don't even...

Mr. Fuji just slid a photo across the desk to me.

Ohhhhh... a hiccup. An Antec HCP series unit, in fact. And here I thought my brain was going to make me review what happens when I swallow a french fry sideways. B'doyyyy!

We've seen the HCP series here before, and not too long ago, when the HCP-1200 was tested back in September. And that was an awesome unit indeed. The HCP-850 isn't too likely to be based on the same platform as that one was, so it'll be interesting to see what, if anything, is different. But at least one thing's the same if the above box shot is any indication... this unit is also certified 80 Plus Gold.

On the back of the box are a number of interesting bullet points used for marketing purposes. These are shown above. Among the marketing is a declaration that DC to DC regulation ensures stability. It can, but this is not always the case. We found this out most recently in the Xigmatek MC702 review, which didn't do as well as some other designs. We'll find out where this unit stands in that regard on the next two pages.

Full suite of protection. Interesting. OCP, OVP, SCP, OPP. No undervoltage protection? No overtemp protection? No bathroom? No kitchen? Then it's not a full suite, is it? You expect me to pay hundreds in rent for an apartment this size that has no bathroom? I'm appalled.

Ah, good. Says up there these come with two 8 pin CPU connectors for those boards that have need for such a thing. And in a unit this size, it is a distinct possibility that you may need two of these depending on what mainboard you have.

Folks, I believe we might be reviewing an Antec today. An Antec with a bunch of fancy graphics on the box. These tell you all about some of the features the unit has, including the two 8 pin CPU connectors, the 135mm fan, and the Japanese capacitors.

I found this noise level graph on another side of the box, right underneath another assurance that you can indeed believe that this is an Antec unit.

On this side of the box, we get a little table with the product dimensions on it. Believe it.

Here, we see a few specifications in both table and bullet form. Believe it.

Here, we see the inside of the packaging. Believe it. And I'm going to unpack this box now. Believe it.

Discovered in the box was a power supply, power cord, bag of screws, bag of modular cables, and a product brief.

Here's that product brief now. It offers a few key details about the power supply in several languages, along with a note that the full manual can be found online at Antec's website and that you really should read it before progressing. Okie dokie, artichokie. So, if your only computer is down for a power supply replacement because the old one lit up like a box of Roman candles, you'll just have to mosey on down to the library to read the manual before swaggering on back home to finish installing the unit, right?

Well... you could do that. But this is a power supply... it's not rocket science installing one, is it? Wait a second... something's off about that little diagram of the back of the power supply, where it points at the modular connectors and says what 12V rail is attached to them. The connectors are clearly not all identical... we have these ten pin double row connectors and these five pin single row connectors. But the labeling is... what in the world? Guys, this information sheet is implying that you can plug the peripheral cables into any connector and they will work. And that EPS12V connector looks identical to the PCI-E connectors. Will those interchange? I don't see anything on this info sheet or the box to definitively help with this. Sigh... I guess I'm off to the library.

Ok, I'm back with some badly printed pages of the online manual. Here's what it says about the modular connectors:

"There are three 5-pin black jacks and five 10-pin red jacks on the back of your HCP-850 PSU. These jacks are for the optional cables that come with your power supply. A modular 10-pin connector system allows you plug 5-pin connectors into the 10-pin jacks if you run out of 5-pin jacks."

Alrighty then. We can use the peripheral connectors on the 10 pin jacks. Nothing about the interchangeability of the EPS12V connector, and I had to go all the way to a working computer to find this out. Not good, Antec - this feature needs more documentation. Saving paper is a good thing - I get that. But this online manual is only nine pages long. How about printing this one up and tossing it in the box, just so people won't be confused? Maybe print a blurb on the info sheet about this or something. And while we're at it, let's tell people whether or not the EPS connector interchanges safely with the PCI-E connectors. As is, I'm going to have to break out the DMM in a couple minutes here and measure voltages at these connectors to answer this question. I shouldn't have to go to the trouble to do that... I really shouldn't.

Ooh... that's a nice color scheme, there. Dark blue and black, with a sticker that has yellow highlights. Different in a good way.

There are those modular connectors that had me running around looking for documentation. I'll break out the DMM and measure them in a few minutes for you. Meantime, more shots of the gorgeous blue power supply itself.

Interesting - it looks like this unit has a little PCB hanging down from above right at the exhaust grille. One hopes that this doesn't impede airflow too much. We'll see.

I'm reviewing an Antec today. Believe it.

This here is the fan, which boasts a fan grille hub done up in a pleasant dark blue and gold. Because, you see, this unit is 80 Plus Gold. This is a far more tasteful way to point out this correlation than, say, making the fan a rather more tacky gold color to draw attention to the fact like some power supplies I could name and will.

Here's the label of the unit. Interesting - all rails seem to have a 0A minimum load. Am I going to test that? You betcha. At least one unit I tested like that allowed one output to go out of spec when I tried for no loading. I want to see if this one will, too.

Antec
HCP-850

3.3V 5V 12V1 12V2 12V3 12V4 -12V 5VSB
25A 25A 40A 40A 40A 40A 0.5A 3A
Max Power 160W 840W 6W 15W
850W

The hardwired cables are all nicely sleeved on this unit. No stopping the sleeving just outside the case this time, thankfully. This is a welcome change for Antec's Delta built units like this one.

Aw, look... the modular connectors are getting together to join hands and sing Kumbaya. Wait a minute... where's the modular EPS12V cable? Ah, here it is... hiding under the box. Guess it doesn't like having its picture taken. Hey, little buddy, why don't you come join us in the Circle of Happiness? We're going to sing songs, have s'mores... it'll be fun! You're going to love these songs, they have actions and everything! Come on... join us. Right over here. Here. Get... over... here. Now. Why are you running away? Get back here! Stop screaming! Don't you pick up that phone! You have five seconds to... don't you call 911!

Whew. Got the phone back just in time. The EPS modular cable is now in time-out in the Sadness Shack and won't be joining us for a while.

Now, about those modular connectors. The peripheral cables do indeed plug into all the red connectors on the bottom side, where the connector lock is. The EPS cable does indeed plug into the PCI-E connectors. It is physically compatible. But electrically? Let's whip out the DMM and see.

And yes, yes, the EPS cable can be safely plugged into any of the red connectors. This means you can choose any rail for it but 12V1. And you can plug one of the PCI-E cables into 12V2 if you want. And yessir, the peripheral cables can indeed be plugged into any red connector on the locking side of the connector only without risking damage. They won't fit into the non compatible side of the red connectors without being hardcore forced to do so. And really - don't even try to force it. The non compatible side only has 12V and ground, no 3.3V or 5V. You're going to fry drives and damage the connectors if you try to do that.

And there you have it. You now know that it is safe to interchange these connectors. And it only took what... a trip to a working computer for a manual that was little help and a DMM at these connectors with the unit running on the bench, green shorted to black at the ATX connector, to find this out? More documentation please, Antec. Just print something up on the info sheet, if you don't want to print up the whole manual. Less confusion and hassle for the end user is always good.

Type of connector: Antec HCP-850
ATX connector (530mm) 20+4 pin 12V1
4+4 pin EPS12V/ATX12V (640mm) 1 12V2
6+2 pin PCIe (560mm) 1 12V3
6+2 pin PCIe (+150mm) 1
Modular Cables
5.25" Drive (550mm+150mm+150mm) 6 12V1/
12V2/
12V3/
12V4
3.5" Drive connectors (+150mm) 1
SATA (550mm+150mm+150mm) 9
8 pin EPS12V (650mm) 1 12V2/
12V3/
12V4
6+2 pin PCIe (550mm) 2 12V3/
12V4
6+2 pin PCIe (+150mm) 2
Unit Dimensions (L x W x H)
180mm x 150mm x 86mm

 

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