Reviews - XFX Core Edition 650W & 750W Pro
Sample Provided by: XFX (By OklahomaWolf on Wed, Feb-02-2011)

Page 1 - First Look - 650W

I got an interesting email a while back. This email told me that XFX would be releasing these way cool power supplies soon, priced aggressively to compete with the best value leaders in the market. This email also asked if we here at would be interested in looking at these units. Being the person that I am, I immediately jumped up and down with glee. After removing from my hair the shattered remains of a damaged ceiling tile, I fired off an email of my own accepting my new assignment - to review the new XFX Pro 650W and 750W Core Edition fully wired units.

This new line of units spans from 650 watts to 850 watts, and all three models are 80 Plus Bronze rated.

As always, the product box gets into some marketing starting with the back panel. I do believe I'll zoom in so you can read some of this.

Ummmm... okay... I've tackled this issue before, but I suppose I should touch on it again. Multiple 12V rails are not the devil, people. If a multi-rail unit is well designed, and most of them are, you will never have a problem with the unit shutting down. Designers usually build some overlap into the overcurrent protection that splits one 12V source into many for this very reason.

And I really have to point this out here - "crashing" is too general a term. To me, crashing is anything from a total shutdown to a Windows stop error. If you trip the overcurrent protection in a multi-rail unit, it powers down. That's all. It does not hang your computer. It does not bluescreen Windows. It does not let the magic smoke out of your hard drives. In fact, it's designed to protect you from letting the magic smoke out.

Say you have a hard drive. Say this hard drive has a bad SATA connector, causing a partial short. Say you have a single 12V power supply with a massive 90A 12V rail. Say this power supply's overcurrent protection doesn't trip when the short happens. Say you, say me. Say it together... er, sorry. Anyway, my point is this: in this scenario, the power supply won't shut down because it doesn't think there's a short. It will keep going. The outcome? Smoke. This actually happened to someone recently on one of the forums I frequent.

Now, the chances of this happening to you are remote - it's not that widespread an issue. Most times, the short will be a solid enough connection to shut things down. Still, it does happen.

Good enough isn't good enough. Not a bad philosophy to build a power supply on. "We aim to suck" - now that would be a bad one. But this guy? He's my kind of guy.

Guys, I'm beginning to think XFX's marketing department has too much free time on its hands. Again with the single 12V marketing hype, and we're still on the back of the box. And it's been given a trademarked name, too... EasyRail™. And like I just said only a couple pictures ago, if a multi-rail unit is designed well, the 12V distribution is already optimized. You don't have to worry about it in 99% of cases. Just plug things in and go to town.

Let's move on now. We need to get these box pictures out of the way so we can check out the unit itself.

Oh come on. You've gotta be kidding me.

Again with the marketing hype. And this time, we're told that real gamers choose EasyRail™. Implying that you're not a real gamer if you go multi-rail. And that's just the first two lines.

The rest of the paragraph goes on to say that multi-rail units aren't equipped to handle what single 12V units can, unless I'm misunderstanding the above marketing blurb. This is untrue. Once again - if it's properly designed, it's not a problem. Well, you might have a problem running four high power video cards on a 600W multi-rail unit, but that's neither here nor there. A 600W single rail unit wouldn't run that kind of load either.

This is getting absurd, quite frankly. I've never seen so much single 12V marketing hype on one box. Not even from that mythbusting company. You know the one. And here's the thing - there actually are uncommon instances where you'd actually want a single 12V unit. Like if you have 40 hard drives to power, for example. Spinning them all up at once would shut down a multi-rail unit unless the multi-rail OCP is set very high, defeating the purpose of multi-rail. But this marketing implies that you will even have problems with things like multiple GPUs. This is just not correct unless you, like I said in the above paragraph, buy a unit too small for the job in general.

Next box panel, please.

Oh, really now!!! The marketing just doesn't stop!!! And now we're getting hints that multi-rail units get their power ratings by just adding all the rails together. Guys, no reputable power supply company is that dishonest. Yes, you do see this going on with the junker no name units out there, but good units give you a combined 12V rating so you can see what's safe for the unit. Then, they give you the rating for each 12V rail, giving you an idea how much can come off those rails before the unit shuts down. Typically, each 12V rail is rated well below where the OCP trip point is set, to allow for component tolerances and make sure the unit does what the ratings say.

But wait! There's more! "When you expect 650W, EasyRail™ gives you 650W." Ok, so now we're implying that this 650W unit can give you the whole deal on just the 12V rail. Well, to be fair, it's probably able to. But is it rated as such on the label? That's what I want to know.

Why look, more marketing bullet points. I think I'll type this one out:

The wattage you see isn't always the wattage you get.
Some brands tweak tests to get great wattage ratings, but in reality, it delivers much lower max wattages. Don't be fooled by wattage tricks. Here's how we guarantee our true wattage:

  • 650W Continuous Power
    Wattage and heat go hand-in-hand. Other PSUs claim a certain wattage by using unrealistic testing environments like 25°C, but in real settings, it might reach much lower wattages. XFX PSUs guarantee the advertised wattage, even at well above standard operating conditions at 50°C.
    -It's all starting again, isn't it? Ok, let's get through this. 25 degrees isn't unrealistic. A well cooled case in a basement may well run at 25 degrees. MINUS 25 degrees is unrealistic. 25 degrees is merely what I would call unhelpful, because most of my computers run at around 35 degree ambient temperatures at the power supply intake. If a unit is rated to 500W at 25 degrees, and you install it in a case that never exceeds 25 degrees, you will get 500W assuming you aren't dealing with a unit that is dishonestly rated.
  • Clean Power
    Power drawn from your AC outlet is typically dirty with voltage spikes and fluctuations, which can harm vital PC components. XFX PSUs are designed to deliver tight DC voltage regulation with minimal AC ripple, giving you safer, cleaner power.
    -Haha, no. That's not how this works. You do not plug your CPU directly into the wall. Every power supply filters the incoming AC to some extent, even the cheap ones, and that's before the secondary side even gets started with it. The filtering on the secondary side is there primarily to kill the AC ripple from the side effects of switchmode power supply design. A good unit will not have much "dirty" left from the AC line by the time the power goes into the secondary, let alone the wires that go out to your computer's components.
  • Efficient Power Use
    80 Plus Bronze certified means that this XFX PSU has an 85% power efficiency (only 15% of the power drawn from the outlet is lost). Compare that to non-certified PSUs, which lose at least 20% of power drawn. With XFX PSUs, you get every watt you pay for.
    -So... with an 85% efficient unit I get 100% of the power I pay for? Sorry, marketing guys, I think you better check your math again. And to be clear - Bronze does not mean 85% over the entire operating range of the unit. Bronze means the unit must be 82%-85%-82% at 20%-50%-100% loading. You're only guaranteed 85% at half power. We'll see how well this unit does for efficiency on the coming pages.
  • Extreme Heat Tested Capacitors
    Internal PC operating temperature is around 35°C but the internal PSU temperature can be much higher. XFX uses all high-quality Japanese brand capacitors rated to withstand up to 105°C. While some competitors claim to use Japanese capacitors, they may only be rated for 85°C, which can shorten the usable life of a PSU.
    -Who does that? Who springs for Japanese capacitors rated at 85 degrees? Well, some units do use 85 degree parts on the primary, but that's not really a big deal. Those capacitors are typically never going to reach 85. Honestly, though, I can think of no unit that uses 85 degree Japanese parts on the secondary, where the temp rating matters most.
  • Automatic Protection Sensors
    All XFX PSUs come with automatic output protection systems to protect you and your computer. This includes Total Power Protection (OPP), Over Voltage Protection (OVP), Over Current Protection (OCP), Short Circuit Protection (SCP), and Over Temperature Protection (OTP).
    -So resistors are now "sensors," are they? The hype just doesn't end. Wait a minute - overcurrent protection? We'll have to see about that. Single 12V units typically omit OCP because the OPP is often enough protection for such units.

Wow. That was a heck of a lot of marketing hype to deal with. I'm just glad it's all over now, and I can get on with the produdududududuct pipipipipipipipipcturturtures... s.s.s.s.s.s.s.s...

I got an interesting email a while back. This email told me that XFX would be releasing these way cool power supplies soon, priced aggressively to compete with the best value leaders on the market. This email also asked... wait... I already said that, didn't I? My brain crashed, didn't it? I guess it needs to be running on a unit with EasyRail™ technology.

Above you see the final panel of the box. I'm not going to look any closer at it, thank you. Enough marketing madness. Besides, all it has is a couple more bullet points on features like voltage regulator modules for the minor rails and a load table.

Opening up the box results in us finding... another box. This one is refreshingly devoid of any marketing claptrap. Let's open this one up and see if we're reviewing a power supply today or merely a set of Russian Matryoshka nesting boxes.

Ah, there is a power supply in there. It's found underneath an unnecessarily elaborate cardboard tray which holds nothing more than the manual and another "good enough is not good enough" quote from the designer. You know, I don't care for this packaging. The unit itself has no plastic bag around it, and that tray doesn't do much to offer shock protection.

But wait! There's more! Take a look at this:

Yes, folks, there is open space underneath the bottom of the power supply as well. You can see above just how well the cardboard holds up to the weight of the unit.

Hmm... empty space above, empty space below. Is it any wonder I could shake the product box and hear the power supply rattle around loose in there? This packaging needs work. It's unnecessarily elaborate and wasteful, and does little to protect the power supply inside.

Finally - we get to look at the box contents. A power supply, a bag o' screws, a power cord, and a manual.

The screws were a major improvement on past XFX units. No longer optical drive threaded, these are the same screws every other power supply on Earth uses. Having ranted about that before, I feel listened to - it's a pleasant feeling.

Oh, dear sweet baby Jeebus. Please make the marketing STOP. As if all the hype on the box wasn't enough, it's got to be crammed into the manual, too. Sigh. Next picture.

Here's the power supply itself. It is refreshingly devoid of marketing. I probably shouldn't give them any ideas.

The finish is a rugged rough feeling dark gray. And even so, it still had scuff marks on it from the poor packaging.

Play hard, now. What is a "core edition," anyway? An upgrade on the "peel edition?" I don't get it.

The exhaust grille is pretty good looking as exhaust grilles go. Nice and open, except for a vertical ribbon where the XFX logo is.

As with past XFX units, this unit has a big decorative plastic piece over the front of it. Not being a modular unit, we see no modular connectors here.

Pleasantly, we no longer have to deal with radioactive green fans. This one is black.

And we come to the label at last. Say, remember when the box implied that we'd get all 650W on the 12V rail? The box was wrong. You do that, it's an overload according to this label. Now, I betcha the unit wouldn't have a problem with that. A well designed unit has significantly more cushion than that in the rated capacity. But, I do have a problem with the box telling me one thing and the unit itself telling me another.

In any case, this unit is rated for 636W on the 12V rail. That's not bad at all for a 650W unit, but not too surprising considering the use of voltage regulator modules for the minor rails.


+3.3V +5V
-12V +5VSB
25A 25A 53A 0.5A 3A
Max Power 150W 636W 6W 15W

And here are the various tentacles for the unit. Looks like not a bad compliment for a 650W unit. Here's a table.

Type of connector: XFX XPS-
ATX connector (580mm) 20+4 pin
4+4 pin EPS12V/ATX12V (620mm) 1
6 pin PCIe (580mm) 2
6+2 pin PCIe (580mm) 2
5.25" Drive (390mm+150mm+150mm+150mm) 7
3.5" Drive connectors (+150mm) 1
SATA (360mm+150mm+150mm+150mm) 8
Unit Dimensions (L x W x H)
170mm x 150mm x 86mm

You know what? I still have the 750W version of this unit to look at. Guys, I am not going through all this marketing again. Let's turn this into a double review. Next page, please, and we'll look at the 750W model.


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