Though Gigabyte has made a few attempts to get into the power supply game, today will be the first time I personally get to check out one of their units. Fittingly, it's the high end XP1200M model on the table, promising 80 Plus Platinum efficiency and 1200 watts.
Other tech companies have tried to get into this market, and many of them do not so well. OCZ made a real go of it for a while, but ultimately didn't stick around for the long haul. Hiper was here and then not here. MSI did power supplies too, once upon a time. Not sure if they are anymore. We certainly haven't seen any of their units here in the lab.
See, it takes a real understanding of what makes a good power supply in order to make it in this field. We were all skeptical when Corsair entered the market, and look where they are now. It was the same thing with EVGA... when they released a 1500W albatross that didn't quite meet the competition head on, we wondered if they would ever go on to greatness. Of course, we know what happened there... EVGA is currently dominating. And yet, it could have easily gone the other way.
2016 has seen some pretty drastic highs and lows. We lost Prince, but we finally got to hear The Avalanches' second album... and it's as amazing as the first. We saw a sentient orange pine cone somehow elected to the highest office in the land... but we also got a timely new release from A Tribe Called Quest. See, you just don't know what's around the corner this year. This power supply could be amazing or awful, and I intend to find out which.
As best I can remember, Gigabyte's first foray into the power supply biz came as they partnered up with CWT (Channel Well Technology). And we had a look at one of them back in the day. As a rule, CWT can be very good or very meh, depending on what part of the factory they came out of, but that one did fairly well at the time.
This particular unit comes from the Enhance factory. Not quite the same as CWT in that their build quality is usually higher, but at the same time I find that Enhance units tend to yawn their way through the performance side of things. They're built well but perform unremarkably. The challenge for Gigabyte is to get the Enhance folks to bring the performance up to the level we expect of a high end unit. I think that factory is capable of it. I think. I don't remember any unit from them really blowing me away performance wise, but I'm pretty sure they can do it.
That said, the box does make some pretty good promises. Japanese capacitors? Yes please. Temperature controlled fan? Also something we expect. Though I will say that most of the competition has gone to the more silence oriented enhanced sleeve bearing technologies out there, like fluid dynamic bearings, rather than going with the plain old double ball bearing fan as this one seems to have done. So, we can expect already that this may not be the quietest power supply in town.
Moving the box around, we find some specs. What's missing is any type of hint as to what temperature we can expect full power to be good at. However, since we already know Enhance built it, we can reasonably expect forty degrees from it. Enhance is pretty much a stickler when it comes to forty degrees being high enough, and they tend to aggressively set their overtemp protection accordingly. Or, at least they used to. More and more, I've been finding their stuff easily exceeding that number.
And because this is Enhance, we can also presume that the protection being bragged about here is legit. Enhance is pretty good about protection - it's one of the things I love about them. Some treat overtemp protection as being optional, and I can't remember high end Enhance units ever lacking it.
There's actually not that much marketing nonsense on this box compared to others I could name, but there is some. Guaranteed to deliver 1200 watts? You'd better hope so, Gigabyte, because it will have to around these parts. Heavy duty protection? We already talked about that. Of course, fully modular is always nice. If... it's done properly.
I have to admit that I was expecting more goodies than this. The manual is ok in that it's a manual, but is rather lacking in terms of details. I can see a scoring deduction coming for that. We also have a bag full of cables, a case sticker, some screws, some cable ties, and a... wrist band?
Is it 1988 again? If so, I need to go talk to my 15 year old self and tell him a few things. Like how he should place bets on whether or not the Cubs would win the whole deal in 2016.
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