Reviews - NorthQ Giant Connector 850W Power Supply
Sample Provided by: NorthQ (By OklahomaWolf on Mon, Apr-28-2008)

Page 1 -

I have to admit that I am rather fond of giant things. I like giant doses of soda at a time. I like giant cheeseburgers. I'm a fan of actor Richard Kiel. Indeed, at a hair under six feet six inches tall, some would say that I am myself a giant. I wouldn't say that, to me a giant is over seven feet tall, but a lot of people who meet me do.

Today, I'm looking at a power supply that has the word "giant" right in the product name, the NorthQ Giant Connector 850W. I can't wait to see if I like it as much as my other favorite giant things.

As always, here's a box for your viewing pleasure. NorthQ isn't a name familiar to a lot of people on this continent, but this company, located in Denmark, has a following overseas. Hmm, that box seems just a bit small for a giant power supply, don't you think? Well, we'll just have to open the box and see for ourselves. But first, let's have a look at the side panel, the only place on the box other than the front I could really find any meaningful information.

Actually, this is looking pretty promising. I'm taking that top bullet point to mean that this thing should be able to meet its full power rating. I hear tell that's a good thing. But what really sets me to drooling are some of the other points. Full modular. Quad SLI support with lots of connectors. No less than eight SATA connectors. Over 80% efficient. 135mm fan. Low energy. Wait, what? What exactly is low energy supposed to mean? I hope this means low energy in the "look how little power I'm using on standby" way and not the "you want me to work today? Surely you jest" way. The SunMoon shall open our eyes to the truth of that little matter.

A-ha. Now we know why the box seems small. There ain't nothing in there but the power supply itself, it seems. Let's just unpack and make sure.

Yup, just the power supply and enough cabling to supply the entire state of New York with electricity. Good golly, that's a lot of cables. I wonder if I can get all that back in the box later.

Now I like this view. Every single cable comes off of the Giant Connector. While the modularity of the main ATX cable itself seems just a bit redundant (don't most computers need that connected by default?), I must admit the whole thing looks a lot cleaner this way. On the top row, we have connectors for a six pin EPS workstation cable, eight pin EPS 12V cable, four pin ATX12V cable, and two six pin connectors for the PCI-E cables on this unit. On the bottom row, beside the obvious twenty-four pin ATX connector, there is a ten pin connector for the set of 3.3V enabled SATA cables. Over on the right, a battery of four female Molex connectors handle the connection of the various 5.25" Molex cables.

We also get a good look at the giant fan of the Giant Connector, a 135mm monster that lights up red when bringing the fannage. Cool.

Turning the Giant Connector around, we get a glimpse of a status LED on the back of the unit. The LED lights up orange when in standby, and green when the power supply is turned on. How's about a label shot, and then we'll start figuring out who the OEM is?

Some interesting information here. First, we have dual 12V rails at a whopping 35A each with a combined limit of 56A. We also have a little graph showing the fan's apparent restriction from ramping up until about 60% of full power. But what's really interesting, not that you can make it out on my scaled down picture, is the UL number. e181356. Shenzhen Chi Yuan, aka Huntkey. Are you serious? I'm supposed to believe the OEM is a company who currently doesn't offer something this powerful? There's got to be more to the story than this. If anything, going by the specs, I feel like my giant hands are holding a giant Enhance unit. But, we'll find out for sure in the deconstruction phase. Meantime, here's a reprint of the load label for your perusal.

I'll just lay out all the cabling for this monster on my photography table while you're going over the numbers.

NorthQ Giant
Connector 850W
+3.3V +5V +12V1 +12V2 -12V +5VSB
25A 30A 35A 35A 0.5A 3A
Max Combined
Watts
180W 680W 6W 15W
850W

Okay, here's the first set. This thing has so many cables, I'll have to do this twice. From bottom to top, we have the main ATX cable, EPS workstation cable, 4 pin ATX12V, 8 pin EPS 12V, two cables each with a pair of six pin PCI-E connectors, and two cables each with one eight pin PCI-E and one six pin PCI-E connector. Very nice.

In this shot, we see the remaining cables including, from bottom to top, four cables each with two 5.25" drive connectors. Two of these cables lack the 3.5" connector. Next, we have a single SATA cable, missing the 3.3V wires, that has three SATA connectors and plugs into the same place as the other drive connectors. Finally, at the very top, we have a total of six SATA connectors on two cables that join down to the one ten pin connector on the back of the power supply. This is the 3.3V enabled SATA cabling.

Wow, that's a lot of cabling to keep track of. Methinks we need a table.

Type of connector: NorthQ GC 850W
ATX connector (530mm) 20+4 pin
2 x 2 12V connectors (550mm) 1
2 x 3 PCIe connector (550mm + 150mm) 4
2 x 4 PCIe connector (550mm) 2*
2 x 3 PCIe connector (+150mm) 2*
8-pin Xeon/EPS connector (550mm) 1
6-pin Xeon/AUX connector (550mm) 1**
5.25" Drive connectors (500mm + 240mm) 8
3.5" Drive connectors (+150mm 2
SATA Drive power connectors (3.3V enabled) (500mm + 240mm + 240mm) 6
SATA Drive power connectors (no 3.3V) (500mm + 240mm +240mm) 3

*cables with one 8 pin, one 6 pin connector

**connector is pin compatible with the 6 pin PCIe connectors - DON'T MIX THESE UP

Now I know why this unit is called the Giant Connector. It's because it's a giant pain in the neck to keep track of all these connectors. But, the cables are all very nicely sleeved with plenty of length to be useful. Between you and me, if the load testing goes well, I might be in love with this thing to the point of wanting to marry it by the end of this review.

I've noted it directly below the connector table, but it bears mentioning again. That six pin EPS workstation cable will plug right into your six pin PCI-E video cards. You don't want to do that. This connector is pin compatible, but not electrically compatible, and you run the risk of toasting that there video card if you power up the system like that. Also worth noting is that you can have only one set of PCI-E cables plugged into the unit at one time. While there is some flexibility, like being able to use one of the 8+6 cables with one of the 6+6 cables, you cannot plug in all four at the same time without some wire cutting and connector doctoring.

Before I move on to the load testing, just a quick note about the rail distribution. 12V1 powers half the 8 pin EPS connector, the ATX connector, the Molex connectors, and one PCI-E chain. 12V2 handles the other PCI-E chain, the 6 pin EPS/AUX connector, the other half of the 8 pin EPS, the 4 pin ATX12V connector, and the big ten pin SATA 3.3V enabled dual connector chain. I'll have a picture up on the deconstruction page with color coded boxes around what does what just a bit later on.


 

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