Reviews - NorthQ Black Magic Flex 850W PSU
Sample Provided by: NorthQ (By OklahomaWolf on Mon, Jun-09-2008)

Page 1 -

Greetings once more, my good readers. As you can see by the above picture, we're continuing our magic theme here at by taking a look at the NorthQ Black Magic 850W unit. This is my second encounter with NorthQ after reviewing the Giant Connector 850W not long ago, which you may recall that I gave high marks to. Will the Black Magic be able to ensorcel me into giving it as good of a score? We shall see. Meantime, let's all look at the box.

You may be asking whether the box looks as faded in real life as it does in these pictures, and I have to say yes. It does. And it's a smallish box too, which seems at odds with a unit powerful enough to bring this many watts. There are a few bullet points on the front to pay attention to, which I'll go ahead and reprint here.

  • Extreme 850 Watt Real Power
  • 12V ATX 2.2 standard / EPS12V standard
  • 4 x 25A 12V power rails
  • Semi module cable management system
  • Flexible module cable design
  • 2 x 6 pin PCI-Express and 2 x 6/8 pin PCI-Express
  • 80% efficiency
  • 135mm Ultra low noise fan
  • 15-20dB under normal load
  • Active PFC
  • ROHS Certified
  • Low power consumption

The sides of the box are pretty plain looking, but one side of the box has some useful information, namely which cables are modular on this unit and which are not. The opposite side has a picture of the load label on the unit so one can see how powerful it is without opening up the box. Speaking of which, it's that time now.

And the first thing I see when I open the box is a foam coffin. Interesting. Vill it vant to suck my blood, or turn to dust when I fire it up? I hope not. I've never seen a power supply packed quite like this before. I'll just lift the unit out of there and see what all the Black Magic comes with.

And once again, a NorthQ unit arrives lacking anything but the PSU itself. In all fairness the foam coffin didn't really have much room for extra things, but power cords and owner's manuals are nice things.

A shot of the back panel reveals a nice expanse of honeycombed grille area perfect for exhausting all that heat from the unit. Immediate proof of the active PFC claim from the box is found right below the AC receptacle, where there is a label out of Mr. Fuji's sight that proclaims compatibility with voltages between 110V and 230V.

It's hard to spot the modular connectors in this shot, but there are four 4x2 pin Molex Mini-Fit Juniors responsible for the four PCI-E cables. These are joined by five 5 pin straight line Mini-Fit Juniors that handle the rest of the cabling. The permanent cables, both of them, are the ATX cable itself and a single EPS 12V cable.

Just as with the Giant Connector, it is a complete mystery who made this unit. Once again, the unit bears the UL number for Shenzhen Chi Yuan, aka Huntkey, but it's again not one of theirs. Not Enhance, either. Getting to the bottom of the mystery on this one took the better part of the week, and I'll elaborate further on page three. Meantime, I'll just whip up a load table here.

NorthQ BM 850W

















Max Power






What I find really interesting about these numbers is the fact that there are no combined ratings for the 3.3V/5V or 12V loads. At all. And indeed, when I did finally track down the OEM thanks to some help from one of my readers, they don't list such ratings either. Strange. And by strange, I mean irksome because now I have to figure out how to program the SunMoon in such a way that I won't let the magic smoke out unintentionally when I load test it.

You will recall that the Giant Connector was rated at 56A combined on the 12V however, so I opted to toss up to a 60A load on the 12V rails and just let it sink or swim. We'll see how that goes on the next page.

Meantime, I had Mr. Fuji get me a picture of the ends of the modular cables for your amusement, plus the 8 pin EPS to 8 pin EPS plus 4 pin ATX12V adaptor. You might be wondering what that small two pin connector is for. Well, this combines with the 6 pin PCI-E cable next to it to give you an 8 pin PCI-E. The flat black cables on these split off from the group at the power supply end, so if you end up not needing those little two pin connectors it's easy to hide them.

All the modular cables are flat black, by the way. Makes it easy to hide them, but hard to tell which ones carry power or ground. And I have to say, the connectors on the PSU side are a bit difficult to work with due to the latches on them being slightly on the large side to fit the little notches in the PSU case.

And now, a table.

Type of connector: NorthQ
BM 850W
ATX connector (580mm) 20+4 pin
8-pin Xeon/EPS connector (675mm) 1
2 x 2 ATX12V connector (60mm) 1*
2 x 3 PCIe (500mm) 2
2 x 4 PCIe (500mm) 2**
5.25" Drive connectors (500mm + 150mm + 150mm) 6
3.5" Drive connectors (+ 150mm) 2
SATA Drive power connectors (500mm + 150mm + 150mm) 6

*Uses EPS12V 8 pin to EPS12V 8 pin + ATX12V 4 pin adaptor
**Connectors are 6+2 pin modular type

12V rail distribution turned out to be somewhat interesting. One 12V goes to the ATX connector. Another goes to the EPS12V connector. The remaining two 12V rails join down to one at the modular panel PCB for a single huge 50A 12V rail.


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