Performance (40% of the final score) - I've gotta be honest here, I've been racking my poor brain ever since this thing came off the load tester to decide how to score it. On one hand, I've had a couple units regulate ever so slightly better. On one hand, I've had them quieter. On one hand, I've... well, no I haven't had better ripple suppression. Or overall efficiency.
But on the other hand, each of the units that were able to best the SG-850 marginally in one area were absolutely trounced by it in others. After a lengthy decision making process, I've at last settled on a score. This decision was not made lightly, because it is conceivable something else will come along that can take the crown away from this bad boy. But for now, the Antec SG-850 is the first and only unit to pull down a 10 in performance from me.
Functionality (20% of the final score) - this decision was somewhat easier to make. The SG-850 gives you a whole heap of connectors, rail distribution that makes sense, and nice looking sleeving. Unfortunately, due in part perhaps to those plastic beads, the sleeving doesn't go all the way into the case. And, the 20+4 pin ATX connector is the unhinging type that gets in the way for some mainboards, like my Asrock. You'd think with the money this thing costs, they could have afforded to pay Topower for their 20+4 pin patent. So, I'm going to pull a point for that. 9.
Value (30% of the final score) - while at first glance the price is pretty gosh darn ugly for even a unit of this caliber, I've come to realize something: I have to compare this unit with its true competition. And, its true competition is in units like the PC Power and Cooling 860W and Zippy PSL-6850P for this, friends, is an industrial server unit trapped in an enthusiast's body. It was never designed by Delta to be affordable - it was designed to be eleven shades of kick ass so the servers it was running would... you know, stay running.
I'm going to stay in Canada on this one, as Zippy is hard to find down south. According to NCIX, the pricing is $274 for the PC P&C, $382 for the Zippy, and this unit goes right in the middle at $299. It's $299 USD at Newegg too, as I type this. I hereby deem the Signature only a so-so value based on these prices, but a quick Froogle search turns up the SG-850 starting at $223 at ValleySeek. I don't know about you, but this thing's a darn good deal at $223.
Still, I said I'd go by Canuckistan prices this time, and I'm going to stick to it. 7.
Aesthetics (10% of the final score) - as many of you know by now, I likes me some matte black and the Signature is gorgeous to these eyes. But one point comes off for the not into the case sleeving and Texas size warranty sticker. 9.
For a long time now, Antec has been in that sector of the market where they were known as pretty decent but nothing really special. The Signature series is a huge jump in quality for them, so much so that they are now able to compete with heavy hitters in the industrial game like PC Power and Cooling and Zippy. This reviewer would like to see prices go down some yet, and the market segment that the Signature line targets begs for models up to 1200W, but we're off to a fantastic start here.
exceptional ripple and noise suppression
quieter than any 80mm fanned unit has a right to be
efficiency up to 87%
plenty of cabling
12V3 and 12V4 each get a PCI-E 8 pin + 6 pin combo, and 50A total 12V power available for the video cards alone
uhh... chilly chocolate cheescake must be fed to chubby children in China not charred, after the chewy chili cheese chicken chowder, and without Chardonnay. By Chuck Norris.
See that, Antec? You made my wallet cry. That's not nice. Now it won't be your friend.
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