Introduction & Closer Look
Following on from little Gav’s review of the Pure Power 9 500w power supply from be quiet!, today I’ll be taking a look at one of their more ‘premium’ models in the form of the Dark Power Pro 11 850w 80PLUS Platinum rated beast. be quiet! are a household name when it comes to power supplies and cooling components such as CPU coolers and fans; their Silent Wings range have gathered plaudits from media and consumers alike since they were introduced to the market. But why would you spend the extra money for a Platinum rated unit over Bronze?
That’s a good question, but to simply answer it, it is all to do with efficiency. A more efficient power supply generates less heat, which in turn expels less heat and doesn’t waste as much power and for those who care about their energy bills and the environment, it’s a pretty big deal.
Inside the box, the package is split up into 2 main sections; the left side for the cables/accessories and the right hand side features a thick wall of surrounding stuff foam for protection to the unit itself. I appreciate premium packaging and you should too!
From the side on, the be quiet! Dark Power Pro 850 watt power supply has a very simplistic design which should be suitable for virtually every system. It’s all black with white contrasts thanks to the text on the sticker be quiet! have stuck to the side.
The back panel has a simple on and off switch, with a slot (found on virtually all ATX power supplies) for a 3 pin kettle lead. It has a honeycomb mesh grill which feels strong and sturdy; how many times when installing, have you tightened up the screws to find the grill to bend? No problems of that happening here!
Behind the metal grill, you will find the large 135mm SilentWings 3 fan which be quiet! have equipped to provide the Dark Power Pro 11 with optimal acoustic performance, as well as superb thermal performance too.
The Dark Power Pro 11 850w has ample connections available and although this unit isn’t fully modular (24pin ATX cable is hard wired), the rest of the unit is. Featured is a very neatly organised row for each cable to plug into including fans, the OCK panel, peripheral connectors, PCI-e and P8/4 CPU 12v.
As previously mentioned, the Dark Power Pro 11 isn’t ‘fully’ modular due to the 24pin ATX motherboard cable being hard wired, but the rest of the unit is modular. Here we have the plastic wrapped flexible cables which come with this model; below it we also have the layout of the cables too thanks to be quiet!.
One interesting accessories that be quiet! has included, is the overclocking key. This enables you to switch between single rail and multi rail mode. An overclocking jumper (not the clothing kind) has also been supplied.
Also included with the accessories are external fan headers; perfect for those with systems with lots of fans, but not enough fan headers provided on the motherboard.
The following specification has been provided by be quiet! and a more detailed version can be found under the “Technical Data” heading HERE.
Since we don’t currently have access to an ATE load tester, a multi-meter is used to show each of the power supplies performance on the 3.3v, 5v and 12v rails. Although we can’t do full load tests, we can provide relative information regarding variance and fluctuation of current and ripple on the rails which is integral and indicative of quality in a power supply.
To perform the above tests, the methodology will be as follows:
Intel Core i7 6770K @ 4.2GHz
ASUS Z170 Maximus VIII Hero Alpha
ASUS RX 480 STRIX OC 8GB – Overclocked and power limit to the maximum
Crucial (4x8gb) 32GB DDR4 Ballistix Elite 3000MHz
2 x 525GB Crucial MX300 SSDs
be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 800w PSU
Voltages will be monitored via a multi-meter and the AC power draw will be monitored via a power monitor when drew from the wall. For the idle test, the system will be simply booted up and let to run into windows and after 5 minutes when the power draw has leveled out, the readings will be taken.
To load and apply power to the power supply, a combination of IBT and Furmark will be run to put as much strain on the power supply as possible. After 10 minutes the readings will be taken and to ensure maximum strain, the CPU will be overclocked to 4.2GHz. Depending on the power of the power supply, multiple graphics cards could be used in line with how comfortable I feel the power supply will cope with such load. In the case of this unit, I didn’t have a 2nd RX 480 to hand for CrossFire.
ATX themselves specify that a fluctuation and variable of 5% is acceptable so to number crunch it means that:
3.3V = 3.135V-3.465V is acceptable
5V = 4.75V-5.25V is acceptable
12V = 11.4V – 12.6V is acceptable.
Any readings outside of these figures will be an automatic fail.
|3.3V = 3.29v|
|5V = 5.11v|
|12V = 12.06v|
|3.3V = 3.39v|
|5V = 5.18v|
|12V = 12.34v|
The be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 850w power supply is a seriously good power supply when you focus on the performance and design aspect, but the price could certainly be better. I’m not saying that be quiet! aren’t over valuing themselves here, far from it, but in the £150-200 price bracket, there is serious competition and remaining competitive is key.
In our testing (albeit not fully comprehensive due to our lack of a Sunmoon ATX load tester), the Dark Power Pro 11 performed superbly with little to no fluctuation on the 3 key lines (3.3v/5v/12v) which is very important when trusting it to not only protect your components, but keep them powered without hindrance. It should be duly noted that this model is an FSP OEM which doesn’t give the oomph like OEMs such as Seasonic or Superflower do, but this particular unit is top class. FSP do tend to make more budget to mid-range units, but this is clearly an example of how a top drawer power supply should look, feel and perform.
The main draw here is just how quiet the Dark Power Pro 11 is, at idle and load; it’s barely audible at all! It certainly sat quieter than the test benches CPU cooler, graphics card cooler and Noctua case fan. That is pretty phenomenal considering the 80PLUS Platinum efficiency rating which I would class as the new premium standard for the top tier power supplies; the Dark Power Pro sits very high in this tier.
Design wise, this particular model looks good, clean and should fit well into most people systems due to the simple black paint job with white contrasting highlights thanks to the text.
You can purchase this power supply in the UK from Amazon for £179.95 or in the USA at Newegg for $179.90 which is good value for money in my opinion when you consider the quality product be quiet! have assembled together. The only problem is the level of competition in the same price bracket is highly contested and some 1000w units can be had for around the same price. Obviously if you are attracted to higher wattage numbers, they don’t always give you the best in terms of quality. What the be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 850w power supply does is just that, the quality, the design and ultimately, peace of mind with their brilliant 5 year warranty.
+ Virtually silent operation
+ Solidly built unit
+ The style should fit well into most builds
+ Good performance
+ Can be used single rail or multi rail thanks to the OCK (overclocking key) provided
- A lot of competition in the £150-200 price bracket