Cooler Master’s top 850 W power supply has become a popular choice among boutique builders, and for good reasons : Efficiency up to 85% with .99% Active Power Factor Correction, a super-quiet 135 mm fan and a five-year warranty add to the allure of its stability.
With so many high quality models claiming similar specifications, what could make Cooler Master a clear winner ? Its longer-than-average CPU 12 V (8-pin and 4-pin) power leads were needed to reach the top corner of our motherboard, in a case that places its power supply bay at the bottom. We gave up our previously-chosen modular unit for this reason alone ; the competing model simply wouldn’t work.
850 watts is more than enough power, even after considering this marathon’s upcoming overclocking competition. Nevertheless, we may have chosen the company’s 1000 W unit had the 850 W part not already been on hand as a component of our New Reference System.
Cooling Fans : Scythe S-Flex, Antec SpotCool
Our Silverstone Temjin TJ09 case supported two fans in the top panel, but didn’t include them. Adding a radiator to that location would make these fans mandatory, but not just any fan would do. A high-end system is expected to provide a high-quality user experience, so we needed to balance noise against airflow. Scythe made this easy with its S-Flex SFF21E.
The SFF21E is the middle child of Scythe’s Fluid Dynamic Bearing equipped S-Flex family, and provides up to 49 CFM airflow at only 20.1 decibels. Because decibels are on logarithmic scale, two of these fans together only add up to around 23 dB. Airflow on the other hand is linear, and we expect around 90 CFM from the two 49 CFM fans when they’re in close proximity.
Hot chipsets and passive chipset cooling only work together with the help of a downdraft CPU cooler, which our system doesn’t have. That’s why the Striker II Formula includes two small radial fans to blow onto the VRM sinks of its heat-pipe assembly. Our experience with this type of supplemental cooling has shown that it’s barely adequate, and somewhat noisy. Instead, we chose to install Antec’s SpotCool universal fan, aiming it at the large Northbridge sink.
Designed like an 80 mm LED fan on a flexible stalk, an added benefit of the Antec SpotCool is its ability to cool surrounding components. By pointing ours towards the Northbridge sink, we were also able to keep our system’s RAM exceptionally cool.
- Getting Ahead Of The Curve
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650
- Graphics Cards: Two Gigabyte GeForce 8800GTX In SLI
- Hard Drives: Two Western Digital Caviar WD7500AAKS
- Case: Silverstone Temjin TJ09-BW
- CPU Cooling: Swiftech Liquid Cooling Components
- Power Supply: Cooler Master RS-850-EMBA
- Component Installation
- Component Installation, Continued
- Test System Configuration
- Benchmark Results