Tom's Hardware Verdict
The HCG850 should receive a higher rating. However, we had two failures during our protection feature testing, forcing us to question some of Antec's implementation decisions. If the company resolves this power supply's issues, we'll revise our outcome.
Fully modular for clean cabling
Selectable semi-passive mode
2x EPS & 6x PCIe connectors to support high-end PCs
Compact dimensions simplify installation
Poor transient response at 3.3V
Noisy under high loads
Bulky ATX, EPS, and PCIe cables
Short distance between peripheral connectors
5VSB efficiency should be higher
OPP and 5VSB OCP triggering points should be lower
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Features & Specifications
Thanks to a close working relationship with Seasonic, we're finally seeing new power supplies from the once-pervasive Antec. Besides its EarthWatts Gold Pro family (we covered the flagship model in our Antec Earthwatts Gold Pro 750W PSU Review) the High Current Gamer line-up was also revamped recently. And fortunately for enthusiasts, the company is building these higher-end models using Seasonic's Focus Plus Gold platform as a foundation. Inherently, then, they serve up solid performance in a compact form factor. Only the chassis and labels are different.
But not all is perfect with Antec's take on this celebrated design. Our first two samples died as we tested their protection features. That's simply not acceptable at a $110 price point. Hopefully the company takes our findings and fixes whatever caused those untimely failures. To make matter worse, even though we measured high efficiency from this fully modular PSU, it still gets noisy under taxing loads.
The HCG850 Gold features fully modular cabling and impressive power density, meaning it packs a lot of capacity into small dimensions. Because the chassis only measures 14cm long, Seasonic built the platform with a 120mm fan. We would have preferred a 135mm model instead, similar to the lower-capacity Prime Ultra PSUs. However, that may have caused too much overlap with Seasonic's higher-end product families.
Again, the High Current Gamer's chassis differentiates it from Seasonic's Focus Plus Gold. And in our opinion, Antec has the better-looking and more distinctive enclosure. But the HCG850's fan grill is restrictive, and that will probably make the cooling fan's job harder.
Antec's solution might look like a 550W PSU thanks to its compact footprint; however, it packs a load of connectivity, including two EPS and six PCIe connectors. This makes it ideal for building a capable gaming system. Modern GPUs might not be as power-hungry as they were a generation ago, but they still use more power than any other component, Moreover, AMD's Radeon RX Vega family imposes some fairly brutal current spikes that can put a lot of stress on weaker PSUs, even shutting them down by triggering their over-current protection circuits.
Besides an 80 PLUS Gold certification, the HCG850 is also ETA-A- (for efficiency) and LAMBDA-S++-rated (for noise) by Cybenetics. This isn't a particularly quiet power supply; we measure close to 35 dB(A) due to the relatively small fan spinning at high speeds to keep enough air moving through Antec's diminutive chassis.
The list of protection features is comprehensive (at least on paper). Meanwhile, a 10-year warranty is undoubtedly reassuring to anyone concerned about reliability. We still find it strange to see PSUs covered by 10- and 12-year warranties. A few years ago, those guarantees would have sounded crazy, since a power supply's lifetime is highly dependent on power quality coming from the mains grid. If you don't use a conditioner of some sort with decent automatic voltage regulation (AVR), then your PSU gets punished during brownouts.
|Total Max. Power (W)
The minor rails offer sufficient maximum power for any modern system, while the +12V rail delivers up to 70A of current. Lastly, the 5VSB rail has 15W capacity, which should be plenty for most usage scenarios. As a side note, OCP is set much higher on this rail.
Cables & Connectors
|Connector Count (Total)
|In Cable Capacitors
|ATX connector 20+4 pin (610mm)
|4+4 pin EPS12V (660mm)
|6+2 pin PCIe (680mm+80mm)
|Four-pin Molex (460mm+120mm+120mm)
|Four-pin Molex (350mm+120mm)
|FDD Adapter (+110mm)
|AC Power Cord (1370mm) - C13 coupler
There are two EPS and six PCIe connectors, which should be plenty for an 850W PSU. There are also 10 SATA connectors, plus five Molex ones. Antec does provide a FDD adapter for anyone who needs one.
As you can see in the table above, there are capacitors in the ATX, EPS, and PCIe cables. We are not fond of these, since they make the cables bulky. On the other hand, they help improve ripple suppression and transient response.
|Max. DC Output
|80 PLUS Gold, ETA-A (88-91%)
|LAMBDA-S++ (30-35 dB[A])
|Intel C6/C7 Power State Support
|Operating Temperature (Continuous Full Load)
|0 - 50°C
|Over Voltage Protection
|Under Voltage Protection
|Over Power Protection
|Over Current (+12V) Protection
|Over Temperature Protection
|Short Circuit Protection
|Inrush Current Protection
|Fan Failure Protection
|No Load Operation
|120mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing Fan (HA1225H12F-Z)
|150 x 86 x 140mm
|ATX12V v2.4, EPS 2.92
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Aris Mpitziopoulos is a Contributing Editor at Tom's Hardware US, covering PSUs.
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