Pros, Cons And Final Verdict
The new Dark Power Pro 11 line is an important milestone for be quiet!, since it's the first time the company has designed its own platform. Because be quiet! Doesn't have a PSU manufacturing line, which is the case for most companies in the PSU market today, FSP is the OEM. The Dark Power Pro P11-1200 is one of the most silent, high-capacity PSUs that we have ever evaluated, and on top of that, it offers good performance along with some nice features that enthusiast users will appreciate. be quiet! used a top-notch SilentWings 3 fan to cool down this platform. Thanks to its Fluid Dynamic Bearing, this fan offers low noise and a very long lifetime. After capacitors, the cooling fan is the second weakest link in the reliability of a PSU, especially if the fan uses lower-quality bearings that aren't suitable for horizontal mounting and operation (e.g., sleeve bearings).
The new Dark Power Pro 11 line features some noticeable improvements over the Dark Power Pro 10 line. According to be quiet!, the new 1.2 kW model achieves 8.9-dBA lower noise output at full loads compared to the previous model, which is an impressive result. Currently, only three Dark Power Pro 11 units are available that cover the higher-capacity regions. In the near future, the company is planning to expand this line with lower-capacity models covering the mid-wattage category (550 W to 750 W), which would be of high interest to many users.
While the lower-capacity Dark Power P11-850, which we previously reviewed, could match the competition in its category, this doesn't seem to be the case with the higher-capacity unit. Admittedly, the competition in the 1.2-kW, high-end category is much tougher since implementations by Seasonic, Super Flower, Andyson and FSP raise the bar quite high. We shouldn't forget, though, that this is be quiet!'s first attempt to design its own PSUs, so it is expected that it wouldn't beat the more experienced PSU makers in all areas. However, the new unit is close in performance, and, with some modifications, the platform can be brought up to speed.
The most significant advantage of the 1.2-kW Dark Power Pro unit is its silent operation, which the majority of the competition can't offer. Nowadays, many users are very sensitive to the noise that their PSUs make, and as the capacity of the unit increases, it becomes even more difficult to suppress the noise output. From our noise-test results, it is clear that be quiet! lived up to its name and managed to deliver a quiet, high-capacity PSU. However, in pure performance terms, the unit is behind the high-end competition in this category. If be quiet! can afford to lower its asking price, then the price per-dollar ratio for the P11-1200 would receive a nice boost; otherwise, the company should make some modifications to increase the PSU's efficiency and tighten the unit's load regulation. In any case, if you need a silent PSU with huge capacity and some nice features (like the overclocking key and external fan control), then you should definitely take a look at the Dark Power P11-1200.