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Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 1200W PSU Review

be quiet! says it's committed to building silent products, including the company's top PSU line, the Dark Power Pro 11. In this review, we will put the 1200 W Dark Power Pro 11 model to the test, which promises good performance and silent operation.

Our Verdict

A silent 1.2 kW PSU, one of the very few in its category, that offers decent performance along with increased reliability. However with this amount of money are enough alternatives offering higher performance, with increased noise output however in the majority of cases.

For

  • Full power at 49 °C • Ripple Suppression • Quiet operation • Quality (FDB) fan • Number of connectors • Japanese caps • OCK Feature • External Fan control • Warranty

Against

  • Price • Hold-up time • Efficiency and load regulation are a little behind the high-end competition • No stealth or flat cables

Tom's Hardware Verdict

A silent 1.2 kW PSU, one of the very few in its category, that offers decent performance along with increased reliability. However with this amount of money are enough alternatives offering higher performance, with increased noise output however in the majority of cases.

Pros

  • +

    Full power at 49 °C • Ripple Suppression • Quiet operation • Quality (FDB) fan • Number of connectors • Japanese caps • OCK Feature • External Fan control • Warranty

Cons

  • -

    Price • Hold-up time • Efficiency and load regulation are a little behind the high-end competition • No stealth or flat cables

be quiet! Dark Power P11-1200 Power Supply Review

be quiet! is one of the most significant German PSU manufacturers to focus on making products that operate silently, as the company's name implies. Besides PSUs, be quiet! has a rich portfolio of cooling solutions, and a while ago, the company also released a high-end case. Currently, be quiet! has enough PSU lines to cover all market segments and user needs. Its flagship series is the Dark Power Pro 11, which took the lead from the Dark Power Pro 10 line, which is still available on the company's site. Whereas some of the previous Dark Power Pro PSUs were built by Seasonic, the new line is manufactured exclusively by be quiet!'s favorite original equipment manufacturer (OEM), FSP. As it seems, Seasonic either wasn't flexible in fulfilling be quiet!'s demands or its prices were significantly higher (or a combination of both). It's important to point out that the design of the new Dark Power Pro 11 units was done by be quiet! FSP just handles the manufacturing process, as be quiet! doesn't own a manufacturing line. This means that be quiet! engineers have the required knowledge and experience to design the PSUs they offer, which will allow them to distinguish these PSUs from most of the competition.

The reality is that, in most cases, companies that include PSUs in their portfolios simply change the labels on the PSUs that the OEMs deliver to them or just ask for some slight modifications before rebranding the products as their own. Manufacturers like Seasonic, FSP, Enhance, Super Flower and others sell their products to other companies. In many cases, the main differences are only cosmetic, such as the external design of the PSU, while internally, the platforms remain the same regardless of the company that rebrands and sells the final products. However, there are some companies that have PSU engineers on staff putting them in a position where they can ask for modifications to the manufacturer's platforms. However, it is still up to the manufacturers to implement these changes, and much of this depends on the relationship between the company and the OEM.

Currently, the new Dark Power Pro 11 line consists of three models of different capacities: 850W, 1000W and 1200W. We have already evaluated the smallest-capacity PSU in this line, the Dark Power P11-850, and now it's time to take a closer look at the most powerful of the three units, which operates very quietly even under tough conditions, according to be quiet!. Through our tests, we will see whether these claims stand; based on our previous experience with this platform, we are confident that it won't let us down.

Two interesting features of the Dark Power Pro 11 line (which were also present in the previous line) are the overclocking key and the four fan connectors through which the PSU can power directly, and thermally control, an equal number of fans. The first is a simple switch (or a jumper) that converts the PSU from a multi-+12V rail to a single +12V rail unit. This feature can eliminate any problems that may arise once you begin overclocking power-hungry graphics cards, including the triggering of the overcurrent protection (OCP).

Specifications

The Dark Power Pro 11 1200W, like the other two units in this line, features 80 Plus Platinum efficiency, can deliver its full power continuously at up to 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) ambient temperature and is Haswell ready. In addition, it is equipped with all available protection features, including overtemperature protection (OTP) and OCP, since it has four +12V rails. According to be quiet!, the 135-mm (5.3 inches) Silent Wings 3 fan was developed exclusively for use in PSUs. In comparison, competitors mostly use general-purpose fans, many of which are not suitable for this kind of use. The Silent Wings fan is equipped with a fluid dynamic bearing (FDB), which is considered the best solution for increased reliability and low noise output. As you can see from the table above, there is no semipassive mode, but this isn't necessarily a downside if the unit's fan rotates at low speeds at light loads. On the contrary, we believe that a semipassive mode with a long duration can apply huge stress to heat-sensitive components like electrolytic capacitors. Finally, this product's price is quite high, and the warranty period is adequate; however, many competitors in this price category offer even longer warranty periods.

Power Specifications

Rail3.3V5V12V112V212V312V45VSB-12V
Max. PowerAmps25253535454530.5
Watts1501188156
Total Max. Power (W)1200 (Peak 1300 / 20ms)

From the factory, the PSU comes with four +12V rails that can be combined into one through the overclocking switch or the jumper. The minor rails are very strong, with 150W max combined capacity, while the 5VSB rail has a 3-Ampere max current output. We believe that, in a PSU with a 1.2-kW capacity, a stronger 5VSB rail with at least 4 A should be used.

Cables And Connectors

DescriptionCable CountConnector Count (Total)
Native Cables
ATX connector 20+4 pin (600mm)11
Modular Cables
8 pin EPS12V (700mm)11
4+4 pin EPS12V/ATX12V (700mm)11
6+2 pin PCIe (600mm)48
6 pin PCIe (600mm)11
SATA (600mm+150mm+150mm+150mm)28
SATA (600mm+150mm) / 4 pin Molex (+150mm+150mm) / FDD (+150mm)12 / 2 / 1
4 pin Molex (600mm+150mm+150mm)13
4 pin Molex (600mm+150mm) / FDD (+150mm)12 / 1
4 pin Molex - MB connector (600mm)11
4 pin Molex for Fan (600mm) / External Fan Connector (+150mm)44 / 4
Overclocking Key (600mm)11

This is a high-capacity PSU, so it is normal to see a lot of cables and connectors. Nonetheless, be quiet! clearly went above offering an extra six-pin PCIe connector and an additional four-pin Molex connector, which can be utilized by high-end mainboards that need extra juice, besides the EPS connectors. Also included are four external fan connectors with the same number of cables and a cable that connects the PSU to the overclocking key bracket, which, with the flip of a switch, combines all +12V rails into one. Users will have nine PCIe connectors, along with two EPS connectors, all available at the same time; we strongly believe that even a 1.2-kW unit will easily deliver its full power through so many connectors. Finally, all PCIe and EPS connectors use thicker AWG 16 gauges, and the same applies to the +12V wires of the 24-pin ATC connector. The rest of the wires are AWG 18, which is the standard wire size, according to the ATX spec.

Power Distribution

Power Distribution
12V1ATX, Peripheral, SATA
12V2EPS1, EPS2
12V3PCIe1, PCIe2
12V4PCIe3, PCIe4

Power distribution is optimal, as the EPS and PCIe connectors are separated. In the photo below, you will find the modular board's rear panel, which shows the EPS and PCIe numbers that we list in the table above.

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Aris Mpitziopoulos
Aris Mpitziopoulos is a Contributing Editor at Tom's Hardware US, covering PSUs.