Fractal Design ION+ 860P Power Supply Review: Whisper Quiet

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Bottom Line

The highest-end member of Fractal Design's ION+ power supply family delivers impressive performance in almost every area. A 140mm fluid dynamic bearing fan, a relaxed fan profile, and an especially efficient platform allow for low noise output, making the 860W ION+ one of the quietest units in the 850-1000W category.

It is nice to have the option to deactivate the semi-passive fan mode. This ensures compatibility with a great many chassis configurations, including those that require the PSU to have its fan facing downwards or sideways. Power supplies that don't have a way to turn their semi-passive mode off, such as Corsair's RM850x, trap hot air inside if they're installed in a non-standard way. This puts a lot of stress on their components.

The new ION+ 860P's biggest weaknesses are lackluster performance on the 3.3V rail with transient loads and the 5VSB rail's low efficiency. It is a great shame that this power supply's 5VSB circuit isn't as good as the others. High Power and Fractal Design obviously cut some corners, and they should both keep in mind that the newest ATX spec (June 2018, Revision 002, Section 3.2.4, Table 3-4) requires high efficiency levels from this rail with 115V and 230V inputs.

The MSRPs ($130 and £125) that Fractal Design announced for the ION+ 860P are in line with the competition. Given good performance, a 10-year warranty, and quiet operation, this model easily goes up against opponents like the Corsair HX850 and Seasonic Focus Plus Platinum with similar capacity. The latter achieves a notably higher overall performance score, but it also has 9 dB(A)-higher total noise output, making Fractal Design's offering more suitable for users wanting to build a quiet PC.

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Disclaimer: Aris Mpitziopoulos is Tom's Hardware's PSU reviewer. He is also the Chief Testing Engineer of Cybenetics, and developed the Cybenetics certification methodologies apart from his role on Tom's Hardware. Neither Tom's Hardware nor its parent company, Future PLC, are financially involved with Cybenetics. Aris does not perform the actual certifications for Cybenetics.

Contributing Editor

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