Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W Power Supply Review

The Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W achieves a good performance for the price.

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W
(Image: © Fractal Design)

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Advanced Transient Response Tests

For details about our transient response testing, please click here.

In the real world, power supplies are always working with changing loads. It's of immense importance, then, for the PSU to keep its rails within the ATX specification's defined ranges. The smaller the deviations, the more stable your PC will be with less stress applied to its components. 

We should note that the ATX spec requires capacitive loading during the transient rests, but in our methodology, we also choose to apply a worst case scenario with no additional capacitance on the rails. 

Advanced Transient Response at 20% – 20ms

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Advanced Transient Response at 20% – 10ms

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Advanced Transient Response at 20% – 1ms

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Advanced Transient Response at 50% – 20ms

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Advanced Transient Response at 50% – 10ms

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Advanced Transient Response at 50% – 1ms

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The Ion Gold 850W's transient response is mediocre at 12V, and the 3.3V rail failed in all of our tests. Therefore, high Power should work better here, since transient response is one of the most important PSU performance factors. 

Turn-On Transient Tests

In the next set of tests, we measure the PSU's response in simpler transient load scenarios—during its power-on phase. Ideally, we don't want to see any voltage overshoots or spikes, since those put a lot of stress on the DC-DC converters of installed components.

We encountered a small step at 5VSB, which is within expectations and isn't anything to worry about. 

Power Supply Timing Tests

Power supplies generate several signals, which need to be within specified ranges (set by the ATX spec). If they are not, there can be compatibility issues with other system parts, especially mainboards. Starting in 2020, the PSU's Power-on time (T1) has to be lower than 150ms and the PWR_OK delay (T3) has to be from 100 to 150ms, to be compatible with the Alternative Sleep Mode.

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PSU Timings Table
T1 (Power-on time) & T3 (PWR_OK delay)

This PSU's PWR_OK delay is within the 100-150ms region, so the PSU supports the alternative sleep mode recommended by the ATX spec.

Ripple Measurements

Ripple represents the AC fluctuations (periodic) and noise (random) found in the PSU's DC rails. This phenomenon significantly decreases the capacitors' lifespan because it causes them to run hotter. A 10-degree Celsius increase can cut into a cap's useful life by 50%. Ripple also plays an important role in overall system stability, especially when overclocking is involved.

The ripple limits, according to the ATX specification, are 120mV (+12V) and 50mV (5V, 3.3V, and 5VSB).

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10% Load19.1 mV5.6 mV3.7 mV5.9 mVPass
20% Load15.6 mV6.3 mV4.2 mV5.8 mVPass
30% Load12.3 mV7.3 mV18.1 mV6.1 mVPass
40% Load10.6 mV8.0 mV12.0 mV6.2 mVPass
50% Load10.9 mV9.0 mV6.6 mV6.7 mVPass
60% Load11.6 mV11.2 mV8.8 mV8.1 mVPass
70% Load12.7 mV12.1 mV9.4 mV8.7 mVPass
80% Load13.9 mV12.6 mV14.8 mV7.9 mVPass
90% Load15.6 mV14.0 mV15.6 mV8.3 mVPass
100% Load22.5 mV15.8 mV17.6 mV10.0 mVPass
110% Load23.7 mV16.7 mV18.9 mV10.7 mVPass
Crossload 15.9 mV10.6 mV13.9 mV6.7 mVPass
Crossload 222.2 mV12.3 mV11.3 mV9.7 mVPass

The Ion Gold 850W's ripple suppression is strong on all rails. 

Ripple At Full Load

Ripple At 110% Load

Ripple At Cross-Load 1

Ripple At Cross-Load 2

EMC Pre-Compliance Testing – Average & Quasi-Peak EMI Detector Results

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) is the ability of a device to operate properly in its environment without disrupting the proper operation of other nearby devices.

Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) stands for the electromagnetic energy a device emits, and it can cause problems in other nearby devices if too high. For example, it can be the cause of increased static noise in your headphones and/or speakers.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The Ion Gold 850W's conducted EMI emissions are increased in frequencies below 1 MHz. 

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Contributing Editor

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