Pros, Cons And Final Verdict
Rosewill is doing an outstanding job expanding its portfolio with all kinds of PSUs, covering the needs and demands of all categories, from the mainstream to the ultra-high-end. In the case of the 1.2kW Photon, the company's aim was to offer a powerful and efficient unit with some high-end features at a budget price. Admittedly, the Photon-1200 is one of the most affordable 1.2kW PSUs with an 80 PLUS Gold rating. However, if you spend just a bit more, you can get a much better-performing unit with higher efficiency, lower ripple and lower noise output from Rosewill or another vendor.
For many users, a PSU's acoustics can become really annoying, and in this case, they have every right to complain. The Photon-1200 is among the noisiest supplies we have ever tested. Rosewill could easily make it quieter by using a more relaxed fan profile. The existing one was most likely chosen to ensure the unit's cooling would be optimal under all conditions, as Rosewill's top concern was increasing the PSU's reliability to support a lengthy five-year warranty. The fan almost certainly has a greater thermal load to handle compared with other, more efficient PSUs in this category. But under lower loads, the company could make it spin slower, suppressing its noise levels.
If you're looking for a powerful PSU to go in a system that will be isolated (so that its noise won't be an issue), the Photon-1200 could save you some money, so long as you keep it running inside of a cool chassis. Unfortunately, the supply's price advantage isn't very big compared with other high-performance PSUs in this category, so it's equally tempting to simply buy something else.
Besides its noisy operation, the most significant problem with the Photon-1200 is bad ripple suppression at increased ambient temperatures. On the other hand, its strong points are quality Japanese capacitors, a fully modular cabling design and the ball-bearing fan that should last for quite a long time.
If the price came in under $150, we believe this could be an appealing option for folks wanting an affordable, fully-featured 1.2kW PSU. With its current price tag of $170, however, the unit is unlikely to claim a big market share in this category where other companies, including Corsair, Seasonic, EVGA, Super Flower and FSP offer better alternatives.