Skip to main content

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)

Our Verdict

The Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W is on the cheaper end, uses a modern platform and has functional protection features, but its overall performance is not as high as in competing offerings.

For

  • + Full power at 47 degrees Celsius
  • + Good price given its specs
  • + Quiet enough operation
  • + Good ripple suppression
  • + Properly tuned protection features
  • + Alternative sleep mode support
  • + High PF readings
  • + Compatible with the alternative sleep mode
  • + Adequate distance between peripheral connectors
  • + Fully modular with 2x EPS and 6x PCIe connectors

Against

  • - Mediocre transient response
  • - No tight load regulation
  • - Lower than 17ms hold-up time
  • - Low efficiency with light loads
  • - Not efficient 5VSB rail
  • - Increased EMI emissions below 1 MHz

Although the Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W uses a modern platform provided by High Power, its overall performance cannot go toe-to-toe with most offerings in this category. Nonetheless, this product's real strength is value, offering a high performance per price ratio. The best PSUs, like the new Corsair RM850x, the Seasonic GX-850 and the XPG Core Reactor 850, offer notably higher performance levels, but also cost notably more than the Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W. Moreover, the Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W still comes with a functional set of protection features, which is vital for power supplies. 

The fresh Ion Gold line, by Fractal Design, comes in four flavors, with capacities ranging from 550W to 850W. These products are more affordable versions of Fractal Design's Ion+ Platinum models, with both lines being manufactured by High Power. They use the same platform with some component changes. This review will take a detailed look at the strongest member of the Ion Gold family, which also features a fully modular cable design in addition to its 850W capacity. 

Image 1 of 11

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Product Photos

Image 2 of 11

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 11

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 4 of 11

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 5 of 11

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 6 of 11

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 7 of 11

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 8 of 11

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 9 of 11

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 10 of 11

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 11 of 11

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Externally, the Ion Gold 850W looks identical to the Ion+ Platinum 860W. You'd have to look at the power specifications table to distinguish them. Although, one key difference is the lack of a switch at the modular panel, which in the Ion+ model is used to toggle the semi-passive operation on and off. The modular panel has the same number of sockets (eleven) as the Ion+ model. 

Image 1 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Product Photos

Image 2 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 4 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 5 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 6 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Specifications

Manufacturer (OEM)

High Power

Max. DC Output

850W

Efficiency

80 PLUS Gold, Cybenetics Gold * (87-89%)

Noise

Cybenetics A- (25-30 dB[A]) *

Modular

✓ (fully)

Intel C6/C7 Power State Support

Operating Temperature (Continuous Full Load)

0 - 40°C

Over Voltage Protection

Under Voltage Protection

Over Power Protection

Over Current (+12V) Protection

Over Temperature Protection

Short Circuit Protection

Surge Protection

Inrush Current Protection

Fan Failure Protection

No Load Operation

Cooling

140mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing Fan (DYNAMIC X2 GP-14)

Semi-Passive Operation

Dimensions (W x H x D)

150 x 85 x 150mm

Weight

1.63 kg (3.59 lb)

Form Factor

ATX12V v2.53, EPS 2.92

Warranty

7 Years

* Not certified yet by Cybenetics. According to our measurements, the PSU falls into these efficiency and noise categories. 

Power Specifications

Rail3.3V5V12V5VSB-12V
Max. PowerAmps222270.83
Watts120850153.6
Total Max. Power (W)850

Cables & Connectors

Fully Modular Cables
DescriptionCable CountConnector Count (Total)GaugeIn Cable Capacitors
ATX connector 20+4 pin (600mm)1118AWGNo
4+4 pin EPS12V (600mm)1116AWGNo
8 pin EPS12V (600mm)1116AWGNo
6+2 pin PCIe (560mm+150mm) 3616-18AWGNo
SATA (510mm+155mm+155mm+155mm)2818AWGNo
4-pin Molex (500mm+155mm+155mm)1318AWGNo
AC Power Cord (1370mm) - C13 coupler1118AWG-

The Ion Gold 850W has some small differences in cable configuration compared to the Ion+ Platinum 860W. One of the EPS cables is shorter, only hitting 600mm. In addition, there are two fewer SATA connectors and one less 4-pin Molex connector. On the other hand, the Ion Gold's peripheral connectors have the proper distance (150mm) between each other. 

Image 1 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Cable Photos

Image 2 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 4 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 5 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 6 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Component Analysis

We strongly encourage readers unfamiliar with power supplies to read our PSUs 101 guide, which provides valuable information about PSUs and their operation, before progressing. This will allow you to better understand the components we're about to discuss.

General Data-
Manufacturer (OEM)High Power
PCB TypeDouble Sided
Primary Side-
Transient Filter4x Y caps, 2x X caps, 2x CM chokes, 1x MOV, 1x Champion CM02X (Discharge IC)
Inrush ProtectionNTC Thermistor & Relay
Bridge Rectifier(s)2x GBU1506 (600V, 15A @ 100°C)
APFC MOSFETs
2x Infineon IPA60R120P7 (600V, 16A @ 100°C, Rds(on): 0.12Ohm)
APFC Boost Diode
1x Infineon IDH08G65C5 (650V, 8A @ 145°C)
Bulk Cap(s)
2x Nichicon (400V, 330uF each or 660uF combined, 2,000h @ 105°C, GG)
Main Switchers
2x Infineon IPA60R180P7S (600V, 11A @ 100°C, Rds(on): 0.18Ohm)
APFC Controller
Infineon ICE3PCS01G
Resonant ControllerChampion CM6901X
Topology
Primary side: APFC, Half-Bridge & LLC converter
Secondary side: Synchronous Rectification & DC-DC converters
Secondary Side-
+12V MOSFETs6x Infineon BSC027N04LS (40V, 88A @ 100°C, Rds(on): 2.7mOhm)
5V & 3.3VDC-DC Converters: 8x Infineon BSC0906NS (30V, 40A @ 100°C, Rds(on): 4.5mOhm)
PWM Controller(s): ANPEC APW7159C
Filtering Capacitors

Electrolytic: 10x Teapo (1-3,000h @ 105°C, SC)
Polymer: 19x Teapo

Supervisor ICWT7527RA (OCP, OVP, UVP, SCP, PG)
Fan ModelFractal Dynamic X2 GP-14 LLS (140mm, 12V, 0.40A, 2,000RPM, Rifle Bearing Fan)
Fan ControllerSTC STC15W408AS
5VSB Circuit-
Rectifier
1x P10V45 SBR (45V, 10A)
Standby PWM ControllerExcellianceMOS EM8569D
-12V-
Rectifier
1x KEC KIA7912PI (-12V, 1A)
Image 1 of 4

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Overall Photos

Image 2 of 4

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 4

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 4 of 4

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The Ion Gold 850W uses the same platform as the more high-end Ion+ Platinum 860W unit, but has some parts differences that lower both the efficiency and the cost. The bulk caps have lower capacity, and the switching FETs on the primary side are different. On the secondary side, the 12V rail is regulated by six FETs, while the Ion+ unit with similar capacity uses eight FETs with lower RDS (on) values. However, the DC-DC converters for the minor rails are identical.

The filtering caps aren't as high quality as the Ion+ model, which uses Japanese caps exclusively and has a much larger number of polymer caps. Finally, the unit's fan is advertised as a long-life sleeve bearing, so we can assume that it uses a rifle bearing. The more expensive Ion+ units use fluid dynamic bearing fans.

Image 1 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Transient filter

Image 2 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 4 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 5 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 6 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The unit's transient/EMI filter is complete. It also includes an MOV for protection against voltage surges. The large inrush currents are suppressed by an NTC thermistor and relay combo, which has satisfactory performance with 115V input. But with 230V input, we measured quite high inrush currents. 

Image 1 of 2

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Bridge rectifiers

Image 2 of 2

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Two GBU1506 rectifiers transform the incoming AC signal to fully rectified DC. They can handle up to 30 Amps combined so that they won't have a problem supporting this PSU. 

Image 1 of 3

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

APFC converter

Image 2 of 3

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 3

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The APFC converter uses two Infineon FETs and a single boost diode provided by the same manufacturer. The bulk caps are by Nichicon and don't have enough combined capacity to provide a longer than 17ms hold-up time. 

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

A side-board hosts the fan controller (an STC STC15W408AS MCU), the supervisor IC (WT7527RA), and the APFC controller (an Infineon ICE3PCS01G). 

Image 1 of 4

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Main FETs and primary transformer

Image 2 of 4

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 4

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 4 of 4

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The main FETs, two Infineon IPA60R180P7S, are installed into a half-bridge topology. An LLC resonant converter is also used for increased efficiency. The resonant controller is a Champion CM6901X, which is typically used in high-efficiency platforms. 

Image 1 of 4

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

12V FETs and VRMs

Image 2 of 4

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 4

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 4 of 4

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Six Infineon FETs handle the 12V rail, which feeds a pair of DC-DC converters for the  minor rails' generation. 

Image 1 of 3

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Filtering caps

Image 2 of 3

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 3

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The electrolytic filtering caps are provided by Teapo and belong to its low-end SC line. Thankfully, the Ion Gold 850W also uses a large number of polymer caps for ripple filtering purposes. 

Image 1 of 3

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

5VSB circuit

Image 2 of 3

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 3

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The standby PWM controller is an Excelliance MOS EM8569D IC. The rectifier on the secondary side is a P10V45 SBR. We also spotted two FETs, which might switch the 5VSB rail to 5V when the PSU is in operation.  

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

High Power uses a dedicated -12V rectifier IC in its high-end platforms. This is a good thing, since the aforementioned IC offers basic protection features, so the PSU won't fail if anything goes wrong in this insignificant rail. 

Image 1 of 3

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Modular board front

Image 2 of 3

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 3

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Several Teapo polymer caps are installed on the modular board. As you will notice by the corresponding photos, there is room for way more, but this would further increase the cost without offering notable gains in ripple suppression. 

Image 1 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Soldering quality

Image 2 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 4 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 5 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 6 of 6

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Soldering quality is strong, with no noticeable loose parts or misalignment. 

Image 1 of 2

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Cooling fan

Image 2 of 2

Fractal Design Ion Gold 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The cooling fan has sufficient specifications, and if it uses a quality rifle bearing, it should manage to outlive the Ion Gold 850W's seven-year warranty. 

MORE: Best Power Supplies

MORE: How We Test Power Supplies

MORE: All Power Supply Content

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