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The XPG Core Reactor II VE 850W PSU Review: Our First ATX 3.1 Power Supply

The XPG Core Reactor II VE 850W PSU Review: Our First ATX 3.1 Power Supply

Just 18 months ago, Intel launched its significantly revised ATX v3.0 power supply standard, and with it, a 600-watt capable 12VHPWR cable to power video cards and other high-drain add-in cards. The standard's release was met with much fanfare and excitement – ​​the industry was preparing for a future where even flagship video cards could be powered by a single cable – but soon after, things got interesting. Again For all the wrong reasons.

The new 12VHPWR connector proved less forgiving than the notion of poor connections between cables and devices. With hundreds of watts flowing through relatively small pins – and, critically, insufficient means to detect a bad connection – a bad connection can result in a thermal runaway scenario, i.e. a melted connector. And while the problem was overall an edge case, affecting a fraction of a fraction of systems, even a fraction is too much when you're starting with millions of PCs. Never mind unhappy customers with broken video cards.

So the PC industry is taking a mulligan on the matter, rapidly revising the ATX specification and 12VHPWR connectors to address their design flaws. In its place we have the new ATX v.3.1 power supply specification as well as the associated 12V-2×6 connector, which is meant to serve the same goals, but with much less potential for power failure. Is. loss

Ultimately, the combination of the two new standards requires backwards compatible changes on both the device (video card) side as well as the power supply side. And as a result, power supply manufacturers are now in the process of releasing ATX v3.1 compliant PSUs that implement these modifications. For PSU vendors, the changes are relatively minor overall, but they are none the less important changes that, for a number of reasons, they are making sure to promote.

Getting down to business, the first ATX v3.1 power supply to enter our testing labs comes from ADATA sub-brand XPG, a significant player in the PSU market. XPG recently expanded its product lineup with the introduction of the Core Reactor II VE series, the company's first foray into ATX 3.1 compliant PSUs. As a direct successor to the Core Reactor II series, the Core Reactor II VE is a relatively simple 80-plus gold unit that distinguishes itself with its straightforward design, aimed at providing stable performance without overspending. Is.

In today's review, we're taking a look at the 850W version of the Core Reactor II VE series, the most powerful ATX 3.1 unit XPG offers right now.

XPG Core Reactor II VE 850W
Power Specifications (rated @ 40 °C)
Rail +3.3V +5V +12V +5Vsb -12V
Maximum output 22A 22A 70.8A 3A 0.3A
120W 850W 15W 3.6W
TOTAL 850W
80 plus rating to sleep
AC input 100 – 240 VAC, 50 – 60 Hz
MSRP $119

Packaging and bundles

The XPG Core Reactor II VE 850W PSU features robust and visually appealing packaging. Made from durable cardboard, the box is decorated in a bright red color and features a picture of the unit on the front. To ensure that the PSU is well protected during transportation, it is securely sealed in dense packaging foam.

The bundle is straightforward, containing only the necessary components such as mounting screws and the necessary AC power cable. Additionally, it includes several decorative stickers to add a touch of personalization.

This PSU features a fully modular design, enabling the removal of all DC power cables, including the 24-pin ATX connector. The cables are uniformly black, from their connectors to the wires, and are designed without sleeves, resulting in a consistent visual aesthetic.

XPG Core Reactor II VE 850W
Connector type Hardwired Modular
ATX 24 pin 1
EPS 4+4 pin 2
EPS 8 pin
PCI-E 5.0
(12V-2×6)
1
PCI-E 8 pin 3
Sita 6
Molex 2
Floppy.

XPG Core Reactor II VE 850W ATX 3.1 PSU

Physical appearance

The XPG Core Reactor II VE 850W PSU is enclosed in a chassis that measures 86 mm × 150 mm × 140 mm (H × W × D), compatible with standard ATX dimensions. This relatively compact size enables the power supply unit to fit seamlessly into most tower PC cases. XPG's engineers were forced to use a 120mm fan for cooling, as a large fan wouldn't fit in such a small chassis.

Opting for a subtle aesthetic, the Core Reactor II VE 850W PSU features a sleek matte black finish. The design maintains a refined appearance, with raised geometric patterns on the sides and an abstract geometric fan cutout that adds visual interest. The top of the unit displays a detailed sticker that provides its electrical characteristics and certification.

The front of the XPG Core Reactor II VE 850W PSU hosts only the standard on/off switch and AC receptacle. Modular cable connectors are neatly arranged on the rear of the unit, facilitating easy and error-free connections. Although the connectors are not color coded, they are enclosed by a clearly printed, bright white legend on the chassis, which aids in correct cable installation.

Interior design

The XPG Core Reactor II VE 850W PSU is equipped with a Hong Hua HA1225H12F-Z 120mm fan, featuring an FDB (Fluid Dynamic Bearing) engine. This type of fan is preferred by manufacturers of high quality PSUs. The fan in this model can reach a maximum speed of 2200 RPM, which is an impressive figure for a 120mm fan. The manufacturer's website states that there should be a 2400 RPM fan installed, but this may have been a typographical error.

The XPG Core Reactor II VE 850W ATX 3.1 PSU is manufactured by Channel-Well Technologies (CWT), a well-known OEM known for its ability to create mid-to-high power output PC power supplies. CWT's reputation as a respected OEM is firmly established, with their platforms integral to some of the most popular power supply units on the market. We can also see that the exact same platform was used for the Core Reactor II 850W ATX 3.0 PSU, confirming that the difference between the ATX 3.0 and ATX 3.1 standards is very subtle, essentially. The PCI-Express 5.0 connector has been reduced to a sense length. Pins and their configuration. If anything, the quality went down a bit compared to the ATX 3.0 version of the series, as we can see that higher quality passive components were being used.

The Core Reactor II VE 850W PSU utilizes well-established topologies, ensuring reliable performance without unexpected deviations. The input stage of the power supply has a stronger transient filter than the ATX design guide baseline, equipped with four Y capacitors, two X capacitors, but only one filtering inductor, followed by two bridge rectifiers on their dedicated heatsinks. . A copper sheet protects the filtering stage from the rest of the unit. The active components of the active power factor correction (APFC) circuit are located on the primary heatsink at the edge of the PCB. The active APFC components are two 33N60M2 MOSFETs and a diode, along with a filtering inductor and a large 400V/680μF capacitor from Elite.

In the basic reverse phase, the Core Reactor II VE 850W PSU uses a half-bridge LLC topology with main switchers (25N60EFL) mounted on a dedicated heatsink, a contemporary power supply for its cost-effectiveness and reliability. I have a specific setup. The secondary phase shifter has eight OnSemi NTMFS5C430N transistors on the vertical daughter board, providing a single 12V output. The 3.3V and 5V rails are managed by DC-to-DC conversion circuits on another daughter board.

On the secondary side, the PSU incorporates a mix of both electrolytic and solid-state capacitors from Elite and CapXon, both of which are popular but not among the most premium capacitor manufacturers. The ATX 3.0 version of the series includes capacitors instead of Japanese manufacturers.

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