NZXT has just released an 80 Plus Gold power supply series, called the HALE90, which also features a modular cabling system and single +12 V rail. Let’s see how their 850 W model fared in our tests.
All power supplies from this series are manufactured by Super Flower, based on their Golden Green platform.
Figure 1: NZXT HALE90-850-M power supply
Figure 2: NZXT HALE90-850-M power supply
The NZXT HALE90-850-M is 7.1” (180 mm) deep, using a 140 mm dual-ball-bearing fan on its bottom.
This unit features active PFC, of course.
The new NZXT HALE90-850-M has a modular cabling with eight connectors. One interesting thing about this modular cabling system is that there is no specific connector for the video cards or for the peripheral cables: you can install the cables wherever you want. The unit also has five cables that are permanently attached to its body, all protected by nylon sleeves (coming from inside the power supply housing). The cables included are the following:
- Main motherboard cable with a 20/24-pin connector, 22” (56 cm) long, permanently attached to the power supply
- One cable with two ATX12V connectors that together form an EPS12V connector, 27.6” (70 cm) long, permanently attached to the power supply
- One cable with an EPS12V connector, 27.6” (70 cm) long, permanently attached to the power supply
- One cable with one six-pin connector and one six/eight-pin connector for video cards, 22” (56 cm) to the first connector, 5.9” (15 cm) between connectors, permanently attached to the power supply
- One cable with four SATA power connectors, 22” (56 cm) to the first connector, 5.9” (15 cm) between connectors, permanently attached to the power supply
- Two cables with one six-pin connector for video cards each, 22” (56 cm) long, modular cabling system
- Two cables with one six/eight-pin connector for video cards each, 22” (56 cm) long, modular cabling system
- One cable with four SATA power connectors, 22” (56 cm) to the first connector, 5.9” (15 cm) between connectors, modular cabling system
- One cable with two SATA power connectors and two standard peripheral power connectors, 22” (56 cm) to the first connector, 5.9” (15 cm) between connectors, modular cabling system
- One cable with four standard peripheral power connectors, 22” (56 cm) to the first connector, 5.9” (15 cm) between connectors, modular cabling system
- One cable with three standard peripheral power connectors and one floppy disk drive power connector, 22” (56 cm) to the first connector, 5.9” (15 cm) between connectors, modular cabling system
All wires are 18 AWG, except the ones used on the main motherboard cable and on the ATX12V/EPS12V cables, which are thicker (16 AWG).
The cable configuration is impressive, very long and allowing you to install up to three high-end video cards without using adapters, and the 10 SATA power connectors will please even the über storage-freak user. The only thing we didn’t like was the fact that the video card connectors that are permanently attached to the power supply are installed on the same cable instead of using individual cables.
Let’s now take an in-depth look inside this power supply.
[nextpage title=”A Look Inside The NZXT HALE90-850-M”]
We decided to disassemble this power supply to see what it looks like inside, how it is designed, and what components are used. Please read our Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies tutorial to understand how a power supply works and to compare this power supply to others.
On this page we will have an overall look, and then in the following pages we will discuss in detail the quality and ratings of the components used. The printed circuit board of the NZXT HALE90-850-M carries the model number “LLC-M-090612 REV: B.”
Figure 7: Printed circuit board
[nextpage title=”Transient Filtering Stage”]
As we have mentioned in other articles and reviews, the first place we look when opening a power supply for a hint about its quality, is its filtering stage. The recommended components for this stage are two ferrite coils, two ceramic capacitors (Y capacitors, usually blue), one metalized polyester capacitor (X capacitor), and one MOV (Metal-Oxide Varistor). Very low-end power supplies use fewer components, usually removing the MOV and the first coil.
This power supply has all required components but the MOV, which is in charge of removing spikes coming from the power grid. On the other hand, it has two Y capacitors and one X capacitor more than the minimum required.
Figure 8: Transient filtering stage (part 1)
Figure 9: Transient filtering stage (part 2)
In the next page we will have a more detailed discussion about the components used in the NZXT HALE90-850-M.
[nextpage title=”Primary Analysis”]
his page we will take an in-depth look at the primary stage of PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk II 750 W. For a better understanding, please read our Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies tutorial.
This power supply uses one US30KB80R rectifying bridge, attached to the same heatsink used by the active PFC and switching transistors. This bridge supports up to 30 A at 97° C so, in theory, you would be able to pull up to 3,450 W from a 115 V power grid. Assuming 80% efficiency, the bridge would allow this unit to deliver up to 2,760 W without burning itself out. Of course, we are only talking about these components, and the real limit will depend on all the other components in this power supply.
The active PFC circuit uses two IPI60R125CP MOSFETs, each one capable of delivering up to 25 A at 25° C or up to 16 A at 100° C in continuous mode (note the difference temperature makes), or up to 82 A in pulse mode at 25° C. These transistors present a 125 mΩ resistance when turned on, a characteristic called RDS(on). The lower this number the better, meaning that the transistors will waste less power and the power supply will have a higher efficiency.
This power supply uses two electrolytic capacitors to filter the output from the active PFC circuit. The use of more than one capacitor here has absolute nothing to do with the “quality” of the power supply, as laypersons may assume (including people without the proper background in electronics doing power supply reviews around the web). Instead of using one big capacitor manufacturers may choose to use two or more smaller components that will give the same total capacitance, in order to better accommodate space on the printed circuit board, as two capacitors with the same total capacitance are physically smaller than a single capacitor with equivalent capacitance. The NZXT HALE90-850-M uses two 390 µF x 400 V capacitors connected in parallel, the equivalent of one 780 µF x 400 V capacitor. They are Japanese, manufactured by Chemi-Con, and labeled at 105° C.
Instead of using a PWM/PFC combo controller, this power supply uses two separate circuits, and the active PFC circuit is controlled by an NCP1653A integrated circuit.
Figure 11: Active PFC controller
In the switching section, another two IPI60R125CP MOSFET transistors are used. The specifications for these transistors are already published above.
Figure 12: Active PFC transistors, active PFC diode, and switching transistors
Power supplies from the NZXT HALE90 series use an LLC resonant switching design, also known as a series parallel resonant converter. The switching transistors are controlled by an SF29601 controller, and we couldn’t find more information about this chip. We believe that the original manufacturer got a resonant controller and relabeled it, as SF stands for “Super Flower.” Interesting enough the controller is placed on the secondary of the power supply.
Figure 13: LLC resonant controller
Now let’s take a look at the secondary of this power supply.
[nextpage title=”Secondary Analysis”]
This power supply uses a synchronous design in its secondary, meaning that the Schottky rectifiers were replaced by MOSFET transistors in order to increase efficiency. On top of that, this unit uses a DC-DC design, meaning that this unit is basically a +12 V power supply, with the +5 V and +3.3 V outputs being generated by two small power supplies attached to the +12 V output.
The +12 V output is generated by six IPP040N06N3 MOSFETs, each one capable of handling up to 90 A at 100° C in continuous mode, or up to 360 A at 25° C in pulse mode, with an RDS(on) of only 3.7 mΩ. In this power supply the +12 V output is also used to generate the +5 V and the +3.3 V outputs, as you know. As an exercise, if we assume that all load was exclusively pulled from the +12 V output, we would have a maximum theoretical current limit of 386 A or 4,629 W.
Usually power supplies that use DC-DC converters in the secondary to generate the +5 V and +3.3 V outputs have two separate printed circuit boards, one for each output. The NZXT HALE90-850-M, however, has a single printed board hosting both circuits.
Each converter is based on one NCP1587A PWM controller and four ME70N03S MOSFETs, each one with a current limit of 62 A at 25° C or 50 A at 70° C in continuous mode, or up to 100 A at 25° C in pulse mode, with a maximum RDS(on) of 11 mΩ.
Figure 15: The DC-DC converter
Figure 16: The DC-DC converter
We didn’t see an integrated circuit for monitoring the power supply outputs, and since the Power Good wire and sensors were connected to the small printed circuit board where the resonant controller was attached to, our best guess is that the
enigmatic SF29601 controller with the aid of four operational amplifiers provided by an LM324 integrated circuit do the trick.
The electrolytic capacitors available in the secondary are also from Chemi-Con and labeled at 105° C.
[nextpage title=”Power Distribution”]
In Figure 17, you can see the power supply label containing all the power specs.
This power supply has a single +12 V rail, so there is not much to talk about here.
Let’s now see if this power supply can really deliver 850 W.
[nextpage title=”Load Tests”]
We conducted several tests with this power supply, as described in the article Hardware Secrets Power Supply Test Methodology.
First we tested this power supply with five different load patterns, trying to pull around 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and 100% of its labeled maximum capacity (actual percentage used listed under “% Max Load”), watching the behavior of the reviewed unit under each load. In the table below, we list the load patterns we used and the results for each load.
If you add all the power listed for each test, you may find a different value than what is posted under “Total” below. Since each output can vary slightly (e.g., the +5 V output working at +5.10 V), the actual total amount of power being delivered is slightly different than the calculated value. In the “Total” row, we are using the real amount of power being delivered, as measured by our load tester.
The +12VA and +12VB inputs listed below are the two +12 V independent inputs from our load tester. During our tests, both were connected to the power supply’s single +12 V rail.
|Input||Test 1||Test 2||Test 3||Test 4||Test 5|
|+12VA||6 A (72 W)||13 A (156 W)||20 A (240 W)||25 A (300 W)||31 A (372 W)|
|+12VB||6 A (72 W)||13 A (156 W)||17 A (204 W)||25 A (300 W)||31 A (372 W)|
|+5V||2 A (10 W)||4 A (20 W)||6 A (30 W)||8 A (40 W)||10 A (50 W)|
|+3.3 V||2 A (6.6 W)||4 A (13.2 W)||6 A (30 W)||8 A (26.4 W)||10 A (33 W)|
|+5VSB||1 A (5 W)||1.5 A (7.5 W)||2 A (10 W)||2.5 A (12.5 W)||3 A (15 W)|
|-12 V||0.5 A (6 W)||0.5 A (6 W)||0.5 A (6 W)||0.5 A (6 W)||0.5 A (6 W)|
|Total||175.8 W||351.1 W||517.2 W||691.7 W||851.2 W|
|% Max Load||20.7%||41.3%||60.8%||81.4%||100.1%|
|Room Temp.||45.9° C||43.0° C||45.4° C||47.2° C||45.4° C|
|PSU Temp.||48.2° C||47.2° C||47.5° C||50.2° C||49.9° C|
|Ripple and Noise||Pass||Pass||Pass||Pass||Pass|
|AC Power||201.9 W||393.1 W||583.1 W||790.0 W||992.0 W|
|AC Voltage||112.6 V||109.6 V||107.2 V||104.3 V||103.5 V|
The NZXT HALE90-850-M can really deliver its labeled wattage at high temperatures.
Efficiency was very high, always above 85% and peaking 89.3% when we pulled around 350 W from the reviewed unit. The efficiency numbers are great, but at full load efficiency was a little bit below what is required by the 80 Plus Gold certification (85.8% vs. 87%). This happens because the tests for the 80 Plus certification are conducted at a room temperature of 23° C, while we test power supplies at 45° C, and efficiency drops with temperature.
All voltages were inside the expected range, and noise and ripple levels were always low. Below you can see the results for the power supply outputs during test number five. The maximum allowed is 120 mV for +12 V and -12 V outputs, and 50 mV for +5 V and +3.3 V outputs. All values are peak-to-peak figures.
Figure 18: +12VA input from load tester during test five at 851.2 W (41.6 mV)
Figure 19: +12VB input from load tester during test five at 851.2 W (42.4 mV)
Figure 20: +5V rail during test five at 851.2 W (26.6 mV)
Figure 21: +3.3 V rail during test five at 851.2 W (36.2 mV)
Let’s see if we can pull even more from the NZXT HALE90-850-M.
[nextpage title=”Overload Tests”]
Below you can see the maximum we could pull from this power supply. Here we were limited by our load tester, which can only pull up to 1,000 W. During this test the +3.3 V output was presenting a value below the minimum allowed (+3.100 V vs. +3.135 V), and noise level at +5 V and +3.3 V was above the maximum allowed (at 51.2 mV and 67.6 mV, respectively).
|+12VA||32.5 A (390 W)|
|+12VB||32.5 A (390 W)|
|+5V||26 A (130 W)|
|+3.3 V||26 A (86.8 W)|
|+5VSB||3 A (15 W)|
|-12 V||0.5 A (6 W)|
|% Max Load||117.2%|
|Room Temp.||44.4° C|
|PSU Temp.||46.6° C|
|AC Power||1,229 W|
|AC Voltage||99.6 V|
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The specs of the NZXT HALE90-850-M include:
- Standards: ATX12V 2.2 and EPS12V 2.92
- Nominal labeled power: 850 W
- Measured maximum power: 996.4 W at 44.4° C ambient
- Labeled efficiency: 87% at light (20% or 170 W) and full loads, and 90% at typical load (50% or 425 W), 80 Plus Gold certification
- Measured efficiency: Between 85.8% and 89.3% at 115 V (nominal, see complete results for actual voltage)
- Active PFC: Yes
- Modular Cabling System: Yes
- Motherboard Power Connectors: One 20/24-pin connector, two ATX12V connectors that together form an EPS12V connector, and one EPS12V connector, all permanently attached to the power supply
- Video Card Power Connectors: Three six-pin connectors and three six/eight-pin connectors (one of each permanently attached to the power supply)
- SATA Power Connectors: Ten on three cables (one cable with four connectors permanently attached to the power supply)
- Peripheral Power Connectors: Nine on three cables (modular cabling system)
- Floppy Disk Drive Power Connectors: One (modular cabling system)
- Protections: Over voltage (OVP), under voltage (UVP), over power (OPP) and short-circuit (SCP) protections
- Warranty: Five years
- Real Manufacturer: Super Flower
- More Information: https://www.nzxt.com
- Average price in the US*: USD 180.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
The new NZXT HALE90-850-M comes to compete directly with the OCZ Z Series 850 W: both are 80 Plus Gold models, have a modular cabling system, and a single +12 V rail. The HALE90-850-M has as big advantage its price, currently being USD 15 cheaper than this model from OCZ (USD 180 vs. USD 195).
In our tests both presented comparable performance in all the main aspects we analyze (efficiency, voltage regulation, and electrical noise).
As for the cable configuration, the NZXT HALE90-850-M comes with two additional video card power connectors, allowing you to install up to three high-end video cards at the same time without using adapters, and more peripheral power connectors (nine vs. three). But the OCZ Z Series 850 W comes with a total of 12 SATA power connectors, against 10 on the HALE90-850-M.
Therefore, the NZXT HALE90-850-M shows up as a serious contender to the OCZ Z Series 850 W: you will get comparable performance and more power connectors at a lower price. Sweet.
If you are looking for a high-efficiency 850 W power supply for your high-end PC, you will be very pleased with the new NZXT HALE90-850-M.
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