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Enermax Galaxy 850W Modular Power Supply

Date: October 12, 2006
Author(s): Greg King

Are you building a huge machine and require a power supply to match? Enermax has got you covered. Their Galaxy 850W fully supports Quad SLI, Quad core CPU, mass amounts of hard drives and your other hardware. It passed with flying colors in our stress tests, so read on.



Introduction


We have taken a look at quite a few power supplies in the time that we have been around and in that time, we haven’t seen anything at robust as the power supply that we have on the bench today. The Enermax Galaxy 850W is by far the largest power supply to have ever come into the Techgage labs, both in raw power and in sheer size as well. This power supply, on paper, appears to be one of the best available at the moment. On paper is one thing but I am more interested in real life numbers and results. Before I get too much further into things, let me introduce Enermax to those of you that might not know who they are.

Enermax was founded in 1990 in the Mecca of the tech world, Taiwan. Since that time, they have focused on the manufacturing of high quality power supplies for enthusiast PCs, industrial PCs and servers. They also produce cases, mobile racks and fans but they are known for their power supplies more than any other product that they sell. With offices in three different continents (North America, Asia and Europe), they have a strong foundation to continue their growth in almost every major PC market on the planet.

With that said, on with the review.

Packaging

The 850W Galaxy came to us in its retail package. This is the same packaging that you anyone that might purchase this power supply will see when the monster is delivered to your door. The box is colorful and provides you with all the information that you would ever need.

Bah! Once we have the box opened, we see two more boxes, each with the Enermax name and slogan in raised text on the top.

Pretty boxes but what’s inside? In the larger of the two boxes, you see the power supply itself. There is a cardboard sleeve around the power supply itself to protect the paint from scratches during transit. In the smaller box, we find the modular cables, a Velcro pouch for those cables, mounting bolts/screws, unused modular caps, a sticker, the manual and a lanyard. A few fun extras but nothing over the top.

The following picture is a complete round up of all the provided cables. As you can see, there are a lot.

As you can see, this power supply is more than ready for most anything that you can throw at it. You have hard drives? If their SATA, you can connect up to 15. IDE drives or PATA hard drives? How about 9. That’s 24 drives man and you can run them all at once if you so desire. Say you are waiting for the chance to use your old x1600 card for dedicated physics; you have enough cables to power 4 different video cards. Whether or not you are running AMD or Intel, you have the power options. This is a versatile power supply to say the least.



Cables

Let’s take a look at the included cables.

We start out with the 24 pin power cable. Notice that this is a solid plug and not a 20+4 plug that most power supplies have.

Next, we move to the 12v plug. Native to the Galaxy is an 8 pin power plug as well as a 4+4 power plug. On Intel machines, you can either use the 8 pin or the 4+4, both will work fine. Enermax asks that if you use a single 4 pin plug, please use the plug that is marked with the +12v plug.

Moving on, we get to the PCI-E cables. There are 2 cables native to the power supply but included in the bundle are 2 more. These are the only red plugs in the group and they have a special place in the back of the PSU should you use them. More on that later.

As I said earlier, there are a lot of power plugs for hard drives, optical drives, fans, pumps, lights, hell, anything that you need to power. Up to 24 powered peripherals can be used and that is a lot. A lot.

One thing that I like about the Molex plugs are the release clips. Squeeze them and they help push the plug out of the drive, making it easier to remove from the back of the drive.

Finally, we have a fan plug that pugs into a header on your motherboard and allows you to monitor the speed of the power supply fan.

While we are at it, let’s take a look at the extras that are included with this power supply.



Closer Look

Once we have the power supply out of the box, we can get a better look at just what this is all about. The first thing that I noticed was the size of the Galaxy. The power supply is a lot longer than the power supplies you and I have become accustomed to. The Galaxy is 155mm (5.9 in) x 86mm (3.38 in) x 220mm (8.6 in). The thing is long, very long.

Here, on the back of the power supply, we see the 80mm exhaust fan, the power plug, the on/off switch and a red button. This is the power guard reset button.

On the side of the power supply we have a large Galaxy logo and a huge 120mm fan that will keep the PSU cool.

Specs’

At the back of the power supply, we see the modular connectors. The ones on the left, that are red, are designed for your PCI-E cables should you need more than the 2 that are all ready native to the Galaxy. The 6 black connectors are to power your hard drives, optical drives and any other peripheral that you can think of.

Now that we have seen the power supply, let’s take a look at what it has to offer.

There you have the factory specs. Let’s see how she holds up.



Testing


When it comes to testing, I want to get down to the nitty gritty. I already know that my system will not pull enough power to remotely tax the Galaxy and because of that, I had to improvise. My current system consists of:

This is somewhat of a mild system compared to what else is out there now so to get a bit more powerful system, I turned to a good friend of mine, Kyle Felstein out at All American Computers. There I have access to an ungodly amount of drool worthy hardware and today, my goal is to use what he has to attempt to tax this power supply. Grabbing my multimeter, I headed out to Terre Haute, Indiana for some PSU testing goodness. For absolute testing, I am now using the following hardware:

At Techgage, we do not currently have access to high end power supply testing equipment. At my disposal are my multimeter and the ability to test the Galaxy in a real work environment. I will be transferring multiple large files across the hard drives, looping 3D Mark ’05 and calculating Pi to 32 million places using Super Pi. This is certainly more than anyone will ever be doing but it does get every piece of hardware into the action. To record the rail results, I will be using Everest Ultimate Edition 2006. Everest records the 12V rails as one so I will be braking out the handy dandy multimeter and doing this the old fashioned way.

Like I said, I used Everest to give me a readout of the rails in 5 second intervals. I took the highest and the lowest levels and then I averaged them I also tested the rails with the multimeter and recorded the highest and the lowest levels and again, averaged them.

The results have to speak for themselves. While I was not able to stress the Galaxy to full load, I was able to put it through more than most anyone else will every subject their power supply to. All the while, the Galaxy stayed remarkably stable.

Just for kicks, I placed the 850W next to the 1000W and took a comparison picture. Aside from the ratings and the internals, the two power supplies look exactly the same.



Conclusions


The results speak for themselves. The Galaxy 850W is the most powerful power supply that we have taken a look at to date and with that said, it performed up to our expectations. Enermax has a winner on its hands in the Galaxy series and I look forward to seeing what they have up their sleeves.

The main feature that I like about this power supply is the fact that it has 2 completely separate 12v rails, one dedicated for the CPU and the other one for the peripherals. This design feature keeps the CPU power separate and helps eliminate noise from the CPU line.

Another feature that I like, and that Enermax is proud enough of to plaster it on the front of their box, is the labeled power is rated at 50’C. While this is rather hot for some people, there are PCs where the internal case temperature is around this temperature. The higher the temps of the power supply, the less power the power supply can, well, supply. This is nice because even when running hot, the Galaxy will give you 850 watts and not a lesser amount.

Lesser important features, not pertaining to stable operations, include the modular design. There have been complaints of the resistance of modular power supplies but for gamers, and almost every other person on the earth, this is a non-issue. The fact that I, or you, can use only the cables that you absolutely need and store the others away is nice and can certainly help with cable management in your case. This allows for better air circulation in the case as there are fewer obstructions. Also, this eliminates the need to ‘hide’ cables in areas where there is low visibility, like an empty optical drive.

Whatever you are powering, more than likely the 850W Galaxy can do you right. With the coming of DX10 and its compliant video cards, power demands are going to shoot through the roof. With ATI’s R600 and NVIDIA’s G80 both rumored to have power consumption of over 200 watts, you will certainly need a beefy power supply. The same applies to Kentsfield. It will take a lot to power a pair of the above mentioned GPUs along with a quad core CPU. These obvious and unavoidable advancements will require a lot of power and the Galaxy line of power supplies is here to deliver.

As it stands now, this 850W Galaxy can handle just about anything that you throw at it. Our test results confirm the quality and reliability that Enermax has built their name upon over the years. You really can’t go wrong with this power supply, if you can afford it’..

Doing a quick search at my favorite online retailers, the 850W Galaxy can be found for approx. $300 (US) give or take $20 dependant on the site. This is rather steep for a power supply but in the coming months and years, you are going to need it. The stability of the Galaxy is wonderful and the value is high because of this. If you are in the market for the very best, look no further. You can even shell out a bit more money (approx. $50 more on average) and pick up the 850’s bigger brother, the 1000W Galaxy behemoth.

The proof is in the pudding folks, the Galaxy is bad ass. Enermax has always made quality power supplies but this time, they have outdone us. While we do not have the top dollar testing equipment other sites have at this time, we put the Galaxy through a lot and it kept on tickin’. Nothing else needs said; the Galaxy is just a great power supply and one that I will recommend to all that are considering a new build.

The Enermax Galaxy 850W power supply is getting a perfect 10 out of 10. The price is steep for some but you get what you pay for and I cannot hold that against Enermax. This is hardware that our Editor’s Choice was made for.

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