Date: September 12, 2006
Author(s): Rob Williams
NZXT has impressed us quite a bit with their Lexa and Apollo cases, so we were looking forward to giving their entry into the PSU market a spin! It proves itself to be a supply worthy of your consideration, but is a wee bit overpriced.
In the little time that NZXT has been around, they have made quite a splash in the PC case market. In a sense, they came out of nowhere. Usually companies start off slow and offer mundane products but that was not the case here. To date, I’ve reviewed two of their cases, the Lexa and Apollo. They received 9/10 and 10/10 scores, respectively. Today, both my primary PC’s still use those cases and I swear by them. So, needless to say NZXT made me a fan pretty quickly.
Like many other companies, NZXT took the natural step beyond their flagship products and decided on PSU’s. OCZ has been in the PSU business for a while, same with Thermaltake. But we see this ‘craze’ spreading like wildfire. Even Corsair and Mushkin recently launched a PSU line! Obviously, companies understand the need for big power supplies to feed our gaming rigs.
They have both a 550W and 650W version of the Precise, and we will be taking a look at the latter today. It is equipped with dual +12v rails, which should assure clean power to your CPU and other components. This is also becoming a fad, but is a sensible one… the more +12v rails, the better. There is even one on the market that includes five +12v’s, although that’s a little extreme ;-)
Here are the official features for the Precise:
There are a few things to note here. First, this is an SLI certified power supply, meaning it’s designed with those setups in mind. There’s also something they call “Combined Power Technology” which involves both of the +12v rails. If there is no need for a dual +12v, then it combines the power output of both… to essentially make it one with 40a.
Stable regulation is 5% on all rails, so we will see throughout our tests if that holds true. In place also are the usual protections you would expect, including under/over voltage and short circuit protection. Before we give the PSU a good stress, let’s take a quick look at the retail packaging and supply itself.
The box is what you would expect… simple but colorful. It’s interesting to note the 450W listing on the front, but NZXT does not officially produce them. At least not right now…
Here we see the PSU in all it’s glory. Only a few of the cables are sleeved, but all of them are twisted for better handling. Looks pretty sharp.
This is one glossy unit, and I prove it with a quarter:
When installed, the 120mm fan will be facing towards the inside of your case, sucking air up through, and blowing it out the back. It also glows bright blue when turned on.
Though it is difficult to see in ths picture, this is one clean looking power supply and completely reflective.
Looking at the back we can see all of the goods inside. There is not a fan here to suck air outwards, but instead, the inside is designed to redirect air out once the 120mm fan sucks it in. Seems odd, but it works well.
Here is the 24-Pin motherboard connector in addition to the two PCI-E’s. The motherboard one has a snap-off piece to make it 20-Pin for older motherboards.
Some special cords are here… for use with fans. This is great in case you are using a motherboard that doesn’t have many fan ports, or if you have filled them all up. I haven’t seen this on a PSU before, but it’s welcomed. The downside is that if you won’t be using them, then it just adds to the clutter inside the case.
The rest of the connectors are shown below. Included in this are 4 S-ATA, 6 4-Pin Molex, 2 Floppy and an 8-Pin motherboard (can be broke off to make it a 4-Pin).
Power supply buffs, have no fear. Here are some of the shots of the supplies innards.
On to some testing!
Testing a power supply out is one of the easiest things to do… much moreso then memory and the like. It’s a matter of opening programs that stress the computers components the most, and letting it sit for quite a while. Not too difficult, really.
So for testing, I am using an overclocked AM2 4600+ X2 CPU (2.75GHz, 1.45v), and also overclocked ram (DDR2-1100 5-5-5-15, 2.4v). To stress, I ran one instance of Prime95’s small FFT, RTHDRIBL, two instances of MemTest for Windows and SP2004 over the course of 6 hours. I can honestly say, the room was quite humid after this was completed :-)
The PSU really shined, I have to say. The 3.3 and 5.0 rails were incredibly tight, and the 12.0 was well within reason. I tend to prefer the +12v to not go above a 0.25 delta, and this PSU -just- bare;y broke through that. Overall though, this supply proved to be very stable. The important thing is that all of the rails stayed within the ATX2.0 spec, so I have no real complaints here.
For their first power supply, I am impressed. The unit not only looks great, but is also proved stable during our testing. One thing I like the most is the fact that is incredibly clean looking. Though, this quickly leads to fingerprint marks. Something that plagues anything glossy, really. I am going to award the Precise 650W an 8 out of 10. There are a few things that hold this PSU back from being awarded anything higher…
First is the price. Currently on a popular e-tailer, the Precise 650W is selling for $150US. That’s rather expensive compared to what else is out there. For NZXT’s first release, it would seem like a wiser business plan to sell a little cheaper than everyone else in order to get them into customers hands… build a base so to speak. However, $150 is a little much for the supply. For $150US, I would like to have seen a 700W PSU that’s either modular or has all of the cables sleeved. Really, $150 is a premium, and people should get a product to reflect that, not only in performance.
In fact… for $155 you could buy an OCZ GamerXStream which takes care of all those issues I just mentioned. However, it lacks what the NZXT has.. and that’s a superb coat of paint. In that price range, both of the PSU’s would receive the same rating, so it’s up to you to decide which one you’d rather shove in your PC. So, if you are in need of a new power supply and like what you have seen in the review, by all means pick one up. If you are a more budget conscious consumer, then I’d recommend shopping around for a better deal.
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