Introduction

Manufacturer: NZXT

Product Page: E850 Digital Power Supply

Purchase: $139.99 at the time of review on NZXT’s product page.

NZXT is a company that really needs no introduction these days, they stand behind their Mission Statement “We relentlessly evolve products and services of the highest quality to make extraordinary gaming experiences achievable and fun.” NZXT likes to foster a community full of passion that is willing to look further into what gaming can really be as an experience.

NZXT has sent another treat over for us to take a look at today and that is the NZXT E850 Digital Power Supply, and when I saw this product I just had to test one out and see what the “Do you even USB” fluff was all about. Again NZXT is going the extra mile to innovate and bring features to the everyday user they normally would not see or know they could. Up to this point, I have mainly kept an eye on my power draw best I could via HWiNFO and its been very useful. Now NZXT has devised a PSU based on Seasonic, that has a micro-USB plug on the back that allows you to plug your power supply straight into a motherboard header so you may see your power stats via the latest CAM software package. Let us dive in!

Specifications

Closer Look

Sticking to their minimalistic patterns here NZXT presents you with a fairly plain and straight to the point two-tone white and purple box, simply sporting their product and its label on the top of the box.

Here on the back of the box things get a little busier, with the all caps quote “QUIET. SMART. RELIABLE.” with a short explanation to the new product series they are launching here speaking to their Digital Power Supply features built into the unit itself and their latest CAM software.

Lifting the first flap on the box you are greeted with something I think you will find in all NZXT product boxes at this point. A little quote NZXT is very proud to fly all over their product branding and boxes “BUILD THE EXTRAORDINARY”.

Popping the lid open and you are greeted with a clamshell cover over a felt bag holding the E850 Digital Power Supply itself, right next to it a zip-up bag for all of your cables and your manual. There is nothing else, no cable management let it be zip or velcro, or flair for that matter.

Taking our first look at the E850 and staying true to the minimal approach, NZXT has used colors that are not an eyesore. This is great to see as not all builds have a PSU basement to hide the glaring PSU branding you see on some units.

The next two photos show all the cables NZXT has included with the E850 which is listed in the Specifications listing above. NZXT has opted to use in cable capacitors here, though they have allowed enough extra cable at the end of them that they do not cause bending/routing issues. Unlike my EVGA G3 850 which the cables are so short after the in cable capacitors, that routing them in some cases is a real challenge.

NZXT has opted for a 120mm FDB (Fluid Dynamic Bearing) fan in the E850 to help keep things nice and cool and it does a fine job. When using silent or performance mode the PSU runs in the 48-52c range and if I toss a custom 50% steady profile at it, the E850 runs in the 38-42c range! Not really silent at 50% but it’s not highly noticeable by any means and is absolutely silent in silent mode and performance cannot be heard over my base rigs fans either.

Here on the back you can kind of see the components inside along with the wall plug and cut off switch right next to the plug. Because this is a software controlled unit there are no extra switches on the grill for fanless mode.

Here on the back side of the E850 you can see all of the various plugs for the unit’s cables to get your system powered and ready to go, along with a “DO NOT USE MODULAR CABLES FROM OTHER POWER SUPPLIES”, printed right below the plugs and this honestly cannot be stressed enough. Do not do this not all units are built the same even within the same company and the units pinouts can vary widely enough to cause a list of various system killing issues. This is also where the micro USB to motherboard 9-pin USB connects it and your system together to give you power readouts in CAM.

The other side from the fan has the specification sticker that all companies must put on their power supplies. This sticker includes important information governments require to have clearly stated on every unit, it can also be fairly easily removed if need be.

Software

CAM is improving all the time and in the tech news, NZXT has been talking about and talked about their newest innovations and updates coming to the suite itself in the near future! With CAM you can monitor all kinds of power metrics though I have no way of testing how accurate this is. I will say that the software and built-in monitoring software is showing a much tighter watt use than what I was seeing in HWiNFO, the software I have always used to check on my power usage when my hardware allowed of course. Not all hardware is built with the same sensors so there is no solid framework to really go off of for software level monitoring, unlike the more accurate and scientific methods actual voltage meters and wattage clamps can bring to the table.

First up we have selected the REGULAR mode as depicted in the upper left. Here you get a basic layout and metric of your power usage. Each one of these is measuring only what is being used via the GPU 2x8pin cable hooked to my GTX 980 Ti and the CPU 2x4pin connected to my mobo as well as what is being used across the rest of the system via the 24pin motherboard cable. This is then combined into a TOTAL below those 3 metrics. Below that there is a neat feature that never resets and that is a total POWER ON state, the E850 will track total powered on hours for you, not greatly useful for the average user but neat to see just how much time you might have put into a build in total. Next, to the POWER ON are your TEMP and 3v/5v and 12v readouts.

Next is the ADVANCED tab, and in here is a more in-depth look at what is being read by the units built-in sensors including things like Current in Amps as well as something I have not played with, since I do not push my rig to the absolute limits. That is the ability to Enable Multi-rail OPC a fine tune control over what Amps are being allowed down a rail and if they will be shared or split for more consistent and tuned power delivery divided up where needed.

Here we can see the fan controls for the E850 there are 4 standard states the E850s cooling runs in and that is (Fixed, Silent, Performance, and Custom).

Conclusion

Performance

As stated above I do not have a lab or the required tools to do in-depth testing of Power Supplies but in my experience, I can see when something isn’t right or getting enough power. The E850 never once hickupped or had a single issue providing my R7 1700 @ 3.8GHz w/1.25v and GTX 980 Ti cranked to 1500core 7800mem along with my array of RGB and drives. Never overheated and always delivered my power with little variance in the 3v, 5v and 12v lines, this is solid in my book and backed by a Seasonic design and 10-year warranty! In my viewing of HWiNFO and OCCT, it behaved exactly how I would expect an 80+ GOLD rated unit should in my eyes without tools to dig deeper. Eventually, I would like to check for things like ripple but for now, I am confident this unit is sufficient to supply a solid gaming or productivity system. The fully modular design is very nice to have, allowing you to remove any unneeded cables to clean the cable management up even more.

Design

Design is once again nailed down solid by NZXT, with the micro-USB cable connection and CAM software suite you can see a lot of neat features as well as software control over your rails and fan. The E850 is based on a very solid Seasonic design which is something that when heard by builders and gamers allows a sigh of relief that your system is powered by one of the best. As for the Aesthetics, NZXT has gone with a simplistic approach that should fit in well with most builds.

Value

At $139.99 you are paying a bit of a premium here for the CAM software integration but it’s not all that steep when all things are considered. When stacked up to the likes of my EVGA G3 850 80+ GOLD unit that runs a cool $149.99 and offers nothing innovative other than a solid unit provided by SuperFlower and a terribly loud silent mode lol… no, really it’s very quiet until you trip the cooling then the fan ramps up to very high speeds and doesn’t cut it out until you restart the system. So all in all NZXT is delivering a feature-packed PSU squarely landing in the middle of the price pack for 80+ GOLD units. Thus causing a stir in the process, leaving it as a well-designed and performing power supply backed up by software that is becoming better and better. This sets the NZXT E850 up as one well-priced and very solid power unit to put in any power hungry system. Offering solid assurance your system is being powered by one of the best.

I want to thank NZXT for sending over the E850 PSU sample.