BFG EX-1000 1000 Watt Power Supply

BFG Tech has done a very good job at commanding respect in the computer power supply market in the last year. It has stepped up its game and along with that it is now entering the tremendously demanding 1 kilowatt PSU market. 1000 watts of power is not easy to deliver while doing a good job of it.

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Conclusions

The BFG EX-1000 is the second iteration of the Frequency Conversion technology that we originally saw in the BFG ES-800 some time ago. At that time the zero load ability of the minor rails, variable switching frequency, DC-DC conversion for the minor rails, and high efficiency at loads as light as 10% all combined to make for a powerfully interesting power supply for the enthusiast. In the time since its release though, many other brands have replicated most of those abilities or features (with the exception of the variable switching frequency) and so it comes time for BFG to release a new top tier power supply. With that in mind, let’s see what we have to gain from the EX-1000 and see whether or not that interim has brought us a well oiled new piece of hardware from BFG or not.


HardOCP’s testing methodology is intended to very much push power supplies to their advertised wattage rating in temperatures that will represent some of the hottest computer enthusiast cases. So if a unit passes all our testing it is definitely not something to take lightly. In fact we expect more power supplies to fail our testing than make it through unscathed.

Build Quality

The BFG EX-1000 is generally a well built power supply that features a unique design in its Frequency Conversion and DC-DC regulation topologies that also looks good in the process. The exterior of the unit comes trimmed out just like the ES-800 of old with the same attention to fit and finish. The major change externally is the addition of the modular interface that the EX sports, which is well done and is more useful to many people than a fixed cable design. Internally the unit is seemingly well built and in a number of ways looks to be a much better integration than what we saw with the ES-800. The unit has been rearranged such that there is no need for unusually oriented PCB's and the components are all cleanly seated without an over use of caulk. The heatsinks remain on the seemingly small side, but this did not hurt the ES-800 when paired with its large overhead fan. The modular interface here could use a bit of work to cleanup, but it isn't a total train wreck. The capacitor selection is once again top notch as the primary capacitors are provided by Nichicon and the mix of solid and standard secondary electrolytics are provided by Nippon Chemi-con. This build quality is paired with excellent support in the way of the warranty, which is Lifetime if registered, and the absolute worst documentation on the market. This is a huge departure from the ES-800 and really is awful for a high end unit. Cheap Powmax, Deer, or L&C units with something to hide you expect this from, but not from BFG. This slide has been a steady drop since the introduction of the ES-800 and should finally stop now since there is nothing else that can be omitted.

Load Testing

The load testing results for the BFG EX-1000 are all a pass today, but they give us a few points to talk about. The voltage regulation on the unit was overall good with the 12v rails only varying by 0.27v at most. The minor rails were better behaved than that with their lighter loads as is generally the case. Beyond the good voltage regulation the BFG EX-1000 showed what I am going to call excellent efficiency. It is true that at full load the unit only had an efficiency value of 81.57% at 45c in our test, but when lightly loaded the unit showed efficiency values in the 87% range. These values are more critical as users will spend a far greater portion of their time in the sub 50% of total DC output capacity range than they will in the upper 25%. A bit counter intuitively though the unit posted the absolute highest exhaust temperature we have ever recorded when it hit 90c in Test #4 at 100v. At 120v the unit managed to peak at 80c, which is also exceptionally high and counter intuitive because the efficiency was simply not that bad on this unit at full load for this to make sense unless something in the design is preventing all or significant portions of the air from exiting the rear of the unit. Lastly, the unit posted mixed Transient Load Testing results as the peak changes recorded for the 12v rail when directly loaded were worse than many other 1000W units. However, the loaded 5v results outpaced almost all of the recent 1000W units we have seen which was excellent.

DC Output Quality

The DC Output Quality of the BFG EX-1000 is passing but is definitely a bit of a departure from what we saw with the ES-800 in some regards, and similar in others. The ripple/noise values for the 12v rails peaked right at the ATX12v specification limit of 120mV on 12v3 in Test #3 which was interesting as this rail was the most active during testing. This is not to say however that the 12v rails were quiet elsewhere as they did see a general increase in ripple/noise values throughout testing. The minor rails were quiet throughout testing except for Test #3 at 100v AC input where the 5v rail was having pulses that hit ~50mV. For whatever reason the EX-1000 seemed to not like the load pattern used in Test #3 at 100v. In the end this unit showed us a very CWT PSH like result for its DC Output Quality. Passing, but noisy on the 12v rails.

Noise

The BFG EX-1000 was certainly a quiet 1000W unit as we would expect given the unit’s efficiency, and use of a single overhead fan. The issue with that noise level comes from the amount of heat that was exiting the unit during testing. If all of the air being moved out the back of the unit is the entirety of the unit’s exhaust volume then this quiet nature is surely coming at the expense of airflow as this unit was almost as hot as the surface of our sun. With temperatures that peaked at 90c I would almost like to see something done to speed up the fan in this unit, or some sort of channeling of airflow in order to cool this unit more even if it results in a louder unit. In the end though, this unit really was one of the quieter 1000W units we have reviewed and it would not under any of our test conditions ever be apparent in a PC that was air cooled. As such, the unit’s noise profile is certainly a feather in its cap.

Paul's Thoughts:

The BFG EX-1000 is a unit that really puts me in a bit of a difficult spot as I really kind of like this unit even though it didn't do everything perfect. Part of that is most certainly due to the fact that BFG is taking the path less traveled by using a unique design in Andyson's Frequency Conversion and in the process giving the user something they really will see a benefit from in its ability to be so efficient at lower load levels. At the same time the real high end of the unit’s output range is seemingly sacrificed as the DC Output Quality does suffer at higher outputs, although I hear that this is being addressed with the addition of some larger capacitors on the 12v rails. In the end this decision is really the correct one for 99.99% of users as their system does spend almost all of its time in the lower portion of the unit’s output capacity and even when we get to 100% and ask the unit to put the pedal to the metal it does perform while staying in specification even at 45c. Hopefully BFG can keep working with Andyson so that on the next iteration of the MT series we can have our cake and eat it too by having the performance in the upper 25% look like the performance found in lower 25% of the unit’s capacity. Today however, the BFG EX-1000 proved to be a capable, useful, and unique in our load testing but not a perfect unit.

The Bottom Line

The BFG EX-1000 carries on in the same fine tradition of the ES-800 and represents an evolutionary but not revolutionary step forward for this design. The EX-1000 bumps up the capacity by 200W and in the process increases the efficiency as well, further strengthening a key feature of this platform. This gives this unit good voltage regulation, excellent efficiency, a low noise profile, but barely in specification DC Output Quality. So while making a number of good steps forward the BFG EX-1000 doesn't take any giant leaps to make it as revolutionary as the ES-800 was when it was released but really that would have been near impossible to do. What the BFG EX-1000 does represent, is a solid 1000W option for the enthusiast looking for an honestly rated power supply that can deliver the goods under demanding 45c conditions and full load while saving them some green by being efficient at the more realistic power output levels they will spend the majority of the time encountering.

We here at HardOCP think this is a near-award worthy unit, but it is coming up just a bit short of what we consider to be "best" in category. If BFG will address the DC output quality on the high end and tailor the unit’s fan controller to keep it a bit cooler, we would be confident of a Silver Editor’s Choice.

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BFG Tech EX-1000 PSU

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