PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 750W PSU Review
PC Power & Cooling is back on our test bench today and it has been a while. Today it is promising "industrial-grade performance and stability," with "ultimate efficiency," and "ultra-quiet operation" with its Silencer Mk III 750 watt PSU. We put it to the test to see if OCZ has done anything to return its PSUs to your next build.
The PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 750W marks the 6th power supply from PC Power & Cooling we have reviewed and the fourth from the Silencer line. For the most part, the Silencer line has been more of the "deafener" line (though the units have been otherwise good performers) with the exception of the Silencer MkII 950W we reviewed some time ago. In that case, PC Power & Cooling made progress on the noise front finally but took major steps back everywhere else. With that one step forward and two steps back in our previous outing we have to wonder about this unit today. Will the Mk III 750W also be one step forward and two steps back? Or has PC Power & Cooling finally nailed the Silencer line? Let’s see.
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.
Overall, the external build quality of the PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 750W is very good. The Silencer Mk III 750W breaks from many of the "traditions" of PC Power & Cooling units that had remained with the previous units as today’s power supply has a single large over head fan, is modular (and features audio style connectors), and comes trimmed out in a very striking white. That all said, not all of those changes are necessarily bad as, in the end, what we have today is a very striking looking power supply that is also well built for the most part. Once we move to the interior of the unit, we find a unit that is generally well built, stocked with rather good components overall, and features a modern topology. The one downside to this is a bit of sloppy soldering on the main PCB on the secondary side. The component selection features a ball bearing Globe fan and Nippon Chemi-con capacitors (both standard and solid) which is very good. Lastly, the unit does come with a 7 year warranty, which may not mean a whole lot soon, and decent documentation.
While the build quality was very good today, the Load Testing results were more in the just acceptable range. Indeed, while passing one, of the biggest issues this unit had today was that it could never get out of its own way to catch other 750W units that are going to be occupying the same niche as this unit. The voltage regulation was "OK," in that it was passing, but it did meet its advertised values in all cases with the 12v rail changing by 0.21v during load testing, the 5v rail changing by 0.16v during load testing, and the 3.3v rail changing by 0.14v during load testing. On top of that, the Silencer Mk III 750W trailed the XFX Black Edition 750W and Seasonic G-750. The unit's efficiency, though, was excellent as it ranged from 86.17% to 89.87% at 120v and 84.32% to 88.64% at 100v and the unit did pass the Torture Test.
Moving on to the Transient Load Testing portion of our review, we find the Mk III 750W passes all of our testing but, again, it didn’t impress us with its results. During this testing, the unit showed peak 12v changes of ~250mV in Test #1 when the 12v rail is directly loaded and ~170mV when the 5v rail was directly loaded. The upside to these results is that these make this unit end mixed compared to the XFX Black Edition 750W and the Seasonic G-Series 750W. Where that is somewhat deceptive is that, when it is better than one of those units it is not much better, but when it is worse than one of those units it is a lot worse. So, while the numbers are technically making this unit tied with those units, it really doesn’t feel like it is as good as those units in this aspect of testing.
DC Output Quality
The overall DC Output Quality of the Mk III 750W is a pass, but not exactly what we are hoping for in some ways. The 12v rail showed a peak trace amplitude of ~45mV while the minor rails peaked at ~20mV. Given that these values started off at between 10mV and 15mV that isn’t a lot of change during our testing but it, again, is a bit more than what OCZ/PC Power & Cooling was advertising in some cases. On top of that, this unit does trail the XFX Black Edition 750W and the Seasonic G-Series 750W as well. As such, while passing and not that bad of results, this unit is just a bit disappointing. There are no real issues with these numbers put forward for users to worry about and the unit did almost catch up to the Seasonic G-Series 750W; so there is that.
One of the things that we have harped on for years is that, while being advertised as the "Silencer" line of products, PC Power & Cooling's Silencer line of power supplies have not been silent, quiet, or anything other than loud. That did change somewhat with the MkII 950W which was quieter and, today, the Mk III 750W has an even better chance of being quiet. With the 140mm overhead fan, a fan controller with a fanless mode, and 80 Plus Gold efficiency this unit seems to be making some progress on the noise front, on paper anyway. Indeed, on the testing front, the Mk III 750W was remarkably quiet for a PC Power & Cooling product and generally rather quiet overall in most tests. Where this unit started to become a bit noisy was during the full load tests as we have seen from other SuperFlower built units before, so this was not surprising and shouldn’t be anywhere near the issue that the Silencer line of old was. Indeed, for most people this unit will be probably be acceptably quiet just about all the time,particularly if you engage the fanless mode of course.
Sadly, this may very be the last OCZ/PC Power & Cooling product we ever review as OCZ has recently announced its intentions to finally file for bankruptcy and liquidate with Toshiba picking up the pieces last week. Certainly, at one time, PC Power & Cooling offered some unique products that gave users a little more than what they could get from other brands including things like its service of custom cabling and so forth. Those days have, however, been years in the past and most of what PC Power & Cooling has done for the last 5 years or so has been coast on a name it built when there was little in the way of options and little in the way of real scrutiny in what it, and others, were producing. Many of those interim products that it coasted on certainly did not live up to the reputation that it had gained but that was largely a two fold issue. The first being, those products really were a departure from the the previous offerings and the second being the previous offerings truly weren't as good as its out-sized reputation.
However, back in the good old days you could at least count on a PC Power & Cooling product to be decent and competitive with the top end of products without worrying about it even if it was new, There was value there and boy did PCP&C charge you for it. Relevant to today, this Mk III 750W is a decent unit that shook some of the issues that plagued PC Power & Cooling products both before and after the OCZ acquisition so it is a bit sad that OCZ couldn’t make more of a go out of these units. With that in mind, as retailers start to blowout stock at dirt cheap prices be on the lookout for these SuperFlower based units. Even though these won’t have warranty support, these are decent little units with pricing that is likely to drop significantly going forward making these very attractive "bargain" units.
As this seems likely to be the end of the road, we have to say "Cheers PC Power & Cooling, this Bud's for you".
The Bottom Line
The PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 750W we see today is the newest power supply produced by PC Power & Cooling that we have had the opportunity to review. It is also the second unit we have seen that has truly broken from some of the old pre-OCZ PC Power & Cooling tenants of what makes a good power supply. Certainly, a number of different brands have done well violating those tenants so we had high hopes that PC Power & Cooling itself had righted some of the wrongs we saw with the MkII 950W. As it turns out, there is a little bit of "yes" and a little bit of "no" to that.
Today, the Silencer Mk III 750W had generally very good build quality, was generally quiet, and it posted passing test results in all of our tests. The problem lies in that, while passing, it never wowed us other than in the looks department, which is subjective in the extreme so not really relevant. A good example of this problem, but with an exception or two, was the Antec HCP-850 Platinum. The HCP-850 Platinum did everything well enough, in fact it was close to class leading (which the Mk III 750W never was), and it was built like a brick shithouse. The Mk III 750W though, lacks some of that extra push to make it into the really bordering on award winning category that the HCP-850 Platinum sat on the threshold of when we reviewed it. Instead, this unit is just a passing prospect and is going to derive a lot of its "buy it now" momentum from it's pricing if retailers start blowing out OCZ product during this time of its corporate changes. If these prices drop from the current $149.99 range to around the $100 range to get under the cost of the Seasonic G-750 (which was $99.99 earlier in November), these might be something for knowledgeable users to look at even with the lack of warranty support.