Cold Test Results (~22°C Ambient)

For the testing of PSUs, we are using high precision electronic loads with a maximum power draw of 2700 Watts, a Rigol DS5042M 40 MHz oscilloscope, an Extech 380803 power analyzer, two high precision UNI-T UT-325 digital thermometers, an Extech HD600 SPL meter, a self-designed hotbox and various other bits and parts. For a thorough explanation of our testing methodology and more details on our equipment, please refer to our How We Test PSUs - 2014 Pipeline post.

The “Overclocking mode” of the PSU that combines all virtual 12 V rails into a single 12 V rail was active throughout our testing, with the exception of the preliminary OCP tests that we perform routinely, which the Dark Power Pro 12 passed without issues.

The efficiency of the Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro 12 1500W PSU is very high but not as high as we would have liked it to be. Although it meets the 80Plus Titanium certification requirements while the unit is powered from a 115 VAC source, it does so only only barely, with an average nominal load range (20% to 100% of the unit's capacity) efficiency of just 92.3%. When powered from a 230 VAC source, in our testing the Dark Power Pro 12 1500W PSU does not even get near the 80Plus Titanium certification requirements.

As the load increases beyond 1000 Watts, the thermal control circuitry will start increasing the speed of the fan at an exponential rate. That is a very reasonable design approach, as a gaming PC drawing more than 1000 Watts isn't going to be able to remain quiet anyhow. Especially as the noise from the fans of power-hungry components will most definitely overshadow the single 135 mm fan of the PSU.

Dark Power Pro 12 1500W : Inside & Out Hot Test Results (~45°C Ambient)
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  • zodiacfml - Tuesday, January 11, 2022 - link

    industry should be recycling used server power supplies which can easily perform as good.
  • Silver5urfer - Wednesday, January 12, 2022 - link

    Thanks for this review.

    Unfortunately I already bought a $300 Seasonic TX-1000 PSU for my 10th gen and 3090 build. I hope it lasts me long time, I do not plan to get any new GPUs since games are not worth at all nowadays due to political aspects and poor quality with no passion. But it would have been nice if the PSU supports the next gen GPUs for the high refresh rate gaming in the future, which are going to be 500-600W TDP with insane spikes demanding a new PSU over 1200W.

    This one got that 12 Pin connectors which is a massive improvement over existing PSUs by a huge factor. But looks like they did not include the 4 pins for sensing the load. ASUS Loki and Thor PSUs are having that, also I think Corsair might as well release a damn 2000W PSU. Since SLI is dead I really do not think the market would be great for these so they will be super expensive. Also I think by 2023 CES we will definitely have a completely new wave of PSUs with new PCIe connectors and more features, I hope there is a PSU with 1200+W capability and completely passive. I would pay top dollar if that exists.

    Upcoming Zen 4 / Raptor Lake - DDR5 new ICs, PCIe5.0 boards with more I/O like M.2 slots with new PCIe and then new GPUs with more than 500W TDP this will become uber expensive. On top we have a huge crunch of GPUs since 24+ months, the market will have to adopt once the Crypto crashes or mining fades.
  • bunkle - Wednesday, January 12, 2022 - link

    "Although it meets the 80Plus Titanium certification requirements while the unit is powered from a 115 VAC source, it does so only only barely, with an average nominal load range (20% to 100% of the unit's capacity) efficiency of just 92.3%. When powered from a 230 VAC source, in our testing the Dark Power Pro 12 1500W PSU does not even get near the 80Plus Titanium certification requirements."

    This statement looks incorrect / inverted. The graph presented would suggest that higher efficiency is gained when running at 230VAC as per usual with most PSUs?
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, January 13, 2022 - link

    The 80 Plus standards have higher efficiency requirements at 230v than 115v, owing to the fact that DC-DC switching is more efficient at higher voltages.

    For 80 Plus Titanium, for example, you need 96% efficiency at a 50% load for 230v, versus 94% efficiency for 115v. It's a difference of just 2 percentage points, but that's a 50% increase in allowed energy losses.

    So as it happens here, you can just barely meet the looser 115v standards, but fail to meet the tighter 230v standards.
  • bunkle - Tuesday, January 18, 2022 - link

    I see, thanks for the clarification. With that in mind the statement is still incorrect. It doesn't reach 80 Plus Titanium's 94% efficiency at 50% 115VAC only 93%. I think that's where my confusions stemmed.

    For easier comprehension in future, it might be nice to have the efficiency points (10,20,50,100%) for the claimed rating on the same graph.
  • Xajel - Thursday, January 13, 2022 - link

    I wonder when we will be able to see the first round of PCIe 5.0 PSU reviews.

    What about the 12V0 standard? will these also have this or this one will take longer time duo to incompatibility with the current standard (unless they're using a doughter-PSU).
  • RNDRer - Friday, January 14, 2022 - link

    I understand the love for the venerable AX1600i that a reviewer who received a test unit directly from Corsair would have for it. By those numbers, it is no doubt the best that's out there.

    What those of us in the high performance desktop compute niche have seen, however, is that Corsair sends golden samples to reviewers and the retail units don't live up to even Corsair's stated output claims. In practice, the AX1600i is only a 1400W PSU at best and will usually power cycle at loads as low as 1450W. Changing over to a 1600W EVGA unit almost always solves the mystery resets for folks who want to run more than ~1100W of GPU (4xA6000 will typically trip a retail AX1600i after a few minutes).

    I'm curious what we will see from retail Dark Power Pro units. If they are as good as the sponsored review units, then they might actually be a valid alternative to the AX1600i despite the lower marketing specs.
  • playtech1 - Tuesday, January 18, 2022 - link

    I can see a need for this kind of PSU - my own experience with a Corsair AX760 and a Corsair HX1200 were that they could not handle the spikes from a 3090 plus 16 core Skylake-X CPU. It's true you don't (usually) get sustained loads on both GPU and CPU, but when both were stressed at the same time it would trigger OCP with a nasty black screen restart.

    AX1600i was the RMA replacement and that works very well, albeit it has a slightly annoying fan balancing cycle on startup. There are probably lower powered PSUs that are less enthusiastic at triggering OCP, but my experience of Corsair PSUs with a 3090 is that you need a lot more headroom than you might think.
  • NeatOman - Wednesday, February 9, 2022 - link

    1500 watts is dead close to the 1800 watts max of a 15a outlet if you account for efficiency loss. With that said, I've seen 200-300 watt computers have power issues from a seeming good outlet ;-)

    I "only" have a 850 watt PC Power & Cooling PSU (can output 850 watts under 80 gold) but I've made sure that my outlet was in good condition by simply checking for a warm cable from the wall. But also with a kill-a-watt to watch for voltage drop. A bad/poor connection WILL cause a squeezing point where the power has to jump though a small contact patch where it causes heat. I see it all the time in the businesses I do work in, hot cables running machines that have issues. Sometimes so hot the outlet starts to melt! Simple correction was to replace the outlet and plug and BOOM! no boom lol.

    Point is, the power cable shouldn't be getting "hot".. although luke warm seems to be ok at max 1800 watt load. When pulling that much power to sensitive equipment you WILL see differences from different outlets EVEN if all of them are new, installed by a professional. Then there's also the health/quality of the transformers on your street and termination in your home lol
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