Self-proclaimed tech nerds around the world are turning their backs on system building. This is tragic, as this art is part of the foundation of the tech nerd lifestyle. It is hard to argue with these perceived traitors – an off-the-shelf tablet such as an iPad can do very much. In other words, why spend the time and money building a PC? The same can be said for much in life. I mean, why cook when you can get take out? Why mow your lawn when you can pay someone to do it? The answer is simple – fun and self-satisfaction. Yes, building a computer is a rewarding experience and everyone should at least attempt it.
System building is something I am still a fan of and I know I am not alone – you guys are out there. Amazing components are constantly being released – motherboards, processors and even power supplies. A power supply is the unsung hero of any system build. It literally powers the computer! It is sad how often people choose cheap PSUs for their builds and instead focus on the "fun" stuff, like RAM and processors.
I have always cautioned against cheap power supplies. When I say "cheap", please do not misunderstand – I am referring to poor quality and not low price. If you can get high quality for a low price, awesome. However, if you've never heard of the manufacturer, it is probably a good idea to pass.
Recently, I saw a new PSU from world-renowned manufacturer Cooler Master that got my motor running – the V1200 Platinum. Once I wiped the drool from my chin, I obtained one to review.
The V1200 provides 1200 watts, as you might have guessed, along with a fully modular cable design for easy installation and cable management. It is 80 PLUS Platinum certified (up to 93 per cent efficiency @ 50 per cent load), comes with 12 PCI-E 6+2pin connectors for 4 way SLI and high-end builds, and it has a seven-year extended warranty.
The specs are simply amazing (see the spec table at the foot of this review for the full details – we won't swamp you with them here). But while specs are certainly important, they only tell part of the story. Again, some no-name manufacturer could produce something with good specs on paper and not deliver. Luckily, we are talking about Cooler Master here, so the company's positive reputation speaks volumes; however, I had to test it for myself. Coincidentally, I am in the middle of refurbishing my existing PC with a new CPU cooler and case, so receiving the V1200 Platinum for testing was very timely.
I am happy to say that the unboxing alone was an amazing experience. Make no mistake – packaging matters. If someone cooks you a delicious meal that looks like crap, the overall experience suffers, regardless of the taste. Cooler Master clearly wanted to reward the consumer and it succeeded. I was blown away, and you can watch my unboxing below.
The heft of the V1200 Platinum is very intimidating. However, when it comes to a power supply, you want heft. It is an indicator of quality; however, not all heavy power supplies are quality. In other words, an indicator is not a guarantee, simply one thing to look for. Luckily, most modern cases subscribe to the design of having the PSU on the bottom of the case. Unless you bought the flimsiest case with a top-mounted PSU slot, you should not have an issue.
The modular cables are very much premium quality. You can tell that they were not an afterthought. You see, they are very flat and black. This lends to superior cable management. Yes, even that deep black colour helps to hide the cables so they stand out less. The flatness is key to management though, and not only are they thin, but solid too. The amazing thing is, even though they are well designed and rigid, they are not too stiff to route around corners. Overall, the cables create a beautiful interior design. Whether or not you have a window on your case is inconsequential. Even when not looking at your build, you should be aware of it. Aim for perfection!
Once it was time to install, I gathered the four screws and my trusty screwdriver. When installing a PSU, it is recommended to seat it properly and secure it with all of the screws. However, I usually just use two – one in the top left corner and one in the bottom right. In this install, I used all four because, why not? The screws went in straight and without issue.
Once secured in my case, it was time to connect the necessary cables. That's the great thing about a modular PSU, you only need to connect the cables you actually, well, need. This means there is less of a mess inside your case. In other words, it doesn't look like a spaghetti explosion.
I was connecting the PSU to the following:
- ASUS P8Z77-V LE motherboard (with i5-3570k overclocked @4.4GHz, 16GB DDR3 2133 RAM)
- 3 SSDs – 480GB (Windows) 90GB (OS X) 30GB (Linux)
- 4TB HDD for data
- Blu-ray burner
- Graphics card (EVGA GeForce GTX 650)
Obviously, my rig does not require a 1200 watt PSU, but you never know what you may do in the future. Quite frankly, not many computers need a 1200 watt PSU. With that said, I have always wanted a top-of-the-line gaming card and when I buy one, I will have no concerns about power.
With everything connected, it was time for the moment of truth – powering on my computer. As expected, everything worked and I was off to the races. However, I was taken aback by something odd – silence! Yes, the 135mm fan in the v1200 Platinum is dead silent. The PSU which it is replacing was noticeably louder.
Speaking of silence, the V1200 Platinum has a trick up its sleeve. As you saw in the unboxing video (you did watch that, right?), it comes with a switch that mounts in the rear of your case, in an empty PCI plate-slot. You can choose to have it run in Auto mode, which makes the fan run constantly like most power supplies do. However, switching it to hybrid mode will turn the fan off when it is not needed. This is good for both energy saving and silencing. However, like I said above, the fan, when running, is quiet anyway. Since I do not leave my desktop running 24/7, I leave it in auto-mode, since the energy savings would be negligible for me.
For you, however, energy savings could be a big deal. We are all looking to save money in any way we can. That is the beautiful thing about the V1200. Yes, it is expensive upfront, but it is so damn efficient that over its lifetime it could potentially save you a lot of money.
As a word of caution, however, the PSU is quite long. While I had no problem fitting it in my case, not all cases are created equal. I would suggest measuring first, but most users should have no problem. Even though my case can accommodate the V1200 Platinum, it does cover the mounting holes for the optional 140mm fan on the bottom. While I wasn't using this spot, it is a bit disappointing, but not the fault of Cooler Master.
Besides being pretty, a power supply has the important job of providing power to your computer. I am happy to say the V1200 Platinum delivers. Is it overkill for many? Yes. Is it expensive? Yes, at just over £200 it is expensive. However, I have learned from many life experiences that you get what you pay for. Sometimes it is worth spending the extra money for something of high quality. I like knowing that such a well-designed and cared for product is sitting in my computer.
It is so well-made and such a powerhouse, that it should last you ten years easily. Hell, Cooler Master is giving a seven-year warranty – that means something. If you average the upfront cost of the power supply over seven to ten years and factor in the energy savings from the efficiency, it is a total no-brainer. Stop rewarding companies that produce garbage with your money. Disposable tech is a plague – buy something that lasts; buy something that makes you happy and proud. The Cooler Master V1200 Platinum does all of these things – and it comes highly recommended.
|Manufacturer and Model||Cooler Master V1200 Platinum|
|Type||Intel Form Factor ATX 12V V2.31|
|Dimensions (W x L x H)||150 x 190 x 86mm|
|Input Voltage||100-240Vac (Full Range)|
|Input Current||15 - 7.5A|
|Input Frequency Range||60 - 50Hz|
|PFC||Active PFC (>0.9)|
|Power Good Signal||100-500ms|
|Hold Up Time||>17ms|
|Protection||OVP / UVP / OPP / OTP / OCP / SCP|
|Fan||Silent FDB 135mm|
|Certifications||80 Plus Platinum|
|Connector||M/B 20+4 Pin Connector x 1; CPU 4+4 Pin x 2; PCI-e 6+2 Pin x 12; SATA x 12; 4 Pin Peripheral x 9; 4 Pin Floppy x 1|