NZXT E850 Digital Monitoring PSU Review

It’s Been a Long Time

NZXT used to be a familiar name in the PSU world. Even though the company was, and still is known for cases, the Hale series stirred up some attention. That was quite a few years ago however, so seeing the new E850 come to market was a decent surprise. The unit has some strong bragging rights, with Seasonic as the OEM, and a new feature that feels quite unique to the industry. First, a quick word from NZXT, then we’ll move right over to the unit.

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Packaging

NZXT is known for the purple color on packaging now. It looks excellent on the outside, and I’ve always been a fan of the choice here. Inside, the unit is carefully placed next to a bag for the cables. There’s a decent amount of foam and space between the edges to keep everything secure in shipping.

One thing that always cracks me up is a fancy cable bag. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a nice addition that gives buyers a sense of quality and money well spent. On the other hand, it certainly has little practical value. Overall, the color looks unique and it keeps the cables organized and easy to find when system changes come around.

E850 Closer Look

Let’s start with the PSU itself here. NZXT has an incredibly simplistic design that looks very professional. I like the dash of purple outline around the label. The text on the side will blend nicely with just about any build scheme. That said, my unit had an interesting quirk, in that the side labeling was upside down. I think it’s just a random fluke and many PSUs will be under a cover anyways. Overall, the unit has an excellent look to it.

The cables are mostly excellent as well. I love the black wire bundled with a black sleeve. It’s the best of both worlds for convenient cable management and aesthetics. That said, the SATA and Molex cables still used a ribbon cable design, instead of following the sleeve method of the others. The other great design choice is having all black connectors though. Finally, we have an extra USB 2.0 cable for communication between the digital monitor and the software.

E850 Installation and Cable Management

As mentioned before, the sleeve design on the cables is helpful during installation. Routing the CPU, GPU and motherboard cables was incredibly easy. I was worried that the heat shrink wrap at the ends would cause some issues because of how stiff it was, but it actually made the cables route a bit neater than usual. By the time I finished putting my cable covers back on in my H500P, the build looked incredibly clean.

That said, there were a couple of improvements I would like to see. First, I think it would be best to have individual GPU cables for each individual connection. Sure, two connections at the end helps a bit with some management. On the other hand, it can hinder the amperage going to the graphics cards, especially when overclocking. Also, I wish there was a method for removing extra connections that aren’t used. On the graphics cards, I had the 6-pin spots that left me with a 2-pin cable just hanging around. I also have an additional 4-pin connection on my motherboard, but only two 8-pin CPU cables. The second cable has 4 of the pins just hanging around as well.

CAM Software Digital Monitoring

What makes the E850 unique is the built-in digital monitor. NZXT is giving everyday builders the ability to view power consumption on an individual component level. That is, by CPU, GPUs, other devices, and then total wattage. Once you open CAM, you can go to the Power tab to see the usage graphs. This feature is incredibly useful for reviewers. Component power consumption typically took expensive equipment to measure, but NZXT just made it available to just about anybody.

If you go to the advanced tab in the Power section, you can see power consumption on a voltage and amperage level. At the bottom, you can limit the total amperage the CPU or GPU can pull with multi-rail OCP. Overclocking can cause damage at times, but the setting can add additional protection to ensure devices don’t accidentally pull too much power. The one thing I would like to see added to the software is an option to monitor minimum, maximum and average consumption. I also would like a reset counter button to easily monitor specific time frames for averages. HWInfo is a good example of the type of integration I’m talking about.

The final control for the PSU is in the Cooling section. Here, you can choose different fan profiles to determine ideal temperatures and fan noise levels. NZXT includes two presets, Silent and Performance, but you can also choose a Custom profile for specific needs. If you happen to not use CAM with these units, it looks like Silent is the default profile out of the box.

Testing Methodology and Results

Let’s begin with the specs of my test system.

  • AMD Ryzen 1800X CPU
  • Enermax LIQFusion 240 CPU Cooler
  • Gigabyte Aorus X470 Gaming 7 Motherboard
  • 2x Sapphire R9 290X Graphics Cards
  • Crucial MX500 SSD
  • Cooler Master H500P Case

In order to test the PSU, I use a combination of OCCT and Furmark to max out power consumption on my system. Depending on how efficient the unit is, my PC can pull 700-750W from the wall. Thanks to the digital monitoring, I discovered that my actually components consume around ~650w after electricity leaves the PSU. This should represent an above average usage scenario for builders. I use a voltage meter to determine regulation from idle and full load, and a Kill A Watt to determine total power consumption. Finally I use a sound meter on my phone to measure the fan noise levels.

In short, the results were excellent for my minor level of testing. Regulation was on par with other units I tested, and efficiency seemed to hold up very well for a Gold rated PSU. It wasn’t very far behind a Titanium rated unit. The idle power consumption was higher, but still under 2W/h. Fan noise can get a bit high, but that’s assuming a user gets to 100% speed for long periods of time. The Silent profile alone seemed to completely negate the issue.

Conclusion

Overall, I would say the E850 is an excellent unit that still has a few rough edges. Performance was great as far as I’m concerned, and considering that Seasonic is the OEM, I have no reason to worry there. The total design is really good, but there were a couple minor aesthetic changes I would like to see, primarily with the cables. CAM is in much of the same boat. The program looks great and offers a plethora of monitoring options, but a couple of added features would really complete the package.

NZXT E850 PSU Review

However, the digital monitoring in the E series really sets NZXT apart. In my opinion, it’s a completely revolutionary addition to PSUs. Even if reviewers are likely to get the most use out of it, that alone is incredibly helpful for up and coming content creators who have small budgets. On the other hand, anyone who wants to monitor power consumption has that option now. At $150, the E850 costs a good 50 bucks more than comparable units, but the digital monitor feels like it justifies the extra cost. Awesome job NZXT!

NZXT E Series PSUs

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E850 on Newegg

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