£63 for £630W
Remember the days when you could have purchased a power-supply unit (PSU) for under £20? Granted, it would probably have lasted less time than it takes Usain Bolt to run 100m, but perceived value was very much to the fore. Now, however, quality PSU-makers have gone the other way, pushing pricing of 500-750W PSUs up high enough for users not to receive much change out of £100.
German manufacturer be quiet!, meanwhile, is choosing to focus on a value-orientated PSU this time around. The Pure Power L8 630 - a semi-modular-cabled supply - has enough wattage to power most premium PC builds and, crucially, priced at around £60, doesn't break the bank. Let's take a closer look at this 80 PLUS Bronze-rated supply.
This bequiet! model has manifest familial similarity with the Straight Power series, which is a notch above Pure Power in the pecking order. That's not to say the L8 630 is the poorer cousin; it too has semi-modular cabling and solid construction. We particularly like the way in which the captive cabling is fully sleeved and grometted into the chassis. Fitting into the regular 160mm x 150mm x 86mm (LxWxH) dimensions and housing a 12cm fan, we can't see installation into a standard PC chassis being an issue.
The main 24-pin ATX and 8-pin CPU (4+4-pin) are hard-wired to the unit but the remainder are free for you to connect. bequiet! provides three peripheral runs and a couple of colour-coded PCIe cables. All told, they're arranged as follows:
|Cables||Cables, type, length, plugs on cable|
|Main||20+4-pin (45cm) x1 cable (captive)|
|ATX/EPS||4+4-pin (45cm) x1 cable (captive)||PCIe|| 6+2-pin + 6-pin (45-60cm) x1 cable
6+2-pin + 6-pin (45-60cm) x1 cable
|Peripheral 1||3x SATA (45-75cm) x1 cable|
|Peripheral 2||2x SATA (45-60cm) 1x Molex (75cm) and 1x FDD (90cm)||Peripheral 3||3x Molex (45-75cm) x1 cable|
Each of the two PCIe cables - red and green - have single 6+2-pin and 6-pin connectors, and they're hooked-up to one of the supply's two 12V rails. Cabling feels, and is, rather short, coming in at just 45cm for the first connector on the line and increasing in 15cm increments for the subsequent plugs. In particular, the 45cm for the 4+4-pin CPU may cause problems in larger chassis, where the cable needs to be threaded around the back of the case and through to the top of the motherboard.
Able to drive either two high-end cards or up to four mid-range, on top of the usual smattering of components, the five SATA and trio of Molex should be enough for most modern builds. Truth is that while the supply is semi-modular, you'll probably end up using all the cables - which are nice and flexible - especially if running more than a single hard drive. Users with parsimonious connectivity needs could possibly make do with the single cable that includes two SATA, Molex and FDD.
Open up the casing and the 12cm sleeve-bearing SilentWings L8 (T12025-MS-18) fan, 25mm-thick, stares back at you. be quiet! could have used one of its 135mm fans here, we suppose, but this one's rated to spin at a maximum of 1,445rpm. be quiet! asserts that it's practically silent at low loads, producing 17.3dB at 50 per cent of its capacity, though, unlike PSUs higher up in the range, the fan remains on at all times., which is probably as a necessity given the comparative amount of heat generated from a Bronze-rated supply.
be quiet! uses what looks like an HEC/Compucase design rather than rely on FSP, as it has done on previous mid-range supplies. Teapo provides the main hold-up capacitor, rated at 400V, 390uF, 85°C, and is also charged with providing the secondary caps that you see nearer the cabling. Soldering is clean, efficient, and by looking at how the design has been implemented into the chassis, we reckon be quiet!/HEC could even opt for a smaller casing.
|Amps/watts and voltage||3.3V||5V||12V1||12V2||-12V||-5VSB|
|Maximum rating continuous||
630W @ 40°C
Up to 360W can be chanelled down either of the two 12V lines. Combine them and 564W is plenty for the £750-£1,500 builds it's aimed at, but we have seen other PSUs offer more of their total capacity down this crucial, wattage-eating line. We do like the fact that this relatively-budget supply will perform to specification at an ambient 40°C.
While not having some of the bells and whistles found on the genuinely premium PSUs, which most users will rarely need, be quiet! appears to do a good job of balancing an attractive street price, £60, against skimping with respect to build quality or internal components. Backed by a three-year warranty, there's plenty of good on this opening page.