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Review: Fractal Design Edison M 750W

by Tarinder Sandhu on 28 January 2015, 16:00

Tags: Fractal Design

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Fractal Design is known to many enthusiasts as the designer of thoughtful, well-constructed chassis, with the Define series in particular winning general acclaim for ease of use and good looks.

But like any company trading in the PC space, Fractal knows that diversification is key to ensuring business longevity, and this is why we've seen case fans, watercooling, and power supplies augment the traditional chassis base.

The power-supply range is split into the Integra, Edison, Newton and Tesla series, with each offering something different, albeit often through overlapping wattages.

A decent supply in 2015 needs to be at least 80 PLUS Gold rated in terms of efficiency, have modular cabling, and able to mete out capacity at high ambient temperatures. Fitting most of that bill is the newly-announced Edison M series, and we have the 750W version, priced at £85, in for review today.

It's rare to find a poor-quality PSU these days, primarily because brands such as Fractal go to a handful of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who have years of experience in producing supplies for big players such as Dell and HP. An understanding of this fact is insightful when looking at the close proximity of results for various 80 PLUS Gold supplies; what we're really testing is the quality of FSP, Delta, Flextronics or CWT engineering, not the obvious brand's.

But brands do choose how to implement the underlying technology and have a say in the design. The Edison M, available in 450W, 550W, 650W and 750W models, is unmistakably Fractal in appearance, and the overall aesthetic blends in perfectly well with, say, the Define R5 chassis. And while it's true that the PSU is generally kept out of the way, the recent trend of matching all hardware within a PC has positive implications for a company such as Fractal.

Fractal designates this Edison M as modular but keeps a gaggle of wires fixed to the standard-sized supply. The 24-pin ATX, 8-pin CPU and two 6+2-pin PCIe are sleeved and hardwired to the unit. We understand the rationale behind the main power cables being fixed but feel that the PCIe should be fully modular, which is useful for people who may want to run the latest integrated graphics alone.

Speaking of which, a further four PCIe 6+2-pin, 10 SATA and five Molex are provided in high-quality flat-ribbon runs, and the full cabling is arranged thus:

Cables Length, plugs
Main (24-pin) 55cm x1 (fixed)
ATX/EPS (8-pin) 70cm x1 (fixed)
PCIe (6+2-pin) 58-68cm x2 (fixed)
55-65cm x2
55-65cm x2
SATA 40-76cm x4
40-76cm x4
65-77cm x2
Molex 40-64cm x3
30-42cm x2
Floppy Extended from Molex

Edison M's cables are longer than normal, especially the CPU 8-pin, so it's useful for bigger chassis, and the use of thin, flexible cabling certainly helps in routing the various wires through the usual motherboard cutouts.

Looking back to the PSU's modular ports shows there's room for the full complement of PCIe, and up to four runs of either Molex or SATA. In other words, you can use all but one of the SATA/Molex cable-runs concurrently.

Fractal forgoes the hybrid fan mode seen on some competing supplies by using an always-on Ong Hua temperature-controlled FDB-bearing 120mm fan identified as HA1225H12F-Z and coloured for Fractal's unique look. The control logic behind the fan ensures it spins at below 600rpm until 60 per cent load is reached (490W DC), and then ramps up linearly to 2,200rpm at full load.

Peeking inside shows that Fractal uses the established, well-received Seasonic G-750 design for the innards of the Edison M. This means it uses high-quality primary-side capacitors from Rubycon while secondary-side filtering is taken care of by Nippon Chemi-Con - the large cap you see bottom-left in the above picture - and all the important caps are rated at a toasty 105°C. Just like the Seasonic unit, this one is backed by a five-year warranty.

Soldering quality is excellent again. Fractal/Seasonic goes with the recent grain of pushing all the supply's available capacity down a single 12V rail. The minor rails still branch off the main 12V, showing this is another example of a DC-to-DC supply. We have no qualms about the quality of engineering supporting the Edison M.

Amps/watts and voltage
Rail amps
Maximum rating
Maximum continuous rating
750W @ 40°C ambient

Higher ambient temperature ratings enable a supply to be used in smaller chassis or ones with limited airflow, and the Edison M's 40°C rating is consistent with most upper-mainstream models. Though thin on information, the provided user guide states that the 750W model can provide 80 per cent of its continuous rated output at an ambient 50°C.