Intel Core i7 940 Processor @ 3.8 GHz
SilenX Effizio EFZ-120HA4 Extreme CPU Cooler
OCZ Flex EX 12GB Triple Channel
Zotac Amp! Edition GeForce GTX 480
50GB OCZ RevoDrive PCIe SSD
2TB Western Digital Caviar Black HDD
Zalman 850W Power Supply
NZXT Phantom Case
Three case fans
Lite-On Optical Drive
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
I didn't run into any issues installing this power supply, although I would like to highlight the fact that the unit is a bit longer than a standard ATX PSU. You will also need to give yourself a little room for the modular cables to plug into the unit.
I also didn't have any trouble with the modular cables. Everything connected as it should and the braided cables had enough flex in them to successfully route them in the NZXT Phantom chassis. As you can see in the photo above, I ended up with a very tidy cable install - this is where a modular system really shines over a fully hardwired system.
For testing, will be measuring total system draw as well as checking voltages at the ATX power connector using a digital multimeter. We aren't electrical engineers and do not have access to dedicated power supply testing equipment that cost several thousand dollars. There are a few sites on the net that fall into that category, however. If you wish to see super detailed PSU test results, I suggest you visit those sites instead as we cannot provide those results here.
Using a Kill-a-Watt meter, I measured the power usage of the system at the outlet, during both idle and load. To generate the load I used OCCT's power supply test utility, which stresses both the CPU and GPU up to 100%. All tests were run with all power saving features disabled in the BIOS. From the graph above we can see that the system is able to strain the power supply for roughly 67% of its total rated power.
When the system was powered off, I measured "phantom" power draw at around 2.4 watts.
With a digital multimeter, I also took voltage readings at the back of the ATX power connector under idle and load conditions. None of the rails changed very much from their idle state and I didn't notice any fluctuation while taking readings. I did note that the 12v was a little on the lower side, but still within an acceptable range.
The ZM850-HP Plus 850W is certified at the 80Plus Silver level for power efficiency, which means it exceeds 85/88/85% at 20/50/100% load as certified by 80Plus.org testing. In fact, this is one of only 233 power supplies that meet the Silver criteria. Gold is the next level up with ratings of 87/90/87% efficiency and platinum is rated at 90/92/89% efficiency at 20/50/100% load. Currently only 11 power supplies are certified platinum.
Let's wrap things up with some final thoughts and a conclusion.