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Antec Truepower Quattro 850W vs Silverstone Decathlon 850W Review

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SKYMTL

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Antec Truepower Quattro 850W vs Silverstone Decathlon 850W Review




Silverstone Decathlon 850W

Product Number: DA850
Price: $217.73 @ Directcanada
Packaging: Retail
Fan Size: 1x 120mm
Warranty: 3 Years
Availability: Now
Manufacturer’s Product Page: SilverStone Technology Co., Ltd - Designing Inspiration=


Antec Truepower Quattro 850W

Product Number: TPQ 850
Price: $190.03 @ Directcanada
Packaging: Retail
Fan Size: 1x 80mm
Warranty: 5 Years
Availability: Now
Manufacturer’s Product Page: Antec.com - TruePower Quattro

Consumers had been watching the ongoing Wattage Wars between power supply manufacturers with complete awe for the last 18 months. Within that timeframe came the power-hungry 8800GTX and quad core processors and that awe quixkly turned to abject horror when those same consumers realized that they would have to pony up the money for a high-wattage power supply to go along with their system upgrade. As buyers panicked, manufacturers took advantage and began releasing power supplies with insane output specifications. But, let’s throw a little water on the fire by saying you do not NEED an 800W power supply to power a quad core, single GPU system. What you WANT is something totally different and these two power supplies we are looking at today have probably passed through that “want” list at some time.

Call it kismet, fate or good competition but no matter which way you slice it, both the Antec Truepower Quattro 850W and the Silverstone Decathlon 850W appeared in all their grandeur at retailers within a few weeks of one another. Since then both of these power supplies have been fighting it out in the trenches since they are equally high on the wish lists of enthusiasts everywhere. Since we have seen so many places where they are both being recommended in the same breath, we here at Hardware Canucks have gone ahead and pitted these two monsters against one another.

In the blue corner, wearing a black exterior, weighing in with a single massive +12V rail and a completely modular interface is the Silverstone DA850!!! *insert crowd going wild noises here* In the past we have taken a long, hard look at one of Silverstone’s lower-wattage Decathlon units and found it to be a great all-round performer and we expect the 850W variant to perform just as well. Once again we can’t seem to nail down who manufactures this power supply but it still comes with Silverstone’s 3 year warranty and excellent customer support. Pricing for this unit is presently sitting around the $215 mark.

In the red corner, wearing a black exterior with yellow racing stripes, weighing in with 4 +12V rails, a partial modular interface and a single 80mm fan is the Antec Truepower Quattro 850W!! Antec saw the growing market trends towards more power hungry components and released their Quattro series (in 850W and 1000W outputs) only a few months ago. While most of their other power supplies are now Seasonic-built, the Quattro series are Enhance built which is by no means a step down from Seasonic. Antec backs up the Quattro 850W with their 5-year warranty and (just like Silverstone) amazing customer support. The pricing for this power supply is quite a bit less than its competition by undercutting the DA850 by a good $25 with it sitting pretty at around $190.

So, how will these two powerhouses compare against one another in our brand new battery of tests? Let the clash of the titans begin!!


QUATTRO_Main.JPG Silverstone_Main.JPG
 
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Gav

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Packaging and Accessories

Packaging and Accessories

Silverstone Decathlon 850W


The box of the DA850 is decked out in a sublime black and white color scheme with a few dashes of color to give emphasis on some of the more pressing points. The box is on the large side but this is to be expected with 850W modular power supplies. The sides of the box hold a wealth of information including a quick count of the more important connectors as well as some unique interior shots of the power supply with accompanying descriptions. As you can see, while this power supply is UL certified, there is no manufacturer number below the UL logo.


When opening the box I was greeted by a foam-backed cardboard insert which serves to protect the topside of the DA850 as well as holding it in place so it doesn’t fly around during transport. By removing this we can see that Silverstone has provided more than ample protection against shipping damage by padding the underside of the box as well. It may seem like the power supply has very little protection on its sides, you have to remember that the accessories (at the top of the second picture) and the bundle of cables also serve well as padding.


The included accessory package is quite good with some noteworthy additions which every manufacturer should include. First of all you get a basic power cord as well as some mounting screws and an instruction manual (not pictured). That is where the similarity to other manufacturers’ bundles stops since Silverstone has also included some zip ties (which come in handy when cable routing) and a classy nylon carrying bag for your unused modular cables. This last addition is a Godsend and every other manufacturer should take note since finding a safe place for unused modular cables can be a real pain in the butt. Bravo Silverstone.


Antec Truepower Quattro 850W


With a blazingly bright yellow exterior, the box of the Antec Quattro 850W (which we will call the TPQ 850W now and then) is definitely hard to miss. The front of the package really doesn’t tell all that much other than the in-your-face output number, the advertised 80Plus certification and the dual graphics cards compatibility.

The rear of the package is where all of the action is happening. There is a brief description of the features of the TPQ 850W as well as the number of connectors you should expect to receive. Without a doubt, it is good to see the 80Plus logo since it almost guarantees that this power supply will have above-average efficiency no matter what kind of load you put on it.


The quality of protection around the Truepower Quattro is second to none; the entire power supply is encased in thick foam and then wrapped again in a plastic bag. All of the accessories and modular cables are pushed off to the sides on order to provide even more protection.


Compared to the DA850’s complete accessory package, that of the TPQ 850W looks is somewhat lacking in sustenance. Gone are the nylon holder and the zip-ties which Silverstone provided and this means you get only the basics: a power cord, an instruction manual, mounting screws and a non-resealable bag with the modular connectors. While the omission of any extras is notable, it goes hand in hand with Antec’s power MSRP for the Truepower Quattro.

One standout in all of this is the massively think 14AWGX3 power cord. This thing is simply stunning to behold and it absolutely exudes the aura of high quality design. Usually, I don’t comment much about the power cords included with most power supplies because they are so unremarkable; in this case however, this is a cord that goes hand-in-hand with a high wattage power supply. Indeed, the cord included with the Silverstone unit looks positively flimsy by comparison.
 

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Exterior Impressions

Exterior Impressions

Silverstone Decathlon 850W


Compared to the offering from rival Antec, the Silverstone DA850 is has a completely stealth look to it which should appeal to a much broader number of potential customers. The finish is an almost scratch-resistant black powder coat which is surprisingly tough compared to some power supplies we have reviewed in the past. The top 120mm fan dominates most of the upper side of the Decathlon even though the longer than normal chassis makes the single fan seem a good deal smaller than it really is.

When looking at the DA850 you will notice that it looks pretty naked without any of the pre-attached cables that are seen on most (what we call) “semi-modular” power supplies. Each and every connector on this power supply is modular and can be attached and reattached when needed.


Antec Truepower Quattro 850W


I will dispense with using all of the overly-used euphemisms comparing the color scheme of the TPQ 850W to that of a Dodge Charger Super Bee and cut right to the chase. People who see the exterior styling chosen by Antec usually come down on one of two sides of the fence: Some say “I LOVE it!!” while others say “What the heck was Antec thinking?”. I am firmly planted in the former category because I think this is an absolutely stunning and unique design. You on the other hand, may think differently…

With the color debate now out of the way, let’s look a little more closely what Antec has given us under those racing stripes. First of all there is a single 80mm exhaust fan which is supposed to be quite silent (or at least that is what Antec promises) along with a very basic modular interface. Unlike the DA850, the Truepower Quattro is not a completely modular design; the ATX connector as well as the 4 and 8-pin CPU connectors and a pair of 6+2 pin PCI-E connectors are all attached to the power supply itself. This can become a bit of a pain considering you may not be using all of these connectors. On the other hand, if you buy an 850W power supply, you are most likely going to use every non-modular cable included except for the 4-pin CPU connector.
 

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Cables and Connectors

Cables and Connectors

Silverstone Decathlon 850W

- Molex: 6 Connectors (modular)
o 2x 38” (3 connectors each)

- SATA: 6 Connectors (modular)
o 2x 38” length (3 connectors each)

- PCI-E 8 Pin: 2 Connectors (modular)
o 2x 21 1/2” length

- PCI-E 6 Pin: 4 Connectors (modular)
o 2x 21” length
o 2x 29’’ length (on same cable as 21’’ PCI-E)

- 4-Pin Floppy: 2 Connectors
o 2x 44’’ length (at end of each Molex cable)

- 20+4 ATX Connector: 21 1/2” length (modular)

- 8 Pin CPU connector: 29 1/2” length (modular)

- 4 Pin CPU connector: 29 1/2” length (modular)


Silverstone provides you with a nearly daunting amount of cables and connectors but luckily each modular cable has its own place on the modular interface. That means that you can actually use all of the cables and connectors at the same time if you wish to. Unfortunately, while there are tons of options, once again Silverstone has neglected to sleeve the cables all the way to the last connector. While this may have been generally acceptable with the lower-end DA650, but when someone is paying $200 or more for a power supply, they don’t want a rainbow of colors running through their case. That being said, there are more than enough connectors (with compatibility for dual HD2900XT cards if the need arises) and the cables are all extremely long.​

While I wasn’t too crazy about it at first, the idea of having two PCI-E connectors per cable has grown on me…but only in a situation like this where we have a high-wattage power supply. Not only does it save you from having to route another cable if you need extra PCI-E connectors but it also gives some much needed length as well. But, once again the lack of sleeving between the first and second PCI-E connectors is painfully apparent here as well.

It should also be noted that my review unit was missing one of the two 8-pin PCI-E connectors. Hoping this was an isolated case, I contacted a few people I knew who own the DA850 and of the four people I contacted, none was missing it. While you don’t see it here, I did receive one from Silverstone and it ended up being a 6-pin to 8-pin PCI-E cable which is compatible with the modular interface.


The modular interface on the DA850 is a lesson in simplicity; the connectors are simply pushed in and they lock in place while an easy-to-understand diagram shows you where everything goes.


Antec Truepower Quattro 850W

- Molex: 9 Connectors (modular)
o 3x 33” (3 connectors each)

- SATA: 8 Connectors (modular)
o 2x 33” length (3 connectors each)
o 1x 27 1/2’’ length (2 connectors)

- PCI-E 6+2 Pin: 2 Connectors
o 2x 21” length

- PCI-E 6 Pin: 2 Connectors (modular)
o 2x 21” length

- 4-Pin Floppy: 2 Connector
o 2x 39’’ length (at end of each Molex cable)

- 20+4 ATX Connector: 22” length

- 8 Pin CPU connector: 21” length

- 4 Pin CPU connector: 22” length


Unlike the completely modular design of the Decathlon, Antec has decided to go with a semi-modular interface for their Quattro. All of the cables are modular except those you are most likely to use: the ATX, two PCI-E 6+2 pin and both CPU connectors are left attached to the power supply. They are all gloriously sleeved in form-fitting black mesh which reaches to nearly every connector.

Unfortunately, the Quattro looses out in the overall cable length category since most of its cables are shorter than those on the DA850. Without a doubt, its cables are still more than long enough for nearly any application but it just can’t match the Silverstone’s astounding cable reach; particularly for the two CPU connectors.


Even though the Quattro’s cables are fully sleeved, I find it a bit annoying that the non-modular cables are not sleeved all the way into the power supply itself. In addition, the rubber clamps that hold the sleeving onto the cables are nowhere near strong enough and there have been some reports of the sleeving coming undone. I tugged at the sleeving quite a bit but it wouldn’t budge so maybe these are only isolated incidents.

The modular interface on the Quattro is simple for the lone reason that it has so few connectors on it. Unlike the Decathlon, the Quattro does not allow you to use every one of the modular cables that are provided with it. Rather, you will be somewhat limited to three peripheral cables and the two additional PCI-E cables being attached.
 

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Output Characteristics

Output Characteristics

Silverstone Decathlon 850W


When looking at the output specifications for the DA850, the first thing that should jump out at you is the absolutely titanic output of the single +12V rail. Considering modern computers take their most of their power from the +12V rail, having nearly 99% of its output available on this crucial rail works in the Decathlon’s favor. I found myself looking at it over and over again: 70A….840W…it's mesmerizing isn’t it?

What else is there? Well, there are other rails, but who cares about them with 70A being waved in front of our faces?


Antec Truepower Quattro 850W


After being smacked over the head by Silverstone’s monster single rail unit, the output specifications of the TPQ 850W seem almost mundane in comparison. Sure, four 18A +12V rails rated at a combined 768W is nothing to turn you nose up at, but it is a good 72W below what the DA850 is able to output. Interestingly, the Quattro can output the exact same +3.3V and +5V amperage as the DA850.

The testing part of this review should prove to be quite interesting because what we have here with Antec’s Quattro is a multi-rail design which is in stark contrast to Silverstone’s single rail design.

While I have no doubt that Antec’s offering can output 850W, it is slightly less versatile than the Decathlon due to the OCPs placed on the rails which limit output to 18A (216W) each. I would have much preferred to see 19A or 20A on each +12V rail of an 850W power supply. On the other hand, I cannot see any combination of components which would contribute to the OCP tripping.
 

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Size Comparison and Internal Impressions

Size Comparison


When it comes to the overall size of these two power supplies, they are completely identical to each other. That being said, it should also be noted the overall length of the TPQ and DA850 is very slightly longer than that of a normal ATX-sized power supply.


Interior Impressions

Silverstone Decathlon 850W


Interestingly, the interior of the Decathlon 850W looks nearly identical to that of the 650W version we reviewed a few months ago. The transformers have the same logos on them and the filtering stages have the same layout as the smaller DA650 but the similarities stop there as you take a closer look.

The modular interface has something we have not seen before: a trio of capacitors soldered onto it. Interestingly, these caps are not soldered onto the high-output 8-pin PCI-E or the 8-pin CPU connectors. Rather, they are attached to the ATX connector interface. Yet, all in all, the modular layout is very clean for optimal power transfer to the modular connectors.


On the lower wattage DA650 we saw that it carried three Hitachi capacitors on the primary which have been switched out here for three larger and higher output Toshin Kogyo caps. While these caps may not be as highly regarded as the Hitachis, they are distributed by OST and seem to have very few problems from what I can tell. Unfortunately, these are not 105°C rated like we see on many other higher-end units but are rated at a much more civil 85°C.

The secondary contains a sea of Teapo caps as well as a vertical PCB which contains a pot to control the +12V voltages. All in all, this design inspires confidence since there are high capacity components used and the manufacturing quality is very good.


Antec Truepower Quattro 850W


The Truepower Quattro is absolutely crammed full of components, heatsinks and baffles making it nearly impossible to see many of the interior components. What we can see from the top-down view is that the heatsinks are placed in such a way that they can take full advantage of the airflow provided by the single 80mm exhaust fan.

The modular interface is quite clean with good solder joints. There is also a bridge of sorts between the PCI-E connectors and the regular connectors.


The single primary capacitor is a gargantuan Nippon Chemicon unit which is rated at 105°C and it is bordered by an equally massive choke. You can see to the right of the picture that the rectifier bridges have their own heatsink in order to dissipate the heat they generate.

On the secondary side there is the usual clan of Teapo caps which are often seen in Enhance builds. You will also notice that all of the +12V cables are attached to a separate inverted PCB. Something else I want to draw your attention to is the area where the wires enter the case of the Quattro; since they are not sleeved and there is no protection around the sharp metal of the opening which may contribute to problems down the road.


Everything about the interior of the Antec Truepower Quattro is done on a massive scale. The picture above shows the comparison in size of the primary capacitor use on the TPQ compared to those on the DA850; the difference is mind numbing. All in all, the interior design and the components used by Antec and their OEM Enhance are top-of-the-line.
 

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Performance Tests

Performance Tests

System Used

Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3.5Ghz (B3)
Memory: 4GB Corsair Dominator DDR3 @ 1600Mhz (Thanks to Corsair)
Motherboard: Asus Blitz Extreme
Graphics Cards: 2X Gigabyte HD2900XT 512MB
Disk Drive: Pioneer DVD Writer
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 320GB SATAII
Fans: 5X Yate Loon 120mm @ 1200RPM
Monitor: LG Flatron L2000CN-BF (1600X1200)

For our complete power supply testing methodology, please go here: Hardware Canucks Power Supply Testing Methodology


Efficiency



Since we have not tested any other power supplies with this new test system, getting a real sense of AC power consumption is a bit difficult. Yet, it is abundantly clear that Antec’s unit is a good 3-5% more efficient that the DA850 across the board. The only exceptions come during idle conditions where the Quattro is only about 1% ahead and when the system is off where the Antec unit consumes quite a bit more power. In this test, the Truepower Quattro walks all over the more expensive Decathlon even though Silverstone advertises its unit as being highly efficient. We saw this same issue with the DA650 so we were not surprised to see the higher-end Decathlon stagger a bit here.

Even though the last test is quite unrealistic, at these high loads it is really amazing to see how much difference 5% makes, isn’t it? I think this goes to show that when using an ultra high-end system, your electric bill will benefit in leaps and bounds from a power supply with good efficiency.


Voltage Regulation

+5V Regulation




+3.3V Regulation




+12V Regulation



Voltage regulation was phenomenal for both of these units considering the heavy loads they were under. Even though both the TPQ and the DA850 came out smelling like roses, the Quattro came out smelling like a whole field of roses. It was able to excel in regulating the all-important +12V rail so well, I had to check if my multimeter was on the fritz more than once; especially in the Stress test. It should also be said that the Decathlon performed amazingly as well….just not as good as its competitor in these tests.

Allow me to delve a little bit deeper into the issue of the +12V voltage drops we are seeing on the Silverstone unit. First of all you have to remember that the readings in the Idle and the CPU Load tests are taken from the 8-pin CPU connector while the GPU Load and System Stress tests have their voltages taken from a PCI-E connector. Due to this, the Quattro is able to display amazing regulation because it seems that voltage drops on one rail do not seem to affect all of the rails. On the other hand, the voltage drops were more profound on Silverstone’s DA850 since all of the components were putting stress on that one +12V rail. So, from a voltage regulation standpoint it may be better to have a multi-rail unit in come cases.


+12V Ripple



The ripple / noise suppression displayed by both of these power supplies is nothing short of astonishing. They are both among the best we have ever tested and for them to be performing like this speaks volumes about the high quality components used in both designs.
 

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Heat and acoustical performance

Heat and acoustical performance

Both the Quattro and the DA850 were quiet throughout the tests though their fans did noticeably pick up steam during the final Stress test. While the Antec stayed relatively cool through even the most extreme conditions we could put it under, the Decathlon’s heat rose quite a bit by the end of the final test. Thankfully, its 120mm fan proved to be more than capable of exhausting waves of heat from the rear of the unit.
 

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Conclusion

Conclusion

Simply put, I am extremely pleased by both of these power supplies since they performed admirably in our every single one of our performance tests. Antec and Silverstone have a lot to be proud of since they have produced some of the highest quality power supplies I have seen in a long time. Yet, particular credit needs to go to the team over at Antec whose Quattro 850W stole our hearts with its bold styling while besting the more expensive Silverstone in nearly all of the tests (although it was an extremely narrow win in the voltage regulation category). On the other hand, the DA850 more than held its own by proving it is an elite power supply which is geared towards enthusiasts who want the largest +12V rail possible for their insanely overclocked systems. Both it and the Quattro were even in the ripple suppression category as well as having about the same noise output at higher loads.

Yet, when it comes to the categories outside of performance, the Quattro gets a bit of a black eye when it comes to overall cable length and ease of use. This is only a personal viewpoint, but I MUCH prefer the fully modular interface of the DA850 over the semi-modular one offered by Antec’s unit. The colors (or lack thereof) Silverstone uses are also more likely to appeal to a broader customer base since it will not clash with any other colorful component people may have in their windowed case. I also have to suggest that Antec should look into extending their ATX and CPU connector lengths since Silverstone has them cleanly beat in this area. With more and more large cases using bottom-mounted power supplies, it has become essential for manufacturers to equip their high-end PSUs with at least 22” CPU connectors.

Silverstone definitely has the edge with it’s insane +12V rail output capabilities, cable length, fully modular interface, accessory bundle and neutral color scheme. Yet in the scope of this review, the Truepower Quattro narrowly wins out due to its long warranty, high efficiency, slightly better voltage regulation and drop-dead amazing price. The power supplies are so close to each other in performance, the consumer’s choice will ultimately come down to what their personal needs are.

We have never done this before, but in this case I believe the Antec Truepower Quattro 850W deserves our Dam Good Award AND our Dam Good Value Award.

Silverstone’s DA850 proved to be an incredibly solid power supply as well and if you are looking for an 850W power supply, it should definitely be on your short list. Thus, I am giving it a 4.5/5.


Silverstone Decathlon 850W

Pros:
- Solid Performance
- Quiet operation
- Very long cables
- Fully modular interface
- 3-Year Warranty
- Good accessory bundle

Cons:
- Voltage regulation not as good as the Quattro
- Less efficient that the TPQ
- Price
- Produced quite a bit of heat


Thanks to Silverstone for providing us with this review unit



Antec Truepower Quattro 850W

Pros:
- Amazing voltage regulation
- Efficiency that thoroughly beat the competition
- Great ripple suppression
- Quiet operation
- 5-year warranty
- Plenty of connector options
- Price

Cons:
- Length of ATX and CPU connectors shorter than those on the DA850
- Exterior styling may not be to everyone’s taste
- +12V output slightly below the DA850


 
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