Review: be quiet! Darkpower Pro 10 550W PSU

be-quiet-dark-power-pro-550-label

be quiet! hopes to conjur up the idea that it took some sort of black magic to create their high-end Dark Power Pro 10 series of power supplies which bundles together a robust accessory kit, some nice features, 80 Plus Gold efficiency, and an overall great design to win over enthusiast builders worldwide.  Of course, messing with the dark arts doesn't come without some costs, and that's the only thing we would change about the recipe be quiet! has cooked up for their Dark Powr Pro 10 series power supplies.

Overview


be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 550W PSU


Legendary Silence, Cutting Edge Performance

Dark Power Pro supplies are already renowned as the world’s quietest PSUs in the high performance category. The Dark Power Pro 10 550W model takes that a giant step further with an all-new design topology that delivers 80PLUS Gold performance, the world’s highest energy efficiency certification. Add to that an unparalleled array of enhancements that augment this unit’s compatibility, convenience of use, reliability, and safety, and the result is simply a power supply without equal. Simply put, this is the highest-powered, most technologically-advanced power supply be quiet! has ever built.

 

  • Virtually silent operation achieved through a broad array of meticulous optimizations, including use of be quiet!’s custom-designed 135mm SilentWings® fan
  • SilentWings fan features airflow-optimized fan blades, fluid dynamic bearing with copper core and high quality IC motor controller for the quietest possible operation
  • 80PLUS Gold certification and up to 93% power conversion efficiency let you do more work with the same power and reduce your power bills
  • 550 Watts of continuous power provide deep power reserves for demanding computing applications
  • Cable management with extra long cable reach simplifies component installation and reduces annoying clutter, increasing airflow and improving cooling in even the largest PC cases
  • Overclocking key allows switchover between quadruple independent +12V rail mode and high-performance single-rail operation
  • German product conception, design and quality control

† Courtesy of be quiet!

be-quiet-dark-power-pro-550-cable-splash

 

Specifications


 

Model  140x128x158mm 
Continuous Power (W)
 144x154x160mm 
Peak Power (W)
 1378g
Voltage (Vac)
100-240
Input Current (A)
7-3.5
PFC Active
Intel Haswell C6/C7 Compatible
YES
80 Plus Certification Gold, 92% Efficient @ 100% Load
Dimensions (L x W x D) (mm)
180 x 150 x 86
Weight (kg)
3.51
Warranty
5 Years

Fans

Fan Dimensions 135 mm
Max Fan Speed 1500 RPM
Noise 11.7 - 12.9 dBA
Bearing Type Fluid Dynamic Bearing 

† Courtesy of be quiet!

Unboxing


The (relatively large) power supply box opens up to a neatly packaged and well-protected payload.  This is good, as that payload is, erm, precious...  yes, my precious... Sorry, back to reality.  in addtion to your obligatory user manual, power cord, and hard-wired 24-pin power cable and 8-pin CPU cables is the abundant mass of modular cables.  In total you'll have (1) 6-pin PCI-E, (4) 6+2 pin PCI-E, (7) 4-pin Molex, (9) SATA power, (1) Floppy power, and (4) external fan cables.  Hold up, I need to take a quick breather.  Basically, there's a hell of a lot of cables, especially for a 550W power supply, so you should be covered no matter the crazy configuration you end up with.


Design



The overall look of be quiet!'s Dark Power Pro 10 power supply is subtle and understated.  The fan grille provides a splash of contrasting silver color and the wires look almost as though they're strung like a tennis racket.  The rear vent features a large hexagonal grille and a standard hole pattern.  The 24-pin motherboard power cable and the 8-pin CPU cables are hard-wired, a design choice which we have always agreed with.  Making those cables modular does nothing but add cost and power consumption since you'll certainly be using those cables.

 

be-quiet-dark-power-pro-550-fan

Obviously, keeping with it's namesake, be quiet!'s products are designed to be acoustically-friendly (yes, that means quiet).  So what they've done is equipped the Dark Power Pro 10 with one of their Silent Wings 2 fans.  We got a good look at these fans with their fans we reviewed earlier, and we loved them for being absolutely silent (yes again, seems pretty obvious).  The 135mm fan will move plenty of air across the transformers and regulator PCB and out the rear of your case through the large honeycomb vents.  The metal fan grille gives a subtle yet attractively-minimalist appearance and only does what it needs to keep your curious fingers out of harm's way.

 

be-quiet-dark-power-pro-550-rear-ventbe-quiet-dark-power-pro-550-rubber-feet

To limit vibration, be quiet! has covered the rear mounting face with a rubber sleeve so that the case suface that the power suply attaches to, and also rests on, won't transmit much vibration, if any, to the case (which could create rattles / noise that's especially annoying).  This is a nice touch and not something you'll find on many other power supplies.

 

be-quiet-dark-power-pro-550-spec-label

As the label shows, be quiet!'s Dark Power Pro 10 series achieves it's 80 Plus Gold certification by utilizing a whopping four (4) 12V rails, two of which transmit 20A and the other two 25A.  But, if you're pushing for that high performance overclock, the "Overclocking Key" can be toggled so that the 540W of 12V power can be sent through a single rail.  This is one of the "unique" defining features of the circuitry, and inside we find the circuit and regulators are all made of high quality components found in other high-end power supplies, which also contributes to the 80 Plus efficiency.

 

 

Installation


be-quiet-dark-power-pro-550-installation

Our "test bench" for power supply installation is the venerable behemoth, the Coolermaster Cosmos II Ultra Tower.  If we can run the cables cleanly in this case, you'll be set for essentially any other case money can buy today.  We were pleased to see that be quiet! didn't skimp on the cable lengths. We were able to route the 8-pin CPU cable and 24-pin motherboard power cables behind the motherboard tray and to their respective sockets with some length to spare to tidy things up on the back side.

 

be quiet! has also included a healthy bundle of low-profile "fancy velcro" to use as cable ties, and these really are a treat (as much of a treat as velcro can be).  They look great and do their job superbly, making a quick, clean, and easy build a reality.  Other little goodies like large thumb screws for mounting are also thrown in as a nice bonus.

 

The rest was pretty standard from what we've come to expect from a modular power supply.  When mounted face-down, the 24-pin and 8-pin CPU cables are nearest to the motherboard tray side for clean routing behind the motherboard tray.  The rest of the plugs can be chosen to fit your needs which ensures you have minimal cable clutter, easy-peasy.  Again, we found that all of the cables had ample length, even in the monstrosity known as the Cosmos II.

 

The included OCK switch mounts conveniently in the rear expansion slots, and again we can see we have plenty of length available to route the cable cleanly.


Testing


Performance

Since we don't have the proper testing bench we won't inundate you with "testing" that involves simple multimeter readings and whatnot as it would do our readers a grotesque injustice about the information we provide.  What we can do is report on our experiences using the power supply in our test rigs.  Usually all this tells you is that it's "adequate" for the job (or not, if the case were to arise).  We put this power supply in our hungriest test rig, a Sandy Bridge-E machine rocking 16GB of RAM and an ASUS HD7970.  Over a month and a half of gaming and video encoding we haven't observed any instability, which is a testament for a 550W power supply.

 

Acoustics

Well, let's keep this quick, shall we?  This thing is super quiet.  It's usually silent, and under load any noise it might produce is drowned out by the other system fans.  It's one of the quietest power supplies we've used, end of story.

 

Aesthetics

We don't see anything we can fault this power supply for on the aesthetic front.  The labels are understated and tasetful, and the fan grille (which will most certainly not be visible) has a clean, unique appearance to it.  In short, I like it, and there's nothing that should scare anyone away.

 

Final Thoughts


be-quiet-dark-power-pro-550-conclusion

The Dark Powr Pro 10 550W power suuply is easily one of the better power supplies we've had the pleasure of using.  It's acoustics are top-notch, it uses the highest quality components we expect to see from other high quality OEMs, has a pleasant aesthetic, an ample amount of supplied cables (and cable length), and sports 80 Plus Gold efficiency over four independent 12V rails.  The icing on the cake is the OCK (overclocking key) which allows a high performance boost for OC usage by passing the power over a single 12V rail.  Additionally, small touches like the rubber vibration isolators, included thumb screws and low-profile velcro cable ties, and built-in fan control makes for a fantastic overall package.

 

Now for the bad news, this power supply will cost some pretty serious coin, with the 550W running at about $160.  Despite the fantastic offering be quiet! has put together with the Dark Power Pro 10 series, you'll have alot of great competitors to choose from that make the decision rather difficult, especially if you'd like a bit more wattage.  You do get the feeling that be quiet! has employed a no-expenses-spared mentality, but the price is still the only thing working against it.  If you insist on a top-of-the-line power supply though, this baby and its brethren fit the bill.

 

The Good

TechKingsRecommended

The Bad

  • Simple, clean aesthetic
  • Robust accessory kit
  • Great acoustics
  • Modular cables
  • Overclocking Key
  • Efficiency
  • Price.  $160 for a 550W power supply picks a fight with a lot of other great power supplies

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