The BitFenix Formula Gold 650W PSU Review: Balancedby E. Fylladitakis on June 13, 2018 8:00 AM EST
It is obvious that BitFenix has positioned the Formula Gold series as a cost-effective power supply for users who are after high reliability and performance but are not particularly concerned about the aesthetics of their system. The Formula Gold is the fruit of their continuous cooperation with Channel Well Technology (CWT), an OEM known for their excellent mid-range designs. To that end the 650-Watt version that we reviewed today offers ample power for any gaming system with a single graphics card, exactly the market BitFenix is going after.
In terms of performance, the Formula Gold may not be breaking any records but it does offer above-average overall performance. Electrical performance is its strong suit, with excellent voltage regulation and great filtering. It also is capable of honoring its 80Plus Gold certification regardless of the input voltage. The Formula Gold also offers very good acoustics performance under normal operating conditions, with the unit's fan staying almost entirely silent most of the time. Only thermal performance is mediocre, which is due to the far too simplistic heatsinks, but it will not become an issue unless the Formula Gold is operating in a very hot environment and under a continuous heavy load.
Aesthetics were partially sacrificed to reduce the retail price of the product. The biggest omission is the lack of even partial modularity, as all of the cables are hardwired inside the PSU. The exclusion of an entire secondary PCB and the several connectors that a modular design would need have significantly reduces the PSU's manufacturing cost, as both the bill of materials and the process time is reduced. Nevertheless, BitFenix did not forgo aesthetics entirely, with the designer applying simple but significant touches, such as the unique rectangular fan opening and the all-black design.
The Formula Gold is made with very high-quality parts and, true to their word, BitFenix is sourcing all capacitors from Japanese manufacturers. Our only complaint lies with the relatively small heatsinks that, as we have seen in the previous pages of this review, can definitely impact the thermal performance of the unit. Slightly better heatsinks would have increased this unit's thermal performance significantly, though admittedly it would also increase its manufacturing cost.
Speaking of cost, next to its solid electrical performance, cost is the other angle BitFenix is playing with this power supply, touting that it can provide outstanding performance at an unparalleled price tag. However a quick market search finds that there are several similar 80Plus Gold units that can rival the price tag of the Formula Gold. Some are even of modular design and are selling for roughly the same price or even less. This, along with the limited availability of the PSU, will certainly be a bit of a headache for BitFenix. The Formula Gold certainly is a worthy product that will leave no mainstream user disappointed but, in terms of value, it currently does not really stand out of the crowd.