Conclusion

With the Photon 1050W, Rosewill attempts to lure enthusiasts and advanced users with the promise of high quality and performance at an affordable price tag. After all, competitive pricing is the foundation of Rosewill's market strategy. With a retail price of $140 including shipping, the Photon 1050W is one of the cheapest modular 80Plus Gold units with that kind of power output. The target group that the Photon is aiming to however is not easily swayed by a low price tag - most enthusiasts would gladly pay a little more to get something better.  So one must consider the true question of where exactly the Photon 1050W stands.

The retail price of the Photon 1050W is competitive but there is a catch - this unit is rated for continuous operation at 40°C. If it were to be rated at 50°C, as most of the competition does with their high-end units, it would most likely end up with a 950W-980W label. Competitive units that boast the same power output at 50°C are, bluntly put, more powerful. The Photon 1050W did reach its specified maximum power output inside our hotbox, yet not without signs of overloading and reaching temperatures that could turn water into vapor.

For those seeking quality, the Photon 1050W will not disappoint. We found some of the finest components inside, from all-Japanese capacitors (including the polymers) to the microchips. Sirfa performed a good assembly job, although not the best we have ever seen but surely much better than that of their usual low-cost unit. Even the fan, although it is a simple model, comes from a seasoned and reputable manufacturer.

When it comes to performance, the Photon 1050W left us with mixed feelings. It does perform very well in room temperature, confirming its 80Plus Gold efficiency certification and staying almost inaudible up to 50% load. When the ambient temperature is high however, there is a cascading negative impact on the electrical, thermal and acoustic performance of the unit. Despite the presence of a powerful fan that is trying to catch up, the Photon 1050W does get very hot and that reduces the efficiency of the components, which then produce greater energy losses and make the unit even hotter and louder. Remarkably, even under such conditions the output power quality remains very good, with the Photon 1050W maintaining great voltage regulation and good ripple suppression. These figures are much lower than the ATX design limit and would be very good for a mainstream product; however, this is a PSU trying to entice enthusiasts and other advanced users away from other high end units which can be leagues ahead when it comes to power output quality, especially at high ambient temperatures.

The Photon 1050W is a well-made fully modular PSU, capable of good overall performance and retails at a competitive price ($140 shipped at the time of this review). It is however difficult to find supporters in the user group it is meant to attract. If all someone cares about is to get a good quality 1000-1050W PSU that works well for the lowest possible price, then the Photon 1050W becomes a plausible option. If however a user is looking for class-leading electrical performance and or inaudible/low-noise operation, they will probably have to dig a little deeper into their pockets. 

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  • DanNeely - Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - link

    Am I correct in thinking that this PSU, and other recent models capable of producing their entire output rating at 12V (give or take rounding on the amperage) are pure 12V designs internally that then use DC-DC converters to make the 3.3/5V rails instead of the traditional design that had separate circuitry for the 3.3/5v and 12v rail. With the older design having problems in cross load tests (when one side was maxed and the other only had a minimum load), the change in design seems a reasonable way to handle the shift of almost everything on the mobo to 12V operation; but I haven't seen it confirmed anywhere. Reply
  • MrCommunistGen - Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - link

    Yes, many modern power supplies are built on a platform that only does AC to 12V DC, then use DC to DC conversion to get the 5V and 3.3V rails. I can think of all kinds of reasons that might provide cleaner power or be more efficient, but I'll leave that discussion to the experts. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - link

    Is the -12V (used for RS232) done that way too, or does it still get a special side circuit like the 5V standby. Reply
  • Gigaplex - Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - link

    Why are the PSU reviews disproportionately focusing on 1kW and higher units? Even a high end SLI/Crossfire rig will struggle to load these PSUs. Especially with Intel and NVIDIAs latest power efficient architecture. How about some more reviews on units likely to be utilised by us mere mortals not doing quad Titan SLI? Reply
  • chlamchowder - Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - link

    I agree. It's cool to read about ridiculously high end units. But few people are using dual graphics cards, and even fewer are going with more. I'd love to see reviews on lower priced units.

    For example, I recently built a computer with <400W power requirements. So, I got a $40 EVGA 500W supply - the cheapest 80+ supply I could find. There were approximately zero reviews of that unit on review sites (but plenty of user reviews on Newegg, for what that's worth).

    For anyone who's wondering, that supply (100-W1-0500-KR R) is nice and quiet, even when feeding an overclocked FX-8350.
    Reply
  • TomWomack - Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - link

    I agree entirely; a review of PSUs starting from the absolutely cheapest, determining which ones work adequately, would be really useful. An i7/4790K with 16G memory and an SSD is a 150W system; to learn, with the kind of confidence that one of Anandtech's comprehensive reviews provide, that a $20 PSU from newegg is adequate would be quite helpful. Reply
  • jabber - Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - link

    Hear hear! The number of people who look at this site that really really need such a PSU is probably less than 5%. Please lets have more reviews in the 450-750W range. Reply
  • jabber - Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - link

    Oh and some nice reviews of specialist 200-400W would be good too. Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Saturday, March 28, 2015 - link

    Yeah, but... AT's New Overseers clearly are going down the Apple Road: cater to the 20% rich and dumb enough to drop large coin on useless bling. Reply
  • gsuburban - Sunday, June 28, 2015 - link

    Agreed. I don't use graphics cards any longer for computing, Intel HD Graphics will do. Thus, a PSU's total wattage isn't a main focus while the quality of it is. 650 watts is our limit in the long run for a non-discrete graphics machine and 750 to 850 with one. Reply

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