Judging by the title, many would conclude that we’re talking about a half-functional device. This isn’t the case, because the topic of this article is a very peculiar PSU that comes from Fractal Design. This company has turned very aggressive lately as far as presentation of new products goes. Fractal Design has recently refreshed their entire gamma of PSUs, with as much as three series. The newcomer that we’ve received for testing belongs to the Newton series and carries the name R3. Newton R3 is a PSU characterised by top-quality workmanship and design, but also a uniquely low number of decibels it emits during work. 600 W may not seem like much these days, but trust us, every declared watt is there and not a single bit of this PSU is just “marketing talk”. We believe that Newton R3 will impact Fractal Design’s reputation to the point of it becoming a household name, and here’s why.
The manufacturer has obviously wanted the buyers to be impressed, but also feel a sense of appreciation for their money. The PSU comes in a large, suitcase-shaped packaging, together with a well-designed pouch containing the modular cables. A large number of cables and a detailed manual will provide you with everything you need to set things up. One interesting moment was when a paper card fell out of the packaging during unwrapping. This card contained the information that you shouldn’t panic in the case that the PSU fan isn’t rotating at all. The catch is that Newton R3 is a semi-passive PSU, which means that the fan will be intentionally stopped when the load level is low. In other words, as long as you’re surfing the internet, spending time in the usual OS environment, working in Office etc., the PSU will be producing exactly 0 dB, which sounds great (i.e. it doesn’t, if you’ll excuse the pun). This kind of feature is usually found only in the most expensive models available, such as Corsair’s, which says a lot about Fractal’s target market.
Swedish design is a feature that Fractal seems to be exploiting quite mercilessly for marketing purposes, as you’ll come across the boast several times in various places. The design category is always subjective and therefore difficult to digitise, but it’s very difficult to find an objective drawback in this PSU’s visuals, while we personally love the looks. The black case and white fan may have become a bit too common, but we have a liking for the concept, so we still tend to deem it attractive. The top of the PSU has a snowflake imprint, which suggests coolness and silence, quite appropriately in this instance. If the previous statements are all subjective, the use of high-quality matte black and a fantastic final touch definitely aren’t. The net above the fan, octagon-shaped and resembling a piece of honeycomb, also deserves a mention, as we know that this system enables the best possible airflow. In other aspects, Newton R3 is largely the same as any other modular PSU. Below the power input, there’s an I/O switch, while the opposite side contains the cable connectors.
|Fractal Desing Newton R3 600W|
|Output +12V/+5V/+3,3V||50 A / 20 A / 20 A|
|Connectors||1x MB 20+4-pin; 1x CPU 4+4-pin 12V; 4x PCI-e 6+2-pin; 9x SATA; 4x Peripheral 4-pin; 1x Floppy 4-pin|
|Dimension||86 x 150 x 165 mm|
|Protection||OVP, OCP, OPP, OTP, UVP, SCP|
|Efficiency||80 Plus Platinum|
Quality and numbers
Having in mind its declared power, Newton R3 has more than enough connectors, so it’s reasonable to expect that it’ll work with perfect stability even under maximum load. The standard 20+4 ATX combo is there, as well as the 4+4-pin CPU and 6+2-pin graphics connectors, split into two cables. These four molex outputs will certainly be sufficient for all modern graphics cards. There’s also a large number of power connectors, both SATA and legacy 4-pin ones.
Since the PSU has an 80+ Platinum certificate, it’s clear that the device isn’t to be underrated, as that amounts to an efficiency of 91% under maximum load (for comparison’s sake, 80+ Gold comes in at 88%, Silver at 85% and Bronze at 81%). In more realistic scenarios, efficiency never drops under 94%, which speaks volumes about product quality. Furthermore, the manufacturer claims that voltage drops have been reduced to a minimum, with no single rail varying for more than 3%, regardless of conditions. All in all, it’s very clear that Fractal has been very ambitious and that the final product showcases it, as do the tests. The oscillations were minimal during the entire test battery, which is highly commendable. A seriously overclocked test system would have been demanding on any model in existence, but Newton R3 still managed to cope with it marvellously. With variations of about 2% in all tested situations, we have to admit our surprise as to the performance of this PSU. Adding to the overall impression, the fan was pretty relaxed at any one time during testing, with no sudden RPM shifts or unexpected acceleration. After the testing cycle was complete, the fan didn’t take long to go back to idle mode.
|Fractal Desing Newton R3||Idle (115 W)||Full load - Prime95 (216 W)||Full load - Furmark (388 W)||Full load - Prime95 & Furmark (565 W)|
|PCI-Express 12V (GPU1)||12.09||12.08||12.5||12.03|
|Test configuration: Core i5 2500K @ 4.5GHz, ASUS P8Z77-V, 2x4GB AMD Multimedia Edition DDR3 1600MHz, Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB, Seagate Barracuda 1TB, Windows 7 64bit|
The conclusion will be short, since there’s no need for bandying words. Newton R3 is a brilliantly designed product, fully competent for its job, which it does quietly and efficiently. The price may appear steap, but our opionion on that matter is quite different. Only complete quality devotees will be willing to cash out $140 for a 600W PSU. However, if you take into account the 80+ Platinum certificate and a five-year warranty, the offer seems more balanced than one would think. Overall quality is this PSU’s selling point, not just raw performance or declared power.