Fractal Design Tesla R2 650W PSU Review Introduction

Fractal Design is a Swedish company which started off as a computer case designer and manufacturer. Like most such companies, after they have established a foothold in their original segment of the market, they began diversifying into other segments as well. Naturally, Fractal Design began their diversification towards power supply units, releasing several products, which are today divided into three series based on their 80Plus certification; Integra (Bronze), Tesla (Gold) and Newton (Platinum).

Tesla R2 650W

 

The power supply which we will be reviewing today is the Tesla R2 650W. As the name suggests, this is the second revision of the Tesla series. It is the second weakest power supply of the series, which includes 500W, 800W and 1000W models, as well as a white version of the 650W model. Fractal Design promises great performance but the $119.99 retail price of the Tesla R2 650W is aggressive, even for an 80Plus Gold certified unit. How well does it compare against the competition? Read on to find out.

Fractal Design Tesla R2 Power Supply Series Pricing:

Fractal Design Tesla R2 650W major features and specifications

 DC Total Power Output

650W

3.3V

20A

5V

20A

3.3V and 5V combined

100W

12V

54A

-12V

0.5A

5V Standby (+5Vsb)

2.5A

 

Packaging and bundle

 The box

Fractal Design supplies the Tesla R2 650W unit in a relatively simple but well designed cardboard box. The box is strong enough to protect the power supply during transportation. Aesthetically, the design is simple, based on clear pictures of the power supply itself.

 The box (rear)

The most important features and performance graphs have been printed on the rear side of the box, as well as a small table with the voltage line current ratings and a list of the available connectors.

 Bundle

The bundle provided alongside with the Tesla R2 is good but not in any way special. The company supplies the necessary AC power cable, black mounting screws, a user’s manual, a few cable ties and simple cable straps.

 

External Design of the Fractal Design Tesla R2 650W

 Tesla R2 650W

The chassis of the Tesla R2 650W power supply 165mm long, significantly longer than a typical ATX design, which might become a problem in confined spaces. Aesthetically, the beveled edges and the integrated honeycomb fan guard are characteristic of the Tesla series, while the milk white fan blades are subtly standing out from below the honeycomb guard.

 Side view

Rather than using stickers, Fractal Design painted the table with the electrical specifications and certifications of the Tesla R2 on the right side of the unit.

 Left side view

On the left side of the unit we found the company logo and the power rating of the PSU. Again, instead of using stickers, Fractal Design has painted them onto the chassis.

 Top view

A very large snowflake star, Fractal Design’s crest one could say, is embossed on the top side of the chassis.

 Front view

The front side of the power supply is standard, with a honeycomb mesh covering most of the surface. Only an AC plug and the standard on/off switch are present.

 Rear view

As this is not a modular design, the rear of the power supply is rather uninteresting, with only a narrow honeycomb vent being of notable importance. 

 

The Interior of the Fractal Design Tesla R2 650W

 Cooling fan

Fractal Design has rebranded the fan of the Tesla R2 650W unit; therefore we cannot identify its manufacturer or exact specifications. However, we could find out that it is a ball-bearing engine fan with a maximum speed of about 1400RPM.

 Interior

The OEM behind the Fractal Design Tesla R2 650W power supply is ATNG, a rather rare choice and the first such PSU we have seen here at Legit Reviews. The blue tape and covers are characteristics of an ATNG design. ATNG did a fine job assembling the unit, with a particularly clean soldering job.

 Filtering Stage

A small PCB has been welded on the back of the AC receptacle, housing half of the filtering stage. The other half of the stage continues onto the main PCB. Fractal Design apparently overreacted a little here, as the filtering stage consists of four Y capacitors, five X capacitors, two filtering chokes and a MOV, compiling one of the largest filtering stages that we have ever seen.

 Primary

There are only two heatsinks in the Tesla R2 650W unit. The heatsink on the primary side of the transformer holds the input bridge, the active APFC components (one transistor and a diode) and the two primary inversion transistors. The passive APFC components are a sizable, shielded coil and a Teapo 400V/330uF capacitor.

 Secondary side

The second heatsink, on the secondary side of the transformer, holds the transistors which generate the 12V line. The 3.3V and 5V lines are generated via DC to DC converters, found onto the vertical PCB right after the heatsink. The capacitors at the secondary side of this power supply are all supplied by Teapo, with the exception of the solid-state products, which are supplied by CapXon.

 

Test setup

The load

 

In order to be able to effectively and efficiently test any computer power supply unit, we developed and constructed our own proprietary testing station. Our testing station consists of a number of power resistors and small capacitors, which in turn are connected to a RS485 electronic relay array which allow our load to be controlled through computer software alone.

USB interface and connection panel

When accuracy and speed are of critical importance, a simple multimeter or voltage meter is not sufficient for the task. To ensure the quality of our testing, an USB laboratory interface is being used to continuously monitor and record the readings of all voltage lines simultaneously. For ripple measurements, an oscilloscope is necessary and we chose the USB Instruments Stingray, the most widely used oscilloscope amongst low voltage PSU engineers and testers.

Measurement instruments

For accurate testing and repeatable results, a stable power input is also required. Thus, we are providing power to our test samples through a 3kVA VARIAC which allows us to control the input voltage of our test samples and also perform efficiency tests under both 110V AC and 230V AC input. A Lutron DW-6091 is also being used, monitoring the input voltage, real and apparent power, power factor and amperage.

The software

A power supply testing procedure would not be complete without thermal and acoustics tests. For our acoustics tests we are using a SL-5868P digital sound level meter, placed 1 meter away from the unit (DIN standard). Two PT100 sensors and their respective displays are being used to monitor the ambient temperature and the exhaust temperature of the unit.

Complete test setup during trial run

 

Testing results (Regulation & Ripple)

 FTR2650tables

 FTR2650V3

 FTR2650V5

 

FTR2650V12

Fractal Design’s Tesla R2 650W power supply displayed good voltage regulation performance during our tests, with the voltage fluctuation being at 2.1%, lower than half of the 5% design limit. Ripple suppression and filtering however left us with mixed feelings. The filtering of the 12V line was very good, with the maximum voltage ripple at full load being 58mV, half of the 120mV design limit; however, the maximum ripple on the 3.3V and 5V voltage lines goes up to 40mV and 46mV respectively, which is very close to the 50mV maximum recommended value.

Testing results (Efficiency, Noise & Thermal)

 FTR2650eff

The Fractal Design Tesla R2 650W power supply bears an 80Plus Gold certification, therefore its high efficiency did not come as a surprise to us. Our instrumentation recorded a maximum efficiency of 92.4% at 50% load, with a supply voltage of 230V AC, and a minimum of 89.5% at maximum load. The efficiency drops by about 0.9% when the input voltage is switched to 110V AC.

 FTR2650noise

Acoustically, the Fractal Design Tesla R2 650W unit exhibits rather strange behavior. Up to 50% load, the speed of the fan remains minimal and the noise levels are very low, with the power supply being essentially silent from a distance of 1m away. The speed of the fan however increases rapidly once the load requires more than 320-330W, reaching clearly audible, yet not loud sound levels.

 FTR2650temp

The Fractal Design Tesla R2 650W unit maintains very low operating temperatures across the entire load range. The maximum temperature difference between the ambient and the exhaust of the power supply is a mere 4.8 degrees Celsius at maximum load, while the chassis of the power supply does not even get warm to the touch.

Fractal Design Tesla R2 650W PSU Review Conclusion

Fractal Design is a renowned manufacturer with a good reputation about delivering quality products and the Tesla R2 650W power supply reflects that. Even though the company obviously tried to create an 80Plus Gold certified power supply for the masses, they maintained good quality standards, a fact which is also reflected by the 3-year warranty. Even though ATNG is not a very popular OEM, they did a great job with the Tesla R2 650W unit, as the power supply is very well made both internally and externally.

Fractal Design Tesla R2

The external quality of the Tesla R2 650W power supply is one of its strongest features. Even though it is not a modular design, the design of the chassis is excellent. We especially liked that Fractal Design sprayed the logos and tables onto the chassis instead of using stickers, increasing the aesthetic value of the power supply dramatically. The many and long cables however might become a problem in small cases or cases with a bad cable management design.

When it comes to performance, the Tesla R2 650W does well overall, yet it fails to surprise us. We did expect the electrical efficiency to be high, as it comes with an 80Plus Gold certification, which brings excellent thermal performance and very low noise levels as well. The electrical performance is good, with good voltage regulation and acceptable ripple suppression, yet enthusiasts would most likely ask for more from a high performance product.

Fan view

Despite its high quality, great appearance and very good overall performance, the Tesla R2 650W unit has a significant flaw; its retail price. We found the power supply retailing for $119.99 shipped at the time of this review, which is a tad high for a non-modular design, even for an 80Plus Gold certified power supply. Newegg offers 20 different 650W power supplies that are 80 PLUS Gold certified with 11 of them ranging in price from $85 to $115. It should be noted that the white version of this power supply is $109.99 shipped, so if color doesn't matter you can save $10 buy going with a different color. Even though its price is not leagues away from the products of other manufacturers, without a doubt the Tesla R2 650W is going to be facing some very serious competition in the retail market.

Legit Bottom Line:  The Fractal Design Tesla R2 650W is a high quality, well performing power supply. Its strongest feature however possibly is the excellent design and high aesthetic value, which ought to draw the attention of modders.