Rosewill is known as a go-to for builders with big ambitions but finite capital, concentrating their efforts on simple hardware at competitive pricing. This has been the company’s M.O. ever since beginning as a Newegg subsidiary, and growing to indulge enthusiast gamers, a cutthroat market all its own.
Power supplies like the PHOTON Series 1050W is a vital component that also equals “moar power” for real gaming rigs, along with the added perk of being a fully modular design. Another advantage is that this model has been available for quite a while so it should be relatively affordable for what you get, and that’s hypothetically better value for money.
The specific PSU is near the top of Rosewill’s 80 PLUS GOLD certified range in wattage and build, which includes other iterations from standard (Capstone) to flagship (Hercules). It is also a large series, intertwined with models ranging from 650W up to 1600W— making it extremely likely that not all of the units derived are from the same platform or OEM. The look is all-black steel with a honeycomb pattern punched on the chassis itself, while Globe provides the 135mm fan for ventilation.
All that really matters here are that the internals do appear to be of high quality and from reputable manufacturers like Fujitsu, Nippon Chemi-con, and SIRFA Electronics. Overall, the package offers plenty of flexibility in build placement without hardwired cable, and is ATX 12V v2.31 ready / EPS12V v2.92 supported.
The idea of any budget PSU is to fiercely undercut the competition and that usually means tempered expectations. Fortunately, the PHOTON 1050W has a nicely equipped spread. All the required connections comes in a branded zipper pouch that includes:
1 x 20+4-Pin Main Connector
2 x 4+4-Pin ATX12V/EPS12V Connector
8 x 6+2-Pin PCI-E Connector
15 x 5-Pin SATA Connector
5 x 4-Pin Peripheral Connector
1 x 4-Pin Molex/Floppy Connector
Other bundled items are limited to some mini zip ties, screws, four normal screws and a rudimentary user manual. In fact, that manual is so basic that it recommends you go the Rosewill website for additional help, an empty courtesy but many seasoned builders probably won’t need it anyways.
In terms of performance, the PHOTON 1050W should be more than enough for an intermediate gaming rig, I mean, that is the exact reason a power plant like this even exists—the more components you have, the more power and efficiency needed to run everything smoothly. Besides, buying a beefier power supply in particular is usually a safer bet if building with performance in mind—a damn-near perquisite for HEDT machines such as Intel X79 and/or X99, including future HCC (high core count) platforms about to be unleashed upon us (think: Intel X299 and/or AMD X399 chipsets).
Unsurprisingly, It easily handled my newest creation incorporating a Ryzen 7 1700X processor, MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM, 4TB HGST Deskstar 7200, GeIL EVO RGB 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200 RAM, and added three SSDs (PNY CS2211 480GB, Crucial MX300 1TB, Kingston UV400 480GB). I also ditched the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Founders Edition) and went with a NVIDIA SLI-HB arrangement featuring two EVGA GTX 1070 SuperClocked GAMING ACX 3.0 cards to push everything closer to the brink.
We doubt many will complain about how the PHOTON 1050W gets the job done. However, it is not the quietest power plant we’ve installed and fan noise is noticeably loud for some processes, with control circuitry preferring audible output over thermal proficiency at loads above 60%, which isn’t bad at normal room temperature (69°C). Energy efficiency reaches 93.3% at 50% load, with an average of 90.1% within the nominal load range. Not unlike all other PSUs in it class, it’s definitely happier at lower loads maintaining 86.5% at 10% load and 74.7% at 5% efficiency load.
Make no mistake, it can get unusually warm under maximum load with some of the heatsinks reaching temperatures of 94°C, and consequent energy dropoff is heavy as the cooling fan works overtime to compensate. An immediate result would be that PHOTON 1050W could exceedingly stress components to the point of breaking if ran constantly like this, with wattage being 910 Watts when we concluded near uncomfortable limits. Knowing this, it gets the honor of its 80 PLUS GOLD credentials under constraint, if only barely for demanding users.
Knowing the brand and its emphasis on affordability, I believe the PHOTON Series 1050W is a power supply aimed at conservative PC users wanting the allure of enthusiast-oriented components. I also think Rosewill is fully aware of this angle too, offering a taste of advanced modularity for $160—something often out of reach for normal users and the minority willing to pay a lot more.
However, the package is a bit of a mixed bag. This model has plenty of quality pieces inside from all-Japanese capacitors (including the polymers), microchips, to the core assembly itself. Nevertheless, if extreme unrelenting power is your thing then the positives begin to cascade somewhat with high temperatures, reduced efficiency, and a large fan doing the best it can to keep the voltage up, succeeding with the ends justifying the straddled means.
Ultimately, the PHOTON get a satisfactory nod, thanks to impressive performance at the lowest denominator. A plausible option until builders decide to graduate beyond the typical dreams of upper-mainstream gaming.