Hardware, Reviews

Fractal Design Tesla R2 White Power Supply Review

Other considerations

One way that the Tesla Series stands out from its more expensive Fractal brethren is that it is not a modular PSU. All the cables exit the unit via the same hole and cannot be disconnected. The good news is that the cables are well sheathed from end to end with solid rubber tapered ends. All board connectors are black to match the plastic net sheathing.

The 24-pin board motherboard connector is split, offering support for both 20-pin and 24-pin motherboards. A slightly odd decision for a PSU aimed at the enthusiast segment where all boards since the year dot have 24-pin ATX sockets? Perhaps, but if you are working on or repairing a system that uses a really old board, this could be quite useful. I like to think Fractal is thinking of the PC repairman that exists in the heart of all us geeks.

Design and looks: The vanity of modern DIY PC

Let’s be frank about something. The PC market in the last few years has really moved away from its old fashioned roots where computers were grey, black or white boxes that sat on the floor under a desk. The desktop PC of 2014 is a thing that belongs on the desk itself. Many of us DIY PC makers desire a rig that expresses our ego. A rig that is unashamedly vain and demands your attention, not just for the raw performance that lies within, but because it looks so damn sexy.

The industry really has evolved in the last few years. Even today’s motherboard vendors have gotten the message. We want black PCBs with metallic finished heatsinks and flashy lights – forget your solid capacitor marketing. We want it work solidly, but I has to look good too.

Vendors like Fractal Design are in some respects leading the PC industry pack, building regular components that perform well, pack in all the features you’d expect, but look cool too. The Tesla R2 is available in black and white. They sent us the white version. When I first beheld the retail box I considered how many white things I own and how being white is almost never a priority when I buy something… anything, let alone a power supply unit.

Have Fractal overstepped the aesthetic line in the sand? Will we have pink PSUs next? Having used the Tesla R2 and tried it out in a few rigs of my own, I have to admit to being converted to its cause. The glossy white painted finish looks good in a black case (and let’s be honest almost all cases are black). It just does. It adds a subtle contrast to the build.

And here’s where Fractal Design are especially smart. We also managed to get hold of one of their mid-tower cases, the Mini Define which also features a subtle white finish throughout. With just a hint of white on the cooling fans, PCIe lane shields and hard drive bays, the Define Mini is crying out for a white PSU.

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Check out the image above to see what I mean. If this is Scandinavian design, then where do I sign up? PC component vendors should be offering deals with the Tesla R2 White and appropriate Fractal cases. They look awesome together.

Inside the Tesla R2

Busting open the Fractal Design Tesla R2 we find a solid looking and pretty tight design with a relatively small PCB that leaves plenty of room for airflow. It’s also good see that Fractal have used two heat sinks to offer passive dissipation for key parts of the board.

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The large primary side capacitor is from local capacitor manufacturer Teapo who are based literally just 10 minutes down the road from where I live here in Taipei County.

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According to the data sheet the Tesla R2 uses all Taiwan-made capacitors throughout. Not something I have an issue with at all. Right now, Taiwan’s core component manufacturing is pretty close to being world-class, a notion backed by Mainland Chinese manufacturers that now market ‘Made in Taiwan’ in the same way as Taiwanese previously marketed ‘Made in Japan’ as a mark of quality. I think the days when the only decent caps around were made in Japan are now over…

The 135mm fan used is a Fractal Design branded ball bearing fan that manages to do its job with very little fuss or noise.

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Basic testing

Our testing procedure here at VR World is fairly simplistic compared to other publications with access to a full hardware lab. I used a standard PSU tester to take a look at the readings we were getting across each power lane. The device allows you to connect all of the main 12v, 5v and 3.3v rails so you can read the output values for each.

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In the image above you can see that the reading match the desired figures almost exactly. Both 12v rails gave readings of 12.1 while the standby rail was given a 12.2v reading. These are totally acceptable results. The PG or ‘Power Good’ reading of 260 is also totally good. Bad readings here would be below 100, or over 900.