Antec NeoPower 480 PSU

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TEST RESULTS

For a complete rundown of testing equipment and procedures, please refer to the article SPCR's Revised PSU Testing System. It is a close simulation of a moderate airflow mid-tower PC optimized for low noise.

In the test rig, the ambient temperature of the PSU varies proportionately with its actual output load, which is exactly the way it is in a real PC environment. But there is the added benefit of a precise high power load tester which allows incremental load testing all the way to full power for any non-industrial PC power supply. Both fan noise and voltage are measured at various loads. It is, in general, a very demanding test, as the operating ambient temperature of the PSU often reaches 40°C or more at full power. This is impossible to achieve with an open test bench setup.

The testing was conducted in the "sound lab", a 20' x 10' x 8'(ceiling) carpeted den with heavy drapes across windows on one of the short walls. Acoustics are well damped.

Ambient conditions during testing were 22°C and 17 dBA, with input of 119VAC / 60 Hz measured at the AC outlet.

ANTEC NEOPOWER 480 TEST RESULTS
DC Output (W)
65
90
150
200
250
300
400
460
AC Input (W)
110
142
220
276
336
390
515
596
Efficiency
59%
63%
68%
72%
74%
77%
78%
77%
Intake Temp (°C)
27
27
31
32
32
33
35
38
PSU Exhaust (°C)
32
36
43
44
45
46
50
53
Fan Voltage
4.3
4.4
5.6
7.5
8.9
10
10.9
10.9
Noise (dBA/1m)
20
20
27
35
40
43
44
44
NOTE: The ambient room temperature during testing varies a few degrees from review to review. Please take this into account when comparing PSU test data.

1. VOLTAGE REGULATION was very good, within the tight ¬Ī3% claimed. Throughout the range of test power output levels, the range was as follows:

  • +12V: 11.88 ~ 12.28V
  • +5V: 4.86~ 5.11V
  • +3.3V: 3.21 ~ 3.38V

2. AC-to-DC Conversion EFFICIENCY was acceptable to excellent, varying more than most recent tested PSUs depending on power output. It was poor to mediocre at the <100W loads, but improved to 74~78% above 250W. As many desktop system will rarely draw even 150W, we have to say that the efficiency in normal use will only be modest.

3. POWER OUTPUT: The unit ran with good stability at all output levels. The full 460W output was confirmed.

4. POWER FACTOR was excellent, always 0.98~0.99, regardless of power load. This is a much better result than the PF of 0.74 seen with the only other APFC PSU from Antec seen before, the one included with the Antec Aria SFF case.

5. FAN VOLTAGE / NOISE: It is very quiet at the ~4V start, subjectively and in terms of measured dBA. The fan voltage stays close to that level till approaching the 150W output or ~30°C intake temperature. The jump between 90W and 150W is just a bit over a volt, but the noise increase is 7 dBA/1m. It is plainly audible. Just another 1°C and 50W higher, and the noise level has hit 35 dBA, which is too loud in my opinion.

The fan has some minor chatter at very low speed, but is obscured beneath the whoosh of wind turbulence at higher speed. There was little or no high frequency whine from the electronics in this sample. (Coil noise is often the result of interactions between components, however, so the absence of this noise in the lab does not ensure its absence when the PSU is connected to various combinations of PC components.)

A CAUTION: The noise-to-power performance achieved here is specific to prevailing test temperatures and conditions. The test noise results represent performance with a real PC in a reasonably well-optimized "silent" case.

CONCLUSIONS

The Antec NeoPower 480 presents an interesting balance of features. It is a solid high power PSU, capable of powering the most power hungry components likely to be used in a desktop PC or workstation.

The NeoPower's Advanced Cable Management System, its unique selling proposition of using only the output cables that are needed, is certainly a welcome feature. The ease of cable management is wonderfully easy, and whatever added resistance is added to the cable is easily dealt with by the PSU's automatic voltage regulating circuitry. This feature will be considered very user-friendly by less experienced PC builders and those too rushed or impatient for cable-gami (as practiced by Ralf Hutter and his many followers).

At the lowest power levels, the NeoPower ranks among the quietest tested PSUs, but as power output moves into the low-middle range, the noise increases rather quickly to a much higher level. The 30 dBA/1m point we regard as the upper limit for the definition of quiet is reached at a relatively low (for its power rating) 150~200W in the modest 22°C test room temperature. Beyond that power level, it does not get that much louder, but then the point is moot; it is already too loud.

The AC/DC efficiency is surprising varied, from a low of 59% to a high of 78%. Its lowest efficiency is 27% lower than its highest; conversely, its highest efficiency is 32% higher than its lowest. The Active PFC works very well, maintaining PF at a very high 0.98.

The attention to details is very good, and the ATX12V V2.0 conformance for compatibility with the latest and greatest hardware is attractive. The Antec NeoPower 480 may not be The One for everybody, but it will please a lot of people.

Much thanks to Antec Inc. for this NeoPower 480 sample.

* * *

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