POSTSCRIPT 2: NeoHE INCOMPATIBILITIES
December 21, 2005
by Mike Chin
In the weeks following this review, it came to our attention via discussions in many forums (including SPCR's) that there was a compatibility issue, initially between some Asus nVidia nForce4 chipset motherboards and some NeoHE power supplies. There was also talk some other motherboards from other brands not working with the NeoHE and other PSU brands/models, and some talk of these motherboards not working with other PSU brands/models, also. There was also mention of some Asus P5 (Intel) series boards not working well with some NeoHeE samples. Incompatibilities with other Intel boards from other brands were also mentioned. There was even talk of damage to a few motherboards.
The most common scenario is that with the affected units, the motherboard powers up, but then shuts down within a minute or two. Sometimes the motherboard fails to boot. The symptoms appear to vary.
The discussions about these incompatibility issues ranged far and wide all over the web sites where the likely DIY enthusiast buyers of the NeoHE / P150 would wander. We watched and read in amazement, as we had no experience with any of these issues with any of the motherboards used with either of our two NeoHE 430 PSU samples initially. This changed in December.
In the first week of December, we obtained two Asus motherboards: A8N32-SLI Deluxe and A8N-SLI Premium. Both are high end Athlon 64 nF4 chipset socket 939 boards. They were used in two different system builds and worked fine with several power supplies on hand in the lab. Neither of these boards worked with the single NeoHE430 PSU on hand, however. We contacted Antec to report that we, too, seemed to have a bad sample. As mentioned, the original samples worked fine on several other motherboards in the lab, although none were nF4 models. The motherboards included socket 478, 775, 754 and 939 models using Intel, nVidia (NF3) and VIA chipsets.
Yesterday, we received two new NeoHE430 PSUs from Antec. We also received a 500W and a 550W model in the series. These are said to have been revised to eliminate all previous incompatibility problems. All these new samples worked normally on our two Asus boards.
Our new samples are identical in appearance to the original, both outside and inside, as far as we can tell. Antec tells us that in future, revised units will be diffentiated from the original version with some kind of tag or label. The NeoHE430 in the P150 case and the retail box NeoHE PSUs currently shipping from Antec's primary warehouse in the US (to distributors and dealers) are said to be the revised version. EU warehouses will soon have the revised ones as well. NeoHE supplies in the rest of the world are served directly from Antec's Hong Kong shipping center, and they have already been shipping the revised units for a couple of weeks.
Much of the NeoHE stock currently in the retail channels are from the original production run, however. Antec says a total recall is not justified, because the incompatibility only applies to some NeoHE power supplies with mostly Asus motherboards.
Antec advises customers to contact them directly should they have problems with a NeoHE power supply. They will ensure a speedy no-cost replacement.
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A poll on NeoHE reliability has been started in the SPCR forums. If you own one, please report your experience there, whether good or bad.
These are serious lapses in reliability, as far as we can tell, and the consumer's risk of being exposed to them by buying an Antec NeoHE power supply is still quite high. Even though our own experience with NeoHE samples is limited and not really that bad, based on the overwhelming user feedback on web forums, including SPCR's, we have to issue a warning that you buy an Antec NeoHE at your risk at this time. Until it's clear that the problematic early production batch(es?) are gone from retail stocks, it's probably wise to avoid the NeoHE, especially if you plan on using an Asus motherboard. It's really unfortunate, as a working NeoHE is likely the best quiet 80mm fan retail PSU available today.