ePower Lion EP-450P5-L1 Semi-Fanless Power Supply

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October 27, 2005 by Devon Cooke

Product
ePower Lion EP-450P5-L1
450W ATX12V 1.3 Semi-Fanless Power Supply
Manufacturer
ePower Technology

Market Price

US$130

What do you get when you take an ATX12V 1.3 power supply, equip it with connectors for the latest motherboards and VGA cards, then keep the fan from turning on until it's ready to overheat? The ePower Lion EP-450P5-L1: A semi-fanless power supply that bristles with bling and gadgetry.

ePower sells the Lion as a "better than fanless power supply", with a fan "which will kick into gear only when the system is executing a load over 250W". This is a lofty claim. The one other "hybrid" power supply we looked at, the Antec Phantom 500, powered up the fan once output hit 150W. Of course, ePower does not specify how the 250W load was measured, and the 150W number for the Antec comes from our own thermally realistic test setup, so it will be interesting to see how the Lion fares in the same test. Fan speed control in every PSU we've seen is based on temperature, not output load, so we will be sure to look at the temperature when the fan turns on.

The Lion has many unusual features. Some of these are just for bragging rights, but a couple are genuinely useful. ePower recognizes that cable management is an important part of system cooling, and they include a package of multicolored velcro cable ties to help keep cables where they belong. They also borrowed a feature from Antec's power supplies and included a number of "Fan Only" headers.


The retail package lists the Lion's unofficial name: "Silent Engine".


Included in the box: Power supply, power cable, velcro cable ties, and an 8.5" by 11" leaflet that passes for an instruction manual.

In general, the Lion is poorly documented. Most of what we know of the power supply was gleaned from experimentation with the product; neither the manual nor the web site was very helpful. In several cases, features were mentioned without properly explaining how to use them or what they do. The main issue is language: The manual has some good examples of Engrish.

Quality of documentation is mainly a problem for users who have never installed a power supply before. Inexperienced users would be well-advised to find a properly written guide (about installing a PSU) on the web rather than relying on ePower to help them out.

FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS

Feature Highlights of the ePower Lion (from ePower's web site)

FEATURE & BRIEF COMMENT

Temperature Sensor: An amphibian temperature sensor lead out to the chassis. This feature add to the case cooing feature of E Power Technology’s power supply. The temperature sensor, together with the chassis fan lead, will regulated the case fan speed when the internal temperature rise than normal operation temperature.

The temperature sensor may be amphibian, but the rest of the power supply isn't. We politely suggest not operating the power supply underwater.

Joking aside, the temperature sensor refers to a thermistor that controls the voltage supplied to the three "fan only" headers. It is completely independent of other PSU functions.

LED Fan: The Lion power’s better than fan-less design also add a blue color LED light to the stand-by fan, which will lights as the fan turns, another cool feature to the gaming PC system Bling bling.

Case Fan Speed Control: To maximized the silent effect of E Power Technology’s silent technology. All E Power technology’s gaming power armed with 3 special power leads for case fans. These lead will reduced the noise level created by case fans.

See comment about Temperature Sensor.

SATA Power Lead: 2 SATA power lead on all E Power Technology’s gaming power supply.

Standard.

Enhanced VGA Power Lead: A patented special feature of the gaming power series. The VGA power lead comes with a RMI filter and wire coat to eliminate EMI‘s affect on VGA cards thus the ignoring snow and water wave effect will be reduced. A great plus for PC gaming.

Possibly useful when overclocking, bragging rights for everyone else.
Power Fan Control Switch: The Power Supply fan turns on automatically after reaching higher than 250W loading, or user have to option to turn on the fan at anytime. The hard of hearing and the thermally paranoid can run the fan at full speed all the time; most people will want to let the fan be controlled automatically.

OUTPUT SPECIFICATIONS

SPECIFICATIONS: ePower Lion EP-450P5-L1

AC Input

100-120 / 200-240 VAC @ 60 / 50Hz
Maximum AC Current
10A @ 120V / 6A @ 240V

DC Output

+3.3V

+5V

+12V

-12V

-5V

+5VSB

Maximum Output Current

28A

45A

28A

1.0A

0.8A

2.5A

Maximum Combined

220W

336W

12W

4W

12.5W

450W

The output specs show that the Lion is based on an old design. A huge amount of current is available on the +5V rail, which is hardly used by modern systems. The Lion also includes a -5V rail, which has been obsolete since ATX12V 1.3 was released in April 2003. ePower states that the Lion is compliant with ATX12V 1.3. The current version of ATX12V is 2.2.

In spite of its old design, the Lion has enough output capacity on its +12V rail to power most modern systems. Only extremely high-end systems with multiple CPUs and/or graphics cards could possibly demand more power than this PSU is rated to deliver. The cables and connectors have been updated so that it can power the latest hardware: Both a 24-pin motherboard connector and a PCIe connector are included even though they are not a part of the older spec.



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