The ePower Tiger 550: Hot & Quiet

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May 1, 2006 by Devon Cooke

ePower Tiger EP-550P5-T1
550W ATX12V 2.01 Power Supply with detachable cables
ePower Technology
Market Price

Sometimes, a name says a lot. For example, the ePower Tiger associates a power supply with a certain feline power: A silent but deadly killer of a power supply that holds its power in check until the last second before it strikes (perfect for first person shooters). A more cynical person might notice that such lyrical names are rarely associated with high end products. The Ford Focus, Toyota Echo, and the Pontiac Sunfire may sound cool, but any car nut knows that these are vastly out-performed by the Acura NSX, the Honda S2000, or the BMW Z3. For some reason, high end products often have names that appear to be random alphanumeric strings.

Of course, there are exceptions to both rules and a product shouldn't be judged by its name. A well named product might be aptly described by its name, but, unfortunately, it's not easy to tell which ones. Will the ePower Tiger live up to its name? There's only one way to find out: Throw it on the test bench and let the results do the talking.

We've looked at a feline product from ePower before. Our review of the semi-passive Lion noted that the it remained silent for a surprisingly long time, but concerns about its cooling system made us wonder about its longevity. Naturally, we'll be curious to see whether the Tiger suffers from a similar problem. Hopefully, the more conventional fan-cooled design will mean that the cooling problems have been resolved, but, as always, there will be the question of noise.


Feature Highlights of the ePower Tiger EP-550P5-T1 (from ePower's web site)
E Power Technology Silent Engine technology with 120mm cooling fan
If there's a fan involved, "Silent Engine" is a misnomer.
EMI filter added PCIe power leads for SLI function Reduces ripple for more stable VGA overclocks.
EZ cable plug for all power leads
The cables are detachable.
Able to use in even IPC or storage cases not required a board to power up
True of most power supplies ... but a power supply isn't much use without a board of some kind.
20+4 Pin ATX connector and 4+4 connector to fit PCIe and non PCIe boards
Compatible with dual-CPU motherboards.
Compatible with P4, AMD, Dual Xeon EPS 12V boards Just like any other ATX12V / EPS12V power supply.
Short Circuit Protection, Over Voltage Protection, Over Current Protection
All are pretty standard.
UL, CE, CB, FCC certified Good to know.
100% HI-POT tested A standard part of quality control.
3 year limited warranty Details are hidden here.
Black mesh wrapped power leads and reflective nick coating chassis Nick coating? Perhaps this refers to nickel plating.


AC Input
115/230 VAC @ 60/50 Hz
AC Input Current
10A @ 115VAC / 6A @ 230VAC
DC Output
Maximum Output Current

Maximum Combined

35A continuous
40A peak

The specifications for the Tiger make it seem like an odd mongrel of a power supply. On the one hand, it contains a -5V line, which was dropped from the ATX12V specification more than four years ago and has been out of common use for even longer. On the other hand, it advertises split +12V rails, which are required by the much more recent ATX12V 2.0. In addition, the +5V line is rated at 40A — also a throwback to times when the +5V rail was the primary source of power. On top of that, ePower's web site documents the +5V rating as 48A — an unbelievable number that would push the rating for the +5V line above what is specified for the +3.3V and +5V rails combined.

In actual use, only the two +12V rails are likely to see even half of their rated values, and even then only on very high powered systems. As we have documented several times in the past, the vast majority of systems draw well under 200W.

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