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Antec NeoPower 480W

Antec is something of a sacred name in the high-end PSU market, at least if you believe the hype that it has created around some of its products. The NeoPower is the original modular power supply and as such it is something of a legend in its own right. However, Antec seems to have stepped away from the modular market, as no new models have since appeared.

The build quality of the NeoPower is immaculate and it feels very weighty with good build quality, always a good sign. Rated at 480W and sporting dual 12V rails you wouldn’t think that this was an older PSU than any of the others on test.

You get a fair amount of parts in the box, with all types of connectors included as standard. There are three lots of cables with Molex connectors – with three headers on each cable – one for SATA drives with both types of power connectors and one for PCI Express graphics cards. A splitter for two floppy power connectors is also provided, but this would use up one Molex connector. A special fan only cable that connects to the 12V rail powers up to two fans and thus removes the need for attaching your fans to the normal Molex connectors.

The ATX power connector and the 12V connectors aren’t removable. In our opinion this is a good thing, since there is no reason for them to be so, as you’d always have to use them. The NeoPower has a 24-pin EPS style power connector with a converter for 20-pin ATX type motherboard connectors. There is also a small header that can be attached to a fan header on the motherboard for monitoring the PSU fan speed.

You can only use four of the five supplied power cables at any one time, but you’re free to mix and match. So if you have a graphics card that doesn’t require a power connector, you don’t have to attach the PCI Express power cable. This is the point of modular power supplies, to reduce cable clutter and improve the airflow inside the case.

A worry is the fact that Antec has supplied loose power connectors in the box – two Molex connectors and two SATA power connectors. These can be clipped on to the supplied cables if you need extra connectors. However, unless you know what you’re doing and have some basic electrical knowledge, you could in theory damage your computer or parts of it, if, for example, you install these power connectors the wrong way around.

The manual contains a lot of technical data and some helpful installation advice, but it could do with a few more pictures for those that aren’t used to installing their own PSU.

Part of Antec’s reputation is built upon the fact that its power supplies are meant to be very efficient. Sadly the NeoPower didn’t stand out in any way in our tests. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. It actually drops below 70 per cent efficiency at 25 per cent load - the only PSU to do this.

The 12V rail was also quite low all the way through testing, which isn’t what we had expected from an Antec. Even the 3.3V rail dropped quite low during heavy load, but at least the 5V rail was solid all the way through. How much of a concern this is, is hard to say, but the NeoPower stayed within the ATX spec. The power factor correction was in line with the best on test, so no complaints here. However, the NeoPower only passed the 1kV Hi-POT test and not the 1.5kV one which is a let down.

At least the price is affordable at £69.21, although there are better buys in this group test.

Verdict

The Antec NeoPower 480W is the original modular power supply, but sadly its performance isn’t quite up to scratch in comparison to most of the other PSUs on test.

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