When you buy a case to house your computer, you would most likely, with a few exceptions, get a Power Supply Unit or PSU as part of the package. These generic PSU's are often cheap and nasty, and usually underpowered to accommodate today's high power usage needs. Lucky for us, some company's have seen fit to provide us with after market alternatives. One such company who needs no introduction is Enermax. Enermax have been making quality PSU's for a while now, but for them it doesn't just stop with providing power for your computer. The Enermax EG365AX-VE FCA which we are reviewing today was provided by (Thanks guys!)
The EG365AX-VE FCA is part of Enermax's line up of FCA PSU's featuring active thermal fan control, and also manual control of the rear exhaust fan. The unit is rated for a total of 353 watts of power, which is very respectable compared to most generic PSU's. So let's take a closer look shall we.
Meets AMD K7 and Intel ATX +12V 1.1 and ATX 2.03 version (Pentium 4 fully supported)
Ultra cooling design: one 92 mm fan intake heat and one 80 mm fan exhaust heat
---AMD recommended versions
FMA function (Fan Speed monitored by M/B & Adjustable)
+5Vsb output current 2.2A output
92 mm Thermal Control Fan
As per usual, packed there delivery with bubble wrap to ensure that it arrived in perfect condition, which of course it did (shameless plug). When the parcel first arrived, the first thing I noticed is the weight; it's not far off being twice as heavy as the generic PSU I was swapping it out for. Indication of quality maybe? It certainly felt more reassuring than the lightweight feel of the generic one. Opening up the parcel presented a pretty good looking box, with lots of information to hand.
Opening the box revealed another bubble wrapped parcel (the unit itself), a user's manual, a bag with 4 mounting screws and 2 stickers declaring that this machine is powered by Enermax.
The next thing that I noticed after taking the PSU out of its wrapping was the gold fan grills. There are 2 fan grills on here, one on the back for the manually controlled 80 mm Exhaust fan and one for the 92 mm thermally controlled fan underneath. Taking a good look at the fans I noticed that the 92mm fan was sporting clear fan blades. Very cool and sexy looking, and reeking of quality. It's a little irrelevant for most end user's however due to the fact that chances are the fan wont be seen once installed, but for those of you with case windows and neon's, the combination of the fan grills and the clear fan will make for extra pose value.
The amount of connectors on this unit is amazing, almost doubling my generic PSU. With 8 standard Molex connectors, 2 for floppy drives, one main ATX power connector, 1 AUX connector and a P4 ATX 4 pin power connector you would be hard pushed to run out! It even has a fan speed monitoring cable for those who have an extra header handy on there motherboards. Each of the connectors has gold plated pins for extra efficiency and the ATX connector is neatly wrapped in an expanding mesh to help keep it all tidy. The length of the cables again doubles my generic PSU, which may actually provide a slight problem for cable routing in smaller towers, though in my opinion it's better to have more than enough then not enough.
At the back of the PSU, you will find the usual stuff, such as the power cable input, voltage selection switch and on/off button. This power supply however also has an adjustable knob at the back for controlling the fan speed of the 80 mm exhaust fan from 1500 rpm to 3000 rpm.
Coupled with the 92 mm fan under the unit, this should provide you with extra cooling capabilities. We shall see later on how effective this actually is. Placing the adjustable knob at the back may pose a problem for some user's who don't have easy access to the back of the case. Sound wise, you would think that all these extra fans would make for more noise, but that's not the case, far from it infact. Setting the rear fan to 2500 rpm I couldn't hear the PSU running over my HSF fan, which is pretty quiet in its own right. Setting the fan to 3000, I could just about it hear it, which is how it should be! Great stuff : Taking the unit apart revealed aluminium heatsinks on all the major parts (anyone up for some overclocking?) which should go a long way to help protect the longevity of the PSU.
The test rig is as follows:
Athlon T-Bird email@example.com
512 mb of Crucial PC2100
1x 40gig IBM HD, 1x 60gig IBM HD
GeForce 2 GTS
Hauppauge Win TV card
RealTek 10/100 NIC
4 x Coolermaster 5000 RPM Case Fans
Motherboard Monitor 5
As you can see a fair amount to power there. The test rig is housed in a Juno P6 tower, which is dual PSU capable, and indeed, until the Enermax arrived, this was the case, with a generic 300 watt PSU powering the main computer and peripherals and an old 230 watt powering the fans. The Enermax was placed in the bottom position of the 2 PSU slots as I wanted to test the cooling features available. Anyone who has read my review on the P6 will know that in the bottom position, the PSU effectively blocks all rising air from the lower half of the case so this should be a good test. Quake III Arena was run for half an hour in a looped timedemo to get the system's power loaded, as well as increase temperatures. At the same time, I connected a USB scanner and scanned in a few piccies just to keep the power load high. Motherboard Monitor 5 was used to gather the results.
Well the screenshots speak for themselves. Power across the range was higher, with all instances being better than the generic supply. Temperature's again were very good, an almost 5 degree drop from the norm infact. Changing the fan speed on the back from 3000 rpm to 1500 gave just a 2 degree rise in temperature, but that's not that bad considering you're only changing the speed by 1500 rpm.
The whole unit reeks of quality and style, and it certainly performs well too. The added fans for cooling are a great addition, although the manual control for the rear fan is a little out of the way. Having to access the back of your computer all the time could be a problem for some and the unit is so quiet anyway that from a noise point of view, I should imagine that most users will set it to 2500 rpm and leave it at that. If however you have a super quiet PC but also want the advantage of extra cooling with peace of mind on the quality of your PSU, you will love this unit. The fan control will be useful for some but not as many as some people might think. The gold grills and clear fan blades will go quite away to help increase your PC's cool factor although this is of course only if you can see it : The power output and the voltages are very good and better than a standard PSU any day of the week. The extra long cables and amount of connectors are a godsend to someone with a lot of peripherals, and being extra long, the cabling would do well in a full size tower or server case. Cable routing MIGHT be a problem in small towers, but the cables are fairly flexible and tidy, so I doubt it will be much of a problem to most. Overall a very good PSU, and certainly one worth the money for those looking to upgrade. The unit comes in a higher wattage flavour too, weighing in at 431 watts, so for those with a serious amount of devices to power, this might be the better choice. I've had no trouble at all with this unit since it has been installed, and indeed, it's helped me a great deal in my battle against heat.
Highly recommended if you're looking for a new PSU, but I wouldn't buy it just for the manual control of the fan personally. It may be of need for some, but I would imagine that amount would be small. I would buy it for the quality, the shear amount of connections, and the tidiness overall. A good PSU that delivers a clean power supply for all your devices. Big thanks again to Overclock.co.uk for supplying the review unit.
Gold Plated connections
Extra long cabling
Lots of connectors
AMD approved as well as P4 capable
Case cooling fans, 1x manual, 1x thermally controlled
Very, very quiet
Clean and efficient
Manual control at the back of the unit is a little out of the way
Manual control would be superfluous to most.