EVGA SuperNOVA NEX1500 Classified Power Supply Review

EVGA did not want to send us one of its 1500W PSU beasts to review, so we went out and bought the $450 behemoth so we could put it through the HardOCP PSU grinder. EVGA clearly states that NEX1500 PSU is all about "no compromises," but we suggest that compromises are exactly what you will be making; more than a few too.

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Conclusions

The EVGA NEX1500 Classified is the first power supply we have seen from EVGA and serves, today, as its flagship product in the SuperNOVA series. While previously there had been only a couple of 1500W+ power supplies to compete with, we are starting to see more of these products on the market. As such, where at one point simply being a 1500W power supply would have been noteworthy, today there is true competition and this unit is going to have to put up a solid performance to get EVGA the recognition it wants. So, can the EVGA SuperNOVA NEX1500 Classified Power Supply compete? Or is it left sucking wind?


HardOCP’s testing methodology is intended to very much push power supplies to their advertised wattage rating in temperatures that will represent some of the hottest computer enthusiast cases. So if a unit passes all our testing it is definitely not something to take lightly. In fact we expect more power supplies to fail our testing than make it through unscathed.

Build Quality

The build quality of the EVGA SuperNOVA NEX1500 Classified Power Supply is all over the map today when we look at the big picture. When it comes to the exterior, the finish type (not accent color) is nice but EVGA has missed on a ton of other points just so the PSU can be "different." Among the tragic missteps, we find a multi-12v rail unit with a numbered and color coded modular interface that DOES NOT match up to the 12v rail assignment. What was EVGA thinking? Moving on down the list, we also find a huge handle on a power supply that is not hot swappable so that it can take up more room on the back side of your case? Thirdly, we get ridiculously long and individually sleeved wires. When individual leads were the norm, and paired with beige cases, we weren’t charged a premium for the rats nest interior we got from this arrangement. Today though, we surely are since EVGA has not only gone back to individual exposed leads, but EVGA has sleeved each lead. I am aware that this look is somewhat popular right now, but popular doesn’t mean something is actually a good idea. If you are designing the leads like this yourself and have specific lengths to custom fit your build, you can make that look sweet. With these hugely long sleeved leads, you are more than likely going to have a mess.

Once we get past those issues, somewhat like we had to get past the mullet and Members Only jackets in the 80’s, we find the interior build quality of this unit is generally very good. The NEX1500 Classified sports a phase shift full bridge primary with the secondary utilizing DC-DC VRM’s for the minor rails, which is thoroughly modern. This is complemented with a Sanyo Denki fan, Hitachi primary capacitors, Nippon Chemi-con standard electrolytics on the secondary, Sanyo solid capacitors, and some unknown solid capacitors populating the DC-DC VRM’s. Topping off the build quality, we find that the soldering is the best we have seen to date. This is all backed up by some incredibly mediocre documentation that is mediocre partially because of how confusing the whole 12v arrangement is and the lack of information pertaining to the advertised 10 year warranty as well as the SuperNOVA software.

Load Testing

The thing about the EVGA SuperNOVA NEX1500 Classified Power Supply is, even if the unit had passed the load testing tests today it still would not have been a very good 1500W power supply. For instance, when we look at the voltage regulation we see that the peak changes were 0.55v on the 12 rails, 0.19v on the 5v rail, and 0.12v on the 3.3v rail. Those numbers fall somewhere between suck and blow in general and how bad these are is even more apparent when we look at the other 1500W-1600W power supplies we have reviewed (Enermax MaxRevo 1500W, Lepa G Series 1600W, Thermaltake Toughpower 1500W, SilverStone Strider ST1500 1500W). The one area where this unit has a leg up on some of the other 1500W-1600W units we have reviewed is efficiency, but only on the much older models not the newer. At 120v AC input, this unit was 86.63% to 91.28% and at 100v AC input it was 87.29% to 90.19%; when the unit was actually running that is. The NEX1500 Classified even managed to post right about on the nose 80 Plus Gold numbers in the 80 Plus tests as it was 86.91%-91.20%-88.72% efficient at 20%-50%-100% loads using 80 Plus’s load testing parameters.

Moving on to the Transient Load Test results, we see that the results posted by the NEX1500 Classified are a pass and about what we have seen from other 1500W offerings. In our testing today, we saw the NEX1500 Classified give peak 12v changes of ~320mV when directly loaded and peak 5v changes of ~100mV when directly loaded. As we have said about numerous examples of power supplies of this capacity and similar modern design, these results are passing but really we would hope for better results given how small a portion of the unit’s capacity these transient loads represent.

DC Output Quality

The DC Output Quality of the NEX1500 Classified today was generally good but that comes with caveats. The most obvious caveat being that the unit would not complete Test #4 at 100v so we have no data for that. The other big caveat comes from the 3.3v rail which generally was giving peak trace amplitudes of less than 10mV but for some reason in Test #3 it would throw occasional spikes that would hit ~35mV of ripple/noise. Other than that, the 12v rails were generally well behaved with the peak 12v trace during testing being on the order of ~40mV. As with the Transient Load Tests, this unit was performing in the general range we have seen from other units and did have the opportunity to do a bit better than the average for these units if it had not been for the 3.3v rail in Test #3.

Noise

Loud. Really, really, really loud. Sure the EVGA NEX1500 Classified is a 1500W power supply so quiet at full load isn’t necessarily something to be expected, but it almost seems like EVGA was deliberately trying to make this unit loud. There literally has not been a unit through here that has been this obscenely loud in a long time, and even then at least those had the excuse of being 80mm fans. This unit? It doesn’t have any excuses. Sure, you may be able to regulate the fan speed via the dip switches or the SuperNOVA software but if you have to change the factory settings out of the box, the factory settings were wrong. Period.

Paul's Thoughts:

For power supplies that die catastrophically during load testing it is really easy to quantify why those suck so badly, roughly it would be the smoldering carnage. With the EVGA NEX1500 Classified, however, it is a bit harder (though no less sucky) as there were no ridiculously bad single moments during testing to point to and say "There, that is what you did so amazingly wrong EVGA," while dousing it with the fire extinguisher. Rather it was the slow accumulation of bad decisions that make the EVGA SuperNOVA NEX1500 Classified Power Supply a train wreck. Indeed, there is literally almost no facet of this unit that does not need significant revision before this should be sent out to retail.

With that in mind here is the Top 10 list of issues that made me want to beat my head on the wall and should have been fixed before releasing this power supply:

  1. Documentation, what documentation?

  2. The Handle to Nowhere.

  3. Cables? Looks like I ordered birds nest soup!

  4. Fan? I can’t hear you, can yell a little louder?

  5. 12v rail assignment? W.T.F.?

  6. Oh the fan and the 12v rail assignment don’t work right from the factory? You want us to fix it ourselves in the software? That can’t be the right answer.

  7. Oh the software isn’t included in the package I bought to fix it myself? Well at least it is easy to find, wait, does that say I have to register to get my product to work right?

  8. Rail overboard! Rogue waves in the 3.3v rail.

  9. Scotty, we need more power at 100v.

  10. This power supply costs how much??????????????

The Bottom Line

The EVGA SuperNOVA NEX1500 Classified Power Supply is a huge power supply and huge disappointment. It isn’t that this unit just doesn’t do one thing well; it is the fact that it doesn’t do much of anything well after promising us the moon and stars. "No compromises" remember? For instance, when the unit would run (which wasn’t all of our tests so it has already gone into the fail heap there) the voltage regulation was the worst we have seen from 1500W+ power supplies, the DC Output Quality had weird load specific issues, and it was insanely loud seemingly just to offend the ears along with your good sense. This is without getting into the more subjective problems of the cables which are an insane mess to deal with, the random handle protrusion, the not including the software that is supposed to let you fix some of the problems from the factory, and the fact that EVGA has mislabeled the 12v arrangement on the packaging as well as the housing so you have to have the Rosetta Stone and the manual to figure out what goes where. Then there is the price, at $449.99 you are better off purchasing any of the other 1500W power supplies we have reviewed than the EVGA SuperNOVA NEX1500 Classified. Maybe not including install screws was a hint at something?

"No compromises" is right, and that is exactly what you should not do with your hard earned cash, but that is exactly what EVGA has done with its name on this product.

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EVGA SuperNOVA NEX1500 Classified Power Supply

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