Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

Lepa G Series 1600W Power Supply Review

LEPA is an Ecomaster company and Ecomaster distributes Enermax products and has Enermax design the LEPA PSU line. So what are our expectations from the current ultimate desktop PSU packing a whopping 1600 watts? Should it be better than a four year old 1600 watt power supplies on the market?

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Conclusions

The Lepa G1600 is just the second 1600W power supply we have reviewed, after the Ultra X3 1600W, and these two units together represent the absolute largest capacity power supplies we have ever reviewed. A lot of times the "bigger is better" mentality seems to dominate for enthusiasts but size isn’t an indicator of quality when it comes to a lot of things in this hobby. On top of that, our previous experiences with Lepa branded power supplies have been a bit mixed at just half of this unit’s capacity. So while you can go big, it is important that you go big and do it well. Has the Lepa G1600 gone big and done it well? Or, has Lepa reached for the stars only to fall short?


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

As the Lepa G1600 shares common heritage with the Enermax MaxRevo 1350W and Platimax 1200W, the overall build quality of the Lepa G1600 is very similar to those Enermax branded units. There are a few differences, however, including aspects of the exterior of the unit. The actual finish used here is the same high quality and durable finish used on those Enermax units and the modular interface is the same as we have seen before. Where the exterior varies between these units is in the level of detail in the accent coloring and the housing embossing today, but these are minor and superficial points.

When we move to the interior, we see that the interior is once more extremely neatly constructed with very good soldering quality. The component selection is generally good, but another, more serious, difference here is the use of an ADDA ball bearing fan in place of the Power Cooler (Enermax) fans of previous Enermax branded units mentioned previously. The remaining component selections bring things back up to a higher quality level including the capacitors which are a mix of Matsushita (Panasonic), Rubycon, a few Nippon Chemi-con's, and solid Enesol capacitors. The last major set of differences, and huge set of let downs, are found with the really sparse documentation and the short 3 year warranty. This is just bad support for such a marquee item.

Load Testing

The load testing results for the Lepa G1600 are all passing and by relative values, for a unit in this capacity range, very good. To start things off with, the voltage regulation of this unit was better than what we saw with the Ultra X3 1600W, though the 12v regulation on this unit did trail that of the 1500W power supplies we have reviewed from Thermaltake and SilverStone. While the 0.41v change on the 12v rails seems extreme, we have to look at the fact that this is a 1600W power supply and that change occurred over a range of 124A! When we move to the efficiency angle, we see that the Lepa G1600 moves into a whole new realm. At 120v AC input the unit was 86.92% to 90.16% efficient and at 100v AC input it was 84.51% to 89.64% efficient. This is significantly better than what we saw from the Ultra X3 1600W years ago. Related, the exhaust temperature peaked at 70C in Test #4 at 100v and this was from a unit rated at 40C but operating at 45C, which actually makes the fact that the unit continued to operate impressive at these power levels. When we actually looked at the 80 Plus tests, we saw that the G1600 was 90.05%-90.60%-86.30% efficient under the 80 Plus parameters. This puts this unit ~0.7% under the 80 Plus Gold certification level at full load. Given that this is just one miss of a relatively small amount, the 80 Plus Gold certification on this unit seems plausible, but it certainly isn’t going to be actually "Surpassing 80 Plus Gold Level" as advertised. One quick aside here, at 1600W DC the significant increase in efficiency this unit has over the Ultra X3 1600W will actually be something that someone might notice if they ran this unit balls to the wall. While we have pointed out previously that 80 Plus certifications aren't really relevant to buying choices, and you really aren't going to save a lot of money with most 80 Plus rated power supplies, this product segment is the one where higher efficiency really can actually possess some benefits to users who really make use of the power supplies entire capacity.

The Transient Load Test results for the Lepa G1600 are a pass. While many modern units we have reviewed have done really poorly in this regard, the G1600 did rather well in this part of testing, though it is also the largest capacity unit we have seen so the loads represent a small fraction of the unit’s capacity. When the 12v rail was directly loaded it had a peak change of ~270mV while the 5v rail had a peak loaded change of ~120mV. The unloaded 12v change during the 12v load had a peak value of ~80mV and the 5v rail had a peak change of ~110mV when the 12v rail was loaded. As stated above, these are better than what we see from a lot of modern designs but they do trail the older Ultra X3 1600W which has a way of tempering our enthusiasm for these results a bit.

DC Output Quality

The DC Output Quality of the Lepa G1600 is in specification and in a few ways very good. However, in a few other ways it is only "OK." All of the main output rails start testing in the ~10mV range and increase throughout testing until these hit the peak values of ~30mV in Test #4. This represents just a ~20mV increase in peak trace amplitude on all of the rails during testing. However, while this is good for the 12v rails, as it is just ~1/4 of the ATX12v specification limit, this represents over آ½ of the ATX12v specification limit for the minor rails. While that means the unit is easily within the bounds of the specification limit, it finds itself outclassed by the previous Ultra X3 1600W in all categories and outclassed in some by the Thermaltake Toughpower 1500W and the SilverStone Strider ST1500. All in all, we can’t say the unit was bad, it was by most definitions relatively average and by absolute values in the good range, but it just didn’t really pull ahead of the competition here. It does also represent a better result than what we have seen from some other recent Enermax offerings and that is certainly welcome.

Noise

The Lepa G1600 is based on a design we have seen from Enermax previously, and those high powered Enermax units have been generally quiet for their capacity. However, those units have featured an Enermax/Power Cooler "Twister Bearing" fan whereas today’s Lepa G1600 features an ADDA ball bearing fan. Today, that change to a lower quality fan has had only a minimal to moderate impact on the noise portion of the fans job. Up to 75% load, the unit was generally quiet as we have seen from the high powered Enermax units. Starting there, though, the unit became louder and the noise was predominately a grinding/bearing sound initially. As the unit got a bit louder, in the Torture Test and later, this bearing sound gave way to a general buffeting air sound. With that all said, there really aren’t a lot of power supplies that this unit compares to so it is hard to give an impression of this unit’s noise output relative to other similar units. But, it was fairly quiet through 75% load and that is going to cover just about everyone who actually buys this power supply. If it doesn’t cover you, well, then fan noise from the power supply is probably not the only noise source you need to look at.

Paul's Thoughts:

Today, the Lepa G1600 falls in line with the very limited 1500W and 1600W crowd we have reviewed in most regards so there isn’t a whole lot of unusual or interesting test results to go on about. Well, except for one that falls into the overall where does it fit among its peers category. The 1600W unit that we have reviewed that this unit just falls in line with in most respects, and only truly trumps in efficiency, is four years old! We either have not seen a whole lot of progress in this upper echelon of enthusiast power supplies other than in the sometimes gimmicky efficiency race in the last four years, or the Ultra X3 1600W was ahead of its time. Either way, it is good that this unit did not fall behind X3 1600W.

The Bottom Line

The Lepa G1600 is a rare product among consumer power supplies today. At 1600 watts, the Lepa G1600 is one of just two 1600W power supplies we have ever reviewed and it sits at the peak of what is likely to be practical for North American users for the foreseeable future. As it turns out though, the G1600 isn’t just big it is also generally a very good power supply. With the units generally very good build quality, generally very good voltage regulation, very good DC output quality, and genuinely excellent efficiency this is an overall very good power supply by most relative metrics.

However, the unit has a few things holding it back a bit. Among these are the fact that the unit really doesn’t lead the 1500W-1600W market in any aspect other than efficiency (of which one member of that club is four years old so we would hope it is more efficient than that unit) and it has a woefully short 3 year warranty. Today though, if you want a the biggest power supply on the enthusiast market you have few choices and when the final tally comes down the Lepa G1600 is one of the best choices. At $329.99 it is also priced very well. How well? Think of this, the Enermax MaxRevo 1350W is priced close to the same, but 250W smaller in capacity! Not only that but, the Thermaltake Toughpower 1500W and the SilverStone Strider ST-1500 are priced at ~$336.99 and ~$299.99 respectively. There are a few trade-offs that come into play when moving up to this unit from a unit like the MaxRevo 1350W, but future headroom and absolute value among 1350W and up power supplies aren’t among them. Those two points, on top of this unit’s generally very good performance, make this unit a very good buy today for enthusiasts.

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Lepa G Series 1600W Power Supply

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