Lian Li PE-750 SFX-L 750W PSU Review

Lian Li enters the PSU market again with two new SFX-L models featuring 550 W and 750 W capacities. The PE-750 is under the microscope today. It features modular cabling, a single +12V rail, and a semi-passive fan.

Lian Li is mostly known for its well-built aluminum cases. However, we've also seen it introduce three PSU families. The company's most recent PSU project includes two SFX-L units that achieve high power density: the PE-550 and PE-750.

The SFX-L form factor's major advantage is a combination of compact dimensions and room for a 120 mm fan. SFX-based PSUs top out with 92 mm fans, and they're not as quiet. Meanwhile, the SFX-L specification is 30 mm longer, reaching 130 mm in total.

Lian Li's PE-750 is our test subject today. It features a 120 mm sleeve-bearing fan that's not exactly ideal in such an expensive PSU, but it's at least complemented by a semi-passive mode so it won't activate under light loads. As a result, it should last longer. Unfortunately there is no option to deactivate the semi-passive mode if you want the fan to spin constantly, staving off higher temperatures inside the PE-750. At least you can check that the fan is working, since every time the PSU starts up, the fan briefly spins up.

The PE-750 is based on a fully modular platform provided by Enhance Electronics, and its capacity is impressive given the compact dimensions that inevitably impose design limitations. Lian Li gives the PE-750 and its smaller brother another advantage in the form of a bundled SFX to ATX adapter, which lets you install the PSU in larger cases lacking native support. Some companies charge extra for this luxury, so we certainly appreciate the inclusion.

Specifications

The PE-750 boasts 80 PLUS Platinum efficiency, which isn't easy to achieve in a high-capacity, compact power supply. According to Enhance, the maximum temperature at which this PSU can deliver its full power continuously is 40 °C. That's conservative when it comes to PSU temperature ratings.

You get a full suite of protection features with the PE-750. What we didn't expect to find in a $160 PSU was the sleeve-bearing fan. It simply doesn't belong. We would have hoped to see a double ball-bearing or FDB/HDB fan instead. Sleeve-bearing fans are used in lower-cost PSUs since their lifetime is limited and they aren't suitable for horizontal installation.

We don't approve of Lian Li's short warranty, either. Companies like Corsair and Thermaltake provide seven-year warranties with their SFX-based PSUs. Lian Li should step up with at least five-year coverage but this would require a higher quality fan.

Power Specifications

Rail3.3V5V12V5VSB-12V
Max. PowerAmps2015622.50.3
Watts8074412.53.6
Total Max. Power (W)750

At 80 W, the minor rails have a low combined power rating. However, we are pretty sure that OCP is set much higher, so there won't be any problems with transient loads. On the the contrary, the +12V rail is very strong and can deliver up to 62 A. Finally, the 5VSB rail has a fairly average 12.5 W capacity.

Cables And Connectors

Modular Cables
DescriptionCable CountGaugeConnector Count (Total)
ATX connector 20+4 pin (400 mm)118AWG1
4+4 pin EPS12V (400 mm)118AWG1
6+2 pin PCIe (400 mm+150 mm)218AWG4
SATA (300 mm+200 mm+100 mm+100 mm)318AWG12
Four-pin Molex (300 mm+200 mm+200 mm) / FDD (+100 mm)118AWG3 / 1

The main ATX cable is long enough for an SFX-L PSU, while the single EPS cable should be at least 10 cm longer in our opinion. The distance between four-pin Molex connectors is pretty long at 20 cm, and the SATA cables also have proper distances between their connectors.

Four PCIe connectors are ample in this product category, though we don't like the fact that there is only one EPS connector. Normally, a 750 W PSU (even an SFX one) should have two.

There are plenty of SATA connectors. We would, however, prefer a quartet of four-pin Molex connectors instead of three. And ideally the Berg connector would be exposed through an adapter, rather than a fixed lead.

Power Distribution

Since this PSU features a single +12V rail, we do not have anything to say about its power distribution.

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  • blazorthon
    That's an embarrassing showing from Lian-Li.
  • Aris_Mp
    For the SFX-L standards actually it is quite good. There is next to zero competition in this field. With a few part changes this platform has potential, however I don't know if it could keep efficiency at the same high levels.
  • shrapnel_indie
    Lian Li is supposed to be a premium brand. Just look how expensive (and the usual quality of) their cases are when you can find them. By the numbers and its internals, this doesn't look like a premium brand product, regardless of how much or how little competition they got in a given market.

    Lian Li, have you decided to no longer be a true premium brand?
  • Valantar
    Definitely disappointing. Looks like Lian Li is going for the "money to burn, don't care" market. This PSU had amazing promise, but the choice of fan, the too-small caps and the short warranty make this unbuyable. Now, I don't have empirical data to base this on, but I'd guess most people springing $160 on a PSU - SFX or not - want it to last more than 2-3 years. And using a fan that's both short-lived _and_ unsuitable for horizontal mounting? That's just idiotic.
  • Virtual_Singularity
    Solid review, as always, great job Aris. Even if this isn't an ideal psu, Lian Li is a quality brand, a quality case brand. However, its worth noting that of the ample (edit: particularly sfx/sfxl) PSU's Enhance has OEM'd for various brands, this one has to be among the best of them. Even if Lian Li introduced an absolutely horrible psu, wouldn't matter much to their fans, its the quality they put into many of their cases that's most important. Even if they cave more than they already have to the recent case trends, I hope they still keep producing no nonsense cases for that niche market that still values them.
  • Valantar
    2191311 said:
    Solid review, as always, great job Aris. Even if this isn't an ideal psu, Lian Li is a quality brand, a quality case brand. However, its worth noting that of the ample PSU's Enhance has OEM'd for various brands, this one has to be among the best of them. Even if Lian Li introduced an absolutely horrible psu, wouldn't matter much to their fans, its the quality they put into many of their cases that's most important. Even if they cave more than they already have to the recent case trends, I hope they still keep producing no nonsense cases for that niche market that still values them.


    Sure, Lian Li makes great cases (although IMHO they too often screw up their nice minimalist looks with unnecessary clutter, and they're way behind the times in a few usability/ease of build areas today). But how does this relate to this PSU? In no way at all. Lian Li might be "a quality brand, a quality case brand", but that does nothing to change the fact that this is a premium priced PSU built with mind-boggling cost cutting in key areas, making its lifetime radically shorter than it should be. This would barely be okay for a $60 PSU. For a $160 unit, it's not only a deal breaker, it's about on the same level as the engineers shouting "F*ck you!" to every individual buyer.
  • Virtual_Singularity
    1822081 said:
    2191311 said:
    Solid review, as always, great job Aris. Even if this isn't an ideal psu, Lian Li is a quality brand, a quality case brand. However, its worth noting that of the ample PSU's Enhance has OEM'd for various brands, this one has to be among the best of them. Even if Lian Li introduced an absolutely horrible psu, wouldn't matter much to their fans, its the quality they put into many of their cases that's most important. Even if they cave more than they already have to the recent case trends, I hope they still keep producing no nonsense cases for that niche market that still values them.
    Sure, Lian Li makes great cases (although IMHO they too often screw up their nice minimalist looks with unnecessary clutter, and they're way behind the times in a few usability/ease of build areas today). But how does this relate to this PSU? In no way at all. Lian Li might be "a quality brand, a quality case brand", but that does nothing to change the fact that this is a premium priced PSU built with mind-boggling cost cutting in key areas, making its lifetime radically shorter than it should be. This would barely be okay for a $60 PSU. For a $160 unit, it's not only a deal breaker, it's about on the same level as the engineers shouting "F*ck you!" to every individual buyer.


    Fwiw, I've no need of this form factor in a psu, so I'm really not bothered by it so much. But take the comment Aris made above into account. TBH, it'd be very easy to come to your conclusion if not for this psu being in the SFXL category. It really is one of the better ones I've seen reviewed, despite the short warranty. A shorter warranty is typical of the latest comparable units, (Silverstone, for example, has 2-3 years depending on location) the exception being Corsair, possibly. I say possibly because I don't know how their latest sfx units, despite having a longer warranty, compare with this one in overall efficiency, performance. and size.

    The latest platinum/titanium rated SFX/SFX-L units carry a price premium. For those demanding a sfx-l unit, the one reviewed above is among the best performers, regardless of it's short warranty.
  • blazorthon
    Problem is that it has multiple issues that are not inherent of being a smaller form factor such as SFX. Lian Li could have simply used a better, same-sized fan. There is also enough room for better caps. Being expensive just because of its efficiency with no regard for long-term reliability is idiotic and contradictory to being a high-end PSU in the first place.
  • gadgety
    Great to highlight the weaknesses of this PSU. How does it compare to the Silverstone SX700-LPT? Which one is best. Do a shootout, or do an comparison piece.