EVGA SuperNOVA 550 GS Power Supply Review
EVGA has cooperated with several major PSU OEMs in the past, including Super Flower, FSP and Etasis. However, this is the first time that the company's product portfolio includes a Seasonic implementation. So far, the new PS series includes only a single unit with 1kW of max power; EVGA's GS line, on the other hand, has four PSUs with 550, 650, 850 and 1050W capacities. Those GS units strive to achieve a balance between good performance and affordable prices, targeting users who don't want to spend a fortune on a PSU, but still want specifications approaching the high-end category.
The unit we have on the test bench today is the smallest GS PSU with 550W of output, which should be ideal for mainstream and mid-range systems. Thanks to its fully modular design and compact dimensions, this is a particularly usable model featuring semi-passive operation, or ECO mode, as EVGA calls it, for zero-noise output under light loads. For users who need the fan constantly spinning (for example, in case they want to install the PSU with its fan grill facing downwards), ECO mode can be disengaged with the flip of a switch. It's only unfortunate that the switch is on the back side of the power supply, making it difficult to reach. Typically, on/off switches should be located on the front of the PSU so you can access them without removing the chassis' side panel.
The unit can deliver 550W of max power continuously at up to 50 degrees Celsius, which is sufficient for a large number of systems nowadays, especially if you use a Maxwell-powered GPU with lower energy demands compared with equally performing AMD solutions. However, you shouldn't get a PSU that will struggle with your hardware under heavy utilization. Besides shortening the PSU's life, this has a negative impact on efficiency since in almost all cases PSUs deliver their peak efficiency with typical loads (40 to 50 percent of their max-rated capacity); under more taxing loads, they register significantly lower efficiency levels.
EVGA offers a fully modular cabling design in its GS line, and all of the units in the series are Haswell-ready, since they are based on a design that uses DC-DC converters for generating the minor rails. In addition, besides OTP (Over-Temperature Protection) and OCP (Over-Current Protection) the rest of the protection features are present. In single +12V rail PSUs, OCP is substituted by OPP (Over-Power Protection); however, OTP is a crucial feature for any PSU and we strongly believe it should be included.
For cooling, the 550 GS uses a Nano-Steel bearing fan, where the bearing is sealed and the Teflon surfaces along with air pressure are used to minimize friction. This differs from sleeve-bearing and FDB fans, which employ oil to lessen friction. This technology promises low noise output and a significantly increased lifetime compared with sleeve bearings, and over time we're confident it will prove its reliability.
This unit's dimensions are pretty compact, measuring only 15cm deep, which means it'll be easy to house in any ATX-compatible case. In addition, you get a five-year warranty (the higher-capacity 850 and 1050W models are covered by seven-year warranties). Finally, the price is on the high side for a 550W power supply. However, this specific unit does feature high-end specs, including the Japanese capacitors we like to see and fully modular cabling.
|Total Max. Power (W)||550|
The +12V rail can almost deliver the unit's full power on its own, a common feature among PSUs with DC-DC converters. And the minor rails provide enough juice for any mid-level system. Finally, the 5VSB rail has the typical amperage for a contemporary PSU.
Cables And Connectors
|ATX connector (600mm)||20+4 pin|
|Eight-pin EPS12V (550mm)||1|
|4+4 pin EPS12V (660mm)||1|
|4+4 pin EPS12V (550mm)||1|
|6+2 pin PCIe (550mm+105mm)||4|
|Four-pin Molex (560mm+100mm+100mm+100mm)||4|
|FDD Adapter (+100mm)||1|
EVGA equips this mid-capacity PSU with a fairly large number of connectors; in addition to four PCIe connectors it features three EPS connectors mounted on two cables. We should note that you can use only one of the two EPS cables at a time, which makes sense, since three available EPS connectors are pretty much useless. We also believe that four PCIe connectors along with two EPS connectors are more than enough for a 550W PSU. In fact, in some cases, this configuration can be overkill, especially if you hook up two high-end graphics cards and a power-hungry CPU. Finally, the number of SATA and peripheral connectors will suffice for the majority of PCs. There is also an FDD adapter, for those of you who still need one.
Cable length is satisfactory and our only criticism is the rather short cable that holds the pair of EPS connectors. Ideally, it should be 60cm long to avoid compatibility problems in full-tower cases. On the other hand, the distance between SATA connectors is ideal, though we would like to see more distance between the peripheral cables, within a 13 to 15cm range. Finally, all connectors use standard AWG18 cables, which offer low voltage drops in mid-capacity PSUs, with enough flexibility for easy cable management.
Since this PSU features a single +12V rail, we do not have anything to say about its power distribution.