Review: Antec NeoPower 650 Blue Power Supply Unit
Iain Laskey thinks there's nothing to feel blue about with Antec's latest power supply
|Product||NeoPower 650 Blue|
|We like||Extremely quiet, flexible cable options, stability|
|We don't like||Pricey, not enough SATA connections|
Antec have produced some rather nice power supply units over the years and one of their latest is the NeoPower 650 Blue. Why blue? It has some nice blue LEDs, after all, even a PSU must look pretty these days.
The importance of a good power supply cannot be underestimated. Even more so in these days of power hungry graphics cards, processors and peripherals, all too many PCs with sundry quirks in their behaviour can be tamed with a decent PSU even when the old one appears to be working just fine. We've seen too many PCs with random crashes and shutdowns that have taxed the most determined PC troubleshooter's skills before turning out to be in need of a new PSU.
The basic specification of the Antec are reasonably standard for a power supply in this class with 650 watts of grunt, support for dual graphics cards, dual and quad CPUs, 3 independent 12v rails, 4 SATA connections and happily in these more environmentally aware days, high efficiency - claimed to be some 85% which puts it firmly in the category of market leading. As we've lost quite a few power supply units lately, the 5 year warranty is also a welcome addition.
What really swings it for us though is the modular cabling system. Rather than having a veritable spaghetti monster of cabling to tuck away, often mostly unused, the NeoPower 650 provides its cables as a separate set of leads which can then be plugged in to the PSU as and when needed. That helps minimise clutter as well as improve airflow and thus cooling.
The unit itself looks nice and smart and at 2.3 kilos is also pleasantly weighty so you feel like you're definitely getting something for your money. A 120mm fan takes up most of one side and helps to provide quiet cooling making this ideal for use in environments where you want to keep things as unobtrusive as possible such as a home theatre PC. The fan changes speed to suit the current conditions but is always extremely quiet - almost worryingly so!
Rather than have the blue LEDs on the fan itself, they are inside the PSU with the fans themselves being clear to let the light through. This adds a nice glow to the whole case interior which may or may not be what your after but it looked good on our all black test PC. Unusually, there is no rear fan but the NeoPower 650 seems to work just fine with the large 120mm one underneath.
We tried the NeoPower 650 Blue in two situations. Firstly in a fairly lightly loaded PC and then in a behemoth stuffed with multiple drives, DVD burners and several USB devices. We used both the motherboard's monitoring facilities plus the PSU tester from Lindy that we reviewed recently and were extremely impressed with the stability of the output which barely changed and stuck very closely to the expected values. This is possibly the most stable supply we've seen yet in this respect.
As noted, this unit had a modular cabling system - you can just attach the cables you need which is great if you like a nice tidy interior to your PC. The cables themselves are very high quality and look really good. We'd have liked to have seen more than four SATA cables though which seems a bit cheap given how good everything else is but for 95% of people it won't really be an issue.
£90 is a lot to spend on a power supply so if you find this a little too much to cope with, Antec have further models in the NeoPower range including 430w, 500w and 550w as well as a non blue 650w, all of which share the key features of cable management, stability and efficient operation.
We think the Antec NeoPower 650 Blue is a really good unit. It's quiet, stable, has a nice blue glow and flexible cabling options. The 5 year warranty is the icing on the cake for a very nice power supply that we can wholeheartedly recommend. The only thing that stopped it getting 10/10 was the 4 SATA connectors and the premium price but in all other respects, it excels.