NeoPower is a high efficiency power supply series from Antec, being sold in the past as “HE” (High Efficiency). According to Antec, power supplies from this series have an efficiency of up to 85% (compare to less than 70% on regular power supplies), meaning less power loss – an 85% efficiency means that 85% of the power pulled from the power grid will be converted in power on the power supply outputs and only 15% will be wasted. This translates into less consumption from the power grid (as less power needs to be pulled in order to generate the same amount of power on its outputs), meaning lower electricity bills. Power supplies from this series – currently available on 380 W, 430 W, 500 W, 550 W and 650 W versions –feature a modular cabling system and a standard 80 mm fan on their rear side. We took an in-depth look at the 550 W model and tested to see if it could really deliver its rated 550 W or not.

Antec Neo HE 550Figure 1: Antec NeoPower 550.

Antec Neo HE 550Figure 2: Antec NeoPower 550.

This power supply has active PFC (Power Factor Correction), which provides a better usage of the power grid and allows this power supply to be comply with the European law, making Antec able to sell it in that continent (you can read more about PFC on our Power Supply Tutorial). In Figure 1, you can see that this power supply doesn’t have an 110V/220V switch, feature available on power supplies with active PFC.

On the cooling side, this power supply uses the standard cooling system available since the beginning of times: an 80 mm fan on the back of the unit pulling hot air from inside the PC case to the outside. The front side of the unit – which will be located inside the PC case and where the hot air will enter – uses a huge mesh, allowing a terrific airflow. Low-end power supplies usually have only a few openings, providing a low airflow. You can see this mesh in Figure 2.

In Figure 2 you can also see that this power supply uses a modular cabling system for the peripheral cables, which is fantastic for two reasons. First, you need only to attach the peripheral cables you will really need, so you won’t have loose cables inside your PC, providing a better inner airflow. Second, if in the future you need different peripheral cables you can get them with the manufacturer instead of having to buy a new power supply just because your unit doesn’t have the cables you need. A plastic sleeving also protects the peripheral cables, helping organizing the cables inside the PC, providing a better inner airflow thus preventing it from overheating due to loose wires and cables blocking the airflow.

Antec Neo HE 550Figure 3: Peripheral cables.

NeoPower 550 comes with two auxiliary PCI Express cables, two peripheral cables with three peripheral power connectors each, two Serial ATA power cables with two Serial ATA power connectors each, and a floppy disk drive adapter, which converts a peripheral power connector into two floppy disk drive power connectors.

The main power cables – which don’t use the modular cabling system – include the main motherboard cable with one 20/24-pin motherboard connector, one ATX12V motherboard connector and one EPS12V motherboard connector. This power supply uses a very simple mechanism to convert its 24-pin main power connector into a 20-pin one, see Figure 4.

Antec Neo HE 550Figure 4: Its 24-pin power connector can be easily transformed into a 20-pin one.

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.