LEPA G1600 - 1600 Watt power supply ... Unleash the BEAST !
You know, it's not often we review a 1600 Watt power supply, as well ... these units are so hard to test objectively. The guys behind LEPA however where keen that we tested one. So who are we to argue with that? In this review we'll have a look at the LEPA G1600-MA-EU, a 1600 Watt power supply that is labelled with a Gold certification, and if you are on 230V it will reach close to Platinum levels in terms of efficiency. Quite amazing really as the unit isn't huge by (in dimensions) any standard, it's not too noisy and heck, it is even modular. Have you ever seen a power supply that has 10 (!) 6+2 PCI Express graphics connectors?
So who is LEPA you might ask yourself, well the brand you'll recognize after this explanation. See in a restaurant you can order a house wine right? LEPA is the house wine of Enermax. And Enermax likely gets these units designed and manufacturered at Sirtec, a brand behind some very reputable power supplies.
The second question that will pop into your mind... why would one need a 1600 Watt power supply? Honestly in the year 2013 I can't even start explaining that with valid reasons if I wanted to. However there is a very slim market that craves a need for these beastly products. Especially in the overclocking segment where people use 2-way CPU processor boards and decide to drop four graphics cards into a system, well that's where you don't want to be limited. But even then I agree, 1600 Watt is near silly. For pro overclockers in the sub-zero cooling segment where a lot of voltage is dropped into ICs however a product like this would be seriously interesting.
Also let me iterate, a PSU that is rated 1600W does not use 1600 Watt continuously, it is RATED 1600 watt and thus has capacity up-to that Wattage. Overall IDLE power usage can be 100~150 Watt if that is what your PC requires. Why such a remark you might wonder ? ... well even after all these years I STILL receive emails from people asking me if a Kilowatt PSU continuously draws 1000 Watts of power. Seriously.
Now when you take a first look at the G1600 from LEPA, it's funny that you don't expect it to be such a heavy duty product. It looks and is sized fairly normal. You can recognize a hint of the Enermax design a little but overall it looks quite plain. But nothing is plain alright, impressive innards, the PSU is modular and comes with dark sleeved cabling. The cables are plentiful, the 10 PCIe Graphics 6+2 connectors will impress alright. More stuff that impresses .. there are six separated 12-volt rails, two of them deliver 20A each, the other 30A with a combined 133A output. The 1600 Watt is a rating; the unit could in theory take 1700 Watts quite easily as well (if you are on 230V).
Efficiency then, given its capacity we initially expected the unit to barely make 80 Plus certification, but the unit is Gold rated, and if you are on 230V, you'll even reach platinum levels. Being Gold certified this PSU delivers energy efficiency as high as 90% or better at 50% load. This results in minimal waste heat, compared to PSUs with lower efficiency, leading to a cooler and quieter PC, in addition to lower electricity utilities bills.
Honestly, Gold or Platinum is what you want. Efficiency matters; years ago PSUs were as low as 70% efficient, meaning that 30% of the used power simply vanishes somewhere in that electric circuitry, whilst you are paying for it on that electricity bill. Allow me to explain a little more simple, if your components consume 500W directly from the PSU then with that 70% efficient product you'd actually use and draw 650W from your wall power socket. With a Platinum PSU you'd be using 540W. The math is that simple.
The LEPA G1600 (we have the EU SKU tagged G1600-MA-EU) PSU is fully modular as well, for most of you with a side panel window in their chassis it's a must really as you'll want modular cables. Even the ATX power connector for the motherboard can be removed. The PSU is obviously big in performance as well, with its multiple 12-volts rails makeing a statement. Excellent for heavy duty multi-GPU solutions and hardcore or professional overclockers as you could hook up four uber high-end graphics cards to this PSU, and then add another one for PhysX just to show 'you da man' ....
All in all we have plenty to show you and test. Mind you that being in that range is overkill by and in any standard, but it surely is fun stuff to have a look at. Reality remains that we'll never ever be able to load up the PSU like we want to. But with four GPUs at hand, we'll give it a go of course. Let's have a peek at the product and then let's head onwards into the review.