EVGA 400 N1 Power Supply

Not too long ago, a whole box of brand new retail EVGA units landed on my doorstep. The idea was that we would take a look at some of the models that don’t commonly show up in reviews. Today, I’m looking at the very bottom of the line for EVGA, the 400W. This is a unit so cheap that it doesn’t even have 80 Plus certification. What happens when we load test the absolute cheapest unit you can buy with the EVGA name on it? There’s only one way to find out.

PRODUCT: 400 N1 400W
PROD LINK: 400 N1 Product Page
PRICE: $29.99 @ NewEgg
Price is at the time of testing!

Oh, we’ve got them now, surely. We’ve tested unit after unit from EVGA all the way down to the 500W and 430W, and they’ve all resisted every single one of my efforts to blow them up.

Today, I have the very bottom of their power supply product line in front of me. And we’re going to try to kill it. This is another one of my batch of actual retail samples fresh off the NewEgg shelves, so there will be no excuses if it goes down in a blaze of un-glory. But before that, how about we take a look at the usual box and product shots to get things rolling?

Just checking. They really do have this on all their power supply boxes, apparently, because I haven’t seen one yet with this missing.

“When building on a budget, the EVGA 400W is a great choice at a low cost.” Well, let’s just wait and see. A quick glance at the Internet tells me this is only about five bucks cheaper than the 430W, which was a pretty decent unit, so I’m not really sure this one is needed at all. Indeed, depending on what we find here today, it could end up being more of a drawback to EVGA than anything. So, let’s look at the features the box tells us about:

  • An ultra-quiet fan 120mm
    -Off to a good start, here.
  • Provides up to 360W on the +12V rail
    It’s likely not using a VRM (voltage regulator module) design for the minor rails… 12V capacity is too low for the minor rails to draw off it, too.
  • Complete protections: OVP, OPP, SCP
    Not that complete… at the very least, I see no mention of overtemp protection.
  • MTBF>100,000HRs
    -Not that useful a spec to the end consumer.
  • Universal AC 115V/230V Input Voltage
    Hmm… this is worded a little funny… does it even have power factor correction?
  • 2 Year Warranty
    Not sure I like this. Three years is really the bare minimum I like to see. Anything less, I start wondering why the warranty period is so short. No, we don’t need that 10 year warranty the top end of EVGA’s lineup enjoys, but anything below three years makes me nervous.

Oh, man… I just looked at that spec table on the lower right. Twenty-five degrees for full power? Are you kidding me? You guys know how I feel about anything under forty degrees, right? It’s just not that realistic for modern computing life. Depending on how your case is designed, you may never see much below thirty degrees at the PSU intake. And that’s if you live in an air-conditioned house. People still give Corsair a hard time over their CX series ratings, but at least thirty degrees was reasonable and achievable for those lucky people who can afford AC. This thing? Good luck, buddy. Put it next to the AC vent mounted in a bottom oriented case… then you might have a chance at full power with this unit.

All the same, at least EVGA is up front about this. They aren’t hiding that 25 degrees number. It’s plainly visible on the box before you even buy the thing. But, here’s what worries me: the box said nothing about overtemp protection. This is important if you’re going to limit full power operation to such a low temperature. We may find out just how important this is once we get to the hot tests. I will not be able to keep this thing anywhere near this number. Hell, my cold tests might be over that number.

We’re just going to have to see what happens. I have scoring procedures in place if it croaks in the hot box instead of shutting down, and I will use them if I have to.

Meantime, another panel of the box gives us some installation instructions and cable details.

Let’s unpack the box now. This already looks light on the goodies.

Let’s see… we have a power supply, power cord, and bag of screws. No manual at all, even at the website, so that will be a scoring hit later. As for accessories, I might just leave that scoring bracket alone. I tend to let a lot of things slide when I score accessories, simply because you don’t expect a lot of goodies to come with a unit that barely costs more than a couple happy meals at McDonald’s. If this were an expensive unit, you betcha there would be a scoring deduction. But this time we have a power cord and some screws, and that’s all you really need to get Grandma’s rig running again, isn’t it?