NZXT E500 review: Seasonic internals make this 'smart' PSU worth the price
It's almost impossible to go wrong with Seasonic.
When you think NZXT, exquisite cases come to mind along with incredible attention to detail. Now the company is having a go at making power supplies, which makes more sense than not. If you're going to pick up an NZXT case, why not a PSU from the same brand with identical logos? We took in the brand-spanking new E500, the 500W model from the new E series of PSUs.
Is it worth the rather expensive price tag?
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Seasonic is one of the most trusted names in power supplies and produces some of the best PSUs you can buy. This new E series takes everything that Seasonic has to offer and throws accurate digital voltage and temperature monitoring for NZXT's CAM software suite into the mix. I have a love-hate relationship with CAM and find it to be a little buggy at times, but it's a smart-looking app and some people just love monitoring numbers.
The E series is available in 500W. 650W, and 850W configurations. This is a great family of power supplies, ignoring the ridiculous 1000W+ models that are available, which are usually way beyond overkill for most systems. This 500W unit we have for review was selected simply because it's usually more than enough for even more demanding gaming rigs. Our test bench has a GTX 1080 GPU, overclocked Ryzen 5 CPU, and 16GB RAM. On paper, this PSU is more than capable of keeping the lights on.
- Active monitoring for the 12V, 5V, and 3.3V rails.
- Power-on time indication enabled via embedded RTC.
- Adjustable multi-rail over-current protection (OCP) for 12V 4+4 pin and 6+2 pin connections.
- Japanese capacitors rated at 105 degrees.
- 80 Plus Gold certified.
- Fully modular.
- 10-year Warranty.
As well as the high-quality components used in the construction of each E series PSU, each model is backed by a 10-year warranty for additional peace of mind. The PSU is the most important component in any PC build, and while they have become increasingly reliable over the last decade or so, it's still paramount you spend the money and buy a unit that's backed by high-quality internals and a solid warranty.
NZXT powering up
As usual with power supplies of today, the NZXT family of PSUs are all black. There are no RGB lights, the logo and other information printed on the side aren't prominent, and it's relatively compact for cleaner builds. The packaging includes the PSU unit, as well as a purple pouch that houses all the cables you need. Included with necessary power cables is the internal USB header cable that hooks up the PSU to a motherboard — it's not required, but allows for accurate monitoring.
The Texas Instrument UCD3138 Digital Signal Processor (DSP) is what utilizes the power management bus to provide CAM with accurate data on the PSU output by rail. It's also possible to monitor temperatures and manipulate the fan curve, depending on the profile selected. Interestingly, Seasonic and NZXT have worked in protection you'd usually find in multi-rail PSUs, with true over-current protection for all 12V connections.
Initial system power on results in a max speed fan run for a few seconds, which sounds as though you've been teleported to your nearest airport, but use in productivity and some demanding games showed the PSU to be more than capable at supplying reliable power to the GPU, CPU, motherboard and other connected components. You can't hear the fan at all, even when the system is drawing more than 300W of power.
Should you buy the NZXT E500 PSU?
If you're looking for a PSU for a new (or old) build to deliver clean, reliable power and protect all your expensive components then yes. The Japanese capacitors, 10-year warranty, installed safeguards, and design makes it a compelling purchase. Seasonic is an excellent producer of PSUs and to have them team up with NZXT brings some additional benefits, including a look that fits right in with a number of stellar-looking PC cases, and support for CAM software.
- Solid PSU with high-quality components.
- Reliable power delivered by rail.
- 10-year warranty.
- Added DSP and CAM support is a nice touch.
- Same old cabling.
- Fan at full speed is loud.
Whether you use the PC for work or play, the E500 (and other models in the family) will keep the power flowing. For $124.99, it's not cheap but you get what you pay for when it comes to the PSU. If you need a little more power, there are the 650W (opens in new tab) and 850W (opens in new tab) options available.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.