Enermax D.F. 500W PSU Review

Pros, Cons, And Final Verdict

The first thing you'll notice about the EPF500AWT is that it costs way more than most 500-550W PSUs. We strongly believe that the main reason for this is Enermax's individually sleeved cables, which have a big impact on production cost. If you care (a lot) about cable quality and you don't mind spending so much money on a 500W PSU, the EPF500AWT might make sense.

The fact is, however, that there are a lot of higher-capacity alternatives in the same price range. To its credit, the EPF500AWT is both efficient and incredibly quiet. It also features fairly good ripple suppression and satisfactory transient response (even if turn-on transient response isn't so good). Unfortunately, the build quality inside isn't up to the competition's levels. Apparently, Fortech's manufacturing lines and QC are in need of improvement, since we spotted many components with leads that weren't trimmed properly. Quality control should caught this problem, but obviously didn't set high-enough standards. As we keep repeating, that's a shame given a premium price. 

If Enermax sold the EPF500AWT for $90 to $100, it'd score a much better performance per dollar score. Up around $140, though, it's way overpriced. The platform Enermax uses is highly efficient and offers good performance overall, while the Japanese electrolytic caps and twister bearing fan ensure a long lifetime. However, we don't know why the company chose to spend big on the Sleemax cables, adding so much production cost. It should probably offer these high-end cables as an option.

Otherwise, you can find higher-capacity PSUs offering better performance and longer warranties for the same amount of money. As a result, it's simply not possible to recommend this unit, especially if you aren't already passionate about nice cables. Enermax should revise its strategy and find a way to push the price below $100 if it wants the EPF500AWT to succeed. The competition is very tough and costs way less, making it hard for the EPF500AWT's main advantage, efficiency, to shine.

We want to see Enermax back on track since it used to be one of the best PSU OEMs. But with overpriced products like the EPF500AWT, this will be very difficult.

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  • skoalreaver
    Sleeved cables are not justification for poor build quality and that crazy price.
  • eglass
    I'd probably buy it. I like those cables and I'm running a 500W Enermax Liberty that is now 11 years old.
  • Anathemata
    How well does the dust-removal feature work? I mean, Van der Waals force is still a thing, and you need more than just a simple fan to blow out dust. Wouldn't a simple filter suffice?

    The sleeved cables are a nice touch. It'll be cheaper than buying a different power supply and separate sleeved cables.
  • daddywalter
    Build quality isn't bad but could be better; lack of OTP is troublesome; and I'll agree with the reviewer that sleeved cables would be better offered as an option for modders. 80 Plus Platinum rating is a plus, of course; and 500 watts is adequate for most general-purpose computers that don't require multiple GPUs -- this PSU would probably outlast most SOHO builds, but then the initial price becomes more of a factor. Nice PSU, but IMHO not worth $140 with only a five-year warranty; at ten years I might consider it since then it should be good for at least three builds.
  • dstarr3
    86012 said:
    I'd probably buy it. I like those cables and I'm running a 500W Enermax Liberty that is now 11 years old.


    11 years is plenty of time for a company to have since dropped an amount of build quality.
  • Robert Cook
    I'll add my voice, that auto play video needs to go. It is obnoxious, and adds lag to weaker devices.

    I like that cable pattern, it reminds me of the cables on my Enermax revolution 85+ 850W. (a great PSU despite its lower efficiency and age.)

    How are poorly trimmed leads going to cause shorts if everything is locked inside a case? I only see that as an issue if you go dropping screws in there.
  • Aris_Mp
    they aren't poorly trimmed only, some of them are really long and only a hair away from the other. Under extreme conditions this can cause problems (shorts) and there can be of course an EMI issue when leads are so close to each other. Also with such long leads the plastic shield under the PCB can get punctured or during the PCB's installation into the chassis, which applies pressure to the leads, the long ones will bend and probably get shorted; this means that some PSUs might be already broken. I don't think that every PSU that leaves the production line is tested, but only a percentage of them.

    There is a purpose behind the proper trimming of excessively long leads in every PCB that is installed into a metallic chassis. The use of a plastic shield under the PCB doesn't automatically solves all possible problems.
  • WFang
    I'm hoping for a resurgence in power supply choices in the 500W and *LESS* category!

    I would rather see something like the amazing Seasonic Prime supplies in a 400W flavor than 600W and over...

    Before I go on, I realize that if you run two GPU's or you really like to OC, obviously you need more and want more.. Great.. you already have a ton of great choices for those use-cases... I just wonder why we don't have more great quality choices in the lower Wattage ranges where probably a good 75% of even the enthusiast group could live comfortably.

    I also realize that TDP - Thermal Design Power is NOT the same as power consumption, but it is easy to find TDP numbers, and a part that is designed to deal with e.g. 100W TDP is likely to consume around 100W (or less) even in peak. As such it becomes a handy metric for back of the envelope power budgeting that still ends up being fairly conservative.

    With CPU's now more often in the lower half of 45W, 65W, and 95W TDP and the more recent GPU's all sitting at 300W or less in TDP, I'd argue that for non-OC'ed systems with one GPU and 1 or 2 HDD's and maybe an SSD, a great high efficiency 350W to 400W PSU will be a great choice. Feeling like that is pushing it? Fine, go 500W... but I don't see why you'd shop higher than that (for this use-case). Yet, good quality Titanium, Platinum, or Gold efficiency PSU's seem so hard to find in the sub 500W range. :(

    On a side note, since I'm here complaining anyway: A looong time ago I heard Tom's mention the Seasonic Prime 600W fanless PSU, anyone know if/when that will become available in the US? (Or anywhere?)???
  • Aris_Mp
    I am informed that the Prime 600W fanless will be available somewhere in 2017.
  • Marcus52
    86012 said:
    I'd probably buy it. I like those cables and I'm running a 500W Enermax Liberty that is now 11 years old.


    Enermax was my favorite PSU maker when they made their own, but unfortunately they've chosen OEMs that are "adequate" not "great" to replace their manufacturing facility. I've paid their premium in the past, but right now EVGA is on the top of my list. Super Flower makes their top-of-the-line PSUs and build quality is superb, as are test bench results.

    Seasonic is also on my list of "will buy", and several other brands use Seasonic or Super Flower, so I wouldn't be opposed to buying one from someone like Corsair - as long as it tested well on reputable hardware sites.

    Never buy a PSU that doesn't review well. I've learned that the hard way. Build quality matters.