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Quiet PSU recommendation

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by myriad, 1 Aug 2006.

  1. myriad

    Gangster

    Joined: 17 Nov 2003

    Posts: 270

    My Silenx 520W iXtrema Pro psu has failed after under 2 years of use and I am looking for recommendations for a replacement. This unit was rated at <14dB and I haven't been able to find anything close to that rating.

    I have a moderate to higher spec system: 3500+, 7800 GTX, 1HDD, 1DVD, I would imagine I could get away with a 400W psu quite easily but wouldn't mind something closer to 500 for future proofing.

    Most important things are, quality and as quiet as possible, any thoughts?
     
  2. Joe42

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Jan 2005

    Posts: 4,172

    Location: Northants

    The reason nothing comes close to <14dba is because its impossible and SilentX lied, and continue to do so even now. Thats not to say their stuff is bad, but its generally avoided by silent pc enthusiasts because of the dodgy numbers (cfm ratings are dodgy aswell).

    The best silent psu is the Seasonic S12 series. Take a look at the review over at spcr of the S12 430 here, and the S12 500 and 600 here.
    You should also read the spcr power supply fundamentals and recomendations article here.
    The S12 430 uses a quieter fan that the S12 500 and 600, but both are extremely good.
     
  3. cavemanoc

    Mobster

    Joined: 23 Mar 2005

    Posts: 3,618

    What mobo are you running - I know that the DFI's recommend nothing less than 560W (especially with that monster of a GFX card!) Do a google for 'Fanless PSU' and you'll find a few that are completely silent, but worth having some good case ventilation. Alternatively there are a few watercooled PSU's about that are actually very good, but also quite pricey! Failing all that - have a look in OcUK's PSU section, there are a couple by Akasa and Thermaltake that are 'silent'.

    Anything below about 24db is pretty good and probably won't be heard over your other components unless you're serious about silent computing!

    (I've got the Seasonic 600 and it's great, but most definitely not silent!)
     
  4. Joe42

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Jan 2005

    Posts: 4,172

    Location: Northants

    They recommend 560w for people who insist on buying rubbish psus which claim to be 560w but are outpowered by something like the S12 430.

    The problem with fanless psus is they put out an awful lot of heat into the case which results in the need for fast noisy case fans and renders it pointless.

    You say the S12 600 is noisy... are you running those pelts off it?
    I've just been listening to the recordings in the review and its certainly not quiet at high load but for more normal loads such as 200w its pretty good.
     
  5. cavemanoc

    Mobster

    Joined: 23 Mar 2005

    Posts: 3,618

    Embarrassingly enough the machine I've got it in is completely dry! Only thing in there of any consequence in the Scsi array, but even then it's not that much of a draw (don't get me wrong - it's not 'loud' but it is noticeable)

    Really it just depends what your aim is. If you want a nice quiet gaming rig that doesn't sound like a windtunnel then yeah - I love my Seasonic and wouldn't swap it for the world. If you want a *silent* media PC then there are much quieter options, and this will stand out.

    What's your budget and what are you trying to achieve?
     
  6. Joe42

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Jan 2005

    Posts: 4,172

    Location: Northants

    Like what?
    Just curious as i've always thought seasonic is the best there is in terms of silence.
     
  7. cavemanoc

    Mobster

    Joined: 23 Mar 2005

    Posts: 3,618

    Loads of options: don't know how good this is but a quick search found a Magnus (Completely silent as no fans):

    [​IMG]

    And even a nice Silentmaxx Watercooled one at 500W!

    [​IMG]

    I'm sure Akasa used to do a fanless Paxpower but not sure if they go above the old 350W models - they do a combi one at about 460W that's 'almost' silent. I'll dig about and find some proper ones ;)

    As I said, it really does depend on budget and use - especially budget!
     
  8. Stupido

    Gangster

    Joined: 21 Oct 2002

    Posts: 280

    Location: Sol System

    pcpro did a big review on psu`s a couple of years ago and the silenx one actually blew up and caught fire during the overload test .The only one out of a group of 15 psu`s they tested .

    As for noise-dba rating .Well silenx dba seams suspicious to me.I bought their SilenX 120mm 14dBA LED Fan - Blue last week . This was DOA.The replacement turned up a few days ago.It is rated at 14 dba but in reality makes more noise than the 21 dba fan that came with my case free.very disapoining considering this cost £20 .

    my Hiper HPU-4K580-MK Type R 580W Modular ATX2.2 PSU is rated at 18dba .It is in fact so quiet you have to check the unit to make sure that the fans are turning.the loudest thing in my case is the r1800xt graphics cards fan .

    Also it has a 3 year warranty .
     
  9. cavemanoc

    Mobster

    Joined: 23 Mar 2005

    Posts: 3,618

    Sounds about right - anything stated by SilenX is pretty much a lie, and anything that genuinely is below 20dba is about as silent as it gets (unless you go completely fanless / water of course!)
     
  10. Joe42

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Jan 2005

    Posts: 4,172

    Location: Northants

    I've heard a lot of bad things about the hiper type r, for example that model can only deliver about 480w. From what i've heard its not quiet compared to a seasonic. The stock cooler on the r1800xt is incredibly loud so anything that can be heard above the noise of that even at idle/low speed is not quiet.
     
  11. Stupido

    Gangster

    Joined: 21 Oct 2002

    Posts: 280

    Location: Sol System

    to clarify , the noise produced by my graphics card is the loudest thing in the case i.e. it makes more noise than everything else put together.The graphicas card fan is loud by comparison

    the psu and case fans and cpu fan are not loud.

    the power supply its self is exteremly quiet . In fact it makes even less noise than the themaltake butterfly <21bda that it repalced.

    this is my observation based on the model that i have bought and have installed in my pc.
     
  12. [email protected]

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 29 Oct 2005

    Posts: 2,450

    Location: Newcastle upon Toon

    I can vouch for the Antec Phantom 350w.

    It powers my rig with a x800pro @ 16pipes and overclocked to 520/520, plus a DVDrw and a 250GB HDD with an x2 3800 and 2GB of RAM.

    The PSU has no fans, and neither does my rig have any) and therefore things get a bit toasty warm - but its been rock solid in the 8 months i've had it.

    M
     
  13. Joe42

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Jan 2005

    Posts: 4,172

    Location: Northants

    Your pc is completely fanless?
    How do you cool the cpu and gpu?
     
  14. [email protected]

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 29 Oct 2005

    Posts: 2,450

    Location: Newcastle upon Toon

    Zalman Reserator - Passive Watercooling - No fans either! :D

    I have a zero dBa system (apart from my hard drive that i had in a silentmaxx, but it was getting too warm).

    M
     
  15. Joe42

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Jan 2005

    Posts: 4,172

    Location: Northants

    Nice one. :)
    I've been trying to get mine silent for a long time but i took a different approach, silent fans rather than passive and water cooling. Its become a bit of a hobby and obsession for me, but i do enjoy the challenges. I've never wanted to do water cooling because of the risk of damage.

    I've found fans like the nexus 120mm and the panaflos are so quiet they are as good as passive but much cheaper.

    Whats the silentmaxx like?
    I bought a nexus drive a way and its fantastic for noise but it cooks my raptor a bit, got to 48 in the heat.

    I have an ac silencer on 5v on my graphics card which is as good as silent and still gives me <70 gpu temps under load. Cpu has a scythe ninja with a nexus ducted to a panaflo as a rear fan, thats as good as silent. Currently its my psu holding me back as i was going to go for a seasonic S12 500 but now i'm not so sure. The S12 430 is much quieter, but i think i'll have to look into getting a passive one.
     
  16. [email protected]

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 29 Oct 2005

    Posts: 2,450

    Location: Newcastle upon Toon

    It had my HDD (Sammy SP2504C) up to 55 in the latest heatwave, but did have it completely silent. I literally couldn't hear anything from my PC in a silent room from 1 metre away. SilentMAXX rock - if i'd had some airflow i would have kept it, but didnt wanna chance my HDD getting cooked, as i won't have the noise of a fan - ick!

    Passive are fine as long as you have GOOD airflow. I get away with it because i'm not running high end kit.

    M
     
  17. Joe42

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Jan 2005

    Posts: 4,172

    Location: Northants

    Having read the review and listened to the S12 500 at spcr having calibrated my speakers it is noisy at high load. The nexus psus they reviewed are even worse.
    But yet the nexus 120mm case fan is much quieter. The nexus psu gets up to 30dba but their case fan is rated at 22 at full speed.
    So why can't i get a psu with that fan in it?
    I don't want to do a fan swap as it voids my warranty.

    If you want cooling for your silentmaxx, get a nexus or even beter a panaflo and undervolt it. You won't be able to hear the nexus at 5v i promise, the panaflo has a very quiet click which you can hear if you put your ear rght next to it but its very quiet indeed.
    The panaflo is better as it pushes more air for a given speed than the nexus.
     
  18. [email protected]

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 29 Oct 2005

    Posts: 2,450

    Location: Newcastle upon Toon

    The SilentMAXX has been sold... But trust me - when you have no fans at all, ANY fan will be audible no matter how good.

    As for voiding your warranty by changing your PSU fan - the PSU is only £80 say?? Its a small price to pay for silence if it goes wrong.

    M
     
  19. Joe42

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Jan 2005

    Posts: 4,172

    Location: Northants

    You may be right about the psu. The other problem with a fan swap is it may cook.
    I need a new psu anyway, but i'm not sure if i should get the S12 430 or S12 500. The 430 is much quieter but would it be powerful enough for a graphics upgrade when the next gen gpus come out i wonder?

    And i can assure you that the nexus at 5v is inaudible. I'll do a recording for you when i have my main pc up and running again if you like, i'll stick a mic right in front of the nexus and you won't hear a thing. ;)

    Edit: Just discovered my digital camera has a very sensative mic on it so i'm going to go and make a recording of it now. :p
     
    Last edited: 2 Aug 2006
  20. cavemanoc

    Mobster

    Joined: 23 Mar 2005

    Posts: 3,618

    I've done a couple of fan swaps and haven't looked back - if you're worried about them heat build up, just make sure that the cfm rating of the new fan matches the old one, or better yet, get a nice Yate Loon or panaflo and undervolt it! (You can always pick up a budget Temp probe and bung it in there to keep an eye on it!)

    As far as choosing between the 430/500 goes... get the 600W one, better far to run a bigger PSU drawing less power (fans will run slower) than to max out a little PSU (and I don't think anything less that 500W is going to be viable for much longer - whereas I know I'll be using my 600 for at least another couple of years ;) )