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  • SetiroN - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    I have always failed to see any purpose in going completely fanless.
    Electronics and make more noise than a large fan at 300rpm (if not more, actually), which is inaudible; yet the difference it provides in cooling performance is pretty noticeable.
    Fanless PSUs/heatsinks are just a gimmick.
    Reply
  • Iketh - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    I see it as the opposite. My seasonic 460w fanless simply doesn't need a fan. That's why it doesn't have one. Why throw a fan on it? Only reason for a fan for this power supply is to mount it on its side or upside down, but if you're mounting it right side up, a fan only increases power consumption and introduces dust.

    Even though a fan would keep the components cooler and thus reduce resistance, there is no heat generated anyhow. I've loaded this thing to 300w and still couldn't feel heat radiating from within.
    Reply
  • TrackSmart - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    True, but I can still see SetireN's point. The powersuppy itself will generate heat inside your computer case. Having a low-rpm exhaust fan would decrease that heat build-up, be virtually silent, and might allow the other fans inside your case to run at lower rpms. I'm guessing the powersupply might last longer, too, as it would probably stay cooler under load.

    Just my 2 cents.
    Reply
  • TrackSmart - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    It would be interesting if Martin could take a 'quiet' computer case (e.g. Antec Sonata or similar) and test to see how a fanless powersupply alters case temperatures and noise levels from other components in the system (e.g. GPU and CPU). Does having a fanless powersupply really lead to a quieter system overall, assuming that other components still have active cooling? Reply
  • dtolios - Saturday, April 21, 2012 - link

    The amount of energy consumption simple electric devices like fans and pumps introduce to cooling systems is so minimal in comparison to the material savings for similar efficiency, or the efficiency is so much higher, that semi-active systems (like most coolers other than don't evolve around phase change, compressors and peltiers) are very easy to value engineer in favor of.

    Are fans and pumps the only way? Certainly not.

    I would bet money tho that the same quality of components in this PSU would produce a way better overall output with the addition of a low-speed, 100% in-audible fun. We are talking 10s of times the energy "penalty" for the fun itself.
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    It's OK for people who want it really silent. However, putting a large, low rpm fan ito an efficient PSU generates almost negligible noise as well.. and is usually cheaper. It's also smart to turn that fan off completely at low and/or idle load, since there wouldn't be much heat to vent from the case anyway. Reply
  • kmmatney - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    I agree - it's always nice to have a silent fan that can provide a bit of cooling, just in case.

    What I do wish is that someone made a PSU where you can easily get to the fan, and either replace, lube it, or change the speed. I like to lubricate the PSU fans every few years (and sometimes solder in a new fan) its a pain. When I replace the PSU fan, I usually use a fan with a variable control speed, so I can control the noise.
    Reply
  • earthrace57 - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    I'm running an AX 750 with an i5 2500K @ 4.0 GHz and a GTX 560 Ti, and the fan barely ever turns on, even with prime95 and furmark running. Even when it does, it barely spins (so slow that I'm sort of curious if the air it is moving actually makes a difference). So IMHO, I think if you want a "silent" PSU, get an overpowered high-end PSU. Reply
  • mtoma - Saturday, April 21, 2012 - link

    I disagree: except for diminishing the cost in a PSU, the fan is useless. I ask all of you: do you even own a fanless PSU, since you say it's not necessary? Apart from IKeth (the second post), none of you seem to own a fanless PSU, so I bet you don't have a first hand experience with then. I also own a Seasonic 460W fanless, and today, after more than a year, it still impress me. No heat detectable, no electronic noise. Just a higher cost, which for some, is not that important. Seasonic's fanless models aren't perfect, to be sure (I wished I had 4 SATA connections per SATA cable, not 2 and 3, I wished they stop offering PATA connections, and to keep just one 6 pin connections), but they are pretty close to perfection. Reply
  • TrackSmart - Saturday, April 21, 2012 - link

    That's exactly it. Folks are wondering if such a unit is worth the cost (versus a traditional, quiet PSU) and whether the airflow provided by a virtually-silent fan would provide superior cooling under high loads. And what effect does the heat generated by the PSU, which doesn't have an exhaust fan, have on total system temperatures. For the sake of debate, that fan could be designed to only spin-up under loads where the PSU would generate a significant amount of heat. These are questions that techies want to know before plunking down extra cash for a fanless power supply.

    I'm glad to hear that your Seasonic is serving you well - and I appreciate hearing about your experiences, but a more controlled test would still be interesting to see if the value proposition holds up.
    Reply
  • mtoma - Sunday, April 22, 2012 - link

    Well, all I can say that the value proposition it's relative. For silent PC enthusiasts, it is well, well worth the extra cost. For the others, I say only that the Seasonic units don't accumulate heat (the temperatures are about the same as a HDD with 5400 rpm) and dust. Reply
  • Iketh - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    The efficiency results fit the platinum specification, no? What am I missing here? Reply
  • Martin Kaffei - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    It's quite close, but you need 90% @ 20% load and 115V and 92 % @ 50% load and 115V. The results for 230V are always higher, but 80Plus works with 115V input. Reply
  • popej - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    Basically fanless PSU doesn't make fanless PC. So why bother and pay more? Reply
  • mariush - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    It can be nearly inaudible.

    I've mounted an Accelero S1 rev 2 on my Radeon 4850, so it's completely silent.
    The power supply is a Seasonic X-650 which turns off the fan at below about 170 watts of usage.

    So all there's left is the CPU fan which is a low noise 120mm Zerocool fan and a low speed fan cooling down my 4 hard drives.

    This computer is obviously not suitable to be completely silent, due to the heat generated by the hard drives and the old processor (Intel Q6600).

    But, there are AMD and Intel processors that run with just a large heatsink (and even more models would run passively with a bit of downclocking) and if you use a SSD, you then have a completely passively cooled system.

    It's really not that hard to achieve that.... and once you do this, you'll be wondering how you lived for so much time with fans buzzing you constantly.
    I personally spotted the difference (or should i say improvement) caused by lowering the number of working fans in my computer.
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    I also have an Accelero S1 Rev2 on an HD4890. It can run passively cooled, but I still lashed up a 90 mm fan (with a resistor to reduce speed) just to get a little airflow and peace of mind. I bought several fan resistors years ago, and they allow you to get silence while using cheap fans.

    http://www.outletpc.com/nt5639.html?gclid=COiR-OHw...
    Reply
  • ZekkPacus - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    It's more than possible to do, though, and in that kind of system this kind of PSU is ideal. Graphics cards are available up to the HD6850 that are passively cooled, plenty of options between the 6570-6770 or the GT440 for nVidia. Any Sandy Bridge CPU 65W or less can be easily passively cooled, either with a Nofen heatsink or a large (Thermalright or Scythe) tower heatsink. Hell there's an i5-2500T (only available OEM, you're not SUPPOSED to be able to buy it retail but you could probably find somewhere that would sell it), quad core CPU with a 45W TDP. SSDs are silent in operation. A good case with enough venting (especially top venting), and the noisiest thing in it would be an optical drive.

    It's very tempting sometimes.
    Reply
  • Sivar - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    I wrote an (ad-free) article about a completely fanless system I built. The case was far less than ideal, but I've since used better cases. It's important to have a fan grill at the top to allow heat to passively rise but it is not required.
    I usually build fanless systems for reliability and low-maintenance (no dust), but I'd not attempt to build a fanless gaming PC. A Geforce 580 would require a heat exchanger the size of another computer case.

    Article:
    http://www.formortals.com/the-solid-state-pc/
    Reply
  • jwilliams4200 - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    NoFan, a Korean company, makes components and complete systems that are entirely fanless. For some reason their products are not sold in the US, but quietpc in the UK carries them:

    http://www.quietpc.com/manufacturers/nofan

    The CR95-C "Icepipe" cooler is interesting. It is bigger than the Thermalright HR-02 although less surface area, and seems to be quite a bit more open -- probably a good thing for natural convection cooling. Unfortunately it blocks the first PCIe slot of your motherboard, and it can interfere with the top of your case (I had to cut a bit of metal off the top of my Xigmatek Midgard II case in order to get it to fit)
    Reply
  • Sivar - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    Good link; I've never seen that unit, and I did a lot of searching once the HR-02 became difficult to find. Thanks! Reply
  • Pappnaas - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    but i found no information included about the size of the unit. Would be nice, if the dates could be added. Reply
  • ggathagan - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    From FSP's website:
    http://www.fspgroupusa.com/aurum-gold-500-au500/p/...
    5.90” (W) x 5.51” (D) x 3.38” (H)

    5.51" is 139.95mm
    Reply
  • ggathagan - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    My apologies, that was the fanned version.
    Looks like 160mm for this version

    http://www.fsplifestyle.com/product.php?LID=1&...

    Dimensions(L x W x H)mm: 160 x 150 x 86
    Reply
  • sgtpokey - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    What are the dimensions of the PSU 150mm long, 160mm long, or what? This is actually important for those of us with actual experience running fanless pc builds (fot HTPC's).

    Many fanless enclosures have non-standard formats and may have space restirctions when choosing a fanless psu. In my case the "long" PSU of >160mm will not fit in my case, 160mm would work but leaves me no wiggle room and i would prefer a "standard" size of 150mm.
    Reply
  • ggathagan - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    Call it 140mm Reply
  • ggathagan - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    Or call me stupid and call it 160mm Reply
  • KTGiang - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    My most recent computer component I bought was a fanless PSU. Specifically, it was a Kingwin STR-500 and I don't have a single regret on the purchase. I had no need for a new PSU but I wanted to change the PSU because the "silent" fan was still audible to my ears in a quiet setting. I love that manufacturers are creating more efficient and fanless power supplies for us consumers to choose
    from.

    The one positive side effect of having a single fan PC that I had not realized until recently was the fact that I had almost no dust in my tower after 5 months of heavy usage.

    As of right now, my current setup only has 1 Noctua 120mm fan mounted onto a massive Prolimatech cooler. It is on a fan controller that I only turn up when gaming. When idle, the 2 loudest things in my room are the HDD that I have in a removeable bay and the next loudest thing is the power current going through my monitor.

    Hints for making the quietest PC:
    What I found to be most useful in making a "silent" pc is a case that is well ventilated. The cases that are "silent" and are often laced with tons of "noise dampening foam" tend to hold in heat and don't go very well with fanless equipment. I had previously had the Hush from NZXT and I found that the PC ran about 5c warmer when the side panel was on. I am currently using the NZXT Vulcan which has never been touted as a "silent" case but I bought it and removed both of the included fans. Most of the case is covered in a mesh grill that allows for any heat to dissipate out. I had tried to go completely fanless but it wasn't practical when gaming. As my GTS450 is fanless, there would be absolutely no airflow. The solution was to add a single Noctua fan between the GPU and the CPU to have a "push" of air straight up and out of the case. The main OS is on a SSD to eliminate any vibration noise that may come from the HDD. The storage HDD is on a removeable HDD tray so it can be easily disabled when not needed.

    If anyone knows of a quieter fan that has quite a bit of CFM feel free to recommend it. I'd like to find a quieter option if they're available.
    Reply
  • jwilliams4200 - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    I don't know of any fans that are significantly quieter than the Noctua.

    But I thought you might be interested in a HDD silencer that I have tried, the Smart Drive Neo. It is expensive, but it silences your HDD and keeps it cool. It mounts a 3.5" HDD in a 5.25" bay.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/hdd-noise-sile...
    Reply
  • Iketh - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    DONT CLICK THE LINK

    Please ban this a$$hole.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    Done! Hint: putting in links (even redirected links) to a site that sells something will get your account banned, ScottKPickering. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    I should clarify: sites with referral codes so that you get money from any purchases are clearly spam and will be treated as such. If you link to Newegg for a relevant product and your post has a reason for the link, I'm not going to ban you. But if you have a referral code in there, beware! Reply
  • Iketh - Saturday, April 21, 2012 - link

    pwned Reply
  • mtoma - Saturday, April 21, 2012 - link

    Mr. Kaffei said: "The AU-500FL has four PCIe connectors—quite nice for a passively cooled PSU".
    Why should this be a good thing? Who puts 2, 3 or 4 video cards in a system with a passive unit? I'm sure that no one, at least of all the targeted market of this unit. I see other manufacturers make similar moves: Seasonic puts two 6 pin connections in his 460W fanless models. I don't see why?
    Perhaps someone care to clarify?
    Reply
  • Iketh - Saturday, April 21, 2012 - link

    I'm using both 6 pin connections from my seasonic 460w for a 6870... I may not understand your post.

    My system pulls 220w with prime95 running while playing a game (2600k and 6870) using a mild 3.8ghz overclock. I could throw another 6870 in there and still have 140w of headroom.
    Reply
  • mtoma - Saturday, April 21, 2012 - link

    What I meant was that who uses a powerful video card does not target absolute silence in a computer and I presume the target market of a such power supply is aiming absolute silence. Otherwise, (like you case) you may be better off with a more powerful PSU, in the same money you buy a Seasonic 460W fanless. Reply
  • Iketh - Saturday, April 21, 2012 - link

    That's entirely an incorrect assumption. I do work with my "gaming" rig, and need it as quiet as possible.

    And I would only increase my power consumption if I went with a more powerful p/s because of efficiencies at certain loads. Most of it would be wasted!
    Reply
  • Martin Kaffei - Saturday, April 21, 2012 - link

    "Who puts 2, 3 or 4 video cards in a system with a passive unit?"
    Under certain conditions a fanless PSU can be useful. This PSU has high output reserves and is able to power most SLI and CrossFire setups. Please take a look at the following link:

    http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/grafikkarten/20...

    The hole PC with two GTX 680 needs 432W from power grid. The Seasonic X-Series X-660 in this PC has about 90% efficiency so the DC load is just 388.8W and far below the power rating of this PSU. Image the value setups with cheaper GPUs have. Of course cooling will be a problem and GPUs are usually louder than common PSUs, but some users might be interested in using water cooling for their graphics cards. It's a small target group but they would be quite unhappy without these solutions.

    In addition there are more than enough single-chip GPUs with two 6-pin connectors, so two plugs are the minimum for a 400-500W PSU. Another good reason for fanless PSU is that fans are the only moving part in a PSU and very sensitive. Lifetime can be much longer without a fan when installing more powerful components.

    Btw. you don't need to use my last name, Martin is enough.
    Reply
  • Pappnaas - Sunday, April 22, 2012 - link

    To support Martin's comment:

    From a silencers point of view it even might be worth a try to team up two passivly cooled cards, even if the number of suited modells may be small.

    You might disagree, but that doesn't necessaryly mean your point of view represents all views.
    Reply
  • szimm - Sunday, April 22, 2012 - link

    Why the arrow-shaped ventilation holes...? Well, I guess it looks fancy depending on your tastes, but it seems like they would have gotten better airflow out of it by by not making the holes that shape. And isn't that the whole point? Maybe they are hoping the hot air will see the arrows and move out of the case... Reply
  • bryanl - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    Could you explain this statement in the review?

    "The overall design definelty looks like a Seasonic X-460FL with different caps and no line filtering stage."

    Because I see a line filter in the lower right of the large photo of the interior, attached to the AC socket. If it's not such a filter, what are the differential choke, 2 small disk Y capacitors, and yellow X capacitor?
    Reply
  • Snet0987 - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Seasonic SS-400FL (06.2010 ~ 10.2010)
    FSP    AU-500FL  (11.2011 ~ 04.2012)

    Seasonic SS-400FL
    http://goo.gl/tr5US
      ↓
    FSP  AU-500FL
    http://goo.gl/M11z2

    Seasonic SS-400FL
    http://goo.gl/d2J7i
      ↓
    FSP  AU-500FL
    http://goo.gl/kvvEY

    Seasonic SS-400FL
    http://goo.gl/wkQRM
      ↓
    FSP  AU-500FL
    http://goo.gl/6ma3Q

    Seasonic SS-400FL
    http://goo.gl/I3c5w
      ↓
    FSP  AU-500FL
    http://goo.gl/H2qqY
    Reply

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