Introduction

Silverstone is a familiar name in our PSU testing facilities, and today we will be looking at the fifth power supply from Silverstone. It is also the second fanless power supply we've reviewed, following the Amacrox Calmer 560. Silverstone has left a consistently good impression with high quality and very good results, and the 700W Decathlon was especially impressive with its near-silent performance. Obviously, we're going to get true silence today since the Nightjar doesn't have a fan. The cooling is done with high efficiency large heatsink sitting on top of the power supply. The market for these power supplies is somewhat limited, since airflow is vital to modern PC systems. Using a power supply that doesn't contribute at all to system cooling - and in fact can do the exact opposite - typically causes issues with temperatures.




To avoid more serious cooling problems, fanless power supplies are generally limited to lower power ratings, such as the 450W model we're reviewing today. This also makes sense considering any system with need for more power will have high-end graphics cards and processors that run noisy fans. The usefulness of a fanless power supply is thus very limited, or at best it's a way to reduce (but not fully eliminate) noise. The market where they make the most sense is for HTPCs. They need to run as quietly as possible since they are in the same room where you want to watch your favorite movies. They also don't need a ton of power (usually) since most of the components are relatively low power - all you need is a moderate CPU and a GPU with H.264 decoding support (which you can now get with certain IGPs). We already tested a fanless power supplies with a peak output of 560W, but 400W will be just fine for all but the most demanding HTPCs. (Ed: So Anand's monster with 20TB of storage or whatever doesn't qualify?)


The label indicates a peak output of 450W, which as mentioned should be the maximum this sort of power supply needs to offer. We also find an intelligent setup within the lower voltage rails. The 3.3V and 5V rails are rated at only 22A for the 3.3V rail and 15A for the 5V rail. Together they can still supply 130W, which is sufficient for modern systems. The single 12V rail is rated at 35A, which makes us wonder if anyone cares about ATX safety regulations.

Packaging and Appearance
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  • JonnyDough - Tuesday, August 26, 2008 - link

    See subject.

    Why do I want them to sell well?

    Because more sales of high quality components = lower cost on great components due to economies of scale = better PSUs for everyone.
    Reply
  • MLTodd - Monday, August 25, 2008 - link

    The power supply looks great, but nightjar is another name for chamber pot, something that you urinate in at night in order to avoid the long cold walk to the outhouse. What was the marketing department thinking??? Reply
  • aos007 - Saturday, September 06, 2008 - link

    That was the first thing I thought about as well (chamber pot), and English even isn't my first language. On the other hand I have certainly never heard of a bird named Nightjar nor would I think a bird name is appropriate for a PSU anyway. Not sure why would anyone think only "history buffs" would know this. Does anyone read or go to museums any more? I thought schools are supposed to have mandatory reading materials to make you read classics and have school trips to learn about history. Do they teach anything in school these days? Reply
  • AmberClad - Monday, August 25, 2008 - link

    Looking at Wikipedia, it's apparently a type of bird too. Which I didn't know until now -- I've always understood it to mean "chamberpot" as well. Surprisingly, Wiki doesn't have that definition...

    Being a Taiwanese company, one would assume that they're not familiar with the unsavory alternate meaning of the word.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, August 25, 2008 - link

    When was the last time anyone who might be considering one of these used an outhouse, a chamberpot, or a nightjar? Other than history buffs, don't think many would know it isn't a bird or just a made up name. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, August 25, 2008 - link

    I actually thought it was a term for a chamber pot as well, but it seems very few places on the web still list that meaning. I was happy to know that there's a bird called a Nightjar, as that sort of makes the name sensible (inasmuch as naming a PSU after a bird can make sense). Reply
  • AmberClad - Monday, August 25, 2008 - link

    Aha, so I'm far from the only person who immediately thought of a chamber pot when I saw that name. I actually went and Googled the term "night jar" too, and I was also surprised at the relatively few references to it being a piss pot (there were some though, so at least I knew I wasn't going crazy).

    Btw, have you guys mentioned this to the Silverstone people? I'm not sticking a nightjar into my case. Everytime I see that product name, I get unpleasant mental images that I can't get out of my head.
    Reply
  • nubie - Monday, August 25, 2008 - link

    I don't think it matters. Look at Nintendo and their "Wii Play" ads, if creepy men bringing their "Wii" over to play with your family doesn't hurt sales how will the merest hint of urine hurt a product practically no-one will notice? Reply
  • JonnyDough - Tuesday, August 26, 2008 - link

    All the above comments make me wish AnandTech had a rating system on the comments. However, I've found that on sites like Tom's Hardware, the "authors" who never seem to preread their "work" (copying) before posting seem to rate each other up. Then they downrate anyone who opposes them. So I guess it's better if I just sit here and smile and agree in silence. Oops, I've said too much. Reply
  • emboss - Monday, August 25, 2008 - link

    You're running the scope way too fast. The switching speeds of most modern PSUs is around 100 KHz, which means you want a timebase of ~10 us, give or take. At 40 ns, you're not going to see anything below a MHz or so, which is almost certainly going to be noise coming from outside the PSU (as opposed to PSU ripple). Also, if you're using AC coupling, make sure the cutoff frequency is well below the 100 KHz mark. One of the scopes I work with has a 250 KHz cutoff (-3 dB) when in AC coupling mode, which would hide any 100 KHz ripple.

    The main periodic signal in the traces you have is in the order of 100 MHz, and there's no way that's coming from inside the PSU.

    Apart from that, good article :)
    Reply

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