Cold Test Results

For the testing of PSUs, we are using high precision electronic loads with a maximum power draw of 2700 Watts, a Rigol DS5042M  40 MHz oscilloscope, an Extech 380803 power analyzer, two high precision UNI-T UT-325 digital thermometers, an Extech HD600 SPL meter, a self-designed hotbox and various other bits and parts. For a thorough explanation of our testing methodology and more details on our equipment, please refer to our How We Test PSUs - 2014 Pipeline post.

The energy conversion efficiency of the SilverStone FX500 meets the 80Plus Gold certification requirements when powered from a 115 VAC outlet. But it fails to meet those requirements  when powered from a 230 VAC source, if only by a hair. The efficiency of the PSU plummets as the load decreases below 30 Watts, reaching 74% with a load of 25 Watts. In terms of efficiency, the FX500 does not seem to differ significantly from most 80Plus Gold certified ATX PSUs.

As expected due to its dimensions, the FX500 runs notably hotter than most ATX PSUs, even when compared to power supplies with outputs far greater than 500 Watts. Even though the tiny 40 mm is trying hard to keep the FX500 cool, the internal temperature of the unit surpasses 60°C. To be sure, these figures are not nearly high enough to be dangerous for the longevity of the unit but they are high enough to push the small fan to operate at very high speeds in order to cope with the thermal losses of the unit.

In terms of noise, the small 40 mm fan practically is a nightmare for anyone used to working with typical PCs. The small fan outputs 44.6 dB(A) worth of sound pressure while the PSU is running at a near-idle, and it surpasses 52 dB(A) under a maximum load. For comparison, a small hand-held vacuum cleaner outputs about 45 dB(A).

Introduction, Examining Inside & Out Hot Test Results
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  • Spunjji - Friday, November 13, 2020 - link

    Yes, my personal experience from messing with Noctua 40mm fans is that they won't move very much air at all when running at reasonable noise levels.

    That said - it might still be manageable in a situation where the user can guarantee the load will remain at 60% or below in a chassis that is otherwise reasonably well ventilated and/or where the PSU is thermally isolated.
    Reply
  • Reflex - Thursday, November 12, 2020 - link

    This one supposedly has a silent fan mod, I'd love to see someone look into it: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N4IGM0O/ Reply
  • zodiacfml - Friday, November 13, 2020 - link

    god, the price! Reply
  • edzieba - Friday, November 13, 2020 - link

    The key for low noise in SFF is to eliminate as many fans as possible. Rather than peppering 40mm and 80mm fans on top of individual components, use a single 140mm (or at least 120mm) fan and duct airflow to individual components. Same total airflow volume, less noise. While in theory that means you fan now has to spin up if /any/ component demands a higher fan speed, it's still better to have a 140mm go from dead-slow to kinda-slow-ish than to have 3 idling 40mm screamers and one 40mm going hell-for-leather. Reply
  • dotes12 - Friday, November 13, 2020 - link

    They should have designed this around a centrifugal blower fan, instead of an axial 40mm. They can move a lot of air at low dBs. Reply
  • pvdw - Saturday, November 14, 2020 - link

    Good article, but please can stop using the word simplistic when you mean simple, it's a negative word.

    See, e.g.: ://www.thoughtco.com/simple-and-simplistic-1689612
    Reply
  • linuxgeex - Thursday, November 19, 2020 - link

    What's the power factor like? For commercial use that's a significant concern because utilities charge more per kWh for loads with a poor power factor. Reply
  • qwertymac93 - Thursday, November 19, 2020 - link

    The Silverstone has active power factor correction so power factor is likely very close to 1. Reply
  • qwertymac93 - Thursday, November 19, 2020 - link

    I wonder what sticking an 80mm fan onto the internal vents with double-sided tape would do to the thermals. Perhaps it'd help just enough to use a resistor to drop the 40mm fan's RPM a bit and reduce noise. Reply
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