Acoustic Noise Comparison

Our acoustic chart shows four different levels; the first one represents 10% load, the second 20% load, the third 50% load, and the fourth 100% load. We know most of our readers like to see more information in the first half of loading, which is why we chose to show these three levels of loading. Unfortunately, we cannot provide comparisons at specific loads each (i.e. 100W) because in a chart like this with 20 power supplies it becomes confusing and senseless. The color differences indicate relative noise levels: light green means barely audible, darker green will not be audible once the power supply is inside of a chassis along with normal graphics card and CPU coolers, and red means the noise is clearly audible -- in our chart this is from 25dB(A) onwards. The more green a power supply has, the less audible. We use percentages to compare the power supplies which is necessary since most units have a different power output. Loading charts like we use to include in separated reviews makes it impossible to compare many units in one graphic.

Of course, we need to mention at this point again that a quiet power supply will not cool well with higher loadings and ambient temperatures. Noisier power supplies typically mean better cooling for the components. You need to decide for yourself what the most important factor is, but since most people choose PSUs that are far larger than necessary they will not reach anything near the full load results.

Quiet units are quickly visible. First we have the brand new Cooler Master power supplies, then the Corsair VX450W, HEC, the Silencers, Seasonic's S12II, the Silverstone Element, and Tagan's SuperRock. From these very quiet units, both Enhance built power supplies (Silverstone Element and Tagan SuperRock) stick out from the masses. Both are less than 20dB(A) acoustic noise at all times and are therefore "silent" -- or at least close enough that it shouldn't matter.

Thermaltake TR2 QFan 400W - Performance Efficiency Comparison


View All Comments

  • Christoph Katzer - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    We cannot run after every brand there is and if those companies don't come to us... there are surely many more missing but we can only test products from companies that are actually interested in us testing their stuff. We had an Akasa unit before though... Reply
  • boboko - Sunday, January 4, 2009 - link

    >"We cannot run after every brand there is and if those companies don't come to us..."

    I guess that is the problem with almost all review sites. And the worst thing is not that you skip the smaller guys, but that what you are reviewing is not off the shelf, it's sent to you buy a company that wants a good review. So even if they have rotten quality control, and half their stuff is DOA, you know the one they send you has been triple checked and fine tuned. Not your fault, but to me the reliability is MUCH more important than a few extra watts or a few less decibels, and there's just no way to get good data on that.
  • Griswold - Wednesday, January 7, 2009 - link

    If you read the reviews here, you'd know that this assumption is false in general. AT has had junk on their bench on more than one occassion - if every supplier would do what you claim, all reviews would take place in happy bunny land where everything is dandy and no negative notion is possible. But thats not the case.

    Surely there will be those who go the extra mile to make their product look better than it is off the shelf, but you just cant hide every trace of incompetence and bad quality.

    Much like we cant expect a review site buy every piece of hardware to test it and hope they can re-sell it without a loss.
  • marc1000 - Thursday, January 1, 2009 - link

    wow, I know it was said before, but you guys really do listen to us. that's the reason I come here everyday to know the news! keep up the good job at 2009! regards! Reply
  • C'DaleRider - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    I'm just curious why the "old" version of the Antec Earthwatts 430 was dug out and retested since Seasonic is no longer the OEM for it but now has Delta as the OEM supplier and has been for many months now.

    Seems it'd be only fitting that the "new" version would be tested instead of a version no longer being made or sold, except as NOS (new old stock).
  • Christoph Katzer - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    If only "someone" could send it to us :] I will make sure to get new revision on time, you're totally right. Reply
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    What were those bad things happening to the SII Seasonic PS? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    I believe Christoph is just saying that he's received an increase number of email messages from people saying that their Seasonic PSUs have failed. It's anecdotal at best, and it could just be a case of more people buying their PSUs and thus a small fraction that fails can still result in more complaints than before. Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    Yes ;)
    There was a revision in the beginning that had problems with certain motherboards somehow, something to do with the "power good" signal. They've upgraded the series long time ago though.
  • Lonyo - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    I'd just ordered some new parts, including a CX400 about 30 minutes before I saw this article come up.
    Nice to see that my choice seems fairly solid.

    I'm sure this article will be relevant for other people as well.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now