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

  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    That is a heck of a lot of work for this article and we appreciate it immensely! Between this article and the upcoming mid-range builders guide (I'm begging...please get it out asap) you have reaffirmed for me this is the #1 site.

    Thanks again.
  • TheDoc9 - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    The breakdown of the cable connectors and the build quality descriptions were helpful. The power noise charts look useful as well. Reply
  • mino - Monday, January 12, 2009 - link

    Copy that, one of the best PSU roundups around. Reply
  • magreen - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    We definitely appreciate the roundup. It addresses our needs as consumers. I wish you'd add more info about the Antec Earthwatts 430 though... it's one of the most popular PSUs on the forums here and always shows up for cheap in the hot deals section, often bundled with an Antec case. Wish you'd give us more details on its efficiency, ripple, and your overall take. I don't think you actually said anything about its performance at all. Thanks! Reply
  • OddJensen - Monday, January 5, 2009 - link

    Isn't there a Delta made version of the 430 as well? Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Monday, January 5, 2009 - link

    Yes which we didn't have. Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link">

    Here's the original review from a year ago. Even though I didn't mention it in the conclusion I think you have a great comparison with the respective graphics towards the end. :)
  • donjuancarlos - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    Thanks for this article. I am one of those who does modest OCing and no SLI, and this article was pertinent for me. Reply
  • eetnoyer - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    No temperatures at load? I would think that temps at 100% load for each unit shouldn't be too much. Just as a worst-case thing. Reply

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