Introduction

Are you tired of reading reviews of high output power supply units? It's true that 99% of personal computers out there do not require something capable of outputting more than 500-550 Watts, and even that may be overkill for quite a few people. Even though high output units are often the most interesting in terms of the technologies being used and their potential audience is very demanding, we understand that the bulk of any company's revenue comes from the low-budget and mainstream units.

Today we have something different for you, as we are going to look at the Silverstone Nightjar 520W power supply, a PSU with a moderate power output but a very distinct feature: it's completely fanless. Fanless PSUs are not a new idea, with models appearing as early as the 90's, but the early models still had to rely on massive heatsinks, usually in conjunction with heatpipes -- sometimes even using their entire body as a heatsink as well. This obviously gave them a fair share of disadvantages and increased their cost significantly. The Silverstone Nightjar 520W retails for about $139.99 including shipping (after rebate), a steep price for a 520W unit, even for an 80Plus Platinum certified model. The price is obviously due in large part to its fanless nature. Does it perform well enough to justify such a price? We will find out in this review.

Power specifications (Rated @ 40 °C)
AC INPUT 100 - 240 VAC, 50 - 60 Hz
RAIL +3.3V +5V +12V +5Vsb -12V
MAX OUTPUT 20A 20A 43A 2.5A 0.5A
100W 516W 12.5W 6W
TOTAL 520W

Packaging and bundle

We received the NightJar NJ520 inside a standard cardboard box with a somewhat understated and straightforward aesthetic design, with the unit's major features printed on the front side of the box in English and on the rear side of the box in nine other languages. Inside the box, the PSU is protected by polyethylene foam pieces.

Alongside with the unit, the user will also receive a black and white manual, an AC power cable, a few cable straps, and five high quality Velcro cable ties.

The NJ520 is a fully modular power supply. Its cables come supplied inside a dual nylon pouch and they are all black. Silverstone went with ribbon-like, "flat" cables, with the exception of the 24-pin ATX cable, which is comprised of only black wires covered by black sleeving.

The SilverStone Nightjar NJ520 PSU
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  • Cygni - Tuesday, July 08, 2014 - link

    The more fanless/silent part reviews, the better. Maybe I'm just old now, but I refuse to have a big leaf blower of a computer in every room anymore, even for my gaming computer. It's 2014!

    Really interested in this part. Think it will go well with my new low heat gaming build. More silent/quiet reviews please!
    Reply
  • Spoogie - Tuesday, July 08, 2014 - link

    Not really sure I'd buy this over the Kingwin. I have the 1k version of the Kingwin and it's truly silent with no elec noise at all and a 5 year warranty.

    http://www.silentpcreview.com/Kingwin_Lazer_Platin...
    Reply
  • johnny_boy - Tuesday, July 08, 2014 - link

    Why don't they build "dual PSUs" that combines a low wattage psu (max 10W) with a higher wattage psu such that it switches to the low one when the computer is in standby and switches back to the higher wattage one when powered up. A standard desktop PSU must be massively ineffecient when powering a computer on standby. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, July 08, 2014 - link

    I think VStandby is on a separate circuit; JonhyGuru does test it. Looking a pair of recent reviews, one that was slammed as the worst they'd seen in a long time was only ~70% efficient; but that's still only a few watts of wastage even at max load. And while I've never measured it, I'd expect standby power to be at the low end of the draw range except when you hit the power button and trigger the first part of the resume sequence or if you have and are using USB charging from an otherwise offline system. Reply
  • E.Fyll - Wednesday, July 09, 2014 - link

    Because that would either increase the cost of the unit dramatically or result to a less efficient configuration. Besides, the difference between the least efficient and the most efficient PSU at standby is just a few cents per annum from an economic point of view. Improving the efficiency of the PSU at such low a load has zero actual purpose, therefore the companies are sticking to meeting the base guidelines rather than wasting resources and increasing the cost of their products to do that. Reply
  • lucyfek - Tuesday, July 08, 2014 - link

    Does the fanless PSU really matter (besides for the pricetag)?
    Once you realize that decent PSU with 120mm slow fan is barely audible (definitely quieter than average CPU or GPU). Besides that you'll need to evacuate the heat out of the case somehow.
    I did have 2 fanless PSU back in the day. Was my PC really quiet because of that - nope.
    Reply
  • mapesdhs - Wednesday, July 09, 2014 - link


    See my earlier post for a longer suitable reply, but basically, supposedly quiet PSUs
    are usually not at all quiet, hybrid PSUs are poor quality, and heat rises. The PSU
    I bought had a big label & notice inside making it very clear how it should be used
    to ensure proper natural convective airflow.

    Ian.
    Reply
  • houkoholic - Wednesday, July 09, 2014 - link

    The usual good silent case with the right padding are also big. My last two silent cases were the famed Antec P180/182. Sure they were silent but they were nearly full tower size huge, I simply have no need for so much space in my current lifestyle when all I need in my build that isn't already on the motherboard is nothing more than a SSD, a single data storage HDD and one GPU.

    Recently I build a small micro-ITX build using the Antec ISK600 case, the shell of that case is just thin aluminium with no sound proofing unlike the P180s. So I put in a fanless PSU in there, threw out the Intel cooler for a Noctua tower cooler which runs a 120mm fan, the included case fan was good enough to be near silent thus my only component which makes any sort of whirling noise now is the the GPU stock cooler. In the end my build is silent and its footprint is small enough that I can put it on a bookshelf right next to my ears yet it is powerful enough for gaming. My total fan count in the build is 3 instead of 4, and one less fan is still one less component to worry about contributing to noise.
    Reply
  • houkoholic - Wednesday, July 09, 2014 - link

    One less part contributing to the noise can still factor in. Any fan could be victum to dust and wear which causes it to start making noise (happened to me a few times with PSU). If I have to pay for the privelage such that I don't have to clean my PSU fan as well, so be it, and that already has a point for its existence - and I suspect that there are enough people out there thinking the same to justify the existence of such products. Reply
  • dishayu - Wednesday, July 09, 2014 - link

    This will go really well with my reference design R9 290. :D Reply

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