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
POST A COMMENT

39 Comments

View All Comments

  • Origo - Monday, January 12, 2009 - link

    How can Silverstone Element ST40EF 400W get so good score on quietness and efficiency compared to Silverstone Element Plus ST50EF-Plus 500W?
    This (SPCR) review says Silverstone Element Plus ST50EF-Plus not that quiet or efficient:
    [url]http://www.silentpcreview.com/article670-page1.htm...[/url]
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, January 07, 2009 - link

    Could you comment on this PSU? I know you have a 500 and 550w article coming up but an incredible deal ($25 after rebate) came up on this PSU and I'll snatch it up for my build if it's good.

    Thanks.
    Reply
  • Markstar - Wednesday, January 07, 2009 - link

    As usual, thank you for your interesting review and the effort you surely put into it!

    Greetz from P3D!
    Reply
  • yehuda - Sunday, January 04, 2009 - link

    This is the kind of article I like to keep in my favorites and refer people to. Reply
  • Noya - Saturday, January 03, 2009 - link

    I skimmed through, but I didn't see what type of set-ups you'd recommend for this class of PSU.

    So, I'll post what I'm using with a Corsair vx450:
    Q8200 @ 3.3ghz (475x7)
    8gb Ballistix DDR2-800 cas4 @ 475mhz (4x2gb)
    Evga 9800gtx (stock clocked for now)
    Gigabyte P-45 UD3P
    3 x 7200rpm sata disks
    2 x DVD/RW
    3 x 120mm fans

    It's been running fine for almost a month now (thanks MS for the 30% eBay cashback lol). I previously used this vx450 in my first build (s939 Opteron/7600gt).
    Reply
  • OddJensen - Monday, January 05, 2009 - link

    The VX450 is a pretty good PSU and under optimal conditions you can probably draw more than the max. rated wattage (450W @ 50C ambient). Though personally I like to go with a bit more headroom taking future upgrades into consideration. Reply
  • kenyee - Friday, January 02, 2009 - link

    That's another way to group the power supplies.
    That's one reason I still use Enermax Liberty power supplies...they're a nice small size for HTPC's and the modular connectors are important when there isn't much space. Using this affects power efficiency which is probably why the highest efficiency ones don't use them...
    Reply
  • proci - Thursday, January 01, 2009 - link

    its a very nice test, i like it. i miss some words from the ripple side, they could be useful to those, who don't want to analyze so many graphs.

    i have an FSP 500 GLN60 (active pfc, smooth oemgrey color:D), i wanted a BS2, but the two seems to be identical to me (ok, it only has one 6pin connector). and i'm out of connectors (6molex, 4sata... with 7 HDDs/opticals, 2 fan controllers and only one video card). so having many connectors is a good thing, although you can buy molex duplicators (only downside is they cost money). and its still more than enough to power my system (q6600@3.0, hd3870, lots of vents, hdds...).

    and most of the computers are fine with just 200-300W. its a shame, that there aren't that many good PSUs on the low edge, because having a monster of PSU means you will have bad efficiency in idle with most of the computers. ofc you can build a computer, which eats up 1000W, but besides skulltrail its hard, and mostly needs enthusiast end water cooling/compressor for cooling purposes.

    and having a good PSU is like having good safety in your car: you only notice it when it fails, but then it is already too late. and buying a noname PSU means that you playing russian roulette all the time...
    Reply
  • Martin84a - Thursday, January 01, 2009 - link

    I find it weird people keep recommending Sea Sonic. I'm currently loojing for a new PSU in the 500-600watt range. I remember toms 24 hour PSU stress test, where Enermax, Zalman, Cooler Master and Silverstone where the last remaining, while Seasonic had failed with the rest.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/de/stresstest-netzteil...">http://www.tomshardware.com/de/stresste...etzteile...
    I just read Hardocps Seasonic S12II-500 watt psu review, and the transient load test showed awful results.
    http://hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTM2NCw3LCxoZW...">http://hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTM2NCw3LCxoZW...
    Think computer showed a lot of undervoltage ripple too, and on the 12v a lot of switching between overvoltage and undervoltage. That doesnt look good.
    http://www.thinkcomputers.org/index.php?x=reviews&...">http://www.thinkcomputers.org/index.php?x=reviews&...
    And i have read about the DOA Seasonics too, and the ones failing after some time...
    Seasonic also only provide 3 years of limited warrenty here like many other places, while a brand like Cooler master give 5 years, just like Corsair.

    Just makes you wonder.
    I think i'll go with an Enermax modu+ or pro+ this time..still not sure though.
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Sunday, January 04, 2009 - link

    Hmmm... your first link is to the german side of Tom's, and while we can make out perhaps the SeaSonic PS failed, searching the English side for the same article does not yield a proper counterpart, and the article that comes close to it, is not even finished and broken. What does that say about Tom's Hardware?

    Your second link does show some iffy parts, but overall, they recommend the power supply and dismiss the transient load results as not important. Btw, you think a computer motherboard is going to fry because the 12v line varies 0.2v? 4.92 volts is bad? Those voltages can vary 10% on the 12v line and 5% on the others and meet Intel's ATX spec. Welcome to the real world of imperfection.

    Three years vs 5 years, so what? My FSP power supply in the thrid computer I've built in 2001 still runs fine, and it came with only a 1 year distributor warranty. In fact, only 1 out of 10+ FSP power supplies died, and it probably died because the power strip blew.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now