PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 400Wby Martin Kaffei on May 19, 2012 2:05 PM EST
The Silencer Mk III 400W leaves a great impression when it comes to external appearance and electronics. The performance isn't bad, but it does not have anything to do with silence when it comes to high loads. The build quality is very good as always, but the crossload performance is mediocre.
All necessary parts are included in the package. You get the usual set of accessories (a power cord, a few screws, and so forth) and some additional extras such as cable ties. The 5-year warranty from PC Power & Cooling is also welcome. The Silencer Mk III provides one 6/8-pin PCIe connector and 10 peripheral plugs on four cables. Additionally, you get a 4+4-pin CPU connector and a 55cm long 24-pin cable. The cable lengths are generally adequate and longer than many lower wattage PSUs. Moreover the cable sleeving is quiet good for a PC Power & Cooling product.
Internally, the PSU has a small main PCB that would work fine in a smaller housing. PC Power & Cooling only uses Japanese capacitors as promised. The main cap is an expensive type with an average endurance at 105°C. Beyond that the manufacturer used 105°C capacitors on the secondary side that provide a low ESR. Transient filtering is well equipped and there's a MOV as an overvoltage protection. The ICs have all important safety functions. Overall, the component selection and build quality make this a good middle class offering.
What you get for your $69.99 is a good PSU for midrange systems that won't be heavily overclocked or run multiple GPUs—you can still do a fair amount of overclocking if you're so inclined, though that flies in the face of being green I dare say. The cable lengths are suitable for mid-tower and smaller cases, there are sufficient connectors for the target market, and overall build quality, voltage regulation, and efficiency are very good.
Pricing ends up being the big selling point here, especially when we consider the original Seasonic versions cost more. At Newegg they don't even sell an affordable 400W PSU with modular cables. Only Antec a is potential competitor as they offer modular PSUs at the same price. In fact, the HCG-400M uses the same design, so there is no clear winner in that comparison. One reason to prefer Antec is the fact that they provide two connectors for graphics cards. FSP sells a PSU called Aurum 400W ($74.99) which is an inexpensive 80Plus Gold model. Only fan noise is a problem FSP still has to deal with. Finally we can recommend Antec and PC Power & Cooling, if you are interested in modular PSUs and FSP, if you want to get Gold on the cheap.