Silent Running: Two Fanless Power Supplies And A Quiet One, Tested

Measurements: Seasonic X-460

Efficiency, According to the 80 PLUS Specification

Efficiency Across the Power Spectrum

Seasonic's X-460 is not the first model in the company's X-series that we've reviewed. As with the previously-tested models, everything we encountered we liked. The power supply exceeds all of the 80 PLUS Gold requirements. Even subjected to low loads, its efficiency is quite good (though it falls short of be quiet!'s Straight Power E9 CM 480 W).

The X-460’s ripple and noise results are among the best we have ever seen. In all other disciplines, this Seasonic unit performs as expected, just like a good power supply should.

Before discussing our thermal measurements, we want to describe how we take temperatures from a fanless supply. Because there is no active cooler, there is no exhaust air. Thus, we take our results close to, but not in contact with, the top of the power supply enclosure. With an ambient air temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature near the X-460 was 118 degrees Fahrenheit. That's a difference of 54 degrees.

A Peek at the PCB

We expected the interior of a fanless power supply to be crammed with heat sinks. But the Seasonic X-460’s interior is not overloaded with heat sinks at all. Yes, there are more than you'd find in an actively-cooled model, and the MOSFETs in particular are bolted to massive aluminum blocks. Overall, the interior looks organized and neat. The fact that there are almost no wires soldered into the PCB makes it appear even neater. And as we've come to expect from Seasonic, the soldering quality is very good.

Seasonic uses premium brand components from Japan. All electrolytic capacitors are sourced from Nippon Chemikon; most of them are polymer aluminum. The MOSFETs are premium Infineon models. No corners are cut in the electronic circuitry. The input filter circuitry is top-notch, and heat shrink tubes protect what would otherwise be bare cabling. Overall, the manufacturing quality is impeccable.

Fanless at its best. We can’t think of any other phrase that so succinctly and accurately summarizes our impression of the Seasonic X-460. The power supply sports excellent efficiency, performs reliably and accurately, and it is also perfectly silent. A peek inside shows its high manufacturing quality. Taking all of this into account, we think the street price of $130 is reasonable indeed.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
41 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • s3anister
    zeratul600Why does americans are so picky about the noise rate??? i never stop to think about that! it has never become an obstacle to enjoy my pc experience

    Last time I checked, Americans aren't the only ones who enjoy a silent computing experience...
    21
  • amuffin
    zeratul600Why does americans are so picky about the noise rate??? i never stop to think about that! it has never become an obstacle to enjoy my pc experience

    Many companies that are focused on silence such as Noctua and beQuiet! are not "American."
    18
  • Other Comments
  • amuffin
    Seasonic, me gusta :)
    4
  • zeratul600
    Why does americans are so picky about the noise rate??? i never stop to think about that! it has never become an obstacle to enjoy my pc experience
    -27
  • the1kingbob
    Fan noise has never bothered me much, which maybe why I own two 4870s... one of which has a jet plane I mean reference cooler on it..... sadly my wife doesn't care much for the noise, which lead me to buy her wireless headphones :)

    I think it is quite neat that they have fanless option. I would never take the risk, but if I did I would chose seasonic, my 750W has done me well.
    7
  • s3anister
    zeratul600Why does americans are so picky about the noise rate??? i never stop to think about that! it has never become an obstacle to enjoy my pc experience

    Last time I checked, Americans aren't the only ones who enjoy a silent computing experience...
    21
  • amuffin
    zeratul600Why does americans are so picky about the noise rate??? i never stop to think about that! it has never become an obstacle to enjoy my pc experience

    Many companies that are focused on silence such as Noctua and beQuiet! are not "American."
    18
  • Deemo13
    I didn't know they made fanless power supplies....cool beans.
    1
  • uruquiora
    Seasonic for the win :)
    5
  • mesab66
    ZERTUL600......FOR THE VAST MAJORITY OF FOLKS, PERSISTANT/RELENTLESS NOISE QUICKLY BECOMES VERY ANNOYING!!..........give 100 folk a choice of 2 pc rooms - one near silent and one, noisy as hell. Riddle me this....how many go for the quiet room?
    --> argument over.
    5
  • mitko
    A year ago I built a water cooled system with an i7 2600k and 2 x Radeon 6990. The whole point of the water cooling was to make things extra quiet, which it did, except for the power supply. I tried two different Corsair AX1200 units before switching to a Nexus RX1100. The power supply is still BY FAR the noisiest component in the computer. Does anyone have a suggestion how to reduce the noise? I could not find any currently manufactured water cooled PSUs. Do you think it is possible to use 2 low-noise PSUs to power components on the same motherboard? Any other ideas are also welcome. I need at least a 1100W PSU, as I've actually measured the power consumption to be 1067W at 100% CPU and GPU load.

    For the record I am not an American and I don't live in the US :)
    2
  • belardo
    In a quality modern PSU... can anyone really hear the PSUs?

    I've been buying Corsair and even $45 Thermaltake 500... and I cannot hear them... with the cover open. The problems with FANLESS PSUs and GPUs is that they become heat-sinks... sure they are quiet, but everything around them gets warm. You need to blow the hot air out.

    Going from a fanless GPU to something with a huge fan (H.I.S. brand) - the fans barely makes noise and use a rear exhaust and I can run the system fans at a lower speed.


    Mitko: get soundproofing material, apply to inside of case. Put case on floor.

    My case is on the desk, a foot or so away from me... its no louder than the A/C vent blowing air in the room.
    9
  • jassenjj
    There are some things to consider with fanless PSUs:
    1. The heat stress is the factor No. 1 for the lifespan of the capacitors, no matter if they are conductive polymer or very high quality electrolytic brand.
    2. The case should use more higher intake flow to make sure that the power supply's heat does not enter the case.
    3. A noise level of 10-13 dB can be tolerated for the sake of sustainability and avoiding the risk of heating up your case with the heat from from the PSU.

    Personally, in the last 10 years I admire Seasonic for their stile... But I would use a passive solution that is still in the PC case just for a while.
    0
  • razor512
    the main difference with a silent PSU is the capacitor rating. Most noise ones use 1000 hour 105C capacitors, while a high end silent one will use caps that are in the range of 10,000 hour 105c, or even 125c

    most of the voltage regulators are mostly the same though they may add a larger heatsink on them.

    you could pretty much turn a standard PSU into a silent one by swapping the caps and heatsinks. High quality capacitors are about 3-5 times more expensive (may take the cost of a single cap from 5 cents, to around 15-20 cents)
    2
  • waxdart
    razor512the main difference with a silent PSU is the capacitor rating. Most noise ones use 1000 hour 105C capacitors, while a high end silent one will use caps that are in the range of 10,000 hour 105c, or even 125cmost of the voltage regulators are mostly the same though they may add a larger heatsink on them.you could pretty much turn a standard PSU into a silent one by swapping the caps and heatsinks. High quality capacitors are about 3-5 times more expensive (may take the cost of a single cap from 5 cents, to around 15-20 cents)


    Yeap, and you get a better, more reliable, energy efficient bit of kit too. Bit I don't think I'll be having a go a swapping them :)
    2
  • freggo
    zeratul600Why does americans are so picky about the noise rate??? i never stop to think about that! it has never become an obstacle to enjoy my pc experience


    Not an 'American' thing, but a medical one. Noise pollution is becoming more and more of a problem; and affects long term hearing quality.
    No wonder people can no longer hear the difference between an MP3 and a CD recording.
    4
  • willard
    Seasonic's X series units are pretty damn good. I've got the X650, and its fan doesn't even turn on until you apply a substantial load to the unit. Even then, it's still inaudible over the other noise in my case.

    Every now and then you can find it on sale for $120. A steal for the best 650W PSU in the world.
    4
  • Anonymous
    I've been using a fanless psu in my HTPC for a few years now. A computer in the living room has different noise thresholds from a gaming PC.
    0
  • vmem
    I ordered the seasonic just last night, needless to say, this article makes me feel very good about my purchase decision :)

    it'll be used in an HTPC/home media server. to those that have doubts about the usefulness of such a PSU, I will ask: "what's the point of having that nice audio system in your living room if all you're gonna hear is fan noise in the background?"
    0
  • Anonymous
    I kinda wanted to see the KingWin 500W Stryker being compared to other fan-less units. Since it has 42 amps and it is platinum rated, it should be the best silent PSU in the market.
    0
  • majorlag
    I am currently using the Seasonic x400 fanless in my silent fanless HTPC system. And a x560 in my desktop build. One of the best power supply brands I have ever used. Currently my pick for new systems being built.

    Another article is what got me hooked http://www.silentpcreview.com/Seasonic_X-400_Fanless_PSU, they basically had to resort to a hair dryer to make the thermal protection trip. A very good power supply that can put up with alot of heat before having to shut down.
    0
  • nebun
    amuffinSeasonic, me gusta

    translate please...don't understand...thanks in advance
    -4