Enermax Digifanless 550W Power Supply Review

High Performance And No Noise, But At Significant Cost

Enermax PSUs have always been on the expensive side, mostly because they never entered the OEM market. This leads to smaller production volumes compared to FSP, Seasonic, Super Flower and CWT. The fewer units you sell, the harder it is to get components at better prices. This inevitably increases the production cost and, unfortunately for Enermax, led to the closing of the company's factory. The folks at Enermax still design their PSUs, but they use another OEM to build them now. Hopefully this strategy will prove to be good for the company, especially if it allows Enermax to offer the same quality products at better prices.

Enermax worked for quite some time on the Digifanless PSU, though the delay in bringing it to market was probably due to the closing of its factory. It is a completely new design that has little in common with the other digital platforms currently available. It is also the only passive digital PSU. However, its digital control is restricted to the +12V rail, which is a good start. Besides that, the provided software allows for the control of interesting functions like the OCP/OVP setting and the multi/single-rail mode configuration, along with all necessary monitoring options.

Enermax decided not to go with a complex software suite, and developed a simple and easy-to-use interface instead. The purpose of a PSU control/monitoring software is to provide the user with clear information and to allow access to some basic control functions, which won't compromise the system's or the PSU's proper operation. In this area, Enermax's software scores high, though some users might like a more elaborate interface.

In the performance area, the PSU scored well overall, though we expected an even better showing in the +12V load regulation and efficiency metrics. Our guess is that the mix of analog and digital circuits needs some fine-tuning. The other advantages of this unit include the high tolerance to operating temperatures exceeding 40 degrees C, zero noise output without any coil whine issues, as well as the fully modular cabling design. For some users, the individually-sleeved cables, which look nice, are also a pleasant feature. They do increase the product's price significantly, though.

Speaking of price, this is without a doubt the most notable drawback of the Digifanless PSU. Available for roughly $230, the Enermax Digifanless faces ruthless competition, and its price/performance ratio is severely crippled. All passive PSUs are more expensive, and the same goes for digital units. Combining those two technologies results in a more expensive product. In our opinion, only with a lower price will the Digifanless have a chance to compete with the other passive platforms. On the other hand, while competing passive platforms offer equally good performance, they still lack the digital features, such as the ZDPMS software included with the Digifanless.

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Aris Mpitziopoulos is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Power Supplies.

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  • blackmagnum
    If you think buying a mid-range PSU that costs as much as an enthusiast gaming CPU or graphics card, then you have more money than sense.
  • PaulBags
    Why'd my commented get deleted? "This is a passively-cooled PSU, so you should install it with the top exhaust grille facing downward." is totally wrong advice, if you don't believe me read the warnings in the picture YOU took.
  • Calculatron
    Ironically, I have yet to try an Enermax PSU, although I really like their other products; I have an ETS-T40-TB, a whole myriad of their fans, and the Ostrog Pink case.
  • uglyduckling81
    "This is a passively-cooled PSU, so you should install it with the top exhaust grille facing downward. If you don’t follow this advice, hot air will be trapped inside the PSU"

    Hot air rises. If you have the opening facing down you will be trapping hot air inside. Read your own comment "top exhaust". 'Top' means on top, 'exhaust' means expulsion of air not intake.
    The PSU clearly has vents on the back and sides so I think it's a moot point either way but it's clearly a better idea to install it with the top opening facing upwards.
  • nukemaster
    Anonymous said:
    Why'd my commented get deleted? "This is a passively-cooled PSU, so you should install it with the top exhaust grille facing downward." is totally wrong advice, if you don't believe me read the warnings in the picture YOU took.

    I think your post got lost(forum bug maybe), not removed. I would see if it was removed and it was not.

    I think this would depend on the case you are using to be honest.

    System air will cool it.

    If the power supply is at the top of your system putting its vent up will cause heat to have no place to go in many cases. Power supplies in the bottom of the case would be better served with the power supply vent face up.

    The power supply has software to let you see the temperatures anyway so you can test. Tom's tests in a hotbox so it is not an actual case.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/how-we-test-psu,4042.html
  • Aris_Mp
    guys sorry for this mistake. It is with the fan grill facing upwards and not down. This is how a single word can bring doom!
  • Blueberries
    These are solid! I'd take a SeaSonic SS-520FL2 for $140 over this any day, though!
  • PaulBags
    Quote:
    These are solid! I'd take a SeaSonic SS-520FL2 for $140 over this any day, though!

    I have the seasonic, I love it. I prefer the modular connector layout on it too, this emermax only offers a few oddly placed plugs by comparison. The cables arn't as good though, and you don't even get enough to populate all the plugs, although it's sufficent for most scenarios for a 520w PSU.

    I'd very much like to see AC cable clips become standard, I've had the ac work loose on me before when I turned a case slightly to plug something in, glad I didn't have anything important up at the time.


    To anyone who _would_ want the enermax over the seasonic I'm genuinely curious as to why. It's always good to learn and/or gain perspective.
  • eklipz330
    i just realized my 7 year warranty for my corsair hx750 expires this year QQ
  • f-14
    Quote:
    Anonymous said:
    Why'd my commented get deleted? "This is a passively-cooled PSU, so you should install it with the top exhaust grille facing downward." is totally wrong advice, if you don't believe me read the warnings in the picture YOU took.

    I think your post got lost(forum bug maybe), not removed. I would see if it was removed and it was not.

    I think this would depend on the case you are using to be honest.

    System air will cool it.

    If the power supply is at the top of your system putting its vent up will cause heat to have no place to go in many cases. Power supplies in the bottom of the case would be better served with the power supply vent face up.

    The power supply has software to let you see the temperatures anyway so you can test. Tom's tests in a hotbox so it is not an actual case.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/how-we-test-psu,4042.html


    page 2 second set of pictures picture number 5 what does it specifically say? where does hotair go, where does cold air go, in a fanless case your argument is excellent advice on how to waste money and start a fire. if you are running an antec 1200 with all the fans unless this psu is mounted at the top with the vents down and all the other fans are set to intake into the case you are in great shape, however that mitigates the point of having a fanless psu, you go fanless because you don't want there to be any noise, much less a hoover vacuum for a case.

    i haven't read the warranty card, but i am sure it says something about keeping the psu vents facing up when mounted at the bottom of the case, when mounted on the side that would be interesting.

    nice psu, i will keep it in mind for the next time a customer wants a zero or low noise build.

    someday there will be a liquid cooled PSU, i laugh because of water conduction electricity, but where there is a will, there is a way to circumvent conductivity and deal with all that heat i am sure.
  • rdc85
    Well I'm using Enarmax NAXN for couple of years now..

    Since both Enarmax and Seasonic is rare, here their price also screwed..
    they priced quite similar here... (and corsair equivalent is much higher :( )...

    They make good PSU but it's a shame they cannot compete in price..

    edit: 550W is enough power than most people think..
    and as someone who live at unstable power lines, good ups & psu is a must...
    speaking from experience (unless u planning keeping the rig for 1 or 2 years max...)
  • Aris_Mp
    "page 2 second set of pictures picture number 5 what does it specifically say?"

    That you must keep the top vent clear on all cases. In passive PSUs if you block the top vent then the hot air will be trapped inside the PSU, causing problems after a while. Since all passive PSUs have OTP (Over Temperature Protection) there is no fire risk but still the lifetime of the PSU is greatly affected.
  • chimera201
    Can you do UPS compatibility tests with PSU reviews? You may have 24x7 stable electricity in your office but there are some parts in the world where trees fall on electric poles everyday which just makes the UPS a necessity. OR a dedicated article on UPS compatibility and recommendations would be better.
  • Aris_Mp
    I will put some thought on this matter. In my area UPS devices are a necessity however there are many countries/areas where people don't even know what a UPS is, since their power distribution network is stable.
  • Caanis Lupus
    "Stability" of the power grid does not always equal smooth/clean power signal. Anyone building a computer more than a few hundred(US) dollars should invest in an UPS (uninterruptible power supply).
  • PaulBags
    I had a ups. One day the power cut out, then the ups batteries popped and melted my carpet. I can't afford to buy a quality ups every year or two to make sure it doesn't explode, and see little point when modern switch mode power supplies can handle at least 100v - 250v. If your more worried about quality than outages then invest in your own house transformer.
  • Aris_Mp
    you only need a decent quality UPS and change its batteries with reliable ones once they die (most likely every couple of years). I have 7 UPS in my home ranging from high-end ones to mainstream models and never encountered a single problem. On the contrary I strongly believe that kept me out of trouble in many cases since I never encountered a PSU fail all these years that I use them.
  • rdc85
    Anonymous said:
    Can you do UPS compatibility tests with PSU reviews?....OR a dedicated article on UPS compatibility and recommendations......


    Agreed, I have tried lots of brands (although they are "cheap" backup UPS, not true online or sine UPS)..
    Some PSU more sensitive than others, ..

    my Enermax as example, a reputable local brands is no go, no maters how big the UPS capacity (VA)/watt is..
    they sometimes works sometimes don't.. strangely they works fine for office use.. (computer, printer, network, cctv, everything??? ).. so I sold mine ("failure one") to the office hehehe.........

    Not promoting brands, but after changing to APC ones (for 3x price of local brands, also same cheap "backup UPS") it works okay...
  • chimera201
    Need a myth buster on whether stepped sinewave approximation output UPS damages high quality PSUs in the long run.
  • Aris_Mp
    the problem is that I already need too much time for each PSU review and my review sample pile is getting larger day by day, so I have to be dead sure whether a new test worths including in my methodology or not.

    My shining new (and umber-expensive) AC source allows me to run UPS simulation tests in case I decide to include them, but as I already stated these tests will make me devote even more time for each PSU review.