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Fractal Design Ion SFX Gold 500W Power Supply Review

Top performance at a reasonable price.

Editor's Choice
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Fractal Design has an ace up to its sleeve, thanks to the new Ion SFX-L models that it recently released. We have evaluated both of them so far and found that they are top choices in the respective Wattage categories that they belong to. The Ion 500G achieves notably lower noise output compared to its big brother since it has lower power density. On top of that, its overall performance is even higher than Corsair's SF Gold models, which have even more compact dimensions, though, since they follow the SFX standard.

Besides a reasonable MSRP price ($89.99 in the US, £84.99 in the UK market and 94,99€ in the EU) the Ion 500G also comes with highly flexible modular cables which are a blessing during the PSU's installation and Fractal Design also threw in the bundle and SFX to ATX adapter bracket. Nevertheless, with such short cables, which are ideal for compact chassis, it will be a challenge to use the adapter mentioned above, though, to install the power supply in a standard ATX chassis. Most likely, you will face compatibility issues. It would be better if Fractal Design provided this adapter as a kit, which would also include longer cables, suitable for larger chassis. 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The major competitor of the Ion 500G is the Seasonic Focus SGX 500W, which uses the same platform. The Ion sample that we evaluated managed to deliver a little higher overall performance than its Seasonic rival and its overall noise output is about 3 dB(A) lower. Another advantage of the Ion unit is that it has more SATA connectors (four vs. three of the Seasonic model). 

It would be nice though if it kept the three 4-pin Molex connectors that the SSR-500SGX has since it has only two, and that can be a problem if you have more peripheral parts to power. If you don't have a problem spending (much) more and need a dead silent SFX-L power supply, it is worth also taking a look at SilverStone's Nightjar NJ450-SXL, which has 50W less, but it is the only one in this category, so far, that doesn't employ active cooling.

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Disclaimer: Aris Mpitziopoulos is Tom's Hardware's PSU reviewer. He is also the Chief Testing Engineer of Cybenetics and developed the Cybenetics certification methodologies apart from his role on Tom's Hardware. Neither Tom's Hardware nor its parent company, Future PLC, are financially involved with Cybenetics. Aris does not perform the actual certifications for Cybenetics.