Which Fanless PSU Is Right For You?
Buy an actively-cooled power supply designed with low-noise in mind, or choose a fanless model. The choices are nearly the same, unless your hearing is acute. Of course, you could argue that if PSUs like the ones from Seasonic and SilverStone deliver high-quality DC power, just like the solutions with fans, why not go all-passive and cut the noise altogether?
Although it is true that the fanless power supplies from Seasonic and SilverStone are perfectly silent and ran in our test lab for extended periods of time, they did heat up about 50 degrees Fahrenheit above the ambient temperature. In an air-conditioned room, that shouldn't be a problem.
However, if you're in a room that gets beat-up by the sun all day or lacks A/C entirely, the thermal situation can get somewhat dicey, and a fanless power supply may very well hit its design limits. In that case, it's better to have a fan blowing through your power supply than to suffer the instability of an overheated component. It's worth noting that a PSU with a fan typically costs less than one without, due to the necessary measures to keep the passive unit cool enough.
But if you insist on absolute silence for your next build, Seasonic's X-460 rises to the top of our recommendation list. Its workmanship is excellent, and its price/performance ratio is quite good.
|Model Name and Number||be quiet! Straight Power E9 CM 480 W||X-460FL||SST-ST50NF|
|Street Price||Not available in U.S.||$130||$200|
|Power Certification||80 PLUS Gold||80 PLUS Gold||80 PLUS Bronze|
|Dimensions (WxDxH)||150 x 180 x 86 mm||150 x 160 x 86 mm||150 x 160 x 86 mm|
|Weight||2.6 kg||2.77 kg||3.5 kg|
|Operating Temperature||up to 40 °C||0°C–50°C||0°C–45°C|
|Warranty||Five Years||Five Years||Three Years|
|Specification||ATX12V v2.31||ATX12V v2.3||ATX12V v2.3|
|Specified Output Power||480 W||460 W||500 W|
|Max. Peak Output||550 W||n/a||550 W|
|AC Input||100 - 240 V||100 - 240 V||110 - 240 V|
|AC Voltage Selection||Auto voltage||Auto voltage||Auto voltage|
|DC Output +3.3V||24 A||20 A||18 A|
|DC Output +5V||22 A||20 A||18 A|
|DC Output +12V (#1)||18 A||38 A||38 A|
|DC Output +12V (#2)||18 A||n/a||n/a|
|DC Output +12V (#3)||18 A||n/a||n/a|
|DC Output +12V (#4)||18 A||n/a||n/a|
|DC Output -12V||0.3 A||0.5 A||0.5 A|
|DC Power +12V Combined||456 W||456 W||456 W|
|Specified Hold-Up Time||19 ms||> 17 ms||16 ms|
|MTBF||300 000 hours||> 100 000 hours||50 000 hours|
|Main Fan||135 mm||N/A||N/A|
|Main Fan Speed||up to 1200 RPM||N/A||N/A|
|Secondary Fan Speed||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|20+4 pin Motherboard||1x (55 cm)||1x (60 cm)||1x (55 cm)|
|CPU||1x (55 cm)||1x (65 cm)||1x 55 cm)|
|PCI Express 6-pin/6+2-pin (Graphics)||0/2x (55 cm)||0/2 (60 cm)||1/1x (55-70 cm)|
|Molex 4-pin (Peripherals)||4x (85–100 cm)||5x (45-75 cm)||6x (50–80 cm)|
|SATA Power||8x (55–100 cm)||5x (45-75 cm)||6x (50–80 cm)|
|4-pin Floppy||1x (115 cm)||2x (90 cm)||2x (95 cm)|
|Accessories||Screws, Velcro Strips, Cables Ties||Screws, Velcro Strips, Cables Ties||Screws, Velcro Strips, Cables Ties|
|Cable Management||Yes||Yes, Fully Modular||No|