Antec Phantom 500

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May 8, 2005 by Mike Chin and Devon Cooke

  • POSTSCRIPT added Oct. 22, 2005
Antec Phantom 500
ATX 2.01 Hybrid Power Supply

The Antec Phantom 500 is a new, more powerful power supply based on the fanless Phantom 350 that we reviewed last September. Antec's 350W fanless PSU recorded the highest peak efficiency we've ever seen, a whopping 88%. The most visible difference between the two models appears to be the addition of a fan in the 500 that turns on only at higher wattages to provide the extra capacity required to support 500W output. Antec describes this as a Hybrid Fan technology.

Is the Phantom 500 a fanless PSU with an auxiliary fan for cooling at high power or is it a fan-cooled fan whose fan stops when the load is low? It's not a semantic question, and it is one of several questions we'll be asking in this review:

  • Under what conditions does the Phantom 500 run fanlessly?
  • Under what conditions does the Phantom 500 fan come on?
  • Does the Phantom 500 operate fanlessly up to 350W? This is the maximum rated power of the fanless Phantom 350.
  • When the fan comes on, how can its behavior be characterized ¬ó in terms of speed vs. noise vs. cooling?
  • When the fan comes on, how does its noise / power curve compare to quiet conventional fan-cooled PSUs?

We start this review with the usual photo of the retail box.

The Phantom is shipped in a large cardboard box.

The Phantom ships in one of the largest boxes we've ever seen for a power supply. Part of the reason for this is the additional length that the cooling fan adds to the chassis, but the main reason is to accommodate the substantial packing materials that it is shipped in. Obviously, Antec is taking no chances when it comes to shipping damage. Because the primarily fanless design requires hard-mounting heavy heatsinks directly to the internal electrical components, the extra precautions against damage are probably a good idea.

Care is taken to ensure the unit doesn't break during shipping; its surrounded by an inch of soft foam on all sides.

Manual, mounting screws, optional support hardware, 24-pin to 20-pin adapter, AC cord and the PSU are the contents.

The manual for the Phantom is quite complete. It is in five languages and covers 21 pages, with far more detail than the typical four page pamphlet. It provides full electrical specifications. Much of the information is highly technical, and often not publicly available for many consumer PSU brands.

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