PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610: A legend reviewed

Power
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September 3, 2008 by Mike Chin

Product
Silencer 610 EPS12V
610W power supply
Manufacturer
PC Power and Cooling
Market Price
US $110~$120

The Silencer series of power supplies has been among PC Power and Cooling's offerings since 1986. A Silencer 275 was one of the first PSUs I took apart years ago, before SPCR was even an idea. PCP&C was the very first brand marketed as a premium, high performance PSU line for PC fanatics, along with pricing to match. This market position hasn't changed but there's a lot more competition from many other brands that have muscled into the same space in the last couple of years. Competition is generally a good thing for consumers; PCP&C prices may have dropped a bit, at least relatively speaking. OCZ became the owners of PCP&P last year in a much-publicized transaction. The new ownership does not appear to have resulted in any dramatic changes in PCP&P products or in the way the company does business.

The Silencer line has evolved over the years, as have all of PCP&C's products. The 275W model I took apart years ago was made by Fortron-Source Power (FSP); the Silencer 610 being examined today comes from a different PSU maker. Back then, the most powerful model offered by PCP&C was probably rated for 400W; today, their top model is rated for 1200W. One thing hasn't changed, however: The Silencer series remains the one among PCP&C products designed specifically for low noise. Noise is provided in the specifications. Refreshingly, it's cited as 26~38 dBA (presumably, the SPL at one meter), which honestly reflects the rise in fan speed that occurs with every PSU with a thermally controlled fan when power output is increased. The minimal figure of 26 dBA is not particularly low by SPCR standards, but at least it's under the 30 dBA mark we define as as too loud.

The Silencer 610 comes in a fairly standard retail box with full color printing. It is a departure from the plain brown eco-friendlier cardboard boxes PCP&P used for the Silencers in the past. This is probably once of OCZ's influences. Inside, there's the usual instruction sheet, power cable, screws, and cable ties along with the PSU itself.


A fairly standard looking black box.

The unit is unusual in that it sports an 80mm in-line fan unlike most retail box PSUs, which have undergone wholesale adoption of 120mm fans in the past few years. In many ways, I've always felt the in-fan airflow design of the 80mm fan ATX12V PSU is superior to the standard 120mm fan PSU design, which forces a right angle turn in the airflow. There's always some extra turbulence and back pressure on the fan. Of course, the 120mm fan's higher airflow per revolution of blades is the counterpoint to my argument.


An in-line 80mm fan design.


SILENCER 610 FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS (from the PCP&C web site)
FEATURE & BRIEF Our comment
610W Continuous @ 40C (670W Peak)
The emphasis on continuous and 40°C is to highlight the unit's more stringent than average output rating.
Up to 90% (10dB) Less Noise per Watt Less than...?
EPS12V / NVIDIA® SLI Certified Unlike ATX12V, the EPS12V guideline provides standards on power for video cards, including multiple video cards. nVidia SLI certification means nVidia tested it with dual-video cards and approved it.
80 Plus Certified (83%); .99 Active PFC 80 Plus is good but not uncommon among higher quality PSUs. Active PFC is a given; it's required for 80 Plus.
+12VDC @ 49A (Large Single Rail) Most so-called multiple 12V PSUs really have only one rail. The straight up honest is nice.
24-pin, 8-pin*, 4-pin M/B Connectors
2 PCI-E and 15 Drive Connectors
Fairly standard for a PSU of this power rating.
Automatic Fan Speed Control Circuit Like just about every PSU on the market.
Black Finish (Copper on request) OK
5-Year Warranty and Tech Support Excellent.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

The label tells us most of what we need to know. If you need to see all the details please check PCP&P's specs page.

An observation: Even though the total current for the 12V line is given as 49A (588W), this much current would be available on the 12V line only if the other lines were delivering less than 22W (since the maximum is 610W). The reader should be aware that total 12V power capability for any ATX12V PSU is not a fixed number, but can vary somewhat depending on many conditions, including load on the other lines and operating temperature.



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