Enermax Modu87+ 500W 80Plus Gold

Power
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7. FAN, FAN CONTROLLER and NOISE

The fan controller holds the fan speed down until absolutely necessary. The fan speed didn't budge from its start 330 RPM until the 300W output load was reached. The noise curve is a flat 11 dBA@1m SPL up to that point, and the reality is that the actual level could have been even lower, since 11 dBA is the noise floor of our anechoic chamber.

Quite simply, these PSUs are not audible at under 300W load in our test rig, not until one's ear is virtually pressed up against the exhaust grill. The sound was a tiny hum.

Amazingly, even at full load, the SPL was a mere 23 dBA@1m, and this is with the fan spinning, apparently, at 1000 RPM. Acoustically, at 500W load, very few other tested PSU come close. The closest is the Nexus NX-5000 at 25 dBA@1m, but its fan starts ramping up at a much lower power level and is much more audible throughout the middle power range. The Nexus is also much less energy efficient, with nearly 5% difference at mid power peak.

In a desktop PC without a high power (>100W) graphics card, regardless of the other components, this PSU is probably never going to be audible. Exceptions might be if your ambient temperature is hot, say >35°C, or you try to run with no other fans in your system. If you do run a gaming video card with >100W peak power, along with some other hefty components like overclocked 125W TDP Phenom or i7 processor and get >300W load, the PSU will become audible at times... but most likely, it will be drowned out by other fans ramping up to keep the other components cool enough.

The quality of the noise is moot until the 20 dBA@1m is reached at the 400W load. Below that, it really was too quiet for sound quality to matter. At the 20~23 dBA@1m level, there was some buzzing and humming, but these sounds were audible only from very close up. In normal use, these PSUs are essentially silent.


11 dBA@1m at up to 250W. Yes, the fan is spinning here, at about 320 RPM according to our calibrated strobe light. There's no real difference between the ambient (red line) and when the PSU is on.

14 dBA@1m @300W. The fan noise is clearly visible here, mostly concentrated between 150 and 900 Hz. There's a touch of buzzing centered around 200 Hz. Above 1,000 Hz, there is nothing.


20 dBA@1m@400W. The 200 Hz buzzing has become more significant. Most of the noise is between 150 Hz and 2 kHz, although there is some ultrasonic noise at well over 10 kHz, which can be heard from up very close as electronic noise.

One thing we've been examining is how the power supply performs outside the tough thermal conditions of our standard test. The recent popularity of cases that isolate the power supply from the rest of the system make this a relevant question, as the cooler intake air allows the fan to run slower and quieter. We examine this by rerunning some of the high load tests with the power supply in free air, away from the tough thermal conditions of the hot-box.

The results were quite dramatic: Even at full load, the SPL remained at just 18 dBA. The fan did not speed up until maximum load, and even then it did not reach full speed. This suggests that in a case with isolated external intake vent for the PSU, the Enermax 87+ 500W models would remain silent to just short of full power load.

Enermax Modu/Pro87+ 500W SPL: In Hot Box vs. Out
Power load
90W
150W
200W
250W
300W
400W
500W
in hot box
11
11
11
11
14
20
23
out
11
11
11
11
11
11
18
Measurements are in dBA@1m

COMPARISONS

The comparison table below shows the SPL versus Power Load data on all the PSUs tested in the anechoic chamber thus far. It's difficult to rank them, as the measured SPL varies with power load. The units which are quietest at minimum load are not always the quietest at midload (100W~300W), which may make them louder in actual use. Then there's the noise level at 400W and up, which will determine the quietest PSUs for high power gaming rigs, during actual gaming.

The Enermax Modu/Pro87+ 500W actually manages to be quieter than any other PSUs at every load, with the sole exception of <100W where the Seasonic X-650 fanless operation may have a dB or two edge — if indeed the 11 dBA@1m level is audible to anyone. Up to 250W, it is simply inaudible, period. The edge over the closest competitors is small, but it's there. At 300W and above, it becomes somewhat audible but still quieter than all the other PSUs. The Nexus Value 430 edges it by one dBA at 400W, but it is substantially noisier from from about 200W on up, so that's a false edge; in actual use, the Nexus will be more audible more of the time. Overall, other than completely fanless models, these Enermax Modu/Pro87+ 500W models are the quietest power supplies we've tested.

PSU Noise (dBA@1m) vs. Power in Anechoic Chamber
Model
90W
150W
200W
250W
300W
400W
500W
6-700W
850W
Enermax Modu/Pro87+ 500
11
11
11
11
14
20
23
n/a
n/a
Seasonic X-650
<10
11
12
14
16
31
31
32
n/a
Nexus Value 430
11
11
16
18
18
19
n/a
n/a
n/a
Nexus NX-5000
11
11
12
14
22
24
25
n/a
n/a
Antec CP-850
12
12
12
14
14
26
40
44
45
Enermax Eco80+ 500W
<11
12
16
19
26
32
33
n/a
n/a
Seasonic M12D 850W
14
14
14
14
14
24
37
42
42
Enermax Modu82+ 625*
13
13
14
15
16
26
36
37
n/a
Coolermaster M700W
14
14
18
21
25
27
34
34
n/a
Chill Innovation CP-700M
15
15
15
15
17
30
34
34
n/a
Antec Signature 650
15
15
15
18
18
28
36
47
n/a
SilverStone DA700
18
18
18
18
23
32
35
41
n/a
Nexus RX-8500
14
14
17
22
28
32
32
33
33
NesteQ ECS7001
22
22
22
21
23
25
36
37
n/a
PCPC Silencer 610
20
24
24
24
24
30
40
50
n/a
The green boxes represent >30 dBA@1m SPL.
*Guesstimates based on the Modu82+ 425's idle in the chamber and the Modu82+ 625's load test.

Caution: Please keep in mind that the data in the above table is specific to the conditions of our test setup. Change the cooling configuration, the ambient temperature and any number of other factors, and you could change the point at which the fans start speeding up, as well as the rate of the rise in speed. The baseline SPL is accurate, however, probably to within 1 dBA.



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