Viewing page 2 of 9 pages. Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Next
CURRENT FANLESS PSU OFFERINGS
A search for fanless computer PSUs with online retail engines turns up familiar
names but not many: Amacrox, Silentmaxx, Fortron-Source Power (FSP), Silverstone,
Coolmax, and SilenX. The first two are differently-badged variants of the fanless
PSU made by FSP as the Zen. We've reviewed both the eariler 300W FSP Zen and
a more recent 400W model under the Silentmaxx brand. We also had several samples
of the fanless PSUs currently available (Silverston and FSP), but since they
had been in use in the lab for some time, with unknown attendant wear and tear,
we decided to obtain brand new units. Rather than contact the manufacturers
and wait for available freebie samples, we purchased several from a couple of
different sources. The only one not purchased was the Seasonic SS-400FL, which
is a retail package sample that came directly from Seasonic. (A note for those
who are suspicious of gift horses: There is absolutely no indication that Seasonic
has ever "tweaked" free review samples for unusually good performance.
In a quiet power supply, the only really tweakable thing might be the fan or
fan controller; in this case, there's no fan at all.)
The fanless contenders:
- Seasonic X-series SS-400FL
- Silentmaxx fanless 560W a rebadged Fortron-Source Power (FSP) Zen
- SilenX Luxurae 460W
- Silverstone Nightjar ST40NF
- Coolmax CF-480B
As far as we know, there are no other fanless ATX12V power supplies available
on the retain market.
These five boxes are representative of all the fanless PSU lines available
to the DIY computer builder today. Clockwise from top: Silentmaxx
fanless 560W, Seasonic X-series SS-400FL, SilenX Luxurae 460W, Silverstone
Nightjar ST40NF, and Coolmax CF-480B. There's some question whether SilenX
is still actively offering the Luxurae series.
One thing that became clear during our online shopping for these samples is
that computer retailers generally don't carry fanless PSUs. There are only a
few sources in the US or Canada, and they are only a bit more numerous in the
EU. Why? A quick, somewhat random survey was done of a handful of computer component
retailers in the US and Canada, mostly by phone. Where a marketing or stock
manager was available, here are the things he/she had to say:
"The returns killed us when we carried the '______' fanless power supply.
Anything close to a 10% return rate we drop like a hot potato."
"The demand is just not there, we need a certain number of turns to
justify carrying the inventory. Now, we bring in small numbers when orders
"Reliability, user confidence and demand hasn't been good, so we stopped
"No one really cares, so many fan-cooled power supplies are already
so quiet. We carry a couple and maintain small quantities, the Silverstone
is our best seller but it's still just a trickle."
Any new fanless PSU must overcome the history of the fanless breed and the
skepticism of retailers.
FANLESS PSU APPLICATIONS
The silent PC DIY enthusiast is an obvious target market, but it isn't that
big. So what are the other potential markets for fanless PSUs?
- Specialist system integrators who build high end silent systems, especially
home theater PCs where buyers tend to be well-heeled and less price-conscious.
- Specialist laboratory PCs that must not add to either noise or airflow in
the test rooms.
- Digital audio workstations for music production.
- Hospital PCs where high reliability, low noise and no airflow are all highly
valued. In a premium PSU, the fan is the least reliable part. Aside from the
usual bearing-related issues, PSU makers report that fan-related returns include
regular instances where the fan blades rub against its own wires, causing
an annoying noise.
|Help support this site, buy from one of our affiliate retailers!|