Fanless PSU Torture Test Roundup

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C. SILENTMAXX MX-560PEL01

The Silentmaxx 560, along with the Silverstone offerings, are the most widely available fanless PSUs today. We tested a version of this power supply, the Silentmaxx MX460-PFL01, some four years ago. In fact, it's still being used in a SPCR lab heatsink test platform system. Both of these PSUs are made by Fortron-Source Power (FSP), who introduced the 300W Zen many years ago.

The 560 looks very similar to the earlier 460, the main visible difference being a heftier external base made of extruded aluminum for additional cooling. It's worthwhile to compare the specifications of the two models:.

Earlier Silentmaxx Fanless 400W MX460-PFL0 Specifications
AC Input
100~240 VAC / 50~60 Hz, 6A maximum
DC Output
3.3V
5V
12V1
12V2
-12V
5Vsb
30A
28A
14A
15A
0.8A
2.0A
145W
168W
180W
9.6W
10W
452W
400W (460W peak)


The label and output specs on the Silentmaxx MX-560PEL01.

The differences in the capacity of the individual lines are minor. In the newer model, the 5V and 3.3V lines deliver 15W less, while the 12V lines deliver 30W more. But the essential piece of information is the total power rating: It's 400W for both models. The peak power rating is 460W for the MX-460 and it's 560W for the MX-560, which suggests that both model naming and power rating are marketing exercises; they are really 400W models. We deplore Silentmaxx's deliberately misleading naming scheme.

The MX-560 is tagged as ATX12V V2.2 PSU Guide compliant.


The Silentmaxx box looks designed for retail store display.


Like the earlier 460, it is vented all around except for the top. All the attached output cables are sleeved. A 20/24-pin main ATX and a 6pin PCIe are among the output connectors.


The bottom is a heavy heatsink-style extrusion with large vent openings that show big internal heatsinks. This is a heavy PSU, weighing nearly 6 lbs.


The open vents enable cooling airflow through the PSU, especially if there is an exhaust fan on the back panel of the computer case; it will tend to suck air from the outside through the PSU.

TORTURE TEST SUMMARY
Silentmaxx MX-560PEL01
400W Rated Output
Duration
Output (W)
Efficiency
Hotbox ¬įC
Power Factor
10~20 min
21.3
66.7%
24
0.88
41.9
79.1%
25
0.92
65.1
82.4%
27
0.95
90.0
83.3%
31
0.98
151.3
85.5%
35
1.0
201.5
85.7%
37
1.0
15 hrs
247.8
86.6~84%
40~45
1.0
1 hr (fail)
398.0
85.4~81.1%
56~61
1.0
+12V Ripple (peak-to-peak): <34mV @ <250W ~ 90mv @ 400W
Voltage Regulation during 15 hr test:
250W -
11.94V, 5.03V, 3.28V
400W - 11.85V, 4.97V, 3.26V
AC Power in Standby: n/a
AC Power with No Load, PSU power On: n/a
OTP Shutdown: Apparently did not kick in. Sample failed on first run at long term full power torture test..

ANALYSIS

The Silentmaxx displayed solid performance in the short-term testing, with excellent voltage regulation, high PF, and good 80 Plus Bronze level efficiency. There were no anomalies of any kind, and electronic noise was low enough to be considered silent. Our impression was much the same as with the Silentmaxx 460 sample we tested four years ago and continue to use in the lab: A fairly efficient and silent workhorse.

The 250W 15-hour test passed without any issues. About an hour into the 400W test, the unit failed. Unfortunately, this event was not witnessed, but a post-failure forensic analysis (heh) showed that the AC power meter through which the PSU was powered had blown its 20A protective fuse. This suggested that the protective circuits (thermal or output overload) failed to trip, and the Silentmaxx suffered a terminal breakdown. It could not be powered up again. Some of the data had not been collected when the unit blew, which is why it is not reported.

We were surprised at this failure. FSP, the manufacturer of the PSU, has a long history in its field and it is reasonably well-respected. Our 4-year old lab sample of the earlier version continues yeoman-like — albeit in open air and usually with <200W loads, rarely for more than 8 hours continuously. We had expected a possible failure with one of the older designs (SilenX and Coolmax).



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