Super Flower Golden Green 350W PSU

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7. TEMPERATURE, COOLING & NOISE

The fan in the Golden Green 350W had the amazing characteristic of no change in speed or noise through the entire load testing procedure at 23°C room temperature. The speed of the fan was found to be ~700 RPM, and the measured SPL was ~14.5 dBA@1m. This is a very low SPL, but the sound was marred by significant tonal peaks; subjectively, a hum audible from six feet away even in the anechoic chamber, which has virtually no echo. With the audio reflectivity in a normal quiet room, this hum would be audible even farther away. Subjectively, the PSU sounded much noisier than the 14.5 dBA@1m SPL would normally suggest.


The peaks at 200 and 300 Hz are plainly audible despite the low SPL.

After the load testing was done, I wanted to open up the unit for photos and to determine whether the fan was responsible for the tonal noise. In the process, I ended up picking up the power supply while it was still powered up... and noticed that the tonal noise stopped when I was holding it. A bit more experimentation revealed that one of the side panels was very slightly loose in fit, and it vibrated in sympathy with the fan (at least at the default 700 RPM) to cause the tonal noise. Placing my hands on the sides and squeezing them together was enough to stop the tonal noise. This was dramatic enough when up close — like you have to be when holding the PSU — that I made a recording of the effect.

MP3: Super Flower Gold Green 350W PSU - Demo/Elimination of Panel Hum — Note that this recording was made with the microphone about 18" away; it cannot be fairly compared with any other PSU noise recordings, which are made with the mic a meter away. It starts with the PSU running normally, then about 4.5 seconds in, I squeezed the sides to eliminate the tonality. At about 9 seconds, I let go of the PSU. (Note that distracting noises like the rustling of my clothes or my breathing were edited out.) SPL was essentially unchanged with the reduction of the tonality; the difference would not show up in a sound level meter without a frequency spectrum display.

This confirms that my continued attention to the physical integrity of the casing in PSU reviews remains worthwhile for those interested in all the acoustic details. It also suggests that the tonal hum may not be present in all samples; perhaps this was a sloppy sample (though the fit was still pretty tight). In most cases, eliminating this tonality, if it arises, should be fairly simple — just jam a piece of closed cell foam tightly between the offending side panel of the PSU casing and the case side panel. That should apply enough damped pressure to stop the PSU panel from vibrating and causing the tonal noise.

Cooling in this PSU was not a problem, despite the steady 700 RPM speed of the fan through to maximum load. With room temperature at 23°C, the maximum temperature of the exhuast air was only 34°C.

IN THE HOT BOX

When exposed to the heat of the hotbox, the Golden Green 350W PSU fan hinted at running faster and making a bit more noise at 300W. After about 20 minutes at full load, the fan ramped up enough to register 20 dBA@1m, with exhaust temperature reading 39°C. This is still amazingly quiet.

Super Flower Golden Green 350P14XE SPL: In Hot Box vs. Out
Power load
<150W
150W
200W
250W
300W
360W
out
14.5
14.5
14.5
14.5
14.5
14.5
in hot box
14.5
14.5
14.5
14.5
15.5
20
Measurements are in dBA@1m

VERSUS SEASONIC G360

Because of its close similarity in power rating, efficiency, size, form factor, and price to the recently reviewed Seasonic G360, it's instructive to compare and contrast the main data tables for the two products. Hence the test results for the G360 below.

Test Results: Seasonic G360
DC Output (W)
AC Input
(W)
Lost as Heat
(W)
Efficiency %
Power Factor
Exhaust
SPL* (dBA@1m)
21.6
31
9.4
69.5
0.96
23°C
13
40.9
50
9.1
81.8
0.98
23°C
13
64.5
76
11.5
84.9
0.99
24°C
13
89.3
100
10.7
89.3
1.00
24°C
13
150.8
165
14.2
91.4
1.00
27°C
13
202.8
220
17.2
92.2
1.00
28°C
18
250.4
273
22.6
91.7
1.00
30°C
24
299.8
332
32.2
90.3
1.00
32°C
34
359.4
402
42.6
89.4
1.00
33°C
39
Crossload Test
(1A on 5V and 3.3V lines; the rest on 12V line)
372
412
40
90.3%
1.00
33°C
39
+12V Ripple (peak-to-peak): <13mV @ <150W ~ 25mV @ 360W
+5V Ripple (peak-to-peak): <8mV @ <150W ~ 16mV @ 360W
+3.3V Ripple (peak-to-peak): <8mV @ <150W ~ 17mV @ 360W
AC Power in Standby: 0.4W
AC Power with No Load, PSU power On: 7.2W / 0.73 PF
* See text discussion about noise.

And for convenience, the Super Flower Golden Green 350P14XE.

Test Results: Super Flower Golden Green 350P14XE
DC Output (W)
AC Input
(W)
Lost as Heat
(W)
Efficiency %
Power Factor
Exhaust
SPL* (dBA@1m)
21.8
30
8.2
72.7
0.96
23°C
14.5
40.5
49
8.5
82.7
0.98
23°C
14.5
65.3
77
11.7
84.9
0.99
24°C
14.5
90.5
103
12.5
87.8
1.00
24°C
14.5
149.9
167
17.1
89.7
1.00
27°C
14.5
200.0
221
21.0
90.5
1.00
28°C
14.5
249.9
276
26.1
90.5
1.00
31°C
14.5
299.1
334
34.9
89.5
1.00
33°C
14.5
350.2
393
42.8
89.1
1.00
34°C
14.5
Crossload Test
(1A on 5V and 3.3V lines; the rest on 12V line)
300.0
331
31
90.6%
1.00
32°C
14.5
+12V Ripple (peak-to-peak): <10mV @ <200W ~ <20mV @ 350W
+5V Ripple (peak-to-peak): <8mV @ <200W ~ <15mV @ 350W
+3.3V Ripple (peak-to-peak): <8mV @ <200W ~ <15mV @ 350W
AC Power in Standby: 0.4W
AC Power with No Load, PSU power On: 2.2W / 0.53 PF
* See text discussion about noise.

It may be be awakward to bounce up and down between the two tables, so here's a quick summary: The Seasonic has a very slight edge in efficiency through the load range, it is quieter at loads of 150W or below, and it runs a touch cooler, though not as much as you would expect given the difference in fan speed at high load. Ripple is similarly low on both, though the Super Flower has a very slight edge here, and voltage regulation, standby/no load power, and PF are all similar good with both. The Super Flower is quieter at >150W load, whether in a modern well ventilated case or an older case with poorer ventilation. Whether longevity will be affected by the always-slow fan of the Super Flower will depend on many factors, including typcal ambient temperature and typical loading during usage. That Super Flower provides no information about the warranty with the product or on their web sites is annoying and irresponsible.

COMPARISONS

The comparison table below shows the SPL versus Power Load data on PSUs tested in ambient room temperature, typically 20~24°C. It is most relevant when PSUs are used in cases that provide wide open access to cooler outside air for the PSU cooling fan. Its rank is low, although in a real system up to ~200W load, it is hard to differentiate most of the PSUs on the table on the basis of noise. The Super Flower 350P14XE is placed low on the table because its minimum SPL is higher than most... and you may disagree because its SPL at full power is among the best.

PSU Noise (dBA@1m) vs. Power in Ambient Room Temperature
Model
90W
150W
200W
250W
300W
400W
500W
6-700W
850W
Kingwin Lazer Platinum LZP-550
<10*
<10
<10
<10
<10
<10
16
n/a
n/a
Seasonic X-400 Fanless
<10*
<10
<10
<10
<10
<10
n/a
n/a
n/a
Enermax Modu/Pro87+ 500
11
11
11
11
11
11
18
n/a
n/a
Corsair AX850
<10
<10
<10
11~13
12
13
17
24
35
Seasonic X-650
<10
<10
<10
<10
<10
16
27
32
n/a
Nexus NX-5000
11
11
12
12
12.5
14
19
n/a
n/a
Antec CP-850
12
12
12
12
12
14
20
24
40
Enermax Eco80+ 500W
<11
12
12
16
20
23
28
n/a
n/a
Antec TP-750
12
12
12
14
15
27
31
40
n/a
Super Flower 350P14XE
14.5
14.5
14.5
14.5
14.5
14.5
n/a
n/a
n/a
Seasonic G360
<13
<13
18
24
34
39
n/a
n/a
n/a
Cougar GX-700
15
15
15
17
21
25
35
35
n/a

The comparison table below shows the SPL versus Power Load data on all the PSUs tested in the hotbox. 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. In this environment, the Golden Green 350W ranks much higher because its fan barely ramps up even at full rated power.

PSU Noise (dBA@1m) vs. Power in Hotbox/Anechoic Chamber
Model
90W
150W
200W
250W
300W
400W
500W
6-700W
850W
Seasonic X-400 Fanless
<10*
<10
<10
<10
<10
<10
n/a
n/a
n/a
Kingwin Lazer Platinum LZP-550
<10*
<10
<10
<10
<10
16
22
n/a
n/a
Enermax Modu/Pro87+ 500
11
11
11
11
14
20
23
n/a
n/a
Corsair AX850
<10
<10
12
15
18
25
35
38
39
Seasonic X-650
<10
<10
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
Super Flower 350P14XE
14.5
14.5
14.5
14.5
15.5
20
n/a
n/a
n/a
Antec TP-750
12
12
14
14
18
33
40
40
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
Coolermaster M700W
14
14
18
21
25
27
34
34
n/a
Seasonic G360
<13
17
23
30
39
39
n/a
n/a
n/a
Cougar GX-700
15
15
18
20
25
32
35
36
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 are >30 dBA@1m SPL.
*<10= below the ambient of our anechoic chamber; immeasurably low @1m in any environment

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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