Seasonic S12-430: Beyond the Super Tornado

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March 17, 2005 by Mike Chin with Devon Cooke

  • POSTSCRIPT 1 added May 22, 2005: A fan revision
  • POSTSCRIPT 2 added Oct. 22, 2005: Corrected Efficiency Results
Seasonic S12-430 ATX Power Supply
Model SS-430HB Active PFC F3
Market Price

Seasonic is one of the PSU manufacturers which market their own products. They are both ODM and OEM, like delta Electronics, Fortron-Source, Seventeam and Enhance Electronics. This is in contrast to many PSUs that are branded by the company that markets the product, and often has little to do with either the design or the manufacturing. Seasonic is also one of the longest-lived PSU makers. Their first PSUs were made for Apple way back in the '70s. As befits a manufacturer, Seasonic adds little in the way of flashy features in their products. Virtually all the features are invisible from the outside, especially to the untrained. We have always held Seasonic products in high regard for their power delivery, efficiency and low noise; let's see if the S12-430 can meet our high expectations.

The S12 line from Seasonic has been available in the US retail market since around the beginning of February. This product line was announced late last year, and highly anticipated by the SPCR community, as the earlier Seasonic Super Tornado and Super Silencer lines were well regarded for their combination of high efficiency and low noise. The acoustic performance of the Super lines was not without controversy; they suffered through several revisions of an annoying intermittent fan control problem before finally being fully resolved in the last Revision A3. The S12 series are equipped with a 12 cm fan, from which the product name is derived. It is a replacement for the Super Tornado series, which is no longer being manufactured. Once current supplies in the retail channels are depleted, the Super Tornado will be no more.

There are five models in the S12 lineup: 330, 380, 430, 500 and 600. The naming convention is simply based on the power rating of the model. Seasonic says that the lower three models were evolved from the Super Tornado while the 500 and 600 are based on a newer circuit design. The SS-430HB under review here can be regarded as a newer, slightly more powerful version of the Super Tornado 400.

The 500 and 600 have a different model numbering sequence; SS-500HT Active PFC and SS-600HT Active PFC rather than the HB of the three lower powered S12s. There is a third lower power model in this series, the SS-400HT Active PFC, which is the model that won the first 80 Plus high efficiency PSU designation we recently reported on. Seasonic's main web site has details about the full SS-xxxHT line.

New packaging for the new line.

Naturally, it looks much like all the 12 cm fan PSUs. A wire grill on the fan now, the same open exhaust grill.
The black finish is new for Seasonic, though: Flat, non-glossy.

There are a few vents on two other sides

The contents of the box: power cable, installation guide, cable management kit, screws, 24-to-20-pin ATX adaptor, warranty sheet, and a 4-pin IDE to two 5V and a 12V fan headers.

Closeup on the adapters: The useful 3 fan headers adapter is a page from Zalman's book.

Feature Highlights of the Seasonic S12-430
Complies with Intel ATX12V v2.0
Supports the latest motherboards and processors.
S2FC Smart & Silent Fan Control
If it is unchanged from the Rev. A3 Super Tornado, it is about the best fan controller we've seen in a PSU. We'll see.
Active PFC environment friendly technology
Almost every Seasonic we've looked at has had it for three years; now more common.
Universal Free Input: 100-240V As in previous Super series, can be useful.
Forward Converter: Advanced design
Instead of a half-bridge rectifier, apparently.
Dual 12V rails for CPU and peripherals Specified by ATX12V v2.0
Short circuit, over voltage & over power protection Very nice.
Supports PCI Express
But no PCIe 6-pin for high power VGA
Supports Dual CPU motherboard 8-pin 12V cable
Safety / EMI Approvals: CE / TUV EN60950 / UL60950 / CSA / FCC / NEMKO Generally, the more the better.

SPECIFICATIONS: Seasonic S12-430
AC Input
100-240V ~7A 60/60 Hz
DC Output
Maximum Output Current
Maximum Combined

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