Antec Phantom 500

Power
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FAN DETAILS


An unusual fan grill prevents the output wires from getting tangled in the fan.

The fan can be set to turn on at one of three preset thermal thresholds. A small switch on the fan module allows the user to choose between "1", "2", or "3". It is necessary to refer to the manual to discover what these numbers mean.

According to the manual, the "1" setting sets the fan to turn on when an internal temperature reaches 40°C. We do not know where this internal temperature is measured. The "2" and "3" settings set the thermal threshold to 47.5°C and 55°C, respectively. The switch came set to "1"; most silence-seekers will want to bump the setting up to "3" right away.


The user can select one of three temperature thresholds for the fan.

Is this feature really necessary? Anybody who buys a Phantom will have low noise as their main goal, and if Antec feels that it can perform at the "3" setting, why should they include the more conservative settings? The manual has some instructions about this.

"How to set the fan operating mode
"....Before you set this switch, take a moment to think about how you usually use your computer.

"Position 1: "High Performance" mode.... We recommend this mode if you're a gamer or high-performance-oriented user, and you care more about ultra-fast performance than the noise level generated by your computer.

"Position 2: "Quiet Computing" mode.... We recommend this mode if you'd prefer a balance between high-performance computing and quiet computing.

"Position 2: "Quiet Computing" mode.... We recommend this mode if you're determined to have the quietest power supply possible. (Obviously, we don't recommend this setting for overclockers or gamers.)"

The obvious implication is that in a high thermal and power draw environment, it is safer to run the Phantom 500 at the most aggressive fan setting. But does this mean the PSU will not cool itself adequately when used at the "3" setting in a high power rig (that still draws less than 500W, of course)?

The cover of the plastic fan module can be removed to access the fan, although this procedure requires some care. The fan measures 80x15mm. It is thinner and blows less air than most other power supply fans. The interior of the Phantom is densely packed with heatsinks, which limits the amount of airflow that can be pushed through it. The restriction may require greater than usual air pressure from the fan to push the same amount of air. The shallow 15mm depth of this fan actually means it produces less pressure than standard 25mm depth fans.


The grill can be popped off revealing a thin 80 x 15mm fan.

Keep in mind that the Phantom was originally designed for fanless use; in theory, the fan should not be required often in ordinary use. The low-airflow fan and the airflow restrictions many be less important here than for other power supplies. When the fan does turn on under heavy load, with its much larger heatsinks, the Phantom should be able to use the minimal airflow more efficiently than an ordinary power supply.

The manual also notes that "your chassis must be well-ventilated... make sure the exhaust fans installed in your PC chassis can cool the whole system without the help of a power supply fan."

CABLES AND CONNECTORS

The Phantom 500 has a total of seven cable sets:

  • 19" sleeved cable for 24-pin ATX connector
  • 24" cable with a standard 4-pin AUX12V power connector and an 8-pin 4x12V connector for EPS12V (dual CPU) - The latter feature is not in the Phantom 350.
  • 38" cable with three 4-pin IDE drive connectors and one floppy drive power connector
  • 30" cable with two 4-pin IDE drive connectors and one floppy drive power connector
  • 2 x 25" cables with two SATA drive connectors each
  • 19" 6-pin auxiliary power connector for PCI Express

For a power supply of this wattage, the Phantom 500 has surprisingly few cables. This is a good thing: "surprisingly few" is still far more than most ordinary systems require, and fewer wires to impede case airflow. Even dual-processor servers should not be missing any connectors.


Cable sets are entangled as they leave the casing.

On minor issue that we encountered was the way the wires were tangled as they leave the casing. The tangle of wires effectively shortens the total length of the connectors, especially if two cable sets need to be pulled in opposite directions. This is not an uncommon criticism of power supplies, but we expected a higher level of workmanship.



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