Zalman ZM460-APS Power Supply

Power
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PHYSICAL BASICS

The matte black finish is sleek and sedate, which gives it a sense of style (which is good) without being flashy (which is also good). The sleekness is interrupted by several small stickers that confirm the safety testing and list a few of the unit's more notable features. The spec sticker on the side is especially large ? so large that it partially obstructs three small vents along the top edge.


Sleek, black, and covered with stickers.

On the whole, the ZM460-APS is well ventilated. The rear grill is very open, the intake is covered by an unrestrictive wire grill, and there are a few small vents on the side and the back to relieve back pressure from the fan. Regular readers may recognize the casing from the FSP Green PS, which has an identical layout. (It's not black, though).


The rear grill is wide open ? good for cooling.

INSIDE

The circuit appears very simple; the internal components take up about half the room of an ordinary power supply of this power rating. And, if the size of the heatsinks are anything to judge by, they are packed loosely enough that they require less airflow than usual to cool.


A small, simple PCB with a sparse layout.

As you can see from the photos below, the resemblance to the FSP Green PS continues inside. The layout, the color of the PCB, and the style of the heatsinks are all very close. It's no secret that Zalman has sourced their power supplies from FSP in the past, and a direct comparison of the two shows that this partnership has continued. This is a good thing; the Green PS did well on our test bench. The drawback with the Green PS was its availability; Zalman's widespread distribution should make the ZM460-APS easier to get hold of than the Green PS.


Two of the heatsinks are simple aluminum plates; the third has only a few simple fins.

Aside from some fairly minor differences in the specific ratings of the internal components, the main difference between the Zalman and the Green PS is the heatsink that cools the main transformer and the voltage regulation components. In the Green PS, this heatsink is a simple plate. The Zalman adds twelve short fins, each about half a centimeter long. This is far from a large difference, but it is probably what allows Zalman to squeeze an extra 60W of output from the design. This heatsink is screwed directly to the rear of the power supply, using the casing as an extension of itself. This means the heatsink can be smaller, and thus allow air to flow around it more easily.


The layout is almost identical to the FSP Green PS shown above. The size of the third heatsink is the only obvious difference.

Despite its small heatsinks, the cooling in the Green PS held up admirably when we tested it, and we expected the Zalman to perform similarly. The key to its design may be the sparse interior layout, which allows much more airflow than usual to pass through.



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