Silentmaxx Fanless 400W MX460-PFL01 power supply

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COMPARISON

The similarity between the Silentmaxx and the FSP Zen just begs for a direct comparison. Similarities have already been noted in the sections on efficiency and temperature, but a side-by-side comparison makes for a more complete picture.

EFFICIENCY COMPARISON:
FSP Zen FSP300-60GNF vs.
Silentmaxx Fanless 400 Watt MX460-PFL01
Target Output
40W
65W
90W
150W
200W
250W
300W
400W
Efficiency
Silentmaxx
70.6%
76.6%
79.6%
81.9%
84.1%
83.7%
83.5%
81.3%
FSP Zen
76.6%
80.4%
83.0%
84.6%
84.6%
83.6%
82.9%
–

The FSP Zen is clearly more efficient in the lower range. The Zen carries an advantage of 3-6 percentage points all the way up to 150W output, which is about the most a non-gaming system will ever draw. The Silentmaxx does gain the upper hand as the output increases, but even then the difference is never more than 0.6 points. Presumably, this difference would widen if the Zen were capable of outputting 400 watts, but any advantage at this level is almost entirely theoretical. Nobody except overclockers with SLI are likely to need this much power consumption.

THERMAL COMPARISON:
FSP Zen FSP300-60GNF vs.
Silentmaxx Fanless 400 Watt MX460-PFL01
Target Output
40W
65W
90W
150W
200W
250W
300W
400W
Temperature Rise
Silentmaxx
5°C
5°C
7°C
9°C
11°C
16°C
18°C
20°C
FSP Zen
6°C
10°C
9°C
13°C
15°C
18°C
20°C
–

The situation is reversed when the thermal results are compared. The Silentmaxx holds a slight advantage across the whole range of output, typically in the 2~4°C range. Oddly enough, the difference is greatest in the 65~150W range where the Zen holds the greatest advantage in efficiency. This result may be that the anodizing treatment of the heatsinks in the Silentmaxx helps... or maybe it's just a testing anomaly.

CONCLUSIONS

The Silentmaxx Fanless 400 Watt and the FSP Zen are brethren, both on the surface and beneath the skin. Our impressions of the two power supplies are similar. In other words, the Silentmaxx is impressive. Efficiency in particular is excellent... though it missed the claimed 89%. Voltage regulation was also very good.

As with all fanless power supplies, the thermals are a bit of questionable. The Silentmaxx runs warmer than most fanned power supplies, but it doesn't appear to be much better or worse than any of the competition. How much the pink anodized heatsinks do for cooling is hard to say; we are cautiously optimistic that they help a little.

One difference between the two that we were pleased to notice was that the main ATX cable on the Silentmaxx was a full 18 inches long — a roughly standard length, and about four inches longer than the FSP Zen.

We are confused by the external fan header. The nonstandard connector makes it useless — it won't even power the included case fan. All thing considered, the odd fan connector is a pretty small bone to pick but we hope to see this fixed in a future revision.

Overall, we came away with a fairly positive impression, grounded in the solid electronics that are the starting point for any good power supply. If you seek a fanless PSU and understand how to make the best of this one, it may be worth the steep $175 asking price.

* * *

Much thanks to Quiet PC USA for the opportunity to examine this power supply.

*

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
Power Supply Fundamentals & Recommended Units
Power Distribution within Six PCs
Fortron Zen fanless 300W Power Supply
Antec Phantom 500 "Hybrid" PSU
SilverStone ST30NF Fanless ATX PSU
Seasonic S12-430

* * *

Discuss this article in the SPCR Forums.



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