Mushkin XP-650 power supply

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MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

Each of these recording have 10 seconds of silence to let you hear the ambient sound of the room, followed by 10 seconds of the product's noise.

Sound Recordings of PSU Comparatives

Since making the change to a new (improved) microphone and recording setup recently (see Audio Recording Methods Revised) we have only had time to re-record just a few reference products with the new system. There will be more added soon. What we have today are recordings of two reference quiet power supplies at minimum load only. To be perfectly fair, at 150W load, both of the following power supplies get slightly louder, but just barely, by about 1 dBA@1m.

It is true that both of the above power supplies are rated lower than the Mushkin. However, the 550W version of the NeoHE and the 600W version of the Seasonic S12 behave the same way, acoustically, as these models. They represent the best of the quiet competition for the Mushkin.

HOW TO LISTEN & COMPARE

These recordings were made with a high resolution, studio quality, digital recording system, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review. Two recordings of each noise level were made, one from a distance of one meter, and another from one foot away.

The one meter recording is intended to give you an idea of how the subject of this review sound in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. For best results, set your volume control so that the ambient noise is just barely audible. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The one foot recording is designed to bring out the fine details of the noise. Use this recording with caution! Although more detailed, it may not represent how the subject sounds in actual use. It is best to listen to this recording after you have listened to the one meter recording.

More details about how we make these recordings can be found in our short article: Audio Recording Methods Revised.

CONCLUSIONS

Rarely have we encountered a power supply that's packaged so well yet performs so underwhelmingly. The Mushkin XP-650 is an odd mix of old and new: Multiple 12V lines (RailFusion notwithstanding) along with a long-outmoded -5V line; utterly modern detachable output cables with efficiency that's a throwback to bad old days; gleaming titanium-plating but no Active PFC; dual push-pull cooling fans with the worst choice for default fan voltage we've seen in ages.

In its defense, we can point out the excellent voltage regulation and the fact that it reached full output power without much signs of duress. Gamers and performance-obsessed PC enthusiasts may find the noise acceptable. On the other hand, judging from the increasing numbers of gamers seeking advice in the SPCR forums, such a comment may not be generally valid any more.

We cannot recommend the XP-650 for anyone reading SPCR to glean insight into buying quiet computer components or assembling a quiet PC. At least for the silence-loving, energy-conscious PC consumer, Mushkin should go back to the drawing board.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
Power Supply Fundamentals & Recommended Units
Power Distribution within Six PCs
Seasonic S12-430: The current low-noise champ
Enermax Liberty EL500AWT & EL620AWT Power Supplies

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Much thanks to Mushkin for the opportunity to examine this power supply.

Discuss this article in the SPCR Forums.



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