Seasonic S12 Energy Plus: Efficient Power for Connoisseurs

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Physically, the S12 Energy Plus looks identical to the original S12 500 & 600 models. The external casing is the same, as are the position and size of the vents. The black and silver color scheme hasn't changed, and neither has the wire fan grill or the open on the back.

No changes to the exterior.

As with all of Seasonic's power supplies, the S12 Energy Plus has a few small vents on the inside panel. These are intended to reduce back pressure and increase airflow in an area that would otherwise receive almost no cooling. However, some people have complained that this vent tends to exhaust unwanted heat into the system. We think that the relatively small increase in system temperature is worth the tradeoff for a well-cooled power supply, but not everyone agrees.

The Energy Plus sports all of the slight changes that came with the recent revision (number three) of the S12 lineup. Among other things, these include longer, sleeved cables, more varied connectors, soft grommets for the fan, and RoHS compliance.

The RoHS sticker is new, but all power supplies in the EU should have one by now. No sign of an 80 Plus sticker...


Although the circuit board looks very similar to the higher capacity S12 models that we've seen, one difference immediately catches the eye: The heatsinks have changed.

Circuit topology is similar to models we've seen before.

The difference is obvious if you compare the two photos below. The new heatsinks are a bit smaller, and contain only a single layer of fins. Individual fins are wider, and there seems to be more empty space in the power supply. It's not clear why the change was made, but we can think of several possibilities:

  • Airflow Impedance: The new heatsinks block much less airflow than the originals and are therefore likely to use airflow more effectively.
  • Noise: Less impedance also means less turbulence noise at a given fan speed.
  • Cost: The new heatsinks look smaller, and may be simpler to manufacture.

On the other hand, the older heatsinks had about double the fin surface area, and we're not convinced that the decrease in impedance is enough to make up for the loss in cooling. After all, the originals were very effective — why change a good thing?

New heatsinks. Are they improved?

The original heatsinks had more surface area... but they also impeded airflow.

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