Seasonic Goes High End Gaming with the M12

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October 11, 2006 by Devon Cooke

Seasonic M12-700
80 Plus Certified 700W ATX12V 2.2 Power Supply
Market Price

Seasonic is well known for its quiet, high quality power supplies. However, as good as the internal electronics are, Seasonic has never had the glitz-and-gadget coolness that seems to pervade the high end market. Their models are sedate and do not announce their high end status visually. This is beginning to change; all of Seasonic's retail models have recently acquired cable sleeving. Still, their bling factor ranks far below their UV-sensitive, titanium-plated competitors.

The M12 isn't UV-sensitive (phew!), but it does add an oft-requested high end feature: detachable cables. It also adds second fan, perhaps in response to the criticism that their past models have recirculated hot air into the system. The small, 60mm fan may trigger warning bells for those who have become used to Seasonic's benign noise signature, but rest assured that it is not supposed to turn on until it is needed.

The M12 comes in three capacities: 500W, 600W, and 700W. These capacities — along with the price — put the M12 squarely at the top end of the market. These are gaming power supplies, designed to supply with the massive amounts of power required (or perceived to be required) by two hot video cards and a high end processor. The 700W model — the highest capacity we've ever reviewed — even sports an extra two PCI Express connectors so that it can be used in a Quad-SLI system without breaking a sweat.

Pricing is definitely top end: Market price for the 700W model is currently $200~220. The 600W model can be found for $165~190, and the 500 is at around $140.

Three models: 500W, 600W, & 700W.

Detachable cables: A first for Seasonic's retail series.

Feature Highlights of the Seasonic M12 (from Seasonic's web site)
Dual Magnetic Amplifiers [Mag-Amp]
Cross regulation tolerance on +12V lines are improved from standard 5% to 3% for optimized stability.
Do you need 3% regulation? Most systems seem to do just fine with 5%, but overclockers may benefit.
Double Forward Converter Design
Advanced topology for the highest efficiency.
So that's how they do it...
Multiple +12V Outputs
Enhanced +12V current capability broadens utilization possibilities.
Rumor has it that the four +12V lines are not so independent...
High Reliable Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors
Top quality components increase product life & reliability.
Reliable components may be the most important feature in a power supply.
Super High Efficiency [up to 85%]
Optimal solution for low energy consumption, noise & heat.
Not quite as efficient as Seasonic's 80 Plus certified models, but still very, very competitive.
Active Power Factor Correction [99% PF]
Reduces line loss & power distortion.
Standard on Seasonics for a long time, and increasingly common on other high end units.
Smart and Silent Fan Control [S2FC]
Smart thermal control to balance noise and cooling.
The same excellent controller that made Seasonic's past models so quiet.
Super Quiet Dual Fan Cooling [12cm & 6cm ball bearing fan]
Reduces hot spots and improves cooling while remaining quiet.
"Quiet" and "Dual Fan" don't often go together in a power supply, but if anyone can make one, it's Seasonic.
Soft-Mounting Rubber Cushions
Reduces fan rotation & vibration noise.
Soft mounting is generally good for noise quality.
Ultra Ventilation [Honey Comb Structure]
Doubles the airflow & lifespan with half the RPM & noise.
A feature since the Seasonic's first 120mm PSU — the Super Tornado — two generations ago.
Detachable Modular Cables
Use precisely the cables you need, enhance system airflow and minimize clutter.
This is the whole point of the M12 — without these it would just be an S12 with an extra fan.
All in One DC Cabling Design
Supports PC, IPC, workstation, server, & dual CPU systems.
ATX12V & EPS12V compliant. Dual CPU and/or GPU systems are the only systems that are likely to demand anywhere near the rated capacity.
Universal Video Card Support
Supports all multiple PCI-E video cards technologies.
Longhand for dual / quad PCIe connectors.
Patented Easy Swap Connector
Unplug the connectors easily & quickly.
Useful... but less so now that IDE drives have almost disappeared.
Universal AC Input [Full Range]
Plug & run safely anywhere in the world.
Nice. Normal in retail Seasonic PSUs for several years.
3 Year Warranty
Our Commitments to superior quality.
Hopefully unnecessary, but nice to have.

The feature list for the M12 is copy-and-paste identical to the feature list of the recently released S12 Energy Plus, with only three minor changes to distinguish the two product lines:

  1. The maximum claimed efficiency is 85% for the M12, not 88% as is claimed for the S12 Energy Plus.
  2. The extra fan in the M12 is noted.
  3. The detachable cables are noted.

If some our comments in the table above seem familiar, it's because they are. If Seasonic can copy and paste marketing material, we can do the same. After all — our opinion of the features hasn't changed; why use different words to say the same thing?

AC Input
100V ~ 240VAC @ 50/60Hz (Auto Range)
DC Output
Maximum Output Current

Maximum Combined

672W (56A)

The 700W capacity is backed up by a +12V line that is 56A strong. The rail is nominally split into four rails, but this is only to satisfy the arcane requirements of ATX12V — requirements that have been unofficially waived for over a year. In reality, there is only a single +12V rail. Thanks to Johnny Guru for his excellent detective work in his review of the M12-700 for this discovery..

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