Tagan EasyCon XL 700W: A Tagan at Last

Power
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7. TEMPERATURE & COOLING

The thermal performance of the EasyCon XL was somewhat questionable. Thermal performance under heavy load was quite poor, and the output temperature reached a scorching 72°C at full load.

Even at more reasonable loads in the 200~400W range, the thermal rise through the unit was in the 10~20°C range, which is too much for a unit that is operating at 80% efficiency.

About the best we can say for the thermals is that it didn't seem to affect electrical performance very much. Yes, the high end efficiency did drop a bit, but no other signs of overheating ever appeared — AC power consumption was stable, output voltages didn't move, and ripple didn't increase any more than expected.

8. FAN, FAN CONTROLLER and NOISE

It's a shame to save the worst for last, but it's hard to call the noise produced by the EasyCon XL anything else. A baseline noise level of 29 dBA@1m is simply too loud to consider for a quiet computer, and that's really all there is to be said.

I could go on to comment on the noise character (resonant), fan controller (too active), or point out that the starting voltage is too high, but there's little point in considering these fine details when it won't be quiet under any circumstances. Even a fan swap is made difficult by the unusual dimensions of the fan. For once, the measure noise level tells you everything you need to know about how the EasyCon XL sounds.

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

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

It's too bad that Tagan's reputation for quiet doesn't seem to extend to this model, because the electronics inside the EasyCon XL are quite good. The dual transformer design has its advantages, one of which is exceptionally stable voltage rails, as seen here. This is enough to forgive the questionable thermal performance (since the hot conditions didn't appear to affect anything), but it's not enough to forgive poor noise.

The EasyCon XL has a lot to offer the enthusiast market, and, despite stiff cables and connectors, we have to admit that the spit and polish on the detachable cables is quite impressive. Although it is functionally no different from any other modular power supply, it somehow "feels" more finished, and, in the high end market, "feel" is often as important as raw performance.

It will be interesting to watch what happens to this model line in the future. 140mm fans suddenly seem to be all the rage, and it's quite possible that they will become dominant, just as 120mm fans supplanted 80mm fans a few years ago. If that occurs, perhaps Tagan will be able to source a quieter fan for the next revision of the EasyCon XL.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
Power Supply Fundamentals & Recommended Units
Power Distribution within Six PCs
Corsair HX520W & HX620W Modular Power Supplies
Seasonic Goes High End Gaming with the M12
Antec NeoHE 430
Silverstone Element Plus ST50EF-Plus

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