Seasonic Goes Green: The Eco Power 300

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MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

Each of these recording start with 6~10 seconds of silence to let you hear the ambient sound of the room, followed by 10 seconds of the product's noise.

  • Seasonic Eco Power 300 at 20~90W output, 23 dBA@1m: One meter
  • Seasonic Eco Power 300 at 150W output, 27 dBA@1m: One meter

Sound Recordings of PSU Comparatives

  • Seasonic S12II-380 at up to ~200W output, 21 dBA@1m: One meter
  • Sparkle Power SPI220LE at 65W output, 21 dBA@1m: One meter

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

Seasonic's marketing material does a good job of summing up what's good and what's bad about the Eco Power 300: "Innovative use of 100% recycled cardboard has eliminated all packaging plastics, placing Eco Power 300 at the forefront of green electronic design." On the one hand, there's something to Seasonic's claim that the Eco Power is at the forefront of green design. On the other, the main basis of the claim to green is just packaging; no quantum leap in electronic manufacturing efficiency is claimed.

Have pity for Seasonic's marketing team though: The greenest feature of the Eco Power 300 is one that doesn't translate easily into marketing material: Its modest 300W capacity. Not only do smaller power supplies tend to have flatter efficiency curves and better low-power efficiency, they also require substantially less material to produce — and that's the key to Green electronics. The unusual form factor is also to its advantage here, and they've made a wise move to include an adapter plate for ATX systems.

The reality is, Seasonic hasn't really produced an outstandingly Green power supply; they've given people a reason to buy a properly-sized power supply rather than a massively over-powered model. And, if it works, that in itself will probably do more for the environment than all the efficiency improvements in the world. Just as the car industry is convincing people to drop their heavy SUVs for efficient sub-compacts, Seasonic is trying to sell a smaller, more environmentally-friendly power supply. Given that the Eco Power 300 is one of the few good quality 300W power supplies on the market, we wish Seasonic the best of luck capitalizing on this developing market segment. We look forward to seeing even smaller units in the future.

Much thanks to Seasonic USA for this review sample.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
Power Supply Fundamentals
Recommended Power Supplies
Power Distribution within Six PCs
SPCR PSU Test Rig V.4
Sparkle Power SPI220LE 80 Plus FlexATX PSU
Seasonic SS-300SFD 80 Plus: Little Big PSU

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Discuss this article in the SPCR Forums.



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