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7. TEMPERATURE & COOLING
Temperature control was excellent, with the °C temperature
rise through the unit staying in single digits throughout. The numbers indicate
a conservative approach to cooling that sacrifices the lowest acoustics for
8. FAN, FAN CONTROLLER and NOISE
The PSU fan stabilized at 3.7V shortly after turning on. The fan
was clearly audible, with the sound typical of a ball bearing fan: A buzzy hum
accompanied by some broadband wind noise and a trace of higher frequency noise
most often associated with electronic components like coils or capacitors. It's
not the smoothest sound from a PSU, nor is it the most annoying. The fan speed
seemed quite high even with the low voltage, and a quick check with a calibrated
strobe showed it to be about 1050 RPM. The measured SPL was modest at 22 dBA@1m
in the live room, but at 20 dBA@1m in the hemi-anechoic chamber, it's several
decibels higher than the quietest PSUs, which measure as low as 15~16 dBA.
The fan speed remained constant until 150W, where it rose slightly,
then stayed steady to beyond the 300W mark, which is quite high for a desktop
PC. At 400W load and 35°C intake temperature, the voltage to the fan rose
to 4.4V. It may still have risen a bit higher if left at this power level for
longer than 15 minutes. The voltage rise was just 0.6V, but the impact on noise
was very audible: It rose nearly 10 dBA to about 30 dBA. The overall noise signature
actually improved at bit in some ways, as the buzzing aspect tended to be swamped
by the broadband whooshing of wind turbulence. It was too noisy to be called
quiet, however. At higher loads, the noise continued to increase dramatically.
The red trace in the graph below shows the averaged frequency
response of the empty hemi-anechoic chamber in red, and the Silencer 610 in
black. Please note the position of the 0 dBA reference line.
Red trace: Empty hemi-anechoic chamber; black trace: With Silencer 610 at
The screen capture below shows the difference between the above
traces. The area under the blue trace and above the 0 dBA line represents the
contribution of the Silencer 610 (at idle) in a room with a perfectly flat frequency
response. The spike at ~15 kHz may be audible; it could be the higher frequency
electronic noise mentioned above. The peak at ~1.8 kHz and 600 Hz are certainly
audible. They are part of the tonal hum alluded to in the subjective description.
Finally, the peak around 160 Hz is probably the buzzy quality. (You can safely
ignore the dips below 0 dBA that occur under 150 Hz; there was probably just
a bit less external low frequency noise during the measurement of the PSU.)
This trace is obtained by subtracting the ambient room trace from the Silencer
MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS
These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality,
digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, 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
These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the
product sounds 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. 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!
Each recording starts with 6~10 seconds of room ambient, followed
by 10 seconds of the product's noise. For the most realistic results,
set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then
don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.
- PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610 at Various loads in anechoic chamber,
22-37 dBA@1m: One
meter This recording ranges over three load levels - 40W, 250W,
acoustics of the anechoic chamber vs the live room - Some of
you will be interested to hear this difference. The recording begins with
8 seconds in the anechoic chamber, then 8 seconds in the live room, followed
by a few seconds in the anechoic chamber. The SPL levels, as mentioned before,
were 11 dBA and 18 dBA respectively. It's interesting to note that the hiss
many SPCR forum members attributed to electronic noise is, in fact, not
so; it's part of the live ambient, due at least partly, to reflections at
higher frequencies in the room. This is obviously absent in the chamber.
(However, we did make a change to a new microphone which also has considerably
less noise than what we were using before the anechoic chamber, so some
of the hiss in past recordings was caused by microphone noise.)
Sound Recordings of PSU Comparatives
NesteQ ECS7001 at Various loads in Hemi-anechoic chamber,
18-37 dBA@1m: One
- Enermax Modu82+ 625W at 20~150W output, 19 dBA@1m: One
- Enermax Modu82+ 625W at 300W output, 22 dBA@1m: One
- Seasonic S12 Energy Plus 550 at 0~150W, 20 dBA@1m: One
- Corsair TX650W at 250W, 21 dBA@1m: One
- Corsair TX650W at 300W, 23 dBA@1m: One
Please note that other than the NesteQ, all of these
recordings were made in the live test room, whose acoustic are considerably
noisier and reverberant than the hemi-anechoic chamber. The comparative
database will get better as we update some previous tests and recordings,
and as more reviews are added to the mix.
The PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610 delivers clean power with
tight voltage regulation all the way to its full rated output. In electrical
performance, it is consistently excellent. A couple of years ago, this would
be good enough performance for it to rank in the top 10 percentile of all similar
products. Today, the competition is a stiffer, and testing covers more parameters
than electrical power delivery.
AC ripple was within the ATX12V specification and unlikely to
give any trouble, but a bit higher than expected given PCP&C's reputation.
Its efficiency is a touch lower than the best, especially at under 150W load,
where it drops below 80%. Some PSUs offer 80% efficiency even as low as 60W
or 70W, and many current PC systems can actually spend much of their time idling
at such power levels or even lower, so this is significant. If your system idles
at 65W, this PSU will pull 90W from the wall, compared to 82W for the recently
tested NesteQ ECS7001 or Enermax Modu82+ 625.
The acoustic performance is fairly good, staying modest in our
test setup till well past 300W, which is about as high a peak load as you'll
encounter in a sane quiet PC. Above this power level, the fan noise rose to
a higher level than any other PSU tested in recent memory. It's a moot point
as anything above 30 dBA@1m or so is simply too loud, but the fan behavior is
indicative of a decision to keep the unit well-cooled, especially at higher
load, even at the cost of higher noise. That high speed 80mm fan does not scale
down well; its sound signature at idle is not particularly benign. In a quiet
room (installed in an otherwise quiet PC), it will be easily heard, and many
listeners will hear it as being at least mildly annoying, due to the complex
mix of tonal sounds.
At $110~120, the Silencer 610 is competitively priced with other
high profile quiet PSU brands such as Corsair, Enermax, Seasonic or Silverstone.
The 5-year warranty is very generous. Acoustically, it does not match the quietest
models from these brands, so for the core SPCR audience, it is hard to recommend
this unit over others. However, if an 80mm fan in-line fan design is more to
your liking than the 120mm fan designs that prevail, if the PC Power & Cooling
brand has always pulled you, and if reduced noise is what you seek acoustically,
then the Silencer 610's fine electrical performance and well-cooled behavior
may be a perfect fit.
Much thanks to PC
Power and Cooling for this review sample.
* * *
SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
Distribution within Six PCs
PSU Test Rig V.4
S12 Energy Plus 550 and 650
ECS7001 700W PSU: A Modular Twist
HX520 & HX620
* * *
this article in the SPCR Forums.
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