Apex MI-008: A Cheap Quiet mini-ITX Case?

Cases|Damping
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TESTING

System Components:

Measurement and Analysis Tools

Video Playback Test Suite


720p | 25fps | ~6mbps
Dark Knight: Dark Knight Trailer 3 is a 720p clip encoded in H.264 inside an Apple Quicktime container.


1080p | 24fps | ~10mbps
Rush Hour: Rush Hour 3 Trailer 1 is a 1080p clip encoded in H.264 inside an Apple Quicktime container.

TEST RESULTS

Power Consumption

System Power Consumption
Test State
Allied
AL-8250SFX
Seasonic
SS-300SFD
picoPSU
(HFX Micro)
Off
2W
2W
2W
Standby
3W
3W
3W
Idle
35W
29W
25W
Dark Knight
(H.264 720p)
39W
34W
30W
Rush Hour
(H.264 1080p)
42W
37W
33W
CPU Load
42W
37W
33W
CPU + GPU Load
47W
42W
39W
Results obtained on an open test platform.

Compared to the 80Plus Seasonic SS-300SFD, the stock power unit consumes about 5W more at most loads. Compared to the HFX Micro and its picoPSU, the gap widens to 8-10W. Nothing surprising here: Stock power supplies are rarely that efficient, especially at the low end of the spectrum. (For more test data regarding the Intel D945GCLF2, please refer to our mCubed HFX Micro review.)

So is it worth it to change the power supply? Well if you have a more efficient one handy you might as well, but if you don't, then you have to consider whether it's worth your time and/or money. From a purely financial point of view, consider this: if this particular system was run with the stock power supply instead of a picoPSU and power brick 24-7, it would put a $5.16 CDN dent into SPCR lab's electric bill after one year — it would take many years before we would re-coup the cost of a picoPSU. Electricity rates vary from region to region, so check your rate and do some quick math. Of course, if you're seeking to be as green as possible with your IT gear, then the savings in electricity is probably more important than the money saved. However, the embedded energy in the stock PSU or recycling it complicates the environmental picture.

The Allied power supply was surprisingly quiet, more so than the Seasonic SS-300SFD, our sample of which has a rickety fan. We anticipated in advance that the stock unit would be too loud and planned on using the Seasonic instead. As it turns out, not only is the Allied power supply quieter, the Seasonic has a protruding fan that interferes with the metal guide that sits between the power supply and the I/O panel. That made the decision to leave the power supply be an easy one.



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