Chill Innovation CP-700M: Quiet EU Power

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COMPARISONS

The comparison table below shows the SPL versus Power Load data on all the PSUs tested in the anechoic chamber thus far.

Comparison: Various PSUs Noise Vs. Power Output in Anechoic Chamber
Model
90W
150W
200W
250W
300W
400W
500W
6~700W
Nexus Value 430
11
11
16
18
18
19
n/a
n/a
Seasonic M12D 850W
14
14
14
14
14
24
37
42
Enermax Modu82+ 625*
13
13
14
15
16
26
36
37
Chill Innovations CP-700M
15
15
15
15
17
30
34
34
Antec Signature 650
15
15
15
18
18
28
36
47
SilverStone DA700
18
18
18
18
23
32
35
41
NesteQ ECS7001
22
22
22
21
23
25
36
37
PCPC Silencer 610
20
24
24
24
24
30
40
50
The green boxes represent >30 dBA@1m SPL.
*Guesstimates based on the Modu82+ 425's idle in the chamber and the Modu82+ 625's load test.

The green colored blocks are 30 dBA@1m or greater SPL readings. The PSU that stayed quiet (under 30 dBA) to the highest load is not in this table because it has not been tested in the anechoic chamber: The Zalman ZM1000, which stayed below 30 dBA to almost 600W load. It's idle noise is probably not low enough to match the M12D-850W , the Enermax, or the Signature 650; its measured SPL in the live test room was 20 dBA@1m, a dB or two higher than the others.

The CP-700M is close to the Antec Signature 650, but the nod has to go to the Chill because its fan ramps up slightly slower, and at higher speeds, the big 135mm fan has a nicer, smoother character than the 80mm fan in the Signature.

Caution: Please keep in mind that the data in the above table is specific to the conditions of our test setup. Change the cooling configuration, the ambient temperature and any number of other factors, and you could change the point at which the fans start speeding up, as well as the rate of the rise in speed. The baseline SPL is accurate, however, probably to within 1 dBA.

MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made as 24-bit / 88 kHz WAV files with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own anechoic chamber (11 dBA ambient), 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.

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.

Sound Recordings of PSU Comparatives in the Anechoic Chamber

CONCLUSIONS

The Chill Innovation CP-700M slides in comfortably among the quietest fan-cooled power supplies tested by SPCR. Its base noise level is low enough to form the foundation of a virtually (not truly virtual) silent computer, and the noise level stays low even to very high power levels.

The electrical performance is good in almost all respects, but it is not flawless, at least not at the limits of its power rating. At full power. both +5V ripple and voltage regulation exceeded maximum recommended limits set by the ATX12V v2.2 guideline. Active PFC is not quite as effective as others we've seen, as >0.95 PF is not reached until a high 200W load. Efficiency, too, is not quite at the level of the best, and it probably would not meet 80 Plus requirements, except with >220VAC input. (This brings up a salient point: The fact that the CP-700M is only sold in the UK and in Europe, where the higher VAC is the norm.) All of these suggest a PSU using slightly older technology, but quite well-optimized for very quiet operation within a range of power loads.

Like the electrical performance, cooling is fine until very high power loads are reached. Steady-state >500W power draw is not normal even for high performance dual-video card gaming systems. The sensible approach to getting the most from this power supply is to allow some headroom to ensure it's never asked to deliver more than ~500W. It's what most users will do anyway; the typical DIY PC system builder usually choose a PSU with a power rating at least double the maximum actually demanded by his system.

For silent PC enthusiasts with higher power requirements in the EU, this Chill Innovation is obviously a good option. The lowest current selling price appears to be around EUR 87, or roughly US$120, which is fairly competitive for a quiet 700W PSU. We welcome the CP-700M to the SPCR recommended power supply list.

Our thanks to Chill Innovation for the CP-700M sample.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
Power Supply Fundamentals
SPCR PSU Test Rig V.4
Nexus Value 430
Seasonic M12D-850
SilverStone Decathlon DA700 power supply
Modu82+ 625 Power Supply: Enermax to the Forefront
Corsair HX520 & HX620

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Discuss this article in the SPCR Forums.



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