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 Post subject: Coolmax CX-400B: quieting on the cheap?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 7:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2003 8:16 pm
Posts: 23
Location: Taiwan
*Oops, posted in the wrong forum (deleted old and moved here):

I don't need silence, but my goal is to quiet my PC further for hopefully less than $50 (I've already done some stuff). I'm just wondering if buying a Coolmax CX-400B was the right thing to do. Or should I try to sell that, and get a FSP300-60PN instead? I'm basically looking for a cheap replacement for Antec SL400.

When using a 120mm PSU, should the exhaust fan underneath actually be pushing air into the case?

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Background (long):

I made an impulse purchase of a $37 shipped Coolmax CX-400B during Newegg's Thanksgiving sale (scored that $1 optical mouse too :) ), but later I was trying to research a bit beyond just those positive Newegg reviews since Newegg screens product reviews. I saw a few positive things on the Coolmax after searching SPCR forums so that was good, but then I stumbled across this in another forum:

http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=832522&highlight=coolmax+400W

That Coolmax took down a brand spankin' new 6800GT! :shock:

So now that newegg has already charged and shipped, I'm scrambling to find a reason why that happened to that guy's 6800GT, and reassure myself that my own system won't fry.

1. If I had the dough for a 6800GT, I defintely wouldn't have settled for a $37 Coolmax "400W".

2. My system is not as demanding as that guy's. I only have:

AthlonXP 2500+ @ 3200+ (stock voltage)
ABIT NF7-S rev2
1GB of Corsair Value Select PC3200 at stock
Asus 9600XT @ stock (9800Pro someday?)
80GB WD SE
160GB Maxtor DM9
NEC ND2500A (nice & quiet, good burns w/ good media, but sucky DVD read ECC)
good ol' floppy

My current PSU is an Antec SL400 that runs everything fine, but I finally couldn't put up with the noise. After reading so many reviews that the Coolmax CX-400B is quiet, I decided to get it and hope it quiets things down a bit. The Coolmax looks a lot like a Fortron 120mm, so I hope it's at least close in quality. And if I view it as more of a 300~350W (assuming that 400W is overstated), I should be fine right? What's funny is the CX-400B lists +12V @ 18A while the CX-450B lists +12V @ 15A. That's why I didn't take the Coolmax specs too seriously. In the photos I saw online, the Coolmax heatsinks seem bigger than the ones in the Fortron 120mm PSU's (I looked at the SPCR review of the 350W Auora and my brother has a FSP300), so I thought that might be an indicator of good build quality.

I definitely didn't want to spend more than $40 or so, because future-proofing isn't too much of an issue for me. My next good PSU is going to be PCI-Express compatible anyway so I don't want to sink too much money into a PSU right now. I intend to keep this setup for another 1~2 years and then move to dual core and PCI-e. Of course, by then I'll hopefully have a steady job and be willing to buy a $$nice$$ SPCR recommended PCI-e compatible PSU at that time (maybe 600W will be normal by then lol).

So as long as that Coolmax doesn't fry everything it touches, my system should be relatively quiet I hope. Doesn't have to be silent. Something like this:

Case: Kingwin KT-424; changes: stamped fan grills nibbled out, rear fan replaced with Panaflo 80mm L1A, front fans replaced with 2 x Coolermaster 80mm LED fans. I did most of these changes after finding SPCR website shortly after building my PC 1 and a half years ago. Although the Coolermaster fans are more recent. I used to have two incredibly noisy generic LED fans.

CPU HSF: SLK900U w/ Panaflo 92mm L1A

Northbridge: silver Zalman NB32J

GPU HSF: Evercool VR-CE (that twinkly cooler)

I originally wanted a VGA Silencer Rev 3. I really didn't intend to end up with the VR-CE, but it wouldn't fit on a 9000Pro in a different PC, so I ended up slapping it on my 9600XT. Darn, no more VGA silencer for me. :evil:

Hard Drive: HDD's are mounted using the default rubber grommets of the KT-424. With the Antec SL400 at the moment, I can't hear the HDD's. Maybe if the Coolmax is quiet, I'll start to hear the HDD's.

Yea, I know WD's and Maxtors are pretty noisy, but I don't have the money to replace them. I splurged a year and a half ago on the SLK900U, Aluminum case, 1GB PC3200, and 160GB HDD (the 2500+ on the otherhand was a bargain). Then I semi-splurged on the 9600XT half a year ago (mostly to get that HL2 coupon), but today money is much tighter, thus the reasoning for a Coolmax CX-400B and not a Seasonic 400W Super Tornado.

So finally in conclusion, I really really hope the Coolmax CX-400B works out for me.

I'll update later when I get my hands on the Coolmax.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 7:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 7:45 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Washington, D.C.
I'd be interested in hearing your experience as well. I bought it on the same sale. Its going into a friends box who is by no means a OCer or a gamer so I don't forsee any problems. I don't think you should get too worried yet, as getting that PS when you have a 6800GT seems quite absurd to say the least. I'm hoping mine will be fine for a
P4 2.4 or 2.8 based system with one DVD and two hard drives and an old matrox G400 and two more fans running at 5-7 volts each. We'll see keep me updated as I won't be putting this system together for her for a couple weeks probably. Hopefully we will both come out unscathed or fried :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 6:58 am 
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Joined: Fri May 28, 2004 5:07 am
Posts: 52
Location: Deep South U.S.A.
I've been running that same power supply for almost a year and have had no problems with it at all. My system is:

A64 3000+
Zalman 7000
512MB OCZ
2 x 36 GB Raptors in RAID
120 GB Maxtor
MSI 5900XT
NEC 2500A DVD-RW
Compucase LX-6A19
Globe 120mm in back
Papst 120mm in front


The power supply has a switch on the back to control the fan speed. High Medium and Low I believe. I always leave it set on Low. It's not really audible to me. By no means a dead quiet system by standards on here but MUCH quieter than my old rig.

I'll think you'll be just fine and much happier with the power supply.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 10:01 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 5:52 pm
Posts: 143
I bought the same PSU before it was on sale. No issues, it's quieter than the rest of my system.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 1:21 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2003 8:16 pm
Posts: 23
Location: Taiwan
Got the Coolmax today, it is very quiet on low and auto. I leave it on auto, so that when I play HL2 it might speed up a bit.

On a side note, that $1 mouse, the build quality reflects its price, I've never seen such a thin mouse cord before! Then again, for $1, still fine for a relative with an old PC and ball mouse.

Now I can only hope that the Coolmax will last me a good 2~3 years, and the negative air pressure won't be any worse than with the Antec SL400 (the crevices on my drives get dusty awfully quick).

I realized that the most annoying sound wasn't the Antec, but instead the Evercool Twinkle cooler. I did get a modest decrease in PSU noise nonetheless ... My next targets are probably VGA Silencer Rev3 and maybe a Zalman Fanmate for the CPU fan.

Edit: Forgot to mention, the cords on the Coolmax are quite short like what a few of the newegg reviews say. So definitely not good for a full-tower case. Worked out okay for my mid-tower Kingwin KT-424 though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 1:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 7:45 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Washington, D.C.
Glad to hear it rtree. I bought it for the moms comp and I'm not going for extreme silence but it sounds like running it on auto will work out fine. She isn't much of a gamer so I don't think the noise will ramp up too often 8) Thanks for the update.


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