Help with PSU choice and coil whine
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Author:  RadChild [ Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:13 am ]
Post subject:  Help with PSU choice and coil whine

Greetings! I've been reading the last couple of days about PSUs since I got burned by a Seasonic SS-660XP 2. It had an annoying coil whine and the replacement as well. I didn't go for a third one so I went hunting for a decent PSU. I'm after Antec EA-650 platinum and I know it's FSP made. My old PSU was Fortron Epsilon 600W and it worked fine for 5 years until I killed it.

Anyway, the only Antec I can find in my country is EA-550 platinum. The 650W model is from ebay. That is what's bugging me - if it doesn't work I'll have to spend a lot for shipping. The other PSUs I am considering are Super Flower Golden King Platinum (750W on ebay), Enermax Platimax 600W (again on ebay) and Fractal Design Newton R3 800W (the lowest wattage available in my country).

Any recommendation is welcome! Thanks!

Author:  edh [ Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Help with PSU choice and coil whine

RadChild wrote:
Greetings! I've been reading the last couple of days about PSUs since I got burned by a Seasonic SS-660XP 2. It had an annoying coil whine and the replacement as well.

Welcome to SPCR.

Have you seen this:
Last week, some six weeks after this review was originally posted, I received a third sample of the Seasonic 520W Platinum. This one is apparently representative of the current production models. I tested the new sample 3 times, with many hours of steady modest load (<100W) and also standby between high load testing, over a period of 5 days. All this was to ensure that no changes occurred as the unit "broke in".

Overall, the level of whining noise of the third sample is very low and did not change over time or load. It is very unlikely to cause any negative reaction with 99% of potential users. (The 1% who might complain are the ones who would never be happy with any product.) I would call it a residual level of noise — not audible when one's head is more than a foot away, under any load or acoustic background. There is a wee bit of whine associated with the 5Vsb line, and it varies a tiny bit as that load is raised and lowered, but not to any significant or noticeable degree. As a function of 12V load, the level of whine is very low, and does not vary. When the measurement microphone is placed right atop the PSU, the frequency of the trace noise can be seen as spikes at 4kHz and 6 kHz, but even from this intimate distance, the levels are just -10 dBA and -15 dBA.

The very low level of electronic noise achieved in this sample is nice to see. Seasonic reps assure me that the issues which caused the higher than expected electronic noise in the original sample have been resolved. Apparently, it is the quality of the winding process for the transformer that affects the noise I found, and this issue has been identified and corrected, with continuous monitoring assured for the future. Typical production variance of the electronic noise from my sample is estimated to be approximately +7%, -5% — this is very tight tolerance, and a +7% increase will not be audible as any change at all.

The electronic noise with the second sample really wasn't serious, and this one is much better, so all in all, it's a very positive result.

As mentioned in the review, Seasonic reports that adjustments in the BIOS of some recent motherboards eliminates electronic noise completely with many earlier production samples. The settings are:

BIOS set up to ENABLE ErP/EuP (S4~S5)
BIOS set up to DISABLE Audio Always On


There seem to be 2 camps on Seasonic PSUs: those who suffer from the whining and those who don't. I've never had it with my X400 even under test conditions with everything else off. Seasonic seem to have found some issue with some Platinum models but there remain these BIOS options to try too.

Author:  Abula [ Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Help with PSU choice and coil whine

I would go with with Kingwin/Superflower, some users that have had issues with Seasonic and coil whine have good experience with it.... still on electronics nothing is garantee, i have two seasonic X series, no issues at all, my guess is its a combo of hardware, not only the PSU, but thats just my 0.02.

Author:  RadChild [ Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help with PSU choice and coil whine

edh wrote:
Have you seen this...

Yes, I have. I've been reading this forum on the specific issue for a few days now and I don't think I've missed a thread, lol. The thing is, the store's technician that sold me the PSU "concluded" that if the second sample was whining then that's how it's supposed to work. That's hilarious, because the first one was sent for repairs. I told him to test the second unit before sending it and I'm sure he started it by using a paper clip and didn't let it work for a while, because he noticed only a slight buzz. At first both PSUs didn't make such a bad noise, but after about 10min. they both reached the same high pitch. That includes both regluar desktop use and gaming.

I suspect that the culprit is the fan switch, because the noise is higher in volume when the PSU is in hybrid mode. When in normal mode, the fan kicks in (louder than the rest of my fans...) and possibly cools whatever emmits the noise. If that's not the case, then maybe it has to do with the switch in general. If there are people out there with a similar model that's one thing they can try to desolder just to see if the noise will remain. This is why I'm staying away from Corsair's models that are made by Seasonic - they have the same switch. The Super Flower one also has a switch, but I have no feedback from owners about it. There was only one post that I encountered that the Golden King models with a fan switch have the same coil whine, which will automatically exclude it from my list.

I'm inclined to trust the Antec model and the price is very good. I've gone through the review on hardware secrets and it seems like a good unit...

Author:  RadChild [ Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Help with PSU choice and coil whine

I finally pulled the trigger on Fractal Design Newton R3 800W. I read that the Antec had coil whine as well and I was going nuts already with this crap. The moment I plugged the unit to the power lead (power switch was off) there was some noise that I think was coming from the PSU. It disappeared after several seconds though. Booted the PC, stayed on desktop for a while and listening to the unit (it was in the PC case) and there was no whine. I've played some games and ran furmark just in case and there is only a tiny bit of coil whine when I put my ear to the PC case where the PSU is sitting. It's volume is low enough that I can't hear it from the normal distance where I'm sitting at so I call this a win considering the recent post I encountered about the relationship of coil whine and very efficient PSUs. This one has a very high efficiency so I'm happy with what I got.

I also want to note that my monitor also has a coil whine that is higher in volume than my PSU. It's a Dell U2312HM.


Here's a video of the noise the PSU is making: http://youtu.be/LXgVres_djk
I have to admit that I underestimated it, because the rest of my rig also has some noise.


It seems the noise increases in volume pretty much like the Seasonic when I play music from AIMP via ASIO. I'll have to check if it's really the PSU, but I've had no issues with my other components to this day...

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