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 Post subject: Quietest PSU around with ~1kW+?
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 5:37 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:45 am
Posts: 8
Hello everyone!

What is, in your opinion, the quietest PSU around with roughly ~1kW?

Anticipating your question, the PSU shall power the following:
* Currently: Xeon W3520 (== i7-920 with ECC), EVGA Classified X58 Board, Powercolor R9-290X LCS, Soundcard, 2 optical drives, 2 SSDs, Fancontroller with VFD-Display
* Future: Haswell-E 8-Core /w high clock speed, 1 or 2 R9-290X or equivalent, Soundcard, optical drives, 2 SSDs, Fancontroller with VFD-Display
The case currently in use is a Silverstone Temjin TJ03 with a top-mounted PSU, with the fan inlet either facing up- or downwards.
The system is and will be fully watercooled (CPU, GPU, Chipset, VRMs), with pump and radiator residing in a separate room - there're still case fans, but obviously throttled to "as good as completely silent".

Taking into account that most PSUs tend to get noisy when they're heavily loaded, that multi-rail designs need some headroom to not run into the OCP on any rail and that current Platinum-designs can be pretty efficient even at ~100W, I want to aim for a unit with roughly 1000W, or 1kW and more.
Probably a 850W unit would suffice for my requirements, and if there are 850W-units that are considerably quieter than units with 1kW+, I'd be hard pressed to use such a small unit. The same goes for the opposite: if you know of a unit with 1,3kW or even more which is extremely silent, I'd happily even use such a PSU. The main focus is on silence under all circumstances, followed by being future proof. And: Overkill. I like overkill... ;)

PSUs I've been looking at:
* Seasonic Platinum 1200 (SS-1200XP3)
I've had two of these; the first was outright "loud", a turbine-like noise; the replacement is much more quiet in this term but also produces a lot of fan/air noise. A lot more than it needed to be, given the load and efficiency. The hybrid mode doesn't last very long even on the windows desktop; every few minutes the fan will spin for a few minutes, which is more annoying to me than a constantly present noise.
As the X- and Platinum-series are so highly praised for their build quality and quietness I'd wonder if the smaller units are considerably less noisy. All of them are claimed to be 16dBA-silent up to ~50% load; I don't know how Seasonic do their measurements, but this unit is lots of above this advertised level, in my opinion.
Summing up: way too loud; the "ancient" Silverstone DA800 I had before was much more quiet. With the latter you could slightly hear the fan bearings, but the fan speed and the amount of air moved was at a minimum. The PSU however did reach ~47°C at the top (fan facing down) under load, which is - in my opinion - not too much for a high-quality PSU; nevertheless, it has shown it's first signs of instability with the new GPU (290X: PC resetting).
In any case, the Seasonic was a complete disappointment; a much higher efficiency than the old Silverstone I've owned, but with much higher noise, too.

* be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W+
These units are allegedly made by Seasonic and are based on their X-Series (which is 80plus Gold). Would "be quiet!" offer units that were based on the current Platinum-line from Seasonic, I would have already ordered one.
Reviews on the net are contradictory whether this PSU is really silent or not; word has it that the units tend to get really noisy when heavily loaded or at higher ambient temperatures. I'd also like to know whether there are considerable differences between the 850W, 1000W and 1200W units, regarding noise behaviour.

* Enermax Platimax
When asked for silent PSUs, you often get "Platimax" as an answer; these are obviously in the same class as the Dark Power Pro 10. Sadly, as with the DPP10, one does not know whether the higher wattage models are equally quiet than the smaller ones. As Enermax is sticking strictly to their multi-rail-design, the headroom with this model should be calculated a bit higher than with the be quiet, which could be switched to single-rail-mode in case of OCP-problems.

* Antec High Current Pro Platinum
Again, there are a lot of contradictory reviews on the net; some suggesting this PSU to be wonderfully silent even under high loads and high ambient temperatures, others stating it to be "not too loud". There seem to be pretty strong differences between the different wattage models, too; with some higher wattage ones to be rated quieter than smaller ones, if one is allowed to compare reviews from different sites...

* Corsair AX1200i/AX1500i
Some reviews state this PSU to be utterly silent, whereas a lot of users report a "clicking" sound coming from the unit "testing" the fan. Don't know what to believe or whether I should consider these units or not...

* EVGA Supernova, different models
The latest models from EVGA seem to get praised for their electrical and build quality; however, little is known about their fan- and noise behaviour...


I can cope with some fan and air noise when loading a PSU (i.e. gaming), up to a level of e.g. the Seasonic Platinum 1200. But at the Windows Desktop it should certainly not be louder than my old Silverstone DA800. If it stays that silent when gaming: all the better.
Furthermore, I don't like a hybrid mode. First of all, it's not favourable for the lifetime of the PSU; secondly, it's annoying if it's constantly switching it's fan on and off, even in longer intervals.


Based on this dissertation ;) above: what would you recommend to me?

Thanks a lot in advance for your suggestions!

Michael


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 Post subject: Re: Quietest PSU around with ~1kW+?
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 9:37 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Posts: 2023
Location: Guatemala
If you do need 1000W+, very very few do, in absence of the Kingwin LZP 1000W, reviewed by SCPR, i would probably go with Sesonic Platinum 1000W, the only issue is some people have reported whining and coils in some units, i personally don't think its totally seasonics fault but a combo of hardware, i feel so strong about seasonic still that i just bought 2x SS860XP2 that should arrive this week.

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 Post subject: Re: Quietest PSU around with ~1kW+?
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 12:01 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 3:29 am
Posts: 1232
Location: UK
KILLI wrote:
...The main focus is on silence under all circumstances...
Part of the answer is to research the fan profiles provided by the manufacturers since this will give some indication of how the fan is going to behave under load. A unit that possibly should be added to your list is the Corsair RM 1000, and this is the fan profile for it as published by Corsair:

Image

Note there is a silent mode up to about 40% of nominal capacity which may not be your personal preference. But if you can live with this then as can be seen from the rest of the profile unless your system is going to consume significantly more than 500w the RM 1000 or something with a similar fan profile would meet your expectations. The other issue here is efficiency, and again the pattern for most PSUs is that pushing them much over 50% of nominal capacity is not advisable for this reason as well. This is less of an issue with contemporary Gold or Platinum rated units. Corsair also publish an efficiency chart for the RM 1000 which illustrates this point:

Image

The other point to bear in mind is that the fan noise chart for example assumes that the major source of heat is within the unit itself, so cannot take account of mounting position in the case and the effect of external heating. This is most likely when a PSU is mounted in a top position in a case. Effectively the PSU in this scenario can become an auxiliary exhaust fan. It could mean, combined with high ambient temperatures for example, that the PSU fan might turn on earlier than the fan profile suggests and then run at elevated speeds. There is some evidence that top mounted hybrid and silent mode PSUs when operating fanlessly act as air intakes, with air being drawn through them, into the case and out via the case exhaust fan(s).


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 Post subject: Re: Quietest PSU around with ~1kW+?
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 8:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:45 am
Posts: 8
Regarding to Kitguru's reviews, the Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 seems to be the quietest unit on the market right now, apart from truly fanless designs.
Interestingly, the reviewed Seasonic-units also rank as "almost silent" - even High-Wattage-ones (X1250, Platinum 1000).

So it puzzles me that both units of the Seasonic Platinum 1200 I had tested up to now are anything but silent. Yes, this is the new XP3-platform which hasn't been reviewed yet - but this should allegedly be even more efficient than it's predecessor (word is that in this new design some heat should be transferred to the housing which is then working as a heatsink).

Unfortunately, there is still no review of the SS-1200XP3 on the net right now, which finding's I could compare to my own.
Right now, I don't know whether I'm overly sensible to noise or if the Seasonic Platinum 1200 is indeed an exception to the otherwise so quiet X- and Platinum-Series...

Can somebody please share their experiences with me? :)


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 Post subject: Re: Quietest PSU around with ~1kW+?
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 3:32 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2007 11:06 am
Posts: 120
Location: Sweden
Don't trust reviewers then they call a PSU quiet or silent :shock:
During the last few years I have swapped fans in several 'quiet' units, both Seasonic and Corsair.

My new Seasonic Platinum 660W is also anything but silent. Well, to be fair, it's not extremely noisy, but from one meter away it's clearly noticeable then the fan kicks in.
Luckily, that doesn't happen very often, since I have a low power system with both PSU vents facing fresh air. Nevertheless, yet another fanswap may happen some day ...


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