Okay, my Nexus 4090 has arrived and here are my inital views:-
Antec Truepower 380s (Sonata) - R.I.P.
The aim was to replace the Antec Truepower 380s PSU inside my Antec Sonata. That PSU isn’t particularly quiet and certainly nowhere near silent. Although it isn’t an annoying sound, there is a lot of whoosing noise which is noticeable if the case is next to you. The sound tends to reflect off the back wall as the fan is at the back of the PSU and blows outwards. The sound is much less noticeable if the case is under a wooden desk – the wood seems to act as a barrier to the sound. Anyway, I moved house recently and my PC has ended up in my bedroom (with no wooden desk). I sleep about 3 metres from the PC and although the sound doesn’t stop me from sleeping (in fact, its background hum / low pitched whoosing sound is vaguely soothing), it is definitely noticeable at night, even from 3 metres away. I live in a very quiet area, so perhaps it’s more noticeable to me now. But anyway, I decided I had to replace the Antec PSU.
At the same time, I decided to replace the stock 120mm Antec case fan that comes with the Sonata because I knew I wouldn’t be able to use any ‘fan only’ PSU connectors. Running the 120mm Antec case fan at 12v isn’t an option – at that voltage they are really noisy – anyone who has tried plugging them into a normal molex connector will know what I mean. At 12v it pushes a lot of air, but sounds like a vacuum cleaner.
Nexus 4090 400W
I ordered from www.kustompcs.co.uk
and the PSU arrived the next working day, well packaged as usual (although they no longer charge the £2.50 flat rate postage – it’s all charged by weight now.)
The PSU comes in a cardboard box with carrying handle. Useful, because I can stash my old Antec PSU in it. I agree with the comments that Deheinx has made above - in the box is just the PSU and nothing else. No manual, or power cords. The PSU has a 220v / 115v switch at the back. Black colour scheme with orange fan. Seems well built and is heavy – about the same weight as the Antec. On the side of the PSU is a ‘specs’ sticker with the additional words, “W/NOISE KILLER” and “W/PFC”. Not sure what specific noise killer functions it’s referring to or whether it's PFC is active or active. I guess its probably passive PFC.
None of the cables are sleeved and like Deheinx, I prefer this, as I can route the wires around the case more easily. My old Antec 380S came with 7 molex and 2 ‘fan only’ molexes, The Nexus has fewer – 4 molexes and 2 SATA power connectors. Although it would nicer to have a couple more – I can’t say that I found this to be a problem because although I have 7 potential molex devices (2 optical drives, 1 x IDE HDD, Antec blue case light plug, Zalman graphics card fan with 5v/12v molex > 2 pin splitters, and 2 x 120mm Nexus case fans), I don’t use the Antec blue light (too bright) which in any case has a pass through plug, as do the two Nexus 120mm fans. However, some people will require molex splitters if they have a lot of molex requiring devices. The 2 x SATA power plugs go straight into my two SATA drives.
All the cables are slightly shorter in length than those found in the Antec. I prefer slightly shorter cables because it makes for less case clutter (wrapping the old Antec PSU case cables into figures of eight takes up so much space).
It’s quiet. In fact, it’s quiet to very quiet - definitely quieter that the Antec Truepower 380S although I wouldn’t say that the Nexus silent. I did several listening 'tests' during different times of day over the last couple days to try and form an accurate opinion. During that time, my opinion has changed from thinking that the Nexus was brilliant (noiseless), to good / very good (I can hear the PSU). I’m not entirely whether it’s the initial euphoria of installing a new component giving way to a more objective view or whether the PSU has simply become louder during this ‘burn in’ period.
I sit about 0.5 metres from the case and during daytime normal use I don’t really notice the PSU. During quiet periods, I do notice the PSU. The sound is faint hum with just a slight buzziness. The noise signature of the PSU is particularly noticeable during the dead of night (say about 2am) My PC is located in my bedroom, so perhaps I notice these sounds more but during the dead of night, when things are really quiet, there’s definitely a faint humming, whoosing, slight buzzing sound coming from it. The air turbulence noise is not as loud at the Antec 380S but what’s noticeable about the noise signature of the Nexus is that it isn’t constant or consistent. There’s an occasional click or stutter to the noise levels, which to me is more annoying than the slightly louder but consistent whoosing of the Antec 380S. It's not enough to stop me going to sleep or loud enough to wake me up, but it's enough to occasional distract me, particularly when I'm just about to drift off to sleep.
As I don’t have MikeC’s high tech sound measuring gizmos, here’s a mini subjective sound comparison chart (10 is the loudest, 0 is absolute silence), taken from 1 metre away from the component (closed case).
Component (Relative Sound Level)
Dustbuster portable hoover (10+)
Antec Sonata 120m stock case fan @ 12v (7)
Antec Sonata 120m stock case fan @ 5v (3)
Thermaltake Silentboost 80mm Panaflo @ 12v (7)
Thermaltake Silentboost 80mm Panalfo @ 6/7v (2)
Antec Truepower 380S (4)
Nexus 120mm fan @ 12v (2-3)
Nexus 4090 400W Psu @ idle (2-3)
After two days of listening to this PSU during various times of the day, I have to say that it’s a good PSU in terms of sound levels, but it’s not silent (not in my setup anyway). During the daytime, the PSU sound is not really noticeable. However, during really quiet periods, and definitely during the dead of night, you do notice that the PSU is on. The noise signature is not as ‘clean’ or as consistent as I had hoped for. I do not know whether all units are like this, whether I’ve got an slightly glitchy model or whether it's my compoent load. It’s has actually crossed my mind as to whether I should put the Antec 380S back into my main rig. One thing that has become apparent to me during the last of couple of days of testing is that just comparing relative Db levels does provide the full picture – the noise signature and type of sound given off by the PSU is just as important as Db levels.
If the nirvana of silent computing is not knowing whether the PSU is “on” at any time of day – daytime, dead of night etc – then this PSU, in my opinion, doesn’t quite hit the mark. Overall, I’d give it 7.5 out of 10.