Silent PC Review is dedicated to reviews, news and information about acoustics of computers and components, as well as their energy efficiency and thermal performance.

Raidmax RX-520XPW Power Supply

Power
It's a very consumer-directed "Feature-laden" power supply with windows, shiny silver finish, LED fans, a convenience AC outlet, reasonably quiet fans and big claims of low noise. Our first enounter with a Raidmax PSU did not impress us, despite all the bling.

IDF Spring 2005: Report from San Francisco

The Silent Front
For SPCR, the Intel Developers Forum is interesting for the plethora of genuinely valuable information, technical education and marketing that Intel and its partners pack into the three days. Then there is the usual guerilla marketing parallel event AMD runs at a nearby hotel, and this time around, in the skies above San Francisco with several planes spelling out "AMD Turion 64 Mobility", their forthcoming mobile CPU. Intel's main focus was multi-core... everything. Naturally, AMD also focused much attention on multi-core. My interest was mostly issues that impact acoustics in computers, but there wasn't much to focus on, really.

Arctic Cooling Freezer 4 heatsink/fan

Cooling
The Freezer is Arctic Cooling's "high-end" heatsink. At US$34 it is still relatively inexpensive, but is targeted at the performance market. Can this modest heatpiped HSF compete successfully in cooling performance while maintaining AC's reputation for low noise established with their Super Silent series?

Shuttle SN95G5: A64-939 SFF

Complete|Mobile Systems
It is not the first AMD Athlon 64 SFF barebones system from Shuttle, but it is the first to use a Socket 939 motherboard. We installed a 3500+ Winchester (90nm) core in a minimalist setup with a notebook HDD, played long in the BIOS and measured, tested and listened to bring you this review of a quiet, powerful system that is almost as small as the Shuttle Zen.

Seasonic PSU wins 1st "80 Plus" efficiency certification

Anyone who has read even a few articles at SPCR knows that we've encouraged high efficiency PSUs for a long time. Now, it looks like the PSU efficiency race has officially begun. 80 Plus in the US has a unique program to encourage and reward (with rebates) higher efficiency PSUs in IT gear. A Seasonic PSU has just been awarded the first 80 Plus certification.

The 80 Plus test is quite tough: Their standard calls for 80% or better efficiency at 20, 50 and 100% loads. It's the 20% load test that's the challenge; for lower rated PSUs, this means high efficiency at very low power, which is usually difficult. Surprisingly, the newly certified 80 Plus PSU is the Seasonic SS-400HT APFC, a 400W model, which means it reached 80% efficiency at just 80W load. Seasonic says the newly released S12-500 and S12-600 retail models are, in fact, the higher power models of this 80 Plus qualifying PSU. Download the 80 Plus press release (a PDF).

Interestingly, SPCR's PS Fundamentals & Recommendations article is linked on the 80 Plus consumer techical info page.

Enermax Noisetaker EG701AX-VE SFMA 2.0: 600 Watts!

Power
The current top-of-the-line Noisetaker power supply, now in second gen, is a humdinger with 600W rated output capacity and more up-to-date connections than most desktops are ever likely to use. Amazingly, it's still pretty quiet, so if you need a few extra horses under the hood to put a little more swagger in your walk...

Intel 570 CPU + Soltek SL-915GPRO-FGR Motherboard

CPUs|Motherboards
A most unusual review for Silent PC Review, of what is arguably the hottest desktop CPU ever made (P4-3.8 Prescott) on a motherboard designed expressly for such hot processors. It is a peek at computing at the thermal extreme.

A64 Winchester Vs. Pentium M Dothan at GamePC

An excellent comparison between two 90nm core CPUs, arguably the most power efficient processors available today. Game PC's Battle at 90nm : Power Consumption and Performance Compared is particularly relevant in the context of the Pentium M Platform reviews we just posted.

Pentium M for the Desktop: AOpen i855GMEm-LFS & DFI 855GME-MGF

CPUs|Motherboards
It is a tome about the merits of the Pentium M 2.0 Dothan with 855-chipset desktop boards by AOpen and DFI for silent, powerful computing. We've waited 18 months for these boards and our Pentium M desktop platform review was two months in the testing and writing.

Silently Cooling the Pentium M Desktop Platforms

Cooling
It is a tome about the merits of the Pentium M 2.0 Dothan with 855-chipset desktop boards by AOpen and DFI for silent, powerful computing. We\'ve waited 18 months for these boards and our Pentium M desktop platform review was two months in the testing and writing. ...

Clever Power SPS-400

Power
It's unique in two ways: A 15cm blower fan... which provides enough space on the back panel for four convenience AC outlets! The 400W ATX12V v1.3 compliant Clever Power SPS-400 is also claimed to have a noise level of only 18~25 dB. Our review lays a sample of this unusual PSU on the examining table.

Arctic Cooling Silentium T2

Cases|Damping
The masters of clever, cost-efficient heasink-fans pulled out all the stops in their entry into a new market sector with this unusual, innovative case in search of optimal cooling and low noise. The features list includes the first heatsinked and suspended HDD mount ever to be integrated into a case, totally non-standard airflow management, a custom-made dual 80mm-fan Seasonic PSU built into the front bottom corner of the case, and a ducted plastic base that directs air in and out of the case. All this behind a mild, unpretentious exterior. We pulled out all the stops, too, in reviewing the Arctic Cooling Silentium T2, with new audio spectrum analysis graphs to accompany the SPL measurements, audio recordings and detailed subjective descriptions.

c|net covers Computing's Silent Revolution

c|net news.com, one of the biggest mainstream tech web sites, posted a story today entitled Computing's silent revolution by staff writer David Becker It covers a lot of ground, and many major players in silent computing are featured or interviewed... including SPCR and yours truly.

Jordan's Quiet DampTek'd Home Theater PC

Do-It-Yourself Systems
His mother turned into a digital shutterbug and wanted a bigger than a 17" screen to show and edit her photos. Jordan Menu used this as a good excuse to make a quiet Home Theater PC that could also play movies on the big 52" TV in the family room. In the process, the Nexus DampTekacoustic damping material also got a test run.

Juha's PC Noise Insulation Case

Go to Juha's web siteOne of the most elaborate noise insulation case for a computer built by an enthusiast is explained in great detail with text and a bazillion photos on Juha's personal web page. As impressive as the case is, the author's final conclusions are telling: The system still makes noise. It suggests the system could be quieter still if more effort was put into making it quieter before enclosing it. (Suspending the HDDs, getting rid of the plastic fan mounts and using soft mouting for the fans, replacing the stock CPU cooler with something better, improving the overall case airflow, and so on.)