Silent PC Review is passionate about ergonomic spaces for people and finding creative, practical solutions to silencing all kinds of IT machines. We provide detailed reviews and ground-breaking knowhow about the acoustics of computers and components, as well as their energy efficiency and thermal performance.

Enermax Liberty EL500AWT & EL620AWT power supplies

Power
A venerable power supply brand expands its range to 120mm fan with detachable cable models. The Liberty line aims for high efficiency and low noise as well, and offers up a big serving of functional luxury. Their marketing team is bent on Big Ideas this time around: Eternity cables in the Liberty power supplies. We examine the 500 and 620W models.

Seagate Momentus 7200.1 100GB SATA notebook drive

Storage
Our usual noise-focused review of a new Momentus 2.5" HDD model from Seagate. This one is 7200 RPM, with 8 MB cache, SATA & NCQ and still very quiet. Pretty pricey at this point, but that's the norm for any fast cutting-edge component.

ePower Lion EP-450P5-L1 Semi-Fanless Power Supply

Power
ePower's entry into the very quiet PSU realm is... "semi-fanless", says our reviewer. No, this does not mean it has half a fan; rather its fan acts as if it's not there half the time. The EP-450P5-L1 is much like the Phantom 500 in its basic operational premise, but the execution is quite different. It was very quiet much of the time on our test bench, but you will have to read the whole review to fully appreciate the Lion's strengths and weaknesses.

News from the Web

TrustedReviews says the AOpen MZ915-M half-height P-M SFF is a "very small and quiet system" but perhaps just "a stopgap" till AOpen's mini-PC is released. We tend to disagree with the latter view. The French site Matbe.com did a more thorough review comparing this AOpen against the Shuttle SD11G5 earlier this month. FYI, we reviewed the Shuttle recently, and we're working on a MZ915-M review right now.

The T-Balancer fan controller received plenty of rave reviews from SPCR forum members; now it may have some competition. According to BigBruin, the Sunbeamtech Theta TP-101 offers even more connections than the T-Balancer, though there are still as some software kinks to work out.

Bjorn3d has a pair of HIS graphics cards (the overclocked x800GT and x800GTO flavours) on the test bench, and while they don't test noise levels in the review, these are ATI cards with the highly regarded Arctic Cooling vidcard coolers factory-installed. Sounds like a good deal, if you can find them.

Intel seems to have taken the first step in their "performance-per-watt" quest with their new line of Pentium 4s. Buried in the AnandTech overclocking review is a very interesting tidbit; a new Cedar Mill P4 system draws about almost 20% less power than a Prescott system at the same clock speeds.

Intel's new Capabilities Assessment Tools

The Silent Front
They're benchmarks, designed to test a PC's gaming or "Digital Home" capabilities. It's probably the first time that a processor company is trying to create benchmarks for a whole PC rather than specific components. It's also the first time in the PC industry that real "User Experience" based on perceptual research is embedded in benchmarks. We present a first look of beta versions of these very interesting new performance assessment tools.

Corrected Efficiency Results for Recommended PSUs

Power
For PSU Test Rig V.3, we revised our testing equipment and methodology to improve the accuracy of the load testing and efficiency calculations for our power supply reviews. As part of this revision, we re-tested most of the power supplies on our Recommended PSU List using the new methodology. The new results are reported in this article along with the original results.

LS Cable SHS-X500 heatsink/fan

Cooling
A new brand in the CPU heatsink/fan market hailing from Korea offers heatpipe technology in a small all-copper package that aims for low noise. Performance is comparable to the recently reviewed Scythe Katana, and the price is modest at an anticipated ~US$30, but the challenge will be to find one -- at least for the immediate future. The low profile and weight may make the hunt for the LS Cable SHS-X500 worthwhile for those who like to build systems in smaller cases.

Shuttle SD11G5: Pentium-M SFF PC

Complete|Mobile Systems
It's late to the table, but Shuttle's long awaited SD11G5 is a landmark SFF. Just the basics are enough to make a winning combination: A Pentium M SFF platform around a proven single fan heatpipe cooling system with a PCIe video card slot and an external fanless power box. Add Shuttle's usual attention to details, styling and packaging, extra features like the ambitious built-in Sound Blaster 7.1 sound card and dual monitor onboard display capability, and it looks just about perfect.

Trusted Reviews' 12 PSU Roundup

It's the second big roundup by Trusted Reviews, and they're using a commercial testing facility with very sophisticated test gear. They admit that for acoustics, they "were unable to source suitable test equipment to perform any sensible testing," but offer what look like good testing results on efficiency and voltage regulation at various loads. SPCR's PSU reviews are starting to see some competition.

Antec Neo HE 430 power supply

Power
The features and specs read like a marketing hot list for a modern enthusiast PC power supply. High efficiency, detachable output cables, multiple 12V lines, APFC, auto-range AC input, quiet fan and intelligent fan controller. The big surprise is that the 430, like the rest of the Neo HE line, is not equipped with a 120mm fan. A traditional 80mm back mounted exhaust fan is used. It can be bought in a retail package or bundled with the new Antec P150 case. The Antec Neo HE 430 offers some pleasant surprises.

Antec P150 mid-tower case w/ Neo HE 430 PSU

Cases|Damping
Antec steps up to the line again with a brand new mid-tower case and power supply in their high-end Performance One line. It's an all-steel case with many unique features that will delight PC silencers. You could call it a post-P180 case. The Antec P150 will definitely make waves. NOTE: Postcript on the black SOLO variant and other updates added June 15, 2006.

Scythe Katana

Cooling
This new budget heatsink from Scythe has many desirable features: * Long copper heatpipes married to thin alumimum fins * Good quality modest noise fan * Mountings for sockets 478, 775, K8, 370 and A * Very light weight * Angled, rather than perpendicular to motherboard Our review of this latest "blade" from Scythe.

MuteMat sound absorption kit

Cases|Damping
MuteMat is basically a competitor to the likes of AcoustiProduct: Sheets of damping material that can be applied to the inside panels of a PC case to help make it quieter. The big difference is that it's not foam. Instead, it is an "unwoven micro-fibre that can supposedly absorb more noise than acoustic foam due to its finer underlying structure." We tried MuteMat on a quiet system and wrote up our findings... along with SPL measurements, sound recordings and descriptions of before and after.

Archive: SPCR's PSU Test Platform V.3

Power | Reference|Recommended
PSU reviews have become bread-and-butter articles at SPCR. There are very few serious PSU reviews on the web; in this context, ours have stood out. However, in the last 18 months, PC power supplies have undergone tremendous changes. As a result, weaknesses in our testing setup have become evident: * The accuracy of our AC/DC conversion efficiency results; and * The adequacy of the test system to provide high enough load on the 12V line. This article documents the many changes we've made to address these issues in an improved, updated power suppy testing system. It's our PSU Test Platform, Version 3.0. ;D

Zalman CNPS9500 LED heatsink/fan

Cooling
It's hard to believe, but the 9500 is Zalman's first CPU heatsink to use heatpipes. They're no strangers to heatpipes, having used them in many other cooling devices, such as VGA and HDD coolers; never before in a CPU cooler, though. But the waiting might have been worthwhile. The CNPS9500 could be the most sophisticated implementation of a heatpipe HSF for CPUs we've ever seen.