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.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Thu, 2005-03-24 09:12.
It is slick and sleek, pretty and small, with an odd twist borne out of functional (cooling) need: The motherboard goes in upside down. Supplied with a small 240W PSU and two 80mm fans, the LC-11 is pretty quiet, too, especially if you take care, but it takes only Micro-ATX boards. Ralf Hutter tries a Pentium M
system in this case -- with nice results.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Tue, 2005-03-22 02:13.
The Silent Front
The U.S. Environment Protection Agency
is moving to tougher Energy Star
specifications for computers. For the first time, the spec will define efficiency in terms of power consumed while a computer is on, rather than just on standby. Preliminary conditions for desktop computers include the following: The PSU must be rated for >80% efficiency, and not exceed 50~60W AC power during idle. Over 60 stakeholders met to discuss the proposed changes for the first time on March 15. We managed to speak with a handful of attendees after the meeting. The catch is the new energy Star spec is not effective until Jan 1, 2007. A lot can happen between now and then.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Thu, 2005-03-17 02:19.
Seasonic's S12 series was recently introduced as a replacement for the now >18 month old Super Tornado series. It shares much with the earlier series, but does everything just a little bit better. The 430, the middle of five models, is about the quietest fan-cooled PSU we've reviewed, by a small margin, and also one of the most efficient.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Tue, 2005-03-15 16:14.
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.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Sun, 2005-03-13 19:32.
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.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Tue, 2005-03-08 02:37.
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?
Submitted by Mike Chin on Sun, 2005-03-06 22:13.
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.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Sun, 2005-02-20 19:33.
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.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Wed, 2005-02-16 14:18.
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...
Submitted by Mike Chin on Mon, 2005-02-14 02:10.
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.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Wed, 2005-02-09 00:04.
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.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Wed, 2005-02-09 00:04.
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. ...
Submitted by Mike Chin on Tue, 2005-02-08 11:01.
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.
Submitted by Mike Chin on Wed, 2005-02-02 11:14.
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.