Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

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Lawrence Lee
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Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by Lawrence Lee » Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:42 pm


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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by CA_Steve » Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:49 pm

Very nice. Thanks!

Sunrise
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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by Sunrise » Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:38 pm

"The Scythe Slip Stream line performs well, have very smooth acoustics, and is inexpensive and widely." The word "available" missing.

I like the fact that you used relatively hot components in this build. If you can get this down to 18 dB, there's no reason in the world to save a few watts by getting a slower GPU, for example.

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by Vetotat » Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:48 pm

Very appreciated article. As a coincidence I was just planning a build more or less identical to this one (but build around an Ivy or BD).

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by lb_felipe » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:40 am

Very nice. Thanks!

A problem: where to find a reference HD 6870 for sale?

It must be the reference card to avoid issues with third-party cooler.

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by ickarumba1 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:42 pm

Great article, thank you.

Just one question, how would a fanless PSU fare in a horizontal computer case. E.g if the intake fan was on the side of the case (if there was a fan) ?
Convection could not be relied upon because hot air would be trapped on one side.

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by MikeC » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:59 pm

ickarumba1 wrote:Great article, thank you.

Just one question, how would a fanless PSU fare in a horizontal computer case. E.g if the intake fan was on the side of the case (if there was a fan) ?
Convection could not be relied upon because hot air would be trapped on one side.
It would depend on the particular case, but in general, if there isn't a case fan fairly close by (let's say 6") and the fan(s) are spinning slowly enough to be SPCR-quiet, then as long as there is venting above the PSU & space above the case where there hot air can rise and disperse, I see no problem. These cases would be perfectly suitable for the fanless PSUs discussed in this article: Antec Fusion, Fusion Remote, NSK 2480, Fusion Remote Max, Silverstone DG04/05. I am sure there are others; look for ones that allow the PSU to sit with its PCB down, as per Seasonic recommendation, and have venting above the PSU.

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by ickarumba1 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:38 pm

MikeC wrote:
ickarumba1 wrote:Great article, thank you.

Just one question, how would a fanless PSU fare in a horizontal computer case. E.g if the intake fan was on the side of the case (if there was a fan) ?
Convection could not be relied upon because hot air would be trapped on one side.
It would depend on the particular case, but in general, if there isn't a case fan fairly close by (let's say 6") and the fan(s) are spinning slowly enough to be SPCR-quiet, then as long as there is venting above the PSU & space above the case where there hot air can rise and disperse, I see no problem. These cases would be perfectly suitable for the fanless PSUs discussed in this article: Antec Fusion, Fusion Remote, NSK 2480, Fusion Remote Max, Silverstone DG04/05. I am sure there are others; look for ones that allow the PSU to sit with its PCB down, as per Seasonic recommendation, and have venting above the PSU.
Thank you.
So you would not recommend mounting a passive PSU on its side? (mounted 86mm wide, 150mm high and x mm deep?)

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by MikeC » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:33 pm

ickarumba1 wrote:Thank you.
So you would not recommend mounting a passive PSU on its side? (mounted 86mm wide, 150mm high and x mm deep?)
Which case are you thinking of?

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by KayDat » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:10 pm

You guys have it good in the US with Newegg and mail in rebates. Cheapest I can get the Seasonic X-460 in Aus is ~$180AUD, and that's before shipping. Can't get the Kingwin anywhere in Aus either.

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by ickarumba1 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:14 pm

MikeC wrote: Which case are you thinking of?
I'm going to build my own case. Due to size restrictions, the most efficient method of mounting a PSU is on its side. Essentially it's a standard ATX case, but put horizontally. The PSU is going to be mounted like this: http://www.kitguru.net/wp-content/uploa ... 120783.jpg
The case will have the same height as the PSU.

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by MikeC » Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:09 pm

ickarumba1-- If you make the side wide open, then a fanless PSU should work fine... but remember that all the Seasonic X series PSUs -- and some others -- are passive to ~200W.

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by ickarumba1 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:17 pm

Thanks, Mike! :D
Sorry for the buggy questions, I just wanted to be sure.

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Hybrid passive PSUs

Post by Worker control » Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:38 am

I'm curious what you think about hybrid passive PSUs, such as the X-560. Would the separate-intake cases pose a problem, as you discussed here?

"Coolermaster Silencio 550, which has a bottom PSU mounting position with an intake vent driectly below the PSU"

The heat dissipated in the PSU in such a situation would be around 20W, I guess -- which seems like kind of a lot to me for something completely passive, not to mention closed on top.

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by Woland » Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:54 pm

This was an absolutely awesome article. Very well done, Lawrence. The component manufacturer's should throw you a bone, since I'm probably going to build the system you assembled for this article.

@ickarumba1: I don't know if it helps you/reassures you, but I have a Seasonic X400 running in an OrigenAE S10V. The S10V is a desktop style HTPC case and does not leave a lot of room between the top of the power supply and the top plate of the case. There's about 5-10 mm of space from the top of the PSU to the top of the case. So it's rather similar to the situation you're thinking about, except that the orientation of the power supply in my case lets it work with convection. It's powering a relatively lower power system: Core i3-2100T, Ceton InfiniTV, two hard drives and no discrete video. It runs 24/7 and plays back TV and streams media to various locations. The Seasonic doesn't have any trouble keeping itself cool. Air gets sucked in thanks to the nearby exhaust fans, and that seems to be enough to keep the X-400 happy.

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by wayner » Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:00 am

Was this review only supposed to be for full size PCs? Why not include in the review something like the HDPlex H3.S or other products from HDPlex or other SFF fanless PSUs? Pair this with an i3 Sandy Bridge CPU and it can do pretty much everything except gaming and holding multiple hard drives. But that should suffice for 90% of systems.

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by hmp_goose » Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:07 pm

MikeC wrote:
ickarumba1 wrote:Just one question, how would a fanless PSU fare in a horizontal computer case. E.g if the intake fan was on the side of the case (if there was a fan) ?
Convection could not be relied upon because hot air would be trapped on one side.
It would depend on the particular case, but in general, if there isn't a case fan fairly close by (let's say 6") and the fan(s) are spinning slowly enough to be SPCR-quiet, then as long as there is venting above the PSU & space above the case where there hot air can rise and disperse, I see no problem. These cases would be perfectly suitable for the fanless PSUs discussed in this article: Antec Fusion, Fusion Remote, NSK 2480, Fusion Remote Max, Silverstone DG04/05. I am sure there are others; look for ones that allow the PSU to sit with its PCB down, as per Seasonic recommendation, and have venting above the PSU.
Along simular lines, wouldn't this be a bad idea: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811163174

Seemingly not much headroom for convection, no?

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by MikeC » Sat Oct 15, 2011 4:23 pm

hmp_goose wrote:Along simular lines, wouldn't this be a bad idea: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811163174

Seemingly not much headroom for convection, no?
Any of the recommended passive PSUs should work fine in that case, which has venting above and below the PSU.

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by Stokesperc » Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:33 am

Great article. How do you think your system would fair in the original Antec Solo verses the Solo II.
Im looking to build A DAW in a Solo that I already have on hand. Will not have a Graphics card though,
so power requirements should be even less. I just thought it would be nice to see a side by side comparison
of the Solo and the Solo II running passive PSUs. Thanks for the great site.

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by MikeC » Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:06 am

Stokesperc wrote:Great article. How do you think your system would fair in the original Antec Solo verses the Solo II.
Im looking to build A DAW in a Solo that I already have on hand. Will not have a Graphics card though,
so power requirements should be even less. I just thought it would be nice to see a side by side comparison
of the Solo and the Solo II running passive PSUs. Thanks for the great site.
I doubt there would be much difference that can be easily monitored... except, probably, for the VGA card, which I suspect would run hotter. The PSU would probably run a bit hotter, too, with less venting around it.

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by hmp_goose » Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:43 pm

MikeC wrote:
hmp_goose wrote:Along simular lines, wouldn't this be a bad idea: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811163174

Seemingly not much headroom for convection, no?
Any of the recommended passive PSUs should work fine in that case, which has venting above and below the PSU.
It does? [goes to look at more photos]

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by Spawn » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:11 am

The sound file isn't there... :cry:


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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by klappa » Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:42 am

Im running a 5 year old P35 motherboard from MSI and i don't have PWM control unfortunately. I have been running my Noctua NF-S12-1200 120mm fans for nearly five years now since i built my system and been using the ULNA Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptor cable attached to them forcing them to go 800rpm instead of their default rated 1200rpm. Should i even run fans for such a long period? My computer is not on 24/7 but not far off. I am going to upgrade at the time Ivy Bridge comes out but until then i thought i am going for the Solo II and new fans and the Seasonic since there aren't any alternatives. Which fans i don't know though.

Are the Low voltage Noctua fans like the Noctua NF-S12B ULN 120mm (500rpm) as good as the Scythes?

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by RHN » Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:45 am

Many thanks to Lawrence Lee and Mike Chin for this article.

The possibilities of the Seasonic X-400 for a quiet system, especially a minimalist one, are interesting, indeed.

However, I have found repeated references to alleged X-400 coil whine or other noise on several forums. This makes me skeptical about using it to construct a quiet PC.

Would be appreciative if forum members could comment about the X-400 in the Solo II case, especially if they've already built systems similar to the one in the article.

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by MikeC » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:23 am

RHN wrote:However, I have found repeated references to alleged X-400 coil whine or other noise on several forums. This makes me skeptical about using it to construct a quiet PC.

Would be appreciative if forum members could comment about the X-400 in the Solo II case, especially if they've already built systems similar to the one in the article.
This issue has come up lots of times, and as we noted in the article, we have one early X460 that exhibits a bit of audible whine at ~1m distance in a PC, but the rest of the fanless X samples we've had (4 in total, iirc) have not displayed much audible whine at all.

As usual, this is not easy to be definitive about. We're talking about sampling size and chance issues. IE, if 5% of all samples exhibit the whine like the early one mentioned above, what are your chances of getting landed with one? And if you do get one, are you going to be bothered by it like the hyper-sensitive guy who complained bitterly on some forum? (As people's threshold for different kinds of noise varies)

The other pertinent fact is that the Seasonic X has to be the most widely sold/bought fanless PSU for the past 6-12 mos. (We know the impact SPCR reviews have on quiet PC component sales.) This means more people have recent hands-on experience with them than any other fanless PSUs. Naturally, there will be more people reporting whatever they hear from these PSUs -- and fewer people reporting on other fanless PSUs.

For all of these reasons, while there's no doubt some are, I think it's not fair to tag the Seasonic X as being generally whiny or buzzy. They are not, in our experience, and this comment extends to the entire X line, not just the fanless ones. We've had at least a dozen in total here.

Now, we have had only one sample each of the Kingwin 500W fanless and 550W fanned Platinums and can honestly say they exhibit NO audible whine under normal conditions, less than any other PSUs I've ever listened to before... tho the difference between these and the next least whiny PSUs is very small. That's still only a sampling of 1 for the Kingwin 500W fanless, but perhaps it's good enough to be worth the risk of trying one.

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by RHN » Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:07 pm

I think it's not fair to tag the Seasonic X as being generally whiny or buzzy. They are not, in our experience, and this comment extends to the entire X line, not just the fanless ones.
It wasn't just the alleged X-400 coil whine complaints that gave me pause but also my experience with a recent build, i5 2400s, DH67BL, onboard graphics and, for an undemanding system like this one, the Seasonic PSU S12II-380GB, the only component in the mix that emitted, though very slightly, annoying noise.

Nevertheless, X-400 reviews have been overwhelmingly positive and, after reading about your very interesting X-400 build, I may try out my luck soon with this promising PSU.

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by Olaf van der Spek » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:20 am


MikeC
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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by MikeC » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:25 am

Olaf van der Spek wrote:
Mike?
Sorry, I corrected the link and forgot to mention it here. This is the correct link:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/files/sou ... 2build.mp3

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Re: Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide

Post by Scrooge » Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:11 pm

MikeC wrote:It would depend on the particular case, but in general, if there isn't a case fan fairly close by (let's say 6") and the fan(s) are spinning slowly enough to be SPCR-quiet, then as long as there is venting above the PSU & space above the case where there hot air can rise and disperse, I see no problem. These cases would be perfectly suitable for the fanless PSUs discussed in this article: Antec Fusion, Fusion Remote, NSK 2480, Fusion Remote Max, Silverstone DG04/05. I am sure there are others; look for ones that allow the PSU to sit with its PCB down, as per Seasonic recommendation, and have venting above the PSU.
Just FYI, I'm using the X-400 in a GD04 (I believe that's the one; it's the one without the drive stealthing, not that it should matter) with a very similar build to the one here: 2500k, Kingston SSD, Samsung F4 2TB. No graphics card yet, but it stays up indefinitely with 4xPrime95 + Furmark. A Ceton and second hard drive will be added next month, and a Kepler graphics card whenever they come out and prices come down a bit.

At the point when those are added I'll have to be more careful about the airflow, which right now isn't really engineered at all (I can feel a faint breeze coming out the back of the PSU, and the tissue test confirms it). However, when the case is filled more the space in front of the left-hand side fan is going to be pretty stuffed and I'll probably remove the fan and block off that grill, along with the extra blank PCI slot above the PSU to force more of the positive air pressure out through the PSU.

I can take some pics if anyone wants to see, before or after the extra toys go in.

Edit: Also, no perceivable coil whine on mine, at any load I've put it under. The whole system has an audible low whoosh in the same room, at night, with no background noise, but no clicking or whining. It all gets drowned out as soon as the TV, refrigerator, wind, or anything else starts. I may undervolt the fans eventually, once I see the temperatures when everything is in.

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