I give up: no PSU is quiet enough until modded

PSUs: The source of DC power for all components in the PC & often a big noise source.

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wumpus
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I give up: no PSU is quiet enough until modded

Post by wumpus » Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:58 pm

(MikeC's essential recommended PSU guide-- good stuff)
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article28-page3.html

I have owned the following "quiet" power supplies over the last year:
  • Fortron 300 120mm
  • Fortron 350 120mm adjustable
  • Seasonic Super Tornado 300 120mm
These power supplies are, indeed, relatively quiet.. with trivial <100w loads. But once you put a measly 150w load* on them they all, without exception, ramp up to truly excessive 30db+ noise levels. This is totally unacceptable for a load that is so far from even a conservative 230w maximum on a "300w" power supply!

Read through this forum and you'll find many other people complaining about the same thing. Power supply fans, from every vendor, that ramp up to comical speeds under not-so-large loads in the neighborhood of 150w. This seems to be a common industry practice, probably due to overzealous safety concerns by manufacturers.

Subsequently, I have completely given up on expecting any stock as-purchased power supply to be quiet without replacing and/or undervolting the fan. I recently purchased the Zalman ZM300A-APF, and right after opening the package, ripped it open and swapped out the default 80mm fan for a Panaflo L1A.

Silence at last.. even under a "massive" 150w load. :P Is that so much to ask? Evidently it is.

* From my dual athlon 2500+ server (undervolted) with two folding instances, 4 hdds, and 2 scsi cd-rs. Yep, merely 150w according to the kill-a-watt.

wumpus
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Post by wumpus » Wed Mar 17, 2004 7:11 pm

Another reason to go the modification route. Half the "quiet" power supply vendors (the Zalman I purchased, and SilenX, Nexus, etc) seem to OEM their power supplies from Fortron, and install custom low-RPM fans with lower voltage.

Might as well cut out the middleman, buy a cheap Fortron PS, and do it ourselves-- correctly, so the fan doesn't ramp up to jet airplane speeds under modest loads!

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Post by MikeC » Wed Mar 17, 2004 8:15 pm

Thanks for the plug wumpus, but that's the recommended list only; I think the whole Rec. PSU article should be required reading for serious silencers. :wink:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article28-page1.html
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article28-page2.html

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Post by Edward Ng » Wed Mar 17, 2004 8:54 pm

This is all I've to say on the matter. 8)

-Ed

Viperoni
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Post by Viperoni » Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:00 pm

I agree :)

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Post by exxowire » Thu Mar 18, 2004 12:56 am

Replacing it with Panaflo ? I agree with you.

Try using a Papst fan.. I think you will get a better silent sound

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Post by Wintermute » Thu Mar 18, 2004 1:02 am

Acoust Products really need to start cutting you some checks Edward. I am sure that you have single-handedly sold half of their Acoustifan stock. :wink:

rperezlo
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Post by rperezlo » Thu Mar 18, 2004 2:20 am

A couple of comments here.

First, I see an obsession for 12 cm fans in PS that I don't think is justified. As you know, heatsinks are as important as airflow to remove hot air from the components, and at the same time you are putting bigger and bigger heatsinks in your CPU with a slow 80 or 92 mm fan, you are removing the heatsink in you PS to place a huge fan. The practice of the bigger fan works for the case, but imagine you had to remove your CPU heatsink to replace the 8 cm fan with a 12 cm fan. Well, that's what you're doing with your 12 cm fan PS. As soon as you start to draw power from the PS it heats and you need more airflow becasue of the fan absence, and at the end you have more noise.

Second, for non US guys, get this one. US guys, you can't get it but open it anyway and have a look at the measured sound levels at full load.

http://www.be-quiet.de/english_flash/
http://www6.tomshardware.com/howto/2004 ... qt_p4_370w

I have done no modding to the PS (the 400 W dual fan model) and after having being educated by all your postings I think I can hear a very soft clicking when I open the case and place my ear in front of the inner fan, at 2 inches or less. This is silent for me, although I'd like to have some of you SilentPCreview gurus to listen to it, just to understand if you call this silent.

I think you need to review your PS silencing strategy, and I don't mean only users, I also mean manufacturers. If you read carefully the links you'll find three points very caractheristic of these PS, and the result is silence, something that you seem not to find according to your comments.

- Small fans (1 or 2)
- Big heatsinks
- A fan control algorithm based on PS load, not on temperature

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Post by MikeC » Thu Mar 18, 2004 8:58 am

sorry, rperezlo, that b-quiet is nowhere close to what I'd consider really quiet. THG says 26 dBA at idle -- but gives no reference to how this measurement was done. We can hope they did it at 1 meter, but who knows? It's so absurd that they specify the noise past the decimal point -- 25.9 dBA -- when they don't even say what the distance is!! :roll: The noise can jump 1-2 dBA just from bearing/turbulence issues... and much more than that with mic placement.

If it is at 1m, then it's worse than most of the PSUs in the upper half of the units in the Recommended PSUs article on the main site. The 33 dBA reading at full output is very good, although I'd wonder how long it could survive; it would be blowing very little air considering the amount of heat the thing would generate.

My own modded PSUs typically run under 20 dBA at 1 meter. That's subjectively at least 50% quieter than the be-quiet.

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Post by sthayashi » Thu Mar 18, 2004 9:11 am

MikeC, Tom's rated the Antec 550 TrueControl as 36.7dB at minimum load, and 46.2dB at Max. Based on that, it should be possible to extrapolate roughly what distance they measured it at. Presumably, Tom's has a modicum of testing standards, so that distance should be applicable to the BeQuiet.

Wumpus, WTF? Your dual Athlon folding box draws almost 100W less than mine. Is there really that big a difference between the 2400+ and an undervolted 2500+? (just for a rundown, I've got 4 hard drives as well, plus USB2 card, Ethernet, G400, and Highpoint Raid card).

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Post by Sizzle » Thu Mar 18, 2004 9:19 am

Put a SilenX 80mm fan in there. Quieter then the Panaflow L1 and then the similiarly speced Papst. I have some in my case, and in my PSU, very impressed.

wumpus
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Post by wumpus » Thu Mar 18, 2004 10:49 am

Is there really that big a difference between the 2400+ and an undervolted 2500+?
These are Bartons running at 1.35v, ~1750mhz. But yeah, 150w according to kill-a-watt with two folding instances going.

For the purposes of silent PCs, the importance of undervolting cannot be.. er.. understated. It is huge. There is a tremendous decrease in power draw and heat generation.
THG says 26 dBA at idle -- but gives no reference to how this measurement was done. We can hope they did it at 1 meter, but who knows?
That, plus the REAL problem as stated earlier is how aggressively most manufacturers ramp their PSU fan speeds. A lot of the recommended units start out quiet but quickly become unacceptably noisy under moderate load.

For example, the classic case of this is the Seasonic Super Tornado 300. I now have it in my HTPC where it is extremely quiet as advertised-- that's probably <100w load. But in my dual athlon server at 150w it was WAY WAY loud!

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Re: I give up: no PSU is quiet enough until modded

Post by Magic » Thu Mar 18, 2004 10:53 am

wumpus wrote:(MikeC's essential recommended PSU guide-- good stuff)
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article28-page3.html

I have owned the following "quiet" power supplies over the last year:
  • Fortron 300 120mm
  • Fortron 350 120mm adjustable
  • Seasonic Super Tornado 300 120mm
I'm not doubting that modding a power supply will get better results than a commercial product. But none of these three you've owned are at the top of Mike's list. So far I've been very happy with the Nexus nx-3500, so much so that I've now bought a total of four!

wumpus
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Post by wumpus » Thu Mar 18, 2004 11:00 am

First, I see an obsession for 12 cm fans in PS that I don't think is justified. As you know, heatsinks are as important as airflow to remove hot air from the components, and at the same time you are putting bigger and bigger heatsinks in your CPU with a slow 80 or 92 mm fan, you are removing the heatsink in you PS to place a huge fan. The practice of the bigger fan works for the case, but imagine you had to remove your CPU heatsink to replace the 8 cm fan with a 12 cm fan. Well, that's what you're doing with your 12 cm fan PS. As soon as you start to draw power from the PS it heats and you need more airflow becasue of the fan absence, and at the end you have more noise.
More and more I am beginning to agree. Though I don't think 120mm fans are necessarily the culprit..

1) I've noted MikeC's frequent comments about how illogical it is to pull hot CPU air (from directly above the CPU!) into the PSU and back out again. Thus PSUs run hotter than they should, and speed up more, etc.

2) The recent front page article with the modded PSU that pulls air from the top of the case (via "blowhole" type arrangement although in this case it's a suckhole), into a duct, through the PSU, and out the back again.

Yes, I think isolating the PSU air path is absolutely the way to go, if it can be achieved without extensive mods..

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Re: I give up: no PSU is quiet enough until modded

Post by aston » Thu Mar 18, 2004 11:29 am

wumpus wrote:These power supplies are, indeed, relatively quiet.. with trivial <100w loads. But once you put a measly 150w load* on them they all, without exception, ramp up to truly excessive 30db+ noise levels.
Is it really the load that affects the fan speed? In my experience, it's more the temperature of the surrounding air that affects it. I have a Seasonic Tornado 400 and yes, while adding more juice to the CPU does make the fan speed up, I always thought it was because the CPU was running so much hotter (10C hotter). The PSU fan also ramps up when the CPU is at stock speeds when I put my hand close to the fan and impede airflow. :)

I'm not sure if my decision to purchase a 120mm PSU was a good one, but I'm stuck with it now. After reading this thread, though, I'm kind of glad I did, because modding a 80mm PSU with a Panaflo L1A is not my idea of quiet. The Tornado's 120mm fan is much, much quieter than an L1A... the trick is just getting good enough airflow so that it doesn't ramp up (which, unfortunately, may be an impossible task without modding it with a Papst 4412).

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Post by smifou » Thu Mar 18, 2004 12:12 pm

ASTON: i love youre signature.. "its silent.. but is it when folding?" cuz its exactly my problem... ;) my computer is silent on idle but my zalman 400 fan ramps up on gaming etc.. i thought about inverting the 80mm fan so it shoots air on the heatsink so maybe it would ramp up less. Anyways.. ill try to invert it or put a panaflo 80 in it

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Post by PhilgB » Thu Mar 18, 2004 2:28 pm

Wumpus is the L1A in your ZM300A soft mounted? I've been trying all kinds of things to try and silence this thing (except swap fan, soon), but there's NO ROOM! The thing is packed tight.

Too bad you didn't try it before swaping the fan to comment on the difference. Might try swaping for a SilenX (actually 11dba?)

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Post by Sizzle » Thu Mar 18, 2004 4:52 pm

I have some of these
da link

As stated, I used Panaflo's and Papst, these are quieter.[/url]
Last edited by Sizzle on Thu Mar 18, 2004 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Edward Ng
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Post by Edward Ng » Thu Mar 18, 2004 5:01 pm

Sizzle, wouldn't the SilenX fans be rebadged ADDA fans? After all, ADDA appears to have a patent on, "Hypro," bearings.

-Ed

Sizzle
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Post by Sizzle » Thu Mar 18, 2004 6:05 pm

Edward Ng wrote:Sizzle, wouldn't the SilenX fans be rebadged ADDA fans? After all, ADDA appears to have a patent on, "Hypro," bearings.

-Ed
Ed,

Not sure, there has been some discussion on this very board about the origin of these fans. What I know about them is from personal experience.

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Post by David Cole » Thu Mar 18, 2004 6:05 pm

My Zalman 400A starts audible with clear fan noise and then after about 10-15 minutes of operation switches down (with an audible click), and becomes very quiet indeed (fan noise almost disappears). I don't understand this because the experience reported in other posts is that psu fans crank up as load and/or heat increase over time. My Zalman actually quietens down. Why would this be? (Usual load is graphics work with Photoshop and related progs - don't know how much that demands of a pc).

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Post by klas » Thu Mar 18, 2004 7:41 pm

I love my new Nexus NX-3500, it does get louder when I start playing games but it's nothing like Seasonic SuperSilencer SS400... it's very quiet when i do normal browsing and surfing the net

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Post by gbass01 » Sun Mar 21, 2004 5:17 pm

I have a SilenX 400W, bought during the deceptive advertising controversy (no one cares now) and it is indeed very quiet. It sped up to an audible but tolerable noise level during GTA:VC sessions, but stayed quiet thru KOTOR and WC III. Keep in mind, I'm not a silencing purist. My system is not truly silent due to the 3 120mm and 2 92mm Panaflo L1A's it uses, but I don't mind a little low-frequency hum.

And here's the ultimate silencing tip: get a pair of canal-phones! Once those puppies are plugging up your ears, you won't hear anything: not your computer, not your dog, nor your wife!

Mine are "Sony MDREX71SL Fontopia In-Ear Portable Headphones" for $34.94

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Post by chylld » Sun Mar 21, 2004 5:43 pm

PhilgB wrote:Wumpus is the L1A in your ZM300A soft mounted? I've been trying all kinds of things to try and silence this thing (except swap fan, soon), but there's NO ROOM! The thing is packed tight.
same thing happening with my L1A in my SL350S. way too tight for any kind of soft mounting - heck, i even had to sand down parts of the fan to get it to fit! :)

but on the topic, yes i agree, simply because manufacturers have to provide a warranty and thus ensure more-than-adequate cooling for the psu. i think most of us here, in the name of silence, are willing to forego that extra insurance!

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Post by Viperoni » Sun Mar 21, 2004 9:15 pm

gbass01 wrote: And here's the ultimate silencing tip: get a pair of canal-phones! Once those puppies are plugging up your ears, you won't hear anything: not your computer, not your dog, nor your wife!

Mine are "Sony MDREX71SL Fontopia In-Ear Portable Headphones" for $34.94
My Sony MDR-V600 headphones do a great job keeping silencing outside noise, but I bet the Fontopia's are quite good too though.

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Post by wussboy » Sun Mar 21, 2004 9:47 pm

I'd just like to give support to Aston on his claim that the fan speed vascilations are more an issue of case temp than PSU load. I have a Super-Tornado 400 which powered an 800T-Bird that folded all night below my bed. It would speed up every 10 minutes. I checked the clock. Then I noticed it sped up every 5 minutes one night. I couldn't figure it out. But my case temperature was up a little bit. I opened the window (I live in Canada so that cooled it down quick) and it went back to every 10 minutes. FINAL PROOF: I upgraded to a water cooled 2600+, which I assume pulls more power from the PSU. Case is much cooler (Watercooling pulls processor heat outside case) and my ST-400 NEVER speeds up at all. Ever. Just my experience.

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