EarthWatts 380 PSU included in Antec NSK3480: deafening

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

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EarthWatts 380 PSU included in Antec NSK3480: deafening

Post by tillett » Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:29 pm

I have just finished assembling my first-ever PC build. Considering that my main goal was to build a quiet computer, the project is a failure. The system is loud. The main components of the system are:
  • Case/PSU: Antec NSK3480 with the included EarthWatts 380 PSU
    mobo: Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2
    CPU: Intel Core i5
    graphics: MSI R4350-MD512H Radeon HD 4350
    HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB (mounted in the bottom, not in the PSU section of the case)
    memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)
    optical: LG DVD Burner SATA GH22NS50
    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit
When I turn the system on, the fan in the power supply immediately spins up to a very loud speed and never slows down or quiets down at all, even though the system is idle. The case fan (the 120mm Antec TriCool that came with the case) and the CPU fan (Nexus 92mm on a Xigmatek HDT-SD964) are, in comparison to the PSU fan, perfectly quiet. I even temporarily disconnected those quiet fans from their power sources to be 100% sure that the PSU fan was responsible for all the noise. I am not overclocking, and have no intention of ever doing so. I don't know whether to think I got a bum unit, or that I have done something wrong that is putting a strain on the PSU. What is the best course of action to quiet this thing down? Replace the PSU fan? Replace the PSU?

I am worried that replacing the PSU would be tricky, given the fact that the case and PSU are shipped with the ATX connector pre-routed from the power supply chamber into the mobo chamber, presumably because the connector does not fit easily (or at all?) through the hole connecting the two chambers.

Any advice appreciated.


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Post by rob_esc » Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:51 pm

Sounds like a bad PSU. Problem is you might need to return the whole case/PSU for a proper RMA/exchange, but it might not hurt to try your supplier and/or Antec and see if you could get just the PSU replaced. Worth a shot. If not...

The PSU can be removed. The ATX connector will fit thru the slot. I've done it. That being said...

Perhaps a better alternative would be to swap the PSU fan; although you will technically void the PSU warranty by doing so. I did this on my 3480 using the fan that came with a Mini Ninja cooler.

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Post by b_rubenstein » Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:37 am

If the fan is making noise due to spinning too fast, then replacing the fan isn't going to help much. It sounds like there is a problem with the fan control circuit in the PS.

Opening up a brand new PS, and voiding the warranty, doesn't sound like a smart thing to do.

When those PS's are working right they are very quiet. I built a PC for my son earlier this year with that supply and an Antec 900 case. With only 2 120mm fans connected and set to low they drowned out the PS fan.

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:08 am

Hi Jon & welcome to SPCR,

It seems like your unit is faulty -- I would RMA it.
Sincerely, Neil

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Post by Shamgar » Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:56 am

You should be able to return the PSU only. Your supplier/retailer should be good with that. I had to do this several years ago with a DOA Antec PSU. Dealt straight with my supplier but had to pay the postage.

EWs aren't that quiet to begin with but good enough for what they are. Hopefully a replacement unit will be better. Don't get yourself down on your first build. You shouldn't expect blissful silence straight away out of the box, especially when using combinations of moving parts. We've all been in the same boat, some more than others; so don't give up.

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Post by tillett » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:09 pm

Thanks to everyone who has replied for the advice and encouragement. I contacted the vendor (newegg). They would not let me return just the power supply; they insisted that I return the case and the power supply together. A bit of a hassle. Good thing I am in no great hurry. I will update this thread when I get the new case/PSU.


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Post by Antec_Rep » Wed Nov 25, 2009 4:09 pm

Hello Tillett,

I read that you are returning the item to Newegg, but it may be faster to RMA the PSU through our own support service. Here's the URL: ... ort_online

Apologies for your rocky experience, we hope your replacement works out well.

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Post by tillett » Wed Nov 25, 2009 5:05 pm

Hi Antec_Rep,

I did already initiate the RMA process with newegg, and shipped the case off today. As you hinted, it looks like it will be a slow process.

Thanks for the information, though. It didn't occur to me to contact Antec.


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Post by diver » Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:12 am

My recently purchased NSK3480 had one USB port on the front panel that did not work. Rather than RMA the case to Newegg and rebuild the computer, I contacted Antec directly. Yesterday Antec customer support said a new front panel had been shipped. It's too much work to rip apart and rebuild a machine for such a minor flaw.

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Post by tillett » Fri Dec 11, 2009 5:26 pm

Two weeks after shipping my NSK3480 back to newegg, I received a replacement. The problem is solved. The PSU in the new case is very quiet. The whole PC is very quiet. I'm very pleased with it. Puts my old Dell to shame.


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