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AMD A10-6800K Review ....................

Antec ISK110 VESA Case Review .............................. ....................

Antec P280 Case and HCP1200 PSU ....................

Intel Ivy Bridge i7-3770K CPU

Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR Camera

AMD Radeon HD 7870

AMD Radeon HD 7770 & 7750

AMD Radeon HD 7970 .........................

AMD Bulldozer FX-8150 CPU

ASUS EAH6970 Graphics Card

AMD Llano A8-3850 Review

Cougar GX G1050 1050W PSU

Antec HCG900 900W PSU

Rasurbo Xange Case and 550W PSU ....................

Cooler Master Storm Enforcer Case ....................

AMD Phenom II X4 980BE CPU Review

AMD 6-series Entry Level GPUs

AMD ATI Radeon HD6990 Review

Intel 510 Series 250GB SSD

ASUS ENGTX580 DCUII Review

Sapphire Radeon HD6870 Vapor-X

Antec Minuet 350 Case Review

Sapphire Radeon HD6950

Intel Sandy Bridge Processors

AMD Phenom II X4 975BE & X6 1100T

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Thuban CPU ...............

Kingston V+ Series 128GB SSD Review

Antec P183 Case and 1000W PSU

AMD ATI Radeon 5670 Review

AMD ATI Radeon HD 5850 Review

AMD Athlon II X4 630 CPU Review

Intel Lynnfield i7-870 Processor Review

Kingston DDR3 Memory Review

ASUS Maximus III Gene Motherboard

ASUS M4A79T Deluxe Motherboard

Antec Midi Tower Case and PSU

Active Media SaberTooth SSD

More Power Protection Products ......................... ...............

DDR2 Memory Roundup

Dual Layer DVD Burners Reviewed

Dual Format DVD Burner Review

QuietPC Product Roundup

GlobalWIN Product Roundup

Sapphire Radeon 9800 AIW Pro

Athlon 64 FX-51 Review

Lian Li PC37 Aluminum Mini Tower Case ...............

Abit IS7-G Motherboard Review 

AOpen AX4C Max Review

Promise S150 TX4 RAID Controller

Silent Power Supplies Reviewed

Nvidia GeForce FX5900 Ultra ....................

Promise TX4000 RAID Controller

ASUS V9900 Ultra Review

Promise TX2Plus RAID Controller

AMD Athlon XP3200+ CPU Review

Intel Canterwood Chipset Review

ASUS P4SDX Deluxe Motherboard

Dual Athlon MP2600+ Review

Pinnacle Systems: Edition DV500

Athlon XP3000+ CPU

  ..

TwinMOS Memory

 

Leadtek K7NCR18D-Pro

Aopen CRW4850 CD Burner Review

AOpen AK77-8X Max Motherboard Review

AOpen AX4PE Max Motherboard Review

Enlight Cases Roundup

Power Protection Products Review

Creative Webcam Pro eX Review

PAPST Fans (Silent PC Part2)

AMD Athlon XP2700+ CPU

Leadtek WinFast A280 MyVIVO

Crucial PC2700 DDR333 Memory

Chieftec Wireless Desktop Review

Intel Pentium4 3.06GHz CPU with Hyper Threading Review

Hyper-Threading Technology Guide

PURE Digital SonicXplosion Sound Card

PURE Digital ZXR-500 Speaker System

Logitech Z-560 4.1-Speaker System

Global Win GAT-001 Case Review ....................

Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz Review

Belkin Omniview 4-Pt. KVM Switch + Audio

AKASA Paxmate Acoustic Matting Installation Guide

Chieftec Winner Series: WX-01BD Case Review ..........

Cooler Master ATC-710 Case Review

80mm -> 60mm Fan Adapter

TDK USB Bluetooth Adaptor

Socket-A Cooler Roundup 

Promise FastTrak SX4000 RAID Card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silent PSUs (Silent PC Part 3) 5th July 2003

Today we'll be examining two of the quietest power supplies available. In the past quiet operation has come at a premium and by compromising in some areas. In this, the third article in our Quiet PC series, we'll see just how much things have changed in the last 6 months. The two products we will be examining are the Globalwin SAF 520W PSU with active PFC and case fan controller (hereafter referred to as SAF520W) and the Zalman ZM400A-APF (hereafter referred to as the ZM400A).

The UK distributor for Globalwin is Rainbow Components. Globalwin products have been renowned for their performance in the past and now the company is looking into formerly niche markets that have started to gain widespread recognition. Chief among these is the desire for a quieter PC and to this end Globalwin have released this new range of super quiet PSUs and a forthcoming mainstream (easy for the consumer to install) water cooling system.

Quiet PC have been around for a while now offering products exclusively aimed at silent PC operation. We have praised them in the past for their SilentDrive hard drive enclosures which have completely eliminated the whining of hard drives and no doubt saved some of us from high frequency hearing damage. While their silent PSUs in the past have been completely noiseless we have noted that they blow hardly any air and the maximum available was 300W - not enough for today's users. Now they have adopted Zalman's latest offering and a 400W PSU should be enough for the time being.

Here are the specifications of the two drives:

SAF520 520W-P4
Features

520W Power Supply
20 pin + 4 pin ATX-12V Power Connector for Pentium 4
Dual fans design (Front and Rear ) with 3 year warranty
High Efficient with Thermal Fan Control Inside for lowest noise.
 Titanium-Plated White Power Case
Fan signal Connector available.
OVP / OCP / SCP on all 6 DC Outputs
 

Specifications

Input Range
95 ~ 132 VAC or 190 ~ 264 VAC With Select Switch
88 ~ 264 VAC With Active PFC version
Frequency
47 ~ 63 HZ
Input Current
12A maximum (RMS) at 115 VAC / 6A maximum (RMS) at 230 VAC
Inrush Current
35A maximum at 115VAC / 70A maximum at 230VAC
Total 520W
DC Output +3.3V +5V +12V -12V -5V +5VSB
Max 26A 52A 28A 1.0A 0.8A 2.5A
Peak 28A 58A 30A 1.0A 0.8A 2.5A
Combined  260W 336W 12W 4W 12.5W
500W 28W
Peak Load 620W/60secs
Efficiency
70% minimum at 115 VAC, 520W output
Temperature
Operation Temperature : 0~50 degree C
Storage Temperature : -25 ~ 85 degree C
Humidity
Operating : 20% ~ 80% RH / Storage : 10% ~ 90% RH
Withstand Voltage
2200VDC between input and ground for 1 minute
Agency Approval
Dimension
(D x W x H) 6.4"x5.9"x3.3" / 160x150x86(mm)

And for the ZM400A:

 
Specifications

AC Input Requirements
AC Input Range Voltage 100VAC ~ 240VAC +/-10%
Frequency 47Hz~63Hz
AC Input Current
(Rated)
115VAC 10A
230VAC 5A
PFC Type . Active PFC
Power Factor .. >85%(Typical) @ 115VAC
Inrush Current Limit
(@ Cold start at 25Deg.C)
115VAC 80A
230VAC 120A
Efficiency .. 75% minimum @ 230VAC (Full Load)
DC Output Voltage Regulations (at Full load)
Vout Regulation Range
+5VSB +-5% +4.75V ~ +5.25V
+3.3VDC +-5% +3.14V ~ +3.45V
+5VDC +-5% +4.75V ~ +5.25V
+12VDC +-5% +11.4V ~ +12.6V
-12VDC +-10% -10.8V ~ -13.0V
-5VDC +-10% -4.50V ~ 5.50V
DC Output load Capacity
Vout Output Load Rating Combined Power
Imin Imax Ipeak
+3.3VDC 0.3A 28A . 235W 380W
+5VDC 0.1A 40A
+12VDC 0.0A 15A 18A .
-12VDC 0.0A 0.8A . 20W.
-5VDC 0.0A 0.3A
+5VSB 0.0A 2.0A
DC Output Ripple & Noise (at Full load)
Vout Specification
+5VSB 50mV
+3.3VDC 50mV
+5VDC 50mV
+12VDC 120mV
-12VDC 120mV
-5VDC 100mV
System Protections , EMC & Safety
Protections Over-Voltage Protection (OVP)
Over-Current Protection(OCP)
Short Circuit Protection (SCP)
EMC(EMI & EMS)
Safety Approvals
UL, C-UL, CE, VDE, CB-NEMKO, FCC
Dimensions
Operating Conditions
Amb. Temperature
(Deg.)
Operation 0 ~ 50
Storage -20 ~ 80
Ambient Humidity
(%RH)
Operation 5 ~ 95
Storage 5 ~ 95

Output Power Cable Specifications

Both are well specified. We received a Pyramid V Temperature Sensitive Fan Controller to go with the Zalman PSU and we'll take a look at that later along with the 80mm case fans Globalwin sent us that use a new ceramic bearing design, are transparent and rated at only 22db (our favorite quiet case fans, the PanaFlo ones, are rated at 26db by comparison).

 

The PSUs come in standard sized boxes which don't contain much details but are sturdy for transportation. The Globalwin box shows a diagram of how the two fans work in conjunction. The design doesn't allow for taking in air from above the CPU as some PSUs do but realistically that is not the job of a PSU and correct use of case fans should ensure a good airflow for the inside of a computer case.

 

Both units have plenty of Molex connectors so you're unlikely to need splitter cables

 

The use of a mirrored finish and gold finger guards adds a nice touch to the SAF520W. Also visible is the 3-speed setting for the fans which is easily accessible from behind the PC when installed.

 

The mirrored finish in all its glory although it won't really be appreciated without a transparent case or large side window. Incidentally, it threw the focus off on our camera so some of the pictures in this article are not of the highest quality. Taking the cover off the ZM400A shows a neat layout beneath with well soldered joints and large heatsinks.

 

The same is true of the SAF520W and also apparent is the design of the opposing fans. The components are laid out to maximize airflow. The ZM400A heatsinks from another angle show just how large they are. Powerful solenoids give an indication of the high quality components used.

 

Although the heatsinks on the SAF520W are smaller, the increased airflow from 2 fans makes up for this. Neat plastic panels can be seen on the ZM400A to prevent thermal dissipation through the outer casing and to direct airflow.

 

This is also true of the SAF520W and we would like more of these designs as they lessen to possibility of a short circuit.

 

The quality of construction of both PSUs is very good.

 

Included with the SAF520W is a lead which allows up to 3 fans to be run directly from the PSU which is very useful if you don't have enough motherboard headers or have high power fans such as Deltas and don't want to risk damaging the motherboard fan voltage regulators. The Velcro strips are for PSU case mounting rails. These are useful if there is a slight gap that they can fill and are also good for absorbing vibration. The fans are the latest ceramic bearing ones and almost completely silent, much quieter than our previous champions the PanaFlo fans and even quieter than our Papst fans. It seems these are the best case fans available from a silent operation point of view.

 

This is the pyramid fan controller. It automatically adjusts fan speed according to a built-in temperature sensor. The overall size is tiny and just shows how cumbersome similar solutions using a 5.25" bay are. The algorithm used is quite good unlike AOpen's automatic controller which seems to change speed every few seconds. The pyramid is much more subtle or uses very gradual adjustment - in either case it works well and more importantly without allowing the users to hear it adjusting fan speeds.

Testing showed that both PSUs coped without any problems with heavy loads even in a Dual Athlon rig. The ZM400A was completely silent but didn't blow much air out. This didn't seem to be a problem as the air wasn't very hot and in any case it was much better than Quiet PCs previous PSUs with which it was difficult to tell if any air was blowing. The SAF520 was also completely silent at the slow setting but a very faint hum could be heard at the high settings above the whoosh of air. It was not detectable from a normal seated position though.

 

Conclusion

In choosing a quiet PSU it should be noted that the PC will only be as quiet as the loudest component. There's no point having a quiet PSU if the CPU fan is a screamer. If the desire is to build a silent PC then either of the two products will serve admirably. If just upgrading a PSU then again it is worth getting a quiet PSU as both contenders performed very well as quality PSUs and the premium for quiet operation is small. More and more companies are waking up to the silent PC market and it looks set to be as big as the overclocking phenomena. These two products are setting standards for the future in this area and we don't hesitate to award them our Hardware Review Gold Accolade as the best in their class. If you need a beefy PSU then the SAF520W with its half a kilowatt can cope with anything including exotic forms of cooling. The ZM400A is also an excellent product backed up by Quiet PCs superb technical support and will make any purchaser happy. 

We would like to thank Rainbow Components and Quiet PC for providing us with the review samples.

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