What's the World's Quietest PSU for Desktop PC?

Discussion in 'Power Supplies' started by cheez, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. cheez

    cheez Golden Member

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    What's the world's quietest PSU for ATX form factor? I have an Asus P5B Deluxe. My CPU is Intel Core 2 Duo Conroe chip and has ATI Radeon x1950 card and it currently has 4 hard drives but will be replaced by a couple of SSD's later.

    This is to be used for audio and I need lowest fan noise power supply I can find. Currently using some Pro series Corsair model PSU and it can get somewhat noisy...

    Help plz :colbert:


    cheez
     
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  3. Ketchup

    Ketchup Elite Member

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  4. cheez

    cheez Golden Member

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    Dang... under specs it says "fanless".:eek: I didn't know such thing existed.

    That's pretty pricey.... Is that pretty much lowest we can find for my rig.


    Thanks for the link! and nice name, ketchup!


    cheez
     
  5. lehtv

    lehtv Elite Member

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    All fanless units should be equally quiet, but you can never count out the possibility of some capacitor buzz. It seems to be pretty random, some units of the same model have it, others don't.

    To really benefit from a fanless unit, your whole setup should be super low noise. What's the cooler on that X1950 like on idle?

    Regarding the SS-520FL, you might as well get the SS-660XP for $130 AR. Similar unit, just more powerful and semi-fanless (the fan will kick in at a few hundred watts, though it is temperature-regulated).
     
    #4 lehtv, Feb 4, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  6. Idocare

    Idocare Junior Member

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    I endorse the suggestion already given, but i add that if you don't need all those 520W on the X line there are a couple of models with a lesser output that cost obviously less, reading your specs it seems a 400W or a 460W could suit your needs and they are however 80plus gold as well, obviously I think the 520 platinum is actually the "non plus ultra" of the fanless (reads "noiseless") units.
     
  7. cheez

    cheez Golden Member

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    Good call on the capacitor buzz... I never thought about it before. Oh well but still it should be quieter than the one with fans running.:p

    I forgot all about my video card could make some loud noise. It's built-by ATi and is using the stock cooler. It seems to be quiet. I don't do gaming with this PC. The only use is for video and audio playback.

    Thanks, but I think I prefer to go all fanless. The one ketchup recommended is tempting!


    cheez
     
  8. lehtv

    lehtv Elite Member

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    Do you not currently have a PSU then, or have you determined that it's the component making your PSU too loud?

    I'd recommend getting rid of the X1950, it is simply put ancient. Replace with a fanless low end card like Sapphire 5450 1GB $32 ($17 AR). Since you're not gaming and presumably have only one monitor, it's all you need.

    What about your CPU fan and the case fans? I bet they would be audible after replacing the PSU and GPU with fanless ones. For a non-overclocked CPU, you can get a near-inaudible cooler for $30 or so. If you want equally low noise case fans, that'd be about $10 each.
     
    #7 lehtv, Feb 4, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  9. cheez

    cheez Golden Member

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    I'm currently using the Corsair psu. I really like my x1950 a lot. I gave a lot of love to it, and I am really happy with the 2D quality it puts out. And since I started using the PC for video and audio playback I haven't heard the loud fan blowing noise.

    It's a stock CPU heatsink and fan and the cpu is running at stock speed. Good call on replacing the CPU fan. I forgot about that too lol. I haven't closely inspected if the fan noise is coming from my PSU (Corsair) or my CPU fan. I'll need to get the case open and investigate! and thanks for the link!



    Thanks! I'll keep that in mind.


    cheez
     
    #8 cheez, Feb 4, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  10. lehtv

    lehtv Elite Member

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    Yes, you did say you have some Corsair Pro series unit. But if you could peek inside your PC and look at what it says on the box that'd be nice

    You wouldn't hear a loud noise, true. The GPU is barely doing any work in 2D. But do you hear it at all? After replacing the PSU would it be the noisiest component of the rig?

    It can be hard to pinpoint the source of the loudest fan noise when you've got plenty of fans in a tight space... I'd recommend wrapping a plastic A4 cover into the shape of a tube and using that to probe one fan at a time :)
     
  11. Ketchup

    Ketchup Elite Member

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    Ketchup became my nick name back in jr. high (because my last name is Huntsman). As others have mentioned, this is going to lead you down to the next loudest thing in the case. I say it just depends on what kind of hurry you are in. You may want to just pick up a silent power supply, get it all installed, and then hunt down the next loudest part.
     
  12. Idocare

    Idocare Junior Member

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    Oh, I forgot one thing, please keep in mind that's always a good thing to look ahead, transistors are shrinking making components less power demanding thus bigger 1500W power supplies are no more essentials as they were in the last couple of years for performing systems but a fair amount of power bought today along with what could seem right now a slightly overpowered PSU could save you some money when will come the time to upgrade in the future. To be more specific I've built recently (last month) a system that could have had enough of the 660W mentioned above but I went with the 860W for various reasons, first one is that's they are both hybrid and the fan starts to spin up at about 30% of rating power (and 30% of 860 allows more room for silence than 30% of 660), second is that I took more room for a future upgrade with a bit more power at disposal, last but not least I always think that spending a little more on quality allows big savings, above all on headaches.

    I'm faithful to this philosophy that never betrayed me.

    If you follow the for the most very good advice from ketchup79 (tracking down every source of noise in your PC) you will find at the end that nearly every piece of your build could be improved and in that line buying a PSU that could withstand a completely new machine could be a very good way to start, cause you wont have to buy another one in that case.

    So, if you want to keep for a long time your current hardware it's worth to save something for a lesser PSU, if instead you think you can even upgrade drastically your current build or face the choice to make a new machine soon to look ahead it's a better choice.

    Hope it helps.
     
  13. TemjinGold

    TemjinGold Diamond Member

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    OP, not only is that x1950 likely louder than your PSU would be, it also draws a lot more power than a 5450 would...
     
  14. lakedude

    lakedude Golden Member

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    OMG an ATI x1950xt is the loudest thing that has ever been in any of my computers! Putting a 1950 with a quiet PSU is pointless.
     
    #13 lakedude, Feb 4, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  15. Zorander

    Zorander Golden Member

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    I never found any stock CPU coolers quiet. Far from it. This is the first thing to change in your system.

    I had a HIS X1950Pro and it was audibly whiny compared to my 9800Pro (Arctic Cooling HSF). Assuming stock cooler on yours, I bet it's just as noisy. You're simply used to the noise. Replace it with a passive unit as lehtv suggested. If you are using digital output into your monitor, 2D quality argument is moot. It is also not any better than today's entry-level cards.

    Once you have changed those (and addressed any other noisy bits in your computer), then you can look at the PSU and figure out if you need to change it too. One warning about going all fanless: you need some airflow in your case or your components risk getting fried quickly. Even one or two low-rpm (500-700rpm) fans are better than none. You will be hard-pressed to hear the sound (and further once you play some tunes).

    For comparison sake, I used to run an AMD A64 X2 4600+ system with a HD3850 video card in Antec P180 case. Total fans in the system is: 1 in PSU, 1 in GPU and 1 as exhaust in upper chamber. CPU is passively cooled by a Scythe Ninja heatsink. All fans ran below 1000rpm. I found this system whisper-quiet and I had to put my ears next to the case if I want to hear any sound at all. CPU temperature was close to ambient at idle and never jumped past 70C at load. I wouldn't have been able to say the same had this system been completely fanless.

    Cheers!
     
  16. cheez

    cheez Golden Member

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    Update:

    I opened up the case and stuck my ear right next to each fan and turned out all that noise has been coming from the CPU heatsink. It's like a freakin hair dryer!

    Looks like what I need to do is to replace the current Heatsink and Fan with something very quiet... this heatsink has been on there for nearly 7 years and never been remounted, so the thermal substance probably got all dried and no longer in service.


    Guys, the Radeon x1950xt stays. It's not going anywhere outside of my PC. And Zorander, thanks for your help and I agree everything you said except for one. There are differences in 2D quality between different models of video cards. Just because it's "digital" "1's and 0's" doesn't mean they all look the same. The difference maybe subtle to some users, but it is there. There are some benchmarks regards to 2D but I don't have it with me right now.

    Thanks all,

    cheez
     
  17. lehtv

    lehtv Elite Member

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    Good thing you didn't waste your cash on a new PSU then :).

    I'd suggest this CPU cooler: Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 Pro $35 + shipping. It should be completely inaudible when idling since it spins at only 300 RPM, and the maximum speed of 1350RPM isn't loud either. Also check if your motherboard's BIOS has options to customize the CPU fan speed.
     
  18. cheez

    cheez Golden Member

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    That looks like a nice HSF. Thank you lehtv!!


    cheez
     
  19. GAO

    GAO Member

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    Not to mention the cooling fins are probably clogged with dust :D
     
  20. Zorander

    Zorander Golden Member

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    As soon as you said you're using stock cooler on the CPU, it was obvious to me what the culprit was. ;)

    I did notice differences with my Sony Trinitron monitor (BNC analog input). The 9800Pro and X1950Pro I owned had good pictures. Sadly my next upgrade HD3850 looked fuzzy and had colour bleed issues. Switching to another brand led to the same result. Clearly this was becoming the norm as more and more people are now using the video DACs in their LCD monitors (and thus have little to no need for an on-board video DAC, let alone a quality one).

    Switching to a Dell 2709 and then to my current 3011 (dual-link DVI) eliminated these issues. 2D quality between different cards (moved on to the 5850, then 6970 and now 7950) are the same since the digital-to-analog conversion now occurs within the monitor.

    Can you show me that benchmark, provided it is current (last 2 years) and tests picture output quality (not rendering speed in 2D applications)? Until then, I doubt such benchmarks exist. They are just pointless/moot in this age of consumer digital displays.

    Cheers!
     
  21. cheez

    cheez Golden Member

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    Ok you are starting to upset me already since you are keep wanting to debate the video cards for PQ when this thread implies to PSU and fans.

    Since you asked, here you go.

    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/HQV/HQV_2.0/8.html


    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4380/discrete-htpc-gpus-shootout/4


    I don't just go by benchmarks either. I go by real time viewing experience with my 50" professional grade HDTV via DVI-D, and have tested on different video cards (including onboard video). Even the onboard graphics (ATi HD2100 series) did an amazing job rendering blu-ray contents. The colors seemed to be a little off but was very sharp. HD5750 did better on the color. I wasn't able to tell much difference between the HD5750 and x1950XTX. But in 1080i MPEG2-TS playback, I noticed more detail in the flesh and deeper color depth with the x1950XTX. Both had great sharpness but the details were better with the latter. The images have more fludic / crisp look to it as well. I go by real life experience instead of only relying on benchmarks.. ;) The reason why you may not see the difference is because you have a Dell 3011 monitor which is a small screen and not meant to use strictly for videos. Those are used for more desktop 2D apps (Word / Excel / PDF's / web browsing etc), not so much video. Heck, my 24" Dell LCD looks amazing with DVI connection with some onboard video from laptop. When everything in the screen is crammed together you will not be able to see much fault and poor quality materials will look descent.

    Oh, and I think I read somewhere that there is difference between the x1950pro and x1950xt/xtx in terms of 2D quality.

    And no, I am not talking about rendering speed. I am talking about Picture Quality. Here's a wink for you, ;)

    cheez
     
    #20 cheez, Feb 6, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  22. zephyrprime

    zephyrprime Diamond Member

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    They should make a power supply with the heatsink hanging outside of the power supply itself. I bet you could make a 1000watt fanless unit if you did this. It'd have to be platinum level since high efficiency would be a necessity.
     
  23. dude guy bro

    dude guy bro Junior Member

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    I've seen the Seasonic fanless PSU's go on sale with rebate from time to time. I still think it's a worthy long-term upgrade for anyone looking for a quiet PSU with amazing efficiency. Waiting to pick one up sometime soon myself.
     
    #22 dude guy bro, Feb 10, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
  24. buklau

    buklau Member

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    I would also think about getting a passively cooled video card with a fanless power supply.
     
  25. cheez

    cheez Golden Member

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    Thanks to all that contributed on silent PSU's. I bookmarked it in case if I will ever need one.

    It turned out it was my stock CPU cooler fan making all the noise. My x1950xtx video card is silent as blackhole. I guess the fan only speeds up only if the card gets real hot playing video games and what not, but I don't play video games.

    I went in the BIOS and enabled the Q-Fan Control for CPU and set the fan profile to "Silent". It was running at 2750 rpm. But after the BIOS change it's silent. Later on I will pickup an ultra quiet 120mm fan for the CPU. It will run at 800 rpm.

    Looks like I won't need the silent PSU after all. My Corsair PSU is silent as blackhole.

    Thanks guys.
     
    #24 cheez, Apr 12, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2013
  26. jaedaliu

    jaedaliu Platinum Member

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    I don't think you realize that black holes are actually quite noisy.

    Congrats on figuring out your problem without having to spend the big bucks for a fancy power supply.