Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Seasonic X-Series SS-460FL: 460 Watts of Fanless Power

Many people are happy with a decent computer that will handle their everyday tasks—nothing fancy, not too expensive, but just a good all-around build. Then there are the enthusiasts that we often hear from in our comments, looking for not just good but great components. Whether we're talking HTPCs, CPUs, GPUs, laptops, SSDs, etc. there are people out there that want the "best". If you just happen to be a users with a passion for silent computing, then today's review of Seasonic's fanless X-460FL is going to be right up your alley.
The 460FL is based on the same design as their new 850W model, but they've changed some components and put in some additional heatsinks. The topology remains the same, with the major difference being the removal of the Sanyo Denki fan and the fan control. You also get fewer connectivity options, though there are still two PEG connectors for graphics cards which is pretty good for a passively cooled PSU. Pricing on the other hand is quite steep: $160 online, which is in the same ballpark as high-end 800W and larger models! Then again, if you're looking to build a silent midrange PC, you wouldn't want to start with an 800W PSU that only gets 75% efficiency on an 80W idle PC load.

The casing for the SS-460FL has more ventilation holes than we're used to seeing, with perforations on practically every available spot! Besides the bottom (where a large fan might normally sit) and the back (to exhaust heat from your system), Seasonic has holes on the front and sides of the casing. Even the top (not shown, and assuming a top-mounted PSU; otherwise this is the "bottom") has a few extra holes to help with cooling. With no fan, there's obviously a need to remove heat and the extra ventilation should help in that regard. Of course, even a very slow fan would help a lot more, and perhaps a good CPU heatsink with a large, low-RPM 120mm fan is just what the doctor ordered. If you still want to be completely fanless, though, we'd exercise extreme caution before trying to stuff in 460W of components and other hardware!
Most of the honeycomb holes are over areas that radiate heat, like the holes over the secondary circuit attached to the back of the PCB. The casing is 16cm long, with a power switch on the rear of the unit. Modular cables attach to the front, and the overall build quality is very good.

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