Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

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Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:27 pm

I'm not sure where to put this, but after my latest experience with the Seasonic SS-650AM I cam up with some ideas. You can read the review I wrote on Newegg:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817151106

A couple things that are really disapointing. I do like that manufacturers have switched to variable speed fans that ramp up and down with loads (other manufacturers besides Seasonic have started doing this), but I dislike that they're using PSU load to vary the fan instead of temperature. Seasonics method is listed as hybrid as below a certain load AND temperature it will operate in silent mode, but when it's above a certain temperature the fan will spin regardless. However, the ramping after that point is based purely on PSU load, which doesn't take into account case temperature or even the temperature of the PSU.

So you could have a extremely cold case and it will still spin super fast regardless when it's under load. Conversely, you could have an extremely hot cramped case it will spin at extremely low RPMs regardless. I don't think this is acceptable as these two extremes aren't that uncommon. I was actually in the former. My case is nice and cool, but when I was playing games the PSU acted like it was on fire (it wasn't) and I'm sure there are a bunch of smaller builds which definitely could use more ventilation, but it simply wont spin up unless there is a load involved. My point here is the PSU fan speed algorithm should be based on internal temperature, not load. Ideally this should tie into the system, but manufacturers still haven't nailed down a smart system for cooling (the best you can do is Asus Fan Xpert 2) that combines everything in one)

Seasonic DOES offer a switch on some of their newer high end PSUs in which you can keep the PSU from going into silent mode (the fan stops spinning when below a certain load AND temperature), but I don't think that covers what users want. I think there should be a switch that forces the PSU into a a quiet mode, such as 20% duty cycle or something like that (not completely off) or on, in which case the PSU will be variably based on whatever algorithm is setup.

The other suggestion I have is manufacturers should allow users to replace the fan built into the PSU without voiding their warranty. Such as having the screws and plug on the outside of the PSU, maybe with a grate in between it and the internals so people don't go poking around. Had I been able to replace the fan in the PSU I reviewed without voiding the warranty I would've kept it. I'm not buying a PSU with a five year warranty just to void it in the first 15 minutes because their fan is unacceptable.

I had planned on writing this to either Seasonic or Corsair, but since neither of their websites have suggestion boxes I have decided to post it here, where neither of them will likely see it, but it makes me feel better.
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:03 am

Interesting points you make, but I think they have done the best they can to cover all the needed areas for their market. Whether your case is cold or not has little to do with the needed cooling for the psu. Those heat sinks need air moving over them even if the ambient temp in the case is cold. While a smarter controller is technically doable, the overall necessity would not be worth it. As far as replacing the fan, I don't see any manufacturer ever doing that. The fan is going to be one the later parts to go bad in a psu. Plus they do not want anyone getting hurt from poking around in a psu or the liability.
A few psu makers have different methods of controlling fans, one that you may find interesting is the Coolermaster Silent Pro Hybrid had a fan controller shipped with the psu, with a manual mode.
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:11 am

Tl;dr

They already have a solution for silence freaks such as yourself, the fanless platinum models
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817151122
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:21 am

Arclight wrote:Tl;dr

They already have a solution for silence freaks such as yourself, the fanless platinum models
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817151122


Haha, as I'm browsing Newegg's listings on fanless platinum PSUs too.
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:10 am

I believe you're mistaken, at least some PSUs do ramp fan speed based on temperature. Check the second chart 'In the Hotbox' here: http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1297-page4.html and note that this is from Seasonic's 'budget' Gold PSU series.
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:26 am

Yeah some of them do, Seasonic doesn't and that was my beef with them. I've seen silent PSUs already, but when a PSU is touted as "whisper quiet" I expect it to be just that. Not supersonic plane cruising past my house when it's under full load. The 42db from that review seems accurate, I had a M12 series 650w as is found in the link.

I don't think they even need a little bit of moving air around the heatsinks if the temperature inside the PSU is in acceptable parameters (picked out and set by the manufacturer). Just the same as there are silent PSUs, which don't even have fans. I'm by no means a 'silent freak', as long as the sound is within check... It wasn't.

I really don't think any manufacturers thought about a replaceable fan, that's why it hasn't been done, as crazy as that sounds. That's a really desirable feature for a lot of users for replacing a bad fan or tailoring it to their system better. I've had plenty of fans go bad in PSUs I own while the PSU keeps chugging away, more then likely you'll see it go bad quite a bit earlier then the PSU (unless you buy generic units). If they're worried about users getting zapped they just need to put a grill on the inside too (there are quite a few high flow grills out there).

After going through a few generic PSUs in my early years I don't buy no-name brands anymore or even off brands (such as Coolermaster). My selection is pretty much limited to OCZ, Seasonic, and Corsair.
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:09 am

If your general airflow in the case is reliant on the PSU-fan, the power output is probably the best measure for setting the fan speed.

Bensam123 wrote:The other suggestion I have is manufacturers should allow users to replace the fan built into the PSU without voiding their warranty.

If the replacement fan dies, the PSU could easily die as well. Someone will probably just remove the fan and run the PSU fanless. No way the manufacturers will cover that. Also, some bearings used in fans (especially sleeve bearings) are more reliable if the fan is installed vertically. The average user is probably not aware of that.
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:26 am

You said you knew before buying it that it would sport 42db under loud, from a review you've read about it, so it's kinda your fault too for buying it. Just saying.

That said i see that your comment on newegg is recent, just return it and replace it with another model. There is no reason for you to continue using it if you have the option of replacing it.

I have the 520W version from this series and i can't hear it over the case fans during idle, nor over the GPU fan under load. Check out a few reviews and see if the reported max noise is to your liking. If not, there is a wide selection at that price point to choose from.

There is no need to be upset
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Wed May 01, 2013 6:40 pm

Erm, except for when you have like four 120mm fans in your case or bigger size. I think gauging your case temperature solely off of PSU temperature or even load is largely fallacious.

Fans have moving parts. Having your fan die or become noisy isn't in anyway related to the life of your PSU unless your fan dies completely and it's sat like that for ages while under extreme load inside a sauna. That's like saying your processor is probably going to die because your heatsink fan went bad... or video card. I've replaced the fans in my case four times, that doesn't mean the case is going bad. They're completely unrelated.

How is a fan dying in a PSU where it is removable different from a fan dying in a PSU where it isn't? They're both dead and both the manufacturers problems. To prevent someone from running the PSU fanless they could simply look for a RPM signal and shut off the PSU if it stops or make it beep or something. They could also simply have a overheat sensor for the PSU (which some have anyway). So if it works in a fanless setting without triggering any warnings, why would it matter? There are many ways for dealing with that.


I never said I knew it was 42db loud before buying it. I said it was listed as whisper quiet and that's why I bought it only to find out it reved up to 42db.

SILENT COOLING

The 12cm ball bearing fan provides superior cooling performance to dissipate heat in the power supply enclosure while running whisper-quiet. Intelligent thermal control balances noise and cooling. Soft-mount rubber cushions reduce fan rotation and vibration noise. Plus, the universal ventilation (honeycomb structure) minimizes airflow resistance for maximum cooling efficiency.


I'm pretty sure if something is falsely advertised there is plenty of reason to be upset, completely putting aside that me making this post was to engage in a intelligent conversation for offering ideas to PSU manufacturers (namely a superior method of PWM control based off temperature and interchangeable fans). You can take your 'umad' BS somewhere else, it's not conducive to intellectual conversations.

Run furmark and prime95 at the same time and then stop back here. There wasn't an exact review from hardware websites for the model of PSU I was looking at buying, I checked. A handful of other reviews on the Newegg website also mention the noise issues. While a 8350 consumes more juice then Intel parts I'm sure most people are using, I don't believe it would be enough to make the PSU that much louder then someone who is also using Intel parts. GW2 easily made it spin up to full speed after about 5-10 minutes. I have a 7870 and a FX8350 for a hardware comparison.

That was the other PSU I was looking at though and on the Seasonic website they're both listed as having "S2FC" fan control so I assumed they both used the same algorithm. I ended up going with Corsair, specifically this model:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817139005

Looking back at that review I really should've gave it two eggs because of this. While it doesn't matter for some people it made me send it back as it was intolerable.
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Wed May 01, 2013 6:52 pm

This JohnnyGuru review of an XFX Pro 1250W Black Ed. Says that, in hybrid fan mode (activated by one of those three-position switches you referred to), the fan begins to ramp up when the PSU hits 20% load OR 25 deg C. It says so right on the box. I have the 1050W version of this PSU and can concur. These are rebadged Seasonics.

Quote from review:
When the power supply's "Hybrid Mode" is on the fan doesn't turn on until the load hits 20% (250W with this particular unit) or the temperature of the PSU hits 25°C. At this point, the fan's RPM's ramp up with the power supply's internal temperature.


I suppose the box could be mistaken - it also claims that these PSUs are single rail, which isn't technically true... But then again, JohnnyGuru has a pretty good rep for reviewing PSUs and would likely not miss something like that. After all, they're the ones that tore the PSU down and discovered it wasn't a true single rail design.

Edit: Similar info on Seasonic's website indicating temperature-controlled fan speed for hybrid cooling mode:

The X Series adopts a clever “Hybrid Silent Fan Control” design, which offers three distinct operation modes, fanless mode, silent mode, and cooling mode. The X automatically adjusts fan mode and speed according to the ambient temperature level.


Edit2: OK, so you do mention that some Seasonics (with these switches) have fans that do ramp up with temperature and load. But the important part is that the units with the hybrid power switch (at least the X-series - which I thought encompassed all of the units with these switches) have 3 settings.

Setting 1 is fanless (fan off)

Setting 3 is load/temperature controlled

BUT, setting 2 is silent mode - only spins fan at minimal speed so that the noise does not go above 16 db.

Isn't setting 2 exactly what you want?

Edit3: The XFX models appear to only have 2 settings. Setting 2 and 3 (they drop the fanless mode - which seems kind of pointless with the silent mode available).
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Wed May 01, 2013 9:28 pm

Well, here's the thing... unless your case has absolutely atrocious airflow (in which case you've got bigger issues than how your PSU ramps its fan speed), the air being drawn into the PSU is not going to be *that* much above room ambient. So the range of temperatures which are tolerable for the *user* of a desktop PC puts a (relatively) narrow range on the possible PSU air intake temps.
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Wed May 01, 2013 9:45 pm

Like Arclight I have Corsiar PSUs of the modular series - 620 and 520. They are very quiet and reliable. I'm very happy with them.

Still, I'd return a product if I felt as you do.
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Thu May 02, 2013 8:55 pm

Yup, I bought a Corsair TX650w v1...

The funny thing is, after all this discussion I saw Enermax on the news page today and it occurred to me that I completely forgot about them. It looks like they don't offer a billion different models, just a handful of solid PSUs. I haven't used Enermax in years and it appears like their methodology has been honed. Many of the features I looked for in Seasonic are also present in Enermax, I'd actually say all of them in their triathlon line (including DC-DC conversion). I'm not sure if that's present in their basic lineup, but overall they seem really sound. I suppose I didn't notice them because they aren't ever on sale...

Unfortunately it looks like their models change out like every year or so, so there aren't any relevant reviews for the models I'm looking for, including the more budget oriented models. Enermax also sells rebranded models under the Lepa brand name (for whatever reason, they largely overlap). The Lepa G series actually look like it has all the features of Seasonic and has a good reviews. The only troubling part is the three year warranty instead of five... 650w Gold certified with excellent reviews for $80... This further compounds things.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817494007

I found a good place to find reviews on PSUs btw, if anyone is interested:

http://www.realhardtechx.com/index_archivos/Page541.htm

Honestly though I just wanted a good quiet PSU and hopefully the Corsair will accomplish that, otherwise I'll probably order up that Lepa.
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Tue May 14, 2013 7:40 am

Alright so a update on this, I bought a Seasonic x650 PSU that was on sale last Friday on the Shellshocker for $80 after much research. It turns out even though it has the same S2FC fan control thing, the algorithm isn't nearly the same. A lot of reading and looking through reviews it appears that the algorithem is actually really sporadic change changes between series and even models (The SS x850 for instance ramps up a lot faster).

From the reviews I read though the M12 and S12 Seasonic series are quite loud, so don't buy one if you're looking for a quiet or even semi-quiet PSU.

I am quite happy with the noise levels from my X650 though and I don't have the coil whine I've heard about, which is good.
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Tue May 14, 2013 9:28 am

It seems like the fan should ramp up on temperature alone regardless of load IMHO...unless the temperature sensors they use aren't accurate (or plentiful) enough to ensure stable operation at high load with "low temperatures".
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Tue May 14, 2013 9:53 am

As the owner of a new S12 Seasonic PSU I would have to disagree with the statement that the fan is loud. I just sat down next to my PSU and I could barely hear the fan. I recall looking at some extensive reviews of the S12 and it showed the fans to be quiet over a range of loads. I don't know if it is HTPC quiet but it's enough that I'll never hear the fan from my desk side computer.
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Wed May 15, 2013 7:36 am

The M12 I bought was quiet too, till it was under load. That was the problem. The fan ramped up way too aggressively and then wouldn't back down.

"However, the fan starts out at a speed of only 500 RPM and keeps it for a while at higher loads. Then, it accelerates to 1000 RPM at 300 watts (this is the top limit of silent operation; even an undemanding user will hear the fan at a higher speed) and becomes downright noisy at 400 watts. The PSU produces a powerful din at full load."

That was pretty much representative of the 650am I bought. You should be able to replicate this by running prime95 and if that doesn't do it, add in furmark at the same time.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cases/ ... dup_2.html
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cases/ ... dup_4.html


Yup Waco. I don't understand why PSU manufacturers use load as the factor that fan speeds are based on. It doesn't seem very reliable as far as accurately reflecting the current heat levels inside the PSU and doesn't take into account the environment.
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:19 pm

Here's a good "how to" video if you want to replace a noisy fan in a Corsair PSU with a Noctua fan:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfcjSDgE3V0

I have a Corsair AX850 (which is a rebranded Seasonic) and I have had that up and running 24/7 for 937 days 6 hours and so far I have had no problems with fan noise (he said knuckles bleeding from touching wood - and before you say anything, yes for luck on real wood, not because I am watching pr0n :P ).

There are however countless threads with complaints about noisy fans in high end PSUs and I find it reprehensible on the part of manufacturers to put crappy fans in expensive PSUs almost as an afterthought.

A PSU will outlast almost everything in your computer as far as staying current (pardon the pun) is concerned and will probably be the last thing you ever replace. The AX850 I bought actually powered the dying days of my old computer before I put together my new computer.
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:35 pm

While I have done the fan replacement option, I will caution you:
There are large capacitors located inside your power supply. They can kill you even after they are unplugged.

There's also a small potential that your modifications could cause the power supply to catch fire and burn the house down.
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:25 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:While I have done the fan replacement option, I will caution you:
There are large capacitors located inside your power supply. They can kill you even after they are unplugged.

There's also a small potential that your modifications could cause the power supply to catch fire and burn the house down.


But not as much of a potential of that as buying a "bargain" PSU :P
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:08 am

I didn't really have any desire to void the warranty on a brand new PSU and kept looking till I found one that fit my needs. It definitely would be nice if there was a bit more information available from PSU manufacturers as the amount of effort I had to put in was disproportional to what I got out of it. I shouldn't need to 'hunt' for a quiet PSU when it lists it as 'whisper quiet' then turns into a buzz saw.

I have replaced a fan in a PSU before, I had a old Antec that went that way and it was a cheapie so there really wasn't any reason not to do it.
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:04 am

Bensam123 wrote: There really wasn't any reason not to do it.
...other than the risk of electrocution and possibly burning the house down.
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Re: Suggestion to PSU Manufacturers

Postposted on Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:16 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Bensam123 wrote: There really wasn't any reason not to do it.
...other than the risk of electrocution and possibly burning the house down.

Half a brain makes this pretty much a non-issue.
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