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SilenX 400 Watt Power Supply Unit Review

Former staff writer    -   November 25, 2003


Testing

Test Rig:
  • AMD Athlon XP 2500+ (Barton Core)
  • Abit NF7-S v2.0 motherboard (based on nForce2)
  • 256M Kingston HyperX PC3200 RAM
  • ATI Radeon 9600 Pro
  • WD 60Gig HDD
  • 2x Antec 80mm Fans
  • Matsumi 48x CDRom Drive LG 16x/48x24x48x DVD/CDRW Drive

Okay, so it's nothing spectacular. I'm a student, so sue me.

Now, since we're looking for a real stable PSU to do overclocking with, I'll give you one guess what my first step was. Overclocking the FSB to 400, making for a 2.2GHz processor. Now we're ready to fly.

So, testing consisted of a lot of various stress tests. Motherboard Monitor 5 kept my highs and lows, and this is what I did. Watched The Matrix, burnt a CD of Classical Music, listened to a couple CDs, played Counter-Strike, ran the Burn In Test with SiSoft Sandra stressing all the various components I have, ran 3DMark 2001SE a couple times, and ran a search for all the *.dlls and *.exes on my computer, as well as running Folding@Home in the background all the while. That should do it! Keep in mind a number of these were done at the same time, and some obviously we're done at separate times. So, lets take a look at the Highs and Lows for the Voltages coming out of this PSU.

On the 3.3V rail we see a low of 3.18V and a high of 3.25V.
On the 5V rail, we have a low of 5.16V and a high of 5.19V.
On the 12V rail, we see a low of 11.67V and a high of 11.86V.

Well, this is a bit strange. The 5V rail is reporting better the normal voltages, which is a good thing, because it leaves a nice amount of room for leeway. However, on the 3.3V and 12V rail, we see less then average voltages, which are sometimes signs of a weak power supply. However, in the entire time I was testing, I had no problems with abnormal shutdowns, and there was always adequate power no matter how much I had running at once.

I should note here, that after looking at a number of other reviews, this result is very inconsistent. I'm beginning to think that the NF7-S might have a bit of trouble reporting proper voltages.

Regardless, these are the results I got. Looking at them, they are all perfectly within the 5% margin of error as provided by the PSU, which makes for good performance. Whenever I tossed something at it, it tossed it right back.

Conclusion

After throwing everything I had at it, and then some, the SilenX 400W PSU laughed at me. I'm pretty impressed by this little grey box. The fan is beyond silent, the PSU itself is rock solid and I'd have to say I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a solid PSU. I will remark the 12V and 3.3V rails seems below average, but I never experienced any trouble with power requirements - its very stable. Sure, no flashy stuff hanging off of it, but a bit of sleeving and (if you're adventurous enough) modification, and that solves that.

The SilenX 400W Ultra Quiet PSU definately comes recommended by me. Its a solid piece of work, and is now the quietest (active) component in my computer!

After a bunch of research, it seems that my setup has quite the power draw. With an overclocked CPU, and the ATI 9600 Pro, the draw is fairly heavy. But, as it turns out, the Abit NF7-S is a power-hungry lil mobo. However, there is good news!

After talking with a representative from SilenX, the low 12V rails can be solved with a simple tweak of an included potentiometer, which is shown in the below picture. It can be turned with a cross head screwdriver, and turns up the power on that low rail. Thusly, you can tweak the PSU to give yourself a bit of a boost if the rail seems low to you. SilenX's calibration methods are as follows: "When we calibrate the PSUs, we do it under a full load so the voltages on a system that uses less load can ironically be lower (if there's no load placed on the PSU at all, the voltage will drop down even further)." So, in most cases the PSU should be fine - another plus for SilenX.



Pros

  • Holy smokes is this thing quiet!
  • VERY Stable Voltages well within 5%
  • Load Regulation
  • Well built - Solid
  • One Year Warranties are good things

Cons

  • ATX Cable isn't sleeved
  • It'd be nice to of have better voltage performance



  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. In-Depth Look
  3. Testing & Conclusion
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