What's the best 120mm fan PSU I can buy?

PSUs: The source of DC power for all components in the PC & often a big noise source.

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slimeballzz
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What's the best 120mm fan PSU I can buy?

Post by slimeballzz » Sun Feb 29, 2004 6:51 pm

Any ideas what the best 120mm fan psu I can buy? Looking at 400W and above. Fortron Source? Seasonic?

zuperdee
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Post by zuperdee » Tue Mar 02, 2004 12:03 am

Well, I guess most people here don't like 120mm PSUs, because nobody seems to want to talk about them. Well, I'm a big fan of them, so I'll try to take a stab at answering your question.

First of all, I know a lot of people here will try to tell you that 80mm fanned units are the better choice, citing articles like this one. Well, in my opinion, this point is truly debatable. There are definitely cases where 80mm ones are better, but I firmly believe there are also cases where 120mm ones are better. As a counterexample, check out the thread about the Coolmax Taurus that I've linked to below, where you can see a direct comparison of a SilenX 80mm PSU versus a Coolmax 120mm one. Anyway, I realize this is probably NOT the time/place to get into a lengthy debate about the relative merits of 80mm versus 120mm fanned PSUs, because there are OTHER threads available for that. So, I'm going to try to concentrate specifically on the issue of 120mm PSU quality here... And believe me, I do think there are some good quality 120mm ones out there, if you just look in the right places. :)

One thing common to practically all 120mm units: I don't think you need to worry about grill quality--every single one of the 120mm fanned PSUs I've seen out there so far seem to have the same honeycomb-type output grill on the rear. Some like the Seasonic have stamped intake grills, while others use wire intake grills, but I don't think this makes too much difference.

As to the 120mm PSU possibilities, here's what I know about some of them:

* Coolmax Taurus CX series -- I am personally using a Coolmax Taurus CX-350, so needless to say, I have first hand experience with it. Admittedly, it probably isn't the best in the world, but I got it mainly because it was affordable, and I must say, it seems to be a VERY good quality unit for the price. It IS a quiet unit, and I like it. You can find out more about the unit here:
http://www.coolmaxusa.com/product/produ ... st_04.html.

If you want some other testamonials about this PSU series, check out this thread.

* Seasonic Super Tornado series -- From what I hear, the Seasonic Super Tornado appears to have had some quality consistency issues lately, particularly with the Revision A2. On the technical side, they are probably THE most efficient PSUs available at the moment, and probably your best bet if you're looking for something that runs extremely cool. You can read the review right here at SPCR!

* Nexus NX-3500 model -- This one has been reviewed by SPCR before.

* Fortron Aurora series -- Also reviewed by SPCR before.

* Thermaltake Purepower model -- I don't know much about this one, but you can see some of the talk about it here at SPCR in this thread if you wish.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

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Post by MikeC » Tue Mar 02, 2004 12:13 am

Seasonic Super Tornado appears to have had some quality consistency issues lately, particularly with the Revision A2.
They relate entirely to the fan control circuit. In the afflicted rev A1s, the fan sometimes would not spin at all and sometimes make a high pitched noise when it did not spin. In rev A2, they seem to have increased the default voltage so that it is not as quiet as before, but apparently more consistent in operation.

I've never had a single issue with the ST's power delivery, either personally or heard about from others. The internal PCB, components, layout, HS & execution are all top class.

zuperdee
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Post by zuperdee » Tue Mar 02, 2004 1:26 am

MikeC wrote:They relate entirely to the fan control circuit. In the afflicted rev A1s, the fan sometimes would not spin at all and sometimes make a high pitched noise when it did not spin. In rev A2, they seem to have increased the default voltage so that it is not as quiet as before, but apparently more consistent in operation.

I've never had a single issue with the ST's power delivery, either personally or heard about from others. The internal PCB, components, layout, HS & execution are all top class.
So 1) it is the rev A1, not A2, that has problems? 2) does this mean that the "downgraded for inconsistency" comment in the "Recommended PSUs" section no longer applies? I'm confused now. :?

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The Fortron 300watt

Post by NeilBlanchard » Tue Mar 02, 2004 4:01 am

Hello:

The Fortron 300watt is very quiet and very consistent, IME. Some have had coil humming, but I have not. And, the price cannot be beat: $32 delivered (from New Egg).

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Post by joecuba » Tue Mar 02, 2004 5:25 am

I'm very happy with my Nexus 3500, dead quiet. Only dissapointing thing for me was the lack of supplied power cable and mounting bolts. I did email both Nexustec about this, they told me that they don't supply bolts or a cable because it's a replcement PSU, so the customer should have these items. They also said they had included it in the SPCR review unit as a complimentry thing. Perhaps the "A power cord and 4 mounting screws are provided." bit should be removed from that review.

I think bolts and mains cable should be included in all quality PSU's, it's only going to add like £2 to the cost. Anyway, that's my experence.

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Post by aphonos » Tue Mar 02, 2004 8:13 am

joecuba wrote:lack of supplied power cable and mounting bolts. I did email both Nexustec about this, they told me that they don't supply bolts or a cable because it's a replcement PSU, so the customer should have these items. They also said they had included it in the
That's really poor! :evil: Good thing Intel and AMD don't treat the pins on CPUs the same way....:roll:

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Post by Scooby » Wed Mar 03, 2004 10:47 am

joecuba wrote:I'm very happy with my Nexus 3500, dead quiet. Only dissapointing thing for me was the lack of supplied power cable and mounting bolts. I did email both Nexustec about this, they told me that they don't supply bolts or a cable because it's a replcement PSU, so the customer should have these items. They also said they had included it in the SPCR review unit as a complimentry thing. Perhaps the "A power cord and 4 mounting screws are provided." bit should be removed from that review.

I think bolts and mains cable should be included in all quality PSU's, it's only going to add like £2 to the cost. Anyway, that's my experence.
Agree with that. A power cord can be had for like a quid and how much are 4 screws...20p?? Wouldn't have broke the bank to include em.

I'm still considering getting 1 of these for ages to replace the stock antec BQE psu..so its quiet at idle? Does it noisey under load?

JVM
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Post by JVM » Wed Mar 03, 2004 12:24 pm

Silicon Acoustics includes a power cable with the unit free of charge.

dis
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Post by dis » Thu Mar 04, 2004 3:19 pm

Scooby wrote: I'm still considering getting 1 of these for ages to replace the stock antec BQE psu..so its quiet at idle? Does it noisey under load?
I've just bought a Nexus 3500 to replace the Antec PSU that came with my BQE, i should get it on monday and i'll post back here once i've done a quick noise test.

At the moment the Antec is the loudest part (most annoying is my Maxtor HDD) of my system, it seems to be the bottom 92mm fans thats causing most of it. I might try swapping out the fans for quiet ones when the Nexus is in, its always good to have a backup.

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Post by rp » Mon Mar 08, 2004 7:35 am

If it IS a replacement... why on earth do you care about a cable and 4 screws? Honestly if I buy a PSU I couldn't care less about cables and screws. I have tons of them anyway, and I'm pretty sure the majority of you guys do as well. Mute point IMHO, but to each his own.

dis
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Post by dis » Mon Mar 08, 2004 12:22 pm

Right, i had a nice long post written but the submit button ate it (Note to self, don't try hot pluging the SATA drive windows is running on again). suffice it to say that the 3500 is very quiet and i'm very happy with it. I doubt you'll come close to finding a good power supply thats this quiet for the same money in the UK.

It's louder than my Eheim pump (its silent outside the case) and just quieter than my Arctic Silencer on low (its got a click, but can't be heard outside the case). The Panaflo FBA12G12M is far louder even when throttled down. With my Maxtor diamondMax9 powered up the PSU is silent beyond a couple of inches.

Needless to say but it kicks the ass out of the stock Antec that comes with the BQE, which was about as loud as the FBA just off high speed. Not sure where cos i use a PWM fan controller so its always @ 12V.

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Post by Scooby » Mon Mar 08, 2004 12:48 pm

cheers for the comparison dis..very encouraging, think I'll get round to ordering one this week and see if I can sell the stock Antec PSU. What are your case temps like dis? Currently my are floating round the 39c mark and cpu is around 47c (according to asus probec) seen as the heating is constantly on here at the moment :? and only using the stock 120mm fan.

Just curious if this case temp will cause the psu fan to ramp up a bit.

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Post by JohnMK » Tue Mar 09, 2004 11:15 am

Would the Nexus be speeding up its fan under the load of a P4 3.4GHz EE & Radeon 9800 Pro AIW while playing say, Halo? Simultaneously encoding DivX & Avisynth in the background? :D

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Post by mtlcafan79 » Tue Mar 09, 2004 11:36 am

Hey dis, If you decide to rewrite that post I'd be interesting in seeing it. I'm debating the same PSU for my BQE.

dis
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Post by dis » Wed Mar 10, 2004 1:15 am

I'll try and take some temp readings tonight, the case used to sit around 27-30 degrees but i expect it to be higher now, the PSU doesn't shift much air although it did seem to have speeded up when i checked last night. I'll get motherboard monitor installed and have a look, i might have a go at taking some under load readings too but i don't think i'll be able to strain the supply much, i've only got one Hdd and one cd/dvd.

RaNDoMMAI
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Post by RaNDoMMAI » Wed Mar 10, 2004 5:25 am

Hi

I have a FSP350-60PN forton 350W PSU, i have to say i am dissappointed in it.

Mine has a hum and at one feet away, it has a clicking noise.

You guyz think a fan switch out would help? any fans u think i should try.

Question for zuperdee
about the Coolmax Taurus CX
how quiet is it? can u compare it to any other PSU, maybe a forton? I am looking for a PSU that i can not hear from a foot away. i dont care about anything else. would u reccomend it?


also
http://www.coolmaxusa.com/product/produ ... st_04.html.
this link is dead

EDIE: Morpheusman tested this agaisnt his forton and he says it is quieter.

Morpheusman: could u compare it a little better? can u hear the coolmaster from a foot away? any strange noises? clicking, humming?

would u say for noise quietness
silentX>seasonic>coolmaster?

TIA
~RaNDoM

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Post by zuperdee » Wed Mar 10, 2004 3:07 pm

RaNDoMMAI wrote:Question for zuperdee
about the Coolmax Taurus CX
how quiet is it? can u compare it to any other PSU, maybe a forton? I am looking for a PSU that i can not hear from a foot away. i dont care about anything else. would u reccomend it?
Well, I can't really say that I have any first-hand experience comparing the Coolmax to any other PSUs, but I find mine to be very quiet. Maybe not SILENT, but quiet enough--and let's face it, there is absolutely NOTHING out there mechanical that will ever be SILENT. If you want total silence, the only way to do it is passive cooling, and we all know there are some places where passive cooling just isn't enough--and the PSU is one of them. Yes, there is the proSilence-350 fanless PSU, but I dare ANYONE to find a serious, performance-oriented system that has been powered by one of those things for more than 5 years without biting the dust. I doubt this is possible, and even if it were, the heat inside the case needs to be vented somehow, and if the only way to do that is with fans, then you might as well just have one in the PSU as well, and get at least twice the power capacity and better reliability for the tiny amount of noise a good, quiet fan makes. Bottom line: I really don't think there's any point in having a fanless PSU.

Anyway, if you want some more info from somebody else who HAS compared the Coolmax to a couple other PSUs, take a look at the post by Morpheusman in this thread. IIRC, I believe his findings were that it was actually quieter than the Forton, almost as quiet as the Seasonic, and that it did a better job of keeping his system cool than the SilenX 400-watt unit did.

Oh, and my apologies about the link--I forgot to do it with URL tags so you wouldn't get the trailing period at the end of my sentence. :oops: Here's the real link:
http://www.coolmaxusa.com/product/produ ... st_04.html.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

RaNDoMMAI
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Post by RaNDoMMAI » Wed Mar 10, 2004 3:17 pm

I have two more

At newegg, it says it is not PFC, is that true? or is new egg wrong.

also

They have a 300, 350, 400 and 450 watt version.

the 400 is only 10 bucks more then the 300. Is there any reason not to get the 400?

i lied sorry, i got one more question

At the lowest setting, how far away do u have to be to hear it?

thx so much
~RaNDoM

zuperdee
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Post by zuperdee » Wed Mar 10, 2004 3:42 pm

RaNDoMMAI wrote:At newegg, it says it is not PFC, is that true? or is new egg wrong.
I've had a hard time deciding on this one--Coolmax seems to indicate in all their literature that the unit is available with either Active or Passive PFC. In the manual that came with mine, it just says "active PFC." However, I still can't say for sure, because as I understand it, most (if not all) truly active PFC units that are made for both the North American AND European markets have full-range 100-240V input, but my Coolmax still has the traditional voltage input selector.

If I were to take a guess, I'd say the Coolmax is probably ONLY available with active PFC in Europe, and ONLY with 230V, *WITHOUT* full-range AC input. A number of other PSU makers like Antec seem to do it that way, too. The only way I know of to find out for SURE whether or not it had Active or Passive or No PFC would be to test the unit's power factor, but I don't have an easy way of doing that, since I lack the equipment.

Having said this, I'm still happy with mine--it works well, and its very quiet and reliable. Also, although the power factor may make a difference to the peak current draw of the unit, it won't increase your power bills in most residential areas here in North America. Also, be aware that the power factor makes NO difference whatsoever to the CONVERSION EFFICIENCY of the unit, which is what determines how much heat the PSU circuitry will generate--and we all know that the amount of heat generated is what ultimately determines how much cooling the unit will need.
RaNDoMMAI wrote:the 400 is only 10 bucks more then the 300. Is there any reason not to get the 400?
I can't think of any reason not to go for the 400.
RaNDoMMAI wrote:At the lowest setting, how far away do u have to be to hear it?
Hmm--Well, I can't really say for sure, since I've never tried listening to JUST the PSU by itself. Suffice it to say that I've never been too concerned about it, since my Nexus AXP-3200 CPU cooler is currently the loudest thing in the system, and unless I put my ear within about half a foot of my computer, I have a hard time hearing the PSU over the CPU cooler. This is with my Coolmax on the "Automatic" setting. On "High," it moves a **LOT** of air, and could be very useful in a system with extreme ventilation demands (like a heavily overclocked system), but it also becomes fairly noisy on this setting, so I don't normally use it.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not even TRYING to make my system TOTALLY silent--just REASONABLY QUIET. I don't think total silence is achievable without EXTREME modifications, like cutting out fan grills, or running totally outlandish devices like a HeatLaneZen cooler. I want my system to be quiet, but I am MORE concerned about reliability and SAFETY first.
Last edited by zuperdee on Wed Mar 10, 2004 3:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Fabool » Wed Mar 10, 2004 3:44 pm

Looking at the pictures, that Coolmax PSU looks a lot like my Coba 350W unit with the 3-way speed switch and all. Quite possible that it's the same PSU with a different name.

The PSU itself is very quiet when set to auto or low, the fan spins around 850 to 950rpm.
I have had a few strange crashes the past four months that I've had this PSU which might or might not be caused by it (recorded a couple of strange rail fluctuations..). Still I can recommend it since it was very cheap but if you don't want to gamble you might want to look at other PSUs since the quality of the components is a bit questionable in my opinion.

zuperdee
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Post by zuperdee » Wed Mar 10, 2004 4:01 pm

Fabool wrote:Looking at the pictures, that Coolmax PSU looks a lot like my Coba 350W unit with the 3-way speed switch and all. Quite possible that it's the same PSU with a different name.

The PSU itself is very quiet when set to auto or low, the fan spins around 850 to 950rpm.
I have had a few strange crashes the past four months that I've had this PSU which might or might not be caused by it (recorded a couple of strange rail fluctuations..). Still I can recommend it since it was very cheap but if you don't want to gamble you might want to look at other PSUs since the quality of the components is a bit questionable in my opinion.
It sounds to me like you either have a defective unit, or a poor quality one. I'd suggest replacing your PSU. Over here, my Coolmax typically has VERY stable voltage rails--I have yet to see any of them go over +/-2%. (IIRC, they're rated for 5%, which is plenty good enough.)

I don't know for sure if your unit is the same as the Coolmax, but I find the Coolmax to be fairly reasonable with respect to the quality of components. The heatsinks look about as beefy as any I've seen available in 120mm units--and if anything, BETTER than some I've seen. The fan is a Top & Tech 120mm unit that is rated at 12V for 77.35 CFM at ~35.9dB, at 2000 RPM. Not sure how fast mine turns normally on the Automatic setting, since it does not have an RPM monitor on it. I know I probably could replace it with an even quieter fan, but I see no point--I'm happy with it as it is.

RaNDoMMAI
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Post by RaNDoMMAI » Wed Mar 10, 2004 4:06 pm

thx alot zuperdee

i dont want a silent system, but i dont want to be able to hear it from a meter away.

right now i have a
3700BQE case
thermalright 947U with 92mm panaflo
2x 120mm aluminum evercool fans(front and back)
1 forton 350

The evercool fans r loud, i dont know why everone here likes them so much
. I am using a zalman fanmate to get it to 5V and i can still hear them.
Its not shaking either, i got those blue EAR things.

I turned off all the fans and even the panaflo fan once and i could hear the forton hum from about a meter and a half away.

I guess i lucked out since my 92mm panaflo doesnt click or anything. I leave it on 7v when i use it.

I just want a PSU that i can use that i cant hear from a meter away.


I really like the idea of getting the coolmax since it is even cheaper then the forton, even the 400W coolmax is cheaper then the forton 350W

thx again, i got some thinking to do
~RaNDoM

zuperdee
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Post by zuperdee » Wed Mar 10, 2004 4:35 pm

RaNDoMMAI wrote:right now i have a
3700BQE case
thermalright 947U with 92mm panaflo
2x 120mm aluminum evercool fans(front and back)
1 forton 350
The 3700BQE case is probably one of the best silent cases out there right now, from what I hear. :D
RaNDoMMAI wrote:The evercool fans r loud, i dont know why everone here likes them so much. I am using a zalman fanmate to get it to 5V and i can still hear them.
Its not shaking either, i got those blue EAR things.
Are you using the High or the Medium flow versions? Generally, it is my impression that people here think they are a good choice mainly if you want the quietest higher-airflow fan you can get.

Personally, I think you can do two things here:

1) Unless you have some very hot-running 10,000+ RPM hard drives at the front there that you know for sure are being effectively cooled by the front fan, I'd remove the front fan altogether.

2) Assuming you don't NEED such high airflow, I'd recommend something like the newly-released Nexus Real Silent Case Fan. You can pre-order them here:
http://www.endpcnoise.com/cgi-bin/e/nexus120mm.html
RaNDoMMAI wrote:I turned off all the fans and even the panaflo fan once and i could hear the forton hum from about a meter and a half away.
As I understand it, this has been a common complaint about Fortron units lately.
RaNDoMMAI wrote:I guess i lucked out since my 92mm panaflo doesnt click or anything. I leave it on 7v when i use it.
Yeah--sounds like you are lucky here, cause a lot of the Panaflos made lately (particularly ones made in China) have been showing clicking problems.
RaNDoMMAI wrote:I just want a PSU that i can use that i cant hear from a meter away.
And I think that is a reasonable request. :)
RaNDoMMAI wrote:I really like the idea of getting the coolmax since it is even cheaper then the forton, even the 400W coolmax is cheaper then the forton 350W
Yeah--the cost was the main reason I got my Coolmax, too.

Happy thinking!! :wink:

Seal
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Post by Seal » Wed Mar 10, 2004 5:40 pm

i think im going to pick up myself a good 120mm psu soon. my current psu with 2x 80mm fans on 5v, is currently the loudest thing in my system.

RaNDoMMAI
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Post by RaNDoMMAI » Wed Mar 10, 2004 8:57 pm

I got these exaclt ones from here

http://www.directron.com/fanal12025b.html

I would assume they r the low model ones since they advertise quiet.

I have taken the front fan out and my 160gig SATA samsung spinpoint with Dtemp reads 36C and with the fan it reads 31C

btw.

is this the same nexus fan u were talking about
http://www.siliconacoustics.com/nexus-1 ... e-fan.html

I really like the orange color. Should i try this fan out? only 20 bucks compared to the AcoustiFan
http://www.quietpcusa.com/acb/showdetl. ... 30&CATID=7
I was planning on buying

Thanks again
~RaNDoM

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Post by wussboy » Wed Mar 10, 2004 9:47 pm

I chose a ST-400 because I think that with some work it will be the coolest non-passive, non-water cooled PSU possible. Heat is caused by inefficiency, and the ST has the highest efficiency, therefore the least heat. And 120mm fans should move more air with less noise than 80mm fans. Also, I haven't modded my ST yet, but the fan in it is the only one in my system, so it seems perfect for me. Yes, it did speed up every 5 minutes or so, which was super annoying, but water cooling my CPU ended that problem (less heat in the case, I guess). Let me sum up. If you are willing to do a little work (like hard wire the fan to a fanmate of some kind) it's the quietest PSU you can get.

zuperdee
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Post by zuperdee » Wed Mar 10, 2004 9:56 pm

RaNDoMMAI wrote:I got these exaclt ones from here

http://www.directron.com/fanal12025b.html

I would assume they r the low model ones since they advertise quiet.
Medium, actually. I would think that they'd undervolt fairly well, but I guess that's not the case. :(
RaNDoMMAI wrote:I have taken the front fan out and my 160gig SATA samsung spinpoint with Dtemp reads 36C and with the fan it reads 31C
Rats. It sounds like you probably do need the front fan, then. :(
RaNDoMMAI wrote:is this the same nexus fan u were talking about
http://www.siliconacoustics.com/nexus-1 ... e-fan.html
Yes, it is indeed the same fan that EndPCNoise is carrying. Looks like Silicon Acoustics managed to stock it faster than EndPCNoise did. :lol:
RaNDoMMAI wrote:I really like the orange color. Should i try this fan out? only 20 bucks compared to the AcoustiFan
http://www.quietpcusa.com/acb/showdetl. ... 30&CATID=7
I was planning on buying
Yes, I highly recommend that you try that fan. I absolutely LOVED my Nexus 80mm quiet case fan, before I decided to upgrade to a 92mm case fan. (My Antec SLK1600 takes either size.) In my opinion, the Nexus 80mm quiet case fan is so far THE quietest fan I've heard--MUCH, MUCH, MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better than the Panaflo 80mm L1A, in my opinion.

Seal
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Post by Seal » Fri Mar 12, 2004 3:46 pm

if i was to ask you guys which would be the best 400-450w psu, would you still say the coolmax targan series? they do 400 and 450's.

if not what would you reccomend for that power output (i prefer 120mm fan psus too)

thx
seal

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