Seasonic X-Series SS-460FL: 460W and Fanless

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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  • bahamakyle - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    What sort of temps did it get to while you were testing it Martin? Did it ever get hot to the touch?
  • Martin Kaffei - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    I've added a table. The difference between the ambient and exhaust temp is always below 15 °. It's just warm to the touch +-1 °C. But that came as no surprise, since they use the 860W design with slight differences. Even 110 % load is no match for the X-460.
  • jed22281 - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    crap, wish it was out at the time of my recently purchased X-650.
    It would've been perfect.... X-650 is a bit overkill for my build.
  • wintermute000 - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    your X-650 is a sweet unit so that should ease the pain LOL.
    Just wish I had this in my media centre!!!

    The point about the significantly cheaper unit being nearly silent is a good point though, price/peformance wise I can't see how that is not such a better proposition for most.

    Unfortunately for me I decided to give it a bit more gaming card headroom in my media centre and settled on an S12-550. Then proceeded to throw in a card that didn't need anywhere near 550W (sigh)
  • josephclemente - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    I've had this PSU since the beginning of September and have been very happy with it.

    With a Radeon HD5850 and a quad-core Q9550S, I'm pulling about 271 W AC from the wall with Prime95 and FurMark.

    My case is a Lian Li PC-A05NB with only two case fans and one CPU fan. I have no fans anywhere near the PSU - only two exhaust blowhole fans on the opposite corner.

    The PSU has no issues with heat. There is no need for a more open case design. This PSU is designed to handle itself without extra help.
  • Gigantopithecus - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    Given the cost & modest output, this is a boutique model. 460W is serious overkill for a well-built HTPC, & likely insufficient for a high-end gaming rig. Besides, gaming rigs should emphasize cooling, not noise mitigation. I think a lesser wattage (e.g. 250-350W) silent psu would make much more sense for an HTPC than this 460W'er. A lower-wattage psu would also be a much better choice for a completely passively cooled setup. With Llano almost upon us, I hope someone starts making a lower-wattage silent psu.
  • hangfirew8 - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    SFF 250W HTPC silent power supplies are boutique models.

    An ATX form factor is not "boutique", and a 460W rating is neither "modest" (like an Antec EarthWatts 380W) nor "overkill". It is exactly a mainstream rating (especially since it can actually deliver the rated power and more), and makes perfect sense as it is sufficient (plus reserves) for the vast majority of PC's with bottom mounted power supplies, some top exhaust, and a single mid-range gaming video card. In other words, a mainstream gaming desktop.

    The ONLY thing remotely "boutique" about this P/S is the price, which compared to an (inferior) SilenX P/S looks quite affordable. It is also cheaper than a high-end video card, so it has not exceeded any kind of threshold for reason for a buyer looking for a quiet system.
  • ///// - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    I don't feel I benefit from such a test. What if it gets hotter sometimes?
  • rundll - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    Great power, but way too powerful. Those PCs this is meant to take only 200 W or less from power's output lines. Or, what the heck, most new PCs don't max out that 200 W barrier.
  • HangFire - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    Most power supplies' efficiency peak around 50% of rating, and most buyers like a reserve of power in case of upgrades, so I would say it is just about right.

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