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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  • dustcrusher - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    Such a fuss indeed.

    Not sure I buy the "up to twice as warm" argument- warmer, yes, but I doubt one fan can halve a PSU's operating temperature.

    Suggesting that he'd use this power supply in a server environment is pointless- the cost per watt and lack of redundancy would rule it out before he even got to heat issues.

    The key is making sure the chassis is a good match for this unit. In a small HTPC-type box, I would also be worried about the increase in heat output. Not everyone wants to crack open a PSU and replace the fan.

    I'd like to hear from more folks who own one of these, or a similar fanless power supply. Has it been working for you?
  • Myg - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    I placed my order before anandtech posted their review and I was really happy with my choice, that was until I got it...

    The thing makes more irritating line noise then any fan could ever do! It sounds like someone is electrocuting a pixie in there, its terrible!

    I would recommend anand re-review this product with one from the shelves to confirm their findings.
  • MeanBruce - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    I really like the fanless idea, I want to like it, I want to buy one, it just seems the tech needs to develop a little, too many what ifs out there. Maybe when efficiencies go platinum or higher.

    Sorry for the confusion my engineer friend did not mean using this psu in a server, he works with servers but was making an example to me considering consumer grade gold-rated PSUs identical, one with and one without a fan.
  • dustcrusher - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    It's cool (no need to apologize, I mean). I just felt it was a bit of a diversion from your point. I'm an expert at going off on tangents when I write, so I know them when I see them.

    It's great that anyone can make a fanless PSU that will hold up to hot box testing at all, much less perform as well as this one does. I think that this would be an excellent purchase with the right setup; but as you've said I don't know if I'd put it in just any case.

    Something like this, on the other hand, seems tailor-made for a fanless PSU (look like they put it into their display model here, too):
  • MeanBruce - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    Hey Myg you should RMA that noisebox! I am sure Seasonic will replace it no problem. Man, nothing worse than a pixie on death row.
  • Hrel - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    You guys really need to stop pushing SSD's at EVERY single turn. They're too expensive. It's not even like they're a little too expensive. It's laughable how expensive they are. Stop pushing them so much, seriously, I'm sick of reading it over and over and over. Rubber grommets are much less expensive way of silencing your PC than buying a stupid SSD. Combine that with a case with sound dampening material and you won't hear a thing.

    P.S. You can start pushing SSD's again when the price/GB goes under 30 cents.
  • Gonemad - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    I second to that.
    For the price of a single given SSD, I would be able to fancy me 2 HDDs, 10 times the capacity or more, and get them RAID'ed to become as fast or more. No dice.

    Not to mention that around here they are still "imported" parts, where we pay 100% taxes, and HDDs are hell cheaper and are not paying the "novelty hype" price point.

    We are no long talking about those 40GB HDDs units that sounded like a masonry mill or a woodpecker on drugs, anyways. Today HDDs are way much more quiet. If you are doing HTPC, a single romantic dialog is louder than any HDD. Oh, reading it from a Blu-ray? I bet the BD reader is louder. You fail again.

    If you want to sleep in the same room while it is running, and you fancy splurging some money leaving it on overnight, then this PSU and some SSDs are the 'thang.

    It is a 800W part, with cooling removed; it should support anything you throw at it on the new 460W rating with flying colors, as it proves.
  • solinear - Friday, October 29, 2010 - link

    Someone who is willing to pay $160 for a 430 watt power supply when they can get easily get a decent 500+ watt one for $50 probably doesn't think that an SSD is too expensive.

    That being said, Anandtech pushes SSDs because they are now the single highest impact upgrade you can make to a system. Everyone I know who owns a SSD says, when asked, that they would rather spend $100 on their CPU and get a $250 SSD than $100 on their HDD and get a $250 CPU. The performance increase from going to a SSD is that big.

    Regardless though - they're reviewing a $160 power supply. I think that mentioning SSDs is more than reasonable. If they were mentioning $40 power supplies, comments about $150 SSDs would be out of place.
  • ProDigit - Sunday, October 24, 2010 - link

    A fan would immediately increase powerdraw both in low taxation as high taxation.
    The powersupply would have a lower than 80% efficiency at 10%, and lower than 90% at the other taxation percentages.

    most computer cases don't have ventillation, and mount the powersupply on the top back of the case.
    In those cases the powersupply will heat the case and probably burn up.

    It probably relies on a 120mm fan on the back of a computer to suck out the hot air and blow it out of the case.
  • SviatA - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    That is really great if this stuff is truly silent. I have bought some Chieftec 600W PSU (on a Ukrainian online store) and it is VERY loud, especially in the summer:-). Now I am thinking about this one or similar (Thermaltake Toughpower DPS G 550W).
    The problem is that some Seasonic fanless units can be completely silent, while other may emit a noise under loads (I have heard that not all fanless Seasonic work perfectly). That is why it's difficult to decide.

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