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COOLMAX Fan-Less 350watt PSU
COOLMAX USA has provided our team with their fanless Power supply unit for review. This unit is intended for anyone that is looking to keep the noise level to a minimum. With the new trend towards quiet PCís, this product fills the void of the standard PSU, designed to go in any ATX style case for P4 and most AMD motherboards. This supply has many intriguing features like a solid aluminum casing and overheat sensors to reduce any damage that might occur when the internal case temperature gets to high. Let's see just how efficient this product is and if it is stable as well.
Installation is pretty much the same as all ATX power supplies. COOLMAX provides a 20 pin motherboard power connector along with your standard floppy and 4-pin Molex connectors. For mounting in the case itself, it was pretty standard. Just take out the existing unit by removing the 4 screws on the rear of the case and place the Fanless unit in itís place fastening the same screws from the original unit..
As you can see from the photos, this unit comes with every power connection needed. It is fully compatible, even with the latest SATA hook-up. They provide a 20-pin motherboard along with the 4-pin motherboard connection as well. They even put in a few extensions in case for some reason the connectors don't reach, such as when you use a full tower.
The overall appearance of the unit is a little different then your stock PSU. COOLMAX puts a lot of time into creating a superior long life supply. You will note that the chassis is almost entirely filled with ventilation slits to help radiate the heat from inside the PSU. They even use gold-coated connectors to increase conduction and reduce friction between your drives and motherboard. This unit is solid black with a stealthy look. COOLMAX provides some wire-management in the form of a wire wrap to help keep the power wiring in a somewhat manageable place. Overall, I like the way this unit looks. Mind you, it is a power supply unit and fanless to boot so you wont see the extra LEDís or lighting so common with the fan type PSUís, but it looks nice none the lessÖ.
Performance is very specific when talking about power supplies. The most important aspect that should be looked at when discussing the performance is power stability. This means making sure that the power or current running from the unit to the components is at a constant and doesnít fluctuate within reason. All PSUís have some fluctuation just due to the nature of the beast. It is impossible to be truly stable but the higher quality units will keep each voltage within certain constants, while at the same time, keeping Amperage or the push at a constant as well. This is even more important in todayís market with the growing numbers of Modís or add-on components that consumers hook up due to the extra power draw. We will be looking closely at the voltages using the onboard PC probe provided by the motherboard manufacturers to rate this stability and taking note of any major spikes and fluctuations that occur over a 24 hr period. For a more comprehensive description or explanation of our test please feel free to contact us at preitschky @ marnscda.com.
The test results where pretty positive. The only voltages that fluctuated over the one day period where the Vcore, it would fluctuate from 1.52v to 1.51, a very low percent that will not effect any hardware or cause damage. And the 3.3v ranges between 3.21v and 3.23v again, such a small amount of change that I can't see any danger or issue. In reality the fact that all the other voltages do not change at all, at least in a magnitude I can measure, shows that this is a very stable unit. It is by far one of the most stable I have tested at this point. Note though the 12 volt reading was a constant 11.71v, but that is well within system requirements in general and I feel pretty comfortable giving this product a big thumbs up. I almost forgot the internal case temp difference between the stock 400watt PSU and the COOLMAX 350watt fan-less was pretty clear. The starting temp before replacing the stock PSU was between 42 and 45 degrees Celsius and after running for a full 24 hours, the temperature dropped to 38 degrees Celsius. In turn, the CPU temp dropped three degrees as well, meaning the COOLMAX PSU definitely performed much better then the stock unit..
Quality is an important part of any PSU. This unit is made with the finest materials to ensure a long life and reduce any chance of over heating or over voltage spikes which are the main reason for premature PSU failures. The aluminum chassis is an option, but in my opinion it is the best way to go, especially when running the newer AMD 64 bit CPUís. This is due to the higher CU p core temp and the design of the PSU to radiate the heat. The internal case temp will generally be higher with these CPUís. I like that COOLMAX takes the time to put in the extras to ensure the product will run for extended life and lower noise levels. This is most apparent in the EMI filter designed to reduce the overall noise emitted by the PSU. Only time will tell unfortunately if these extras actually perform as planned but from the looks of the internal premium parts, they should work well.
Very stable voltage reading.
Solid aluminum chassis makes it pretty cool in comparison to stock PSU.
SATA and fully ATX compatible.
Pre-sleeved 20-Pin cable.
Price is a bit high.
If you are looking for a solid performing PSU that makes no sound what so ever and need a SATA compatable unit to boot, take a close look at the COOLMAX fan-less products. Also note they too have some higher wattage version to fulfill any persons needs. This product definitely earns our approval. I am happy to award this unit our Blue Ribbon Seal of Approval for a well built unit that will last longer then your average units.
Rating: 5 & 1/2 out of 6 Stars
Review Date: 01/29/05
Reviewer: pr101j (Paul)
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