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.

Package Contents
POST A COMMENT

41 Comments

View All Comments

  • Stuka87 - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    This looks like a top notch supply, and I think it would go great in my current system (Antec 300 case). The top fan should easily pull out any heat that is generated. And while my current Antec PSU works fine, its not modular and has a fan (that I can hear). Plus its not as efficient as this PSU (Which is one of the best I have seen).

    I can see one of these in my future :)
    Reply
  • MeanBruce - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    This fan vs fanless argument is really kind of silly! It makes the assumption that all fans are noisy. I consider myself a silent enthusiast, certifiable! We are a crazy bunch, we purchase a new Corsair HX-850 and then break the amazing 7 year warranty by performing a little PSU surgery and changing out the 20db Yan Loot fan for a perfectly silent 6db Noctua NF-S12B ULN or attenuate a larger 140mm Noctua FLX fan down to 8db, and are computing in silent heaven! Normal healthy human breathing generates 10db of sound pressure, so you will not even hear 6 or 8 db even when your desktop is sitting ON your desktop, next to you. For those who work at their pcs and need to hear themselves think, this is a wonderful solution providing substantial cooling to your PSU and in my opinion offering not just silence but absolute quiescence! Bruce out! Reply
  • sinPiEqualsZero - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    I didn't know that people who made costumes would be really into the SS-560KM. Maybe this is a subtle Halloween theme? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    LOL... just a little ghoulish slip-up on my part. Reply
  • Timewasted - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    The reviewer mentions exercising caution when using this power supply in a typical system, but that's just not warranted. While other fanless power supplies may be designed to be used under ideal situations with plenty of airflow around it, as well as not staying at load for any significant amount of time, the Seasonic units are designed to work exactly as stated.

    I'd like to point to silentpcreview.com's fanless PSU torture test roundup: http://www.silentpcreview.com/Fanless_PSU_Torture_...

    In that article, each of the fanless power supplies is run for 15 hours straight at full load, with the temperature of the air in the "case" reaching 50C+ and no fans to exhaust that heat away from the power supply. The Seasonic power supply performed this test flawlessly, while some of the others had their safety measures kick in, or the power supply just outright died. Sure, this power supply is expensive compared to the alternatives, but you absolutely get your money's worth from it.
    Reply
  • MeanBruce - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    So fanless PSUs are more expensive per watt and they are limited to 460 or 560 watts and you have make sure your case adds passive cooling to the unit and lose sleep worrying that the unit still might overheat? I must really be missing the point here, except that PSU manufacturers want to add more units to their product line. I just don't understand how this concept is any kind of solution. You will still hear your 20db case fans and 40db vpu fan. A real solution is to over-heatsink all heat generating components, switch to internal ssd drives and external HDDs for storage, use gold efficiency rated PSUs and replace all stock fans with ultra low noise fans, 8db or less. Some people choose loud components and then add sound proofing to their cases, it's just silly. Start with ultra quiet parts and even full open mesh cases will remain silent. I am really not gettin' this fanless thang at all! Reply
  • earthzero - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    Actually, you don't need any special ventilation for this product. It is so efficient that it doesn't really generate that much heat in real world usage. Most people who get these silent, fanless PSUs already have silent or nearly silent parts. They just want a PSU that can provide more than 150-200w of power without any added noise--with no further modifications necessary. They have a 400W version of this PSU witch would also be more than appropriate for many mid-level gaming rigs (as power consumption for both brands of major gaming cards is coming down in the mid-range every year) that costs $139.00.

    The name of the game here is efficiency, not "overheatsinking...."
    Reply
  • MeanBruce - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    Ok here is the low down, the skinny, the dawg’s drawers on this fanless concept. I called a friend of mine who works at Harris Corporation, in Melbourne, Florida. He oversees thermal management for server environments and helped design the computers and electronics for the new Amway Center in Orlando Florida, where the Magic play, the basketball team, there are also bars, shops, and restaurants in the center or centre.

    He said given two power supplies being equal in every aspect efficiency, output, load, ambient environment, all constant, except one with a closed (psu)case drawing fresh air in “fan-assisted” and pushing the warmed air out the back of the (psu) case, and the other “fanless” with no active cooling relying on heat to simply rise out of the psu into the computer case and then dissipated into the room, the fan assisted power supply would over time move much less heat into the computing environment.

    He said the fan-assisted unit would move the warmed air into the computing environment much faster yet that air would be at a much lower temperature.

    Whereas the fanless unit would move the warmed air into the pc case and then into the computing environment much slower, that air could be up to twice as warm, double the temperature, since no active air is cooling the power supply components they are allowed to reach a much higher temperature, even though not harming the unit. So over time the computing environment will become much warmer.

    With 300 servers to watch out for I am sure this becomes very important and a huge cost consideration. The bottom line it seems is even considering only a single pc, your computing environment will be much warmer with a fanless psu, and much cooler with a fan assisted psu. If you live up north the fanless design might be a benefit. I still think/feel considering environment and acoustics, a fan producing sound that cannot be heard 6db, is a much better solution overall than a fanless design. I guess it just comes down to how many watts you need, what you consider silent, and on what part of the planet you do your computing. Hope this helps.

    Bruce out!
    Reply
  • Sunburn74 - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    Well... I have a gaming mid tower in my room. Silence is the name of the game. I already have 2 ssds as my drives, a 5850 that at idle is silent, a cpu that idles at 25 degrees with 10 percent fan speed, and acase that encapsulates sound and generates massive airflow with practically no noise. The loudest thing in my box is probably my seasonic x-750w and it generates just alittle too much hum when idling for my tastes. Air exhausted out of the back of case can't really be sound proofed by a case's internals. When I lie in bed talking to my gf, I can hear my psu faintly in the background. Its not annoying. Just.... distressing in a quirky way. I'm like 95% satisfied with the build. 95....

    Anyway, this power supply is extremely tempting and I assure you, if I do well on a few tests and board exams, I'll probably be shelling out for it as a reward for good behavior.
    Reply
  • MeanBruce - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    Ok here is the low down, the skinny, the dawg’s drawers on this fanless concept. I called a friend of mine who works at Harris Corporation, in Melbourne, Florida. He oversees thermal management for server environments and helped design the computers and electronics for the new Amway Center in Orlando Florida, where the Magic play, the basketball team, there are also bars, shops, and restaurants in the center or centre.

    He said given two power supplies being equal in every aspect efficiency, output, load, ambient environment, all constant, except one with a closed (psu)case drawing fresh air in “fan-assisted” and pushing the warmed air out the back of the (psu) case, and the other “fanless” with no active cooling relying on heat to simply rise out of the psu into the computer case and then dissipated into the room, the fan assisted power supply would over time move much less heat into the computing environment.

    He said the fan-assisted unit would move the warmed air into the computing environment much faster yet that air would be at a much lower temperature.

    Whereas the fanless unit would move the warmed air into the pc case and then into the computing environment much slower, that air could be up to twice as warm, double the temperature, since no active air is cooling the power supply components they are allowed to reach a much higher temperature, even though not harming the unit. So over time the computing environment will become much warmer.

    With 300 servers to watch out for I am sure this becomes very important and a huge cost consideration. The bottom line it seems is even considering only a single pc, your computing environment will be much warmer with a fanless psu, and much cooler with a fan assisted psu. If you live up north the fanless design might be a benefit. I still think/feel considering environment and acoustics, a fan producing sound that cannot be heard 6db, is a much better solution overall than a fanless design. I guess it just comes down to how many watts you need, what you consider silent, and on what part of the planet you do your computing. Hope this helps.

    Bruce out!
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now