Way back in 2009 or so, I took a look at my first PC Power and Cooling unit, the Silencer 910 watt model. It turned out to be a fantastic performer, even if the single 80mm fan in it didn't do a lot to make people think of silence. But PC Power and Cooling didn't stop there... as time went by, the Silencer Mark II units made an appearance. Now featuring massive 135mm fans and better efficiency, these units turned out to be a lot quieter than their predecessors.
But, time still marches on, and once again PC Power and Cooling found themselves having to update the Silencer line. We first saw the new Mark III units last year in November, when Jon took a look at the 600 watt model. And it was a thing of beauty.
Computers have only gotten more and more power hungry since then. People are no longer content with noise in their systems, and have begun to push the envelope. No longer do they want to run three way SLI rigs, they want to water cool them too. And they want them quiet. What was PC Power and Cooling to do? Why, release a Silencer watt monster of course.
Today's review sample is just that power supply - the Silencer Mark III 1200W. Featuring 80 Plus Platinum certification and a seven year warranty, this bad boy is intended to tell all of us enthusiasts that PC Power and Cooling is not only still a force to be reckoned with in the industry, but they're going to be bringing the goods silently as well.
Now, a word about silence, because I know this is going to come up. Why don't we do noise testing in our reviews? It's quite simple... to test sound pressure levels (SPL), you must first have a quiet environment to do your testing in. Second, you must have a meter capable of providing accurate measurements down below 20 decibels, because a lot of these units don't get a lot louder than that.
On the first point, let me tell you about my "quiet" environment. I have two load testers in my office and one computer. On this unit, all of them will be powered and working. In order to insure accurate electrical measurements, the unit being tested must be as close to those load testers as possible. Each load tester has two fans... both are 120mm, 120V, 3200RPM. They make a lot of noise. Like, 65dB measured at a meter from the load testers. Additionally, I have three more high speed fans in the hot box. The computer, running in an Antec Twelve Hundred, has another six fans running all the time.
What I'm getting at is, it's just not quiet enough. To make it quiet enough, I'd have to put the unit being tested in a soundproof room and the load testers would have to be somewhere else. Either that, or I would have to build a box big enough to hold a smaller box housing the PSU inside it (for noise insulation). This smaller box would still have to be big enough to allow proper SPL measurements at one meter. In either case, that means long wires and poor electrical readings, unless those wires are heavy gauge. It can be done, but not cheaply. Since we are predominantly focused on performance here, and I don't exactly make a mint doing this, I'd rather show you how well something performs more than find out how quiet it is.
Oh, right, I should be talking about marketing. Since the printing on this box is gray on white, it's a little hard to see and even harder to photograph well. I'm not going to squint at it for an hour while trying to type it out for you, so now you get to do some squinting. I've fiddled with contrast, brightness, and gamma to try and make it clearer.
Ah, good - fifty degrees at full power. That's the one thing I always liked about PC Power and Cooling back in the day - they weren't about to compromise on anything. Their units were going to perform well, by gum, and they were going to do it at high temperatures. In fact, PC Power and Cooling was the first company I can think of to actively push for industrial power supply quality in consumer grade units. Of course, the competition eventually caught up to them, but not before getting the PC Power and Cooling name out there on everybody's lips first.
Here's another part of the box marketing. I like seeing that selector switch for fanless mode. On many of these big units that go fanless at low loads, it makes me a little nervous to have them sitting there working at full power for any length of time with no fan. On this unit, you can make the fan stay on at all times with traditional thermal speed control. On the other hand, it's also nice to have a way to shut the fan off when it's not needed if you live in a dusty environment.
This is the last marketing picture, I promise. Modular... I like that. There used to be this myth going around that modularity was bad resulting in voltage drops. Let me be honest here... this myth stuff has been discussed ad nauseam to the point I'd rather not regurgitate it again. It will suffice to say that modular done well does not have problems with voltage drops. You just need to use good quality connectors, that's all, and/or provide for proper voltage sense wiring back to the internal circuitry.
We may have moved past the marketing, but Mr. Fuji thinks you should still squint at some more box pictures. He knows camera judo, so I'm not going to argue with him.
This side of the box has a helpful cable diagram on it, though I found some of the specified lengths were a bit off. I'll get a cable table ready for you on the next page.
Yes indeed, this is a 1200 watt Silencer. Time to get things unpacked.
Here are the box contents for you: a bag of modular cables, some knurled black screws, a user guide, a power cord in a nice white bag, a power supply, some zip ties, and a "thanks for buying this" info sheet.
Right about here is when I remembered that I do in fact own a scanner, and it's probably better for user guide shots like this one than Mr. Fuji is. The guide is nothing too special, but it's better than most I see come through here.
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