I just got rid of my Antec Earthwatts 430 and replaced it with a 130-watt Winmate PSU. For those of you who aren't familiar, Winmate is a company that makes power components for medical equipment and LCD's. There is a forum member over at Silent PC Review, Electrodacus, who is selling these PSUs. The PSU is basically a DC-DC converter that draws power from a laptop power brick and generates the necessary voltages for a standard PC.
The solution is entirely FANLESS
I bought the unit and grabbed a 160w 4-pin PSU off of Ebay to connect it to. The Winmate unit is about 85-90% efficient, so, when connected to a 160w power brick, the unit is about 130-140w. After buying the Winmate, the power brick, some extension cables and SATA splitter cables, I found myself out about $80, so this investment puts a lot of value on noise reduction. Other supplies (that most people probably wont need to buy) ran about $10 (epoxy and nuts/standoffs).
This is the unit itself.
And the power brick that supplies power.
As you can see, the 4-pin adapter on the unit allows a 4-pin laptop brick to be connected to the unit.
The actual Winmate unit has standard mounting holes on it so if you wanted, you could drill and tap mounting holes in a case, but I was having trouble getting them all lined up, so I ended up gluing the mounting screws to rubber washers and then using epoxy to glue the washers into my HTPC case. (Lian Li PC-37).
Here is the unit glued into the ATX power supply bay. You can see the epoxy is still a bit wet.
Here is a picture of the entire unit mounted in the case. I will have to cut a piece of sheet metal to cover up the hole left by the small Winmate unit being mounted in the case.
The power brick that plugs into the back of the Winmate is hidden in my TV stand behind the system itself. Even though the power brick is 160w, I found that it isn't super hot to the touch. The Winmate unit inside the case does put off a little bit of heat, and the large coil gets pretty warm, but the small size of the PSU (and having fewer power cables) led to temperature drops inside the case.
The best thing about this mod is that my PSU is now entirely silent. When I installed this PSU, I also installed a Scythe Big Shuriken as well. The Shuriken is the only fan in the case and it spins at about 1000RPM while keeping my cpu temperatures around 30-35 degrees. I could probably set the CPU fan speed even lower, but the system is virtually inaudible already with the CPU fan at 1000RPM. I am so glad to have gotten rid of the noisy PSU. It's nice to watch a movie and not be in the middle of a quiet scene and hear the hum or woosh of air out the back of the HTPC, that's for sure.
My computer idles around 40 watts and plays BR discs at about 70-80w. The greatest load I have seen during common everyday use is right at startup, where about 100w is consumed. 3dMark and other stress tests can get the system to consume up to 110w, but this still leaves a comfortable amount of head room (20-25w) for the power supply.
System specs (everything at stock voltage)
Athlon X2 4850e
Foxconn AMD 780G Mobo
2x 7200 RPM WD Hard Drives
1x Blu Ray Drive (LITEON)
Ati HD 5450 Graphics card
USB Wireless Adapter
USB Blu Tooth Wireless Keyboard