Silent PSU installed (Winmate) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 05-04-2010, 09:50 PM - Thread Starter
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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 and SILENT.

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)

130w Winmate
Athlon X2 4850e
Foxconn AMD 780G Mobo
2GB DDR
2x 7200 RPM WD Hard Drives
1x Blu Ray Drive (LITEON)
Ati HD 5450 Graphics card
USB Wireless Adapter
USB Blu Tooth Wireless Keyboard
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post #2 of 15 Old 05-04-2010, 10:21 PM
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I am using this silent PSU.
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post #3 of 15 Old 05-05-2010, 12:22 AM
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I like the idea of the boards though I think the picoPSU has the upper hand because of the smaller form factor. I was able to get the 150 watt version in an all-in-one package deal, including the PSU, power brick, and cables, for about $80.

I'd say they are pretty comparable and which one you chose will depend on your personal requirements.
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post #4 of 15 Old 05-05-2010, 08:37 AM
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I installed one in my mini-ITX build. I only needed the supplied cable (one 2.5" sata HDD and one slim optical). It dropped my power by about 10W compared to the crappy supply that came with the case.

I had read about someone not being able to use get my same motherboard to wake from S3 with a PicoPSU where it worked with another supply. So, that was a big factor in me picking this one.

I do think this one has one other advantage. It regulates the 12V power rail which provides a smoother 12V supply to components compared to the PicoPSU. The PicoPSU relies on the power brick for the 12V rail and the typical power brick can barely meet the 12V power specification at the best of times.

The short little cable is used because this power supply board has the plug polarity backwards compared to most laptop supplies. Not sure why, maybe to make sure medical equipment is only operated on the approved supply.

Peter
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post #5 of 15 Old 05-06-2010, 07:05 PM
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What JoshDorhyke said plus the fact that Winmate PSU's are designed for medical equipment speaks of quality and reliability, whereas there were reports of faulty picoPSU units. Granted Winamtes are not as widespread as picoPSUs so that could be the reason for the lack of poor experiences, but SPCR speaks highly of them. Personally, I bought two of these bad boys today. Will see how they behave.
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post #6 of 15 Old 05-06-2010, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babylon View Post

What JoshDorhyke said plus the fact that Winmate PSU's are designed for medical equipment speaks of quality and reliability, whereas there were reports of faulty picoPSU units. Granted Winamtes are not as widespread as picoPSUs so that could be the reason for the lack of poor experiences, but SPCR speaks highly of them. Personally, I bought two of these bad boys today. Will see how they behave.

What power bricks will you be using?
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post #7 of 15 Old 05-06-2010, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by pete6032 View Post

What power bricks will you be using?

I ordered the Li SHIN 0226A20160 for now. In a few weeks I will order the Liteon PA-1221-03. The latter is one huge brick though.
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post #8 of 15 Old 05-06-2010, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete6032 View Post

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.

Pete, I have the same 450W Corsair for the PSU. And I got to tell you I can't hear the PSU at all. I sit 6-7 feet from the HTPC and it's dead silent. My point is that you could find a quiet PSU that would be as or more silent that your Shuriken fan.

Personally, I am not going to upgrade the PSU in my HTPC, not now anyway. But I have two other PC's in the house for media playback and they are mid towers. They take up lot's of space, make it harder to clean the house with them on the floor, and just look plain ugly by now (I used to love them before of course). I am planning on selling them and building two mini-itx PC's. Hence the reason for buying two Winmates. I want the smallest footprint and mobility, as I will be using one of these babies as a car pc when going on vacations and trips.
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post #9 of 15 Old 05-06-2010, 10:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babylon View Post

Pete, I have the same case (PC-C37 I presume), 5450, and the Big Shuriken for CPU cooling. I do, however, have the 450W Corsair for the PSU. And I got to tell you I can't hear the PSU at all, but I do hear case fans and the Shuriken from 1-3 feet. I sit 6-7 feet from the HTPC and it's dead silent. My point is that you could find a quiet PSU that would be as or more silent that your Shuriken fan.

Interesting. I don't have either of the case fans connected, so the Shuriken is the only fan in the case that is powered on and spinning. My motherboard only runs the fan at maximum all the time so I had to download a fan speed tool to moderate the fan speed. When the Shuriken is running at about 1000 RPM I can barely hear it at 5 feet. I could probably decrease the fan to about 600 RPM as my CPU temperature is still in the 30's at 1000 RPM. I think if I decreased the fan to 600 RPM it would probably be silent from 1-2 feet.
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post #10 of 15 Old 05-07-2010, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by pete6032 View Post

Interesting. I don't have either of the case fans connected, so the Shuriken is the only fan in the case that is powered on and spinning. My motherboard only runs the fan at maximum all the time so I had to download a fan speed tool to moderate the fan speed. When the Shuriken is running at about 1000 RPM I can barely hear it at 5 feet. I could probably decrease the fan to about 600 RPM as my CPU temperature is still in the 30's at 1000 RPM. I think if I decreased the fan to 600 RPM it would probably be silent from 1-2 feet.

I am running my shuriken at full speed. Can't lower the speed because both cores already idle at 38-40C. My CPU has a TDP of 65W, while yours is 45W. The two major heat sources - HDD and XFX 5450 (imagine that, same video card... you have a good taste:-) won't let me do it. I do, however, have the X25-V arriving on Tuesday, so heat from HDD will be mostly eliminated. I'll see if I can drop the speed on the shuriken then.

I also should mention that my PSU may be an issue w/r to heat too, as it is non-modular and has tons of cables. In addition to heat generated by the PSU itself (though not much as it stays barely warm), those cables block free air flow on the right side of the case. So, having Winmate instead of ATX psu will help in that respect. Hm, perhaps I will do the same mod you did sooner than I envisioned. By the way - very nice and clean job mounting the Winmate board.
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post #11 of 15 Old 05-07-2010, 06:22 AM
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Are these wattages from the wall? If so how do they compare to your old PSU?
Quote:


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.

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post #12 of 15 Old 05-07-2010, 07:57 AM
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People sure have different levels of what they consider "silent". I have 1 x 120mm fan (a 1200rpm Scythe) and a 2.5" HDD running and it's definately not silent, even from 6' away. Some sound deadener around the HDD should help when I get around to it. The sound is really unobtrusive though, compared to some of the fans I've used before which develop a whine.

I have;
Zotac 9300-G-E
E6300 processor
4 gig ram
2.5", 7200 rpm seagate
Sony Optiarc slot load DVD

The system is in a small case. I cut the fan off the stock cooler and shaved the GPU heatsink slightly so that I could put the 120mm fan on the top vent of the case moving air directly over both the CPU and GPU. It works well except the CPU temp will climb fairly high (say 70C) if running both cores at full load. My HTPC never sees that kind of load profile so it's fine to me.

Idle and typical playback is around 38-45W. 100% CPU load pushed the power to around 78W. This is at the wall. The power was about 10W higher compared to the supplied case PSU.

Peter
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post #13 of 15 Old 05-07-2010, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshDorhyke View Post

People sure have different levels of what they consider "silent".

I am not speaking in absolute terms. I take into account any household background noise. Sitting at 6-7 feet away, do I hear my HTPC or do I not? If I do not, then it is dead silent to me. One correction though : I do hear my hard drive when during starts or seeks, but I intentionally factored that out as irrelevant to my system as it will be replaced with an SSD in a few days. Should have made that assumption explicit.
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post #14 of 15 Old 05-07-2010, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Servicetech571 View Post

Are these wattages from the wall? If so how do they compare to your old PSU?

Yes, these wattages are measured with a Kill-a-Watt meter from the wall. There is little to no difference in the before and after wattage measurements. If I had to guess I would say on average the readings are maybe 1-3w less with the Winmate, but I'm not entirely sure. My Old PSU, Earthwatts 430 was 80+ certified so it was pretty efficient, and a decrease of only a few watts means very little in terms of money saved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Babylon View Post

I am not speaking in absolute terms. I take into account any household background noise. Sitting at 6-7 feet away, do I hear my HTPC or do I not? If I do not, then it is dead silent to me.

Same here. If I am 6 feet away from my HTPC and I can't hear anything, that constitutes silence for me because I would never sit closer than 6 feet from my TV/HTPC setup when using it to watch a movie or whatnot. When the system boots up there is noise from the drives spinning up and whatnot, and the CPU fan runs at max until I get into windows, but after booting into windows the system becomes very quiet.
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post #15 of 15 Old 05-25-2010, 10:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Just an update here that I was having some trouble with hitting peak power load at startup with 2 HDD's running on this PSU. I decided to buy one 1.5 TB HDD to replace the two HDD's I had installed. I bought a Western Digital Grean WD15EADS 5400RPM SATA HDD with a 32MB buffer. I chose this device because it is very quiet (only 14db @ 1 meter) and has fairly good performance and lower power consumption (5.8w seek). They are also on sale at Tigerdirect.com for $70 after $10 instant and $30 mail in rebate. I haven't really played with it yet but I plan on cloning my drive over in the next couple of days. I should note that the new drive is replacing two power-hungry 7200RPM caviar Black drives, so peak power consumption at startup should be drastically lower once its installed.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...?EdpNo=5201710

EDIT - looks like they are sold out! The 2TB model is $169. Glad I got one while they lasted.
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