Zalman ZM400A-APF PSU
Zalman, the Korean PC cooling manufacturer, seem to be on a mission. That mission is a simple but relatively difficult one. Most companies carry mission statements and Zalman's would inevitably be something along the lines of 'performance without noise'. Formed in 1999, their laudable goal seems to be one of reducing total system noise without overtly compromising performance.
PC noise can be created from a number of different sources; usually fans. With powerful graphics cards, CPUs, and power supplies housed in top-end systems, the combined fans' noise output from each of these sources is often more than the average user would be content with. OEM manufacturers, in particular, need to look at the overall noise profile of their machines. PCs are often touted as the all-in-one multimedia centre, so noise, or lack of it, is a primary concern.
Zalman have been producing a range of low noise components for some time now. Chipsets, GPU fans, CPU fans, and power supplies have all undergone the Zalman makeover. The latter, though, is often overlooked when considering a low noise approach. Due to rising power demands a reasonable PSU arrives with at least a 300w rating. This often rises to 400w+ on the more expensive models. Active cooling is required to dissipate the heat produced in converting AC current to DC. This active cooling is often the one that produces the greatest racket. With poor design and two fans, a PSU has the potential to be a serious, noisy troublemaker, as far as running a quiet system is concerned.
It's of little surprise that Zalman have their own line of 'noiseless' PSUs. Promising imperceptible sound levels when running, it looks good on paper. I'm a user who values a quiet system over an all-out ear-bashing affair. Let's see if the Zalman ZM400A-APF could live up to its 'noiseless' billing.