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Question Straight Power 11, HX(i), AX, Prime Ultra, or other high end low noise option?

Jul 14, 2020
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Hi all

I'm looking to upgrade my PSU in preparation for upgrading the remainder of my system over the coming year or so.

Main reasons are to have a more silent unit (currently on a 650W G3 which ramps up fairly high as soon as fan kicks in) and to have something that will last a long time and allow for any future upgrades. So looking for a top tier unit.

So I'm planning on going for an 850W unit to limit how high the fan has to spin, to have the extra EPS and PCIE connectors those come with, and headroom for overclocking and upgrading to the new Zen 3 CPUs and 3000-series GPUs (currently on a 4790K and 1080 ti, both overclocked). I'm a bit torn on multi-rail vs singlerail, mainly since the prime ultra platform gets such nice reviews.

From the tier list and various reviews I have narrowed my interests so far down to the above units (Straight power 11 gold, HXi, AX, Prime Ultra), due to being "best in the tier" and having great reviews here and on other pages. However, I haven't managed to get a clear answer in terms of which of these is likely to be more silent under regular use. All of these units are definitely going to keep me covered in terms of the performance side of the equation, but I am seeing so many conflicting pieces of information regarding the noise profiles of these units.

The AX850 for example is mentioned to both be "virtually silent even when the fan spins" and "having a poor quality fan", the Straight power has a better quality fan, but then a conservative fan profile causing high noise anyways. These issues made me start considering the HX series, since it has a FDB fan and the -i model would allow controlling the fan profile via iCue. But it's hard for me to get the full overview of which of these various extreme test scenario cases would actually be relevant for real world use, in a regular 20C ambient room and higher end hardware mainly running games.

So well, I'm at a loss, there seems to be a lot of really great top tier PSU options (all or most?) of which have some sort of issue with the noise profile. Many of these units would probably not even turn on the fan in many use cases, but if they then have an annoying noise profile the moment they turn on the fan, that kinda defeats the purpose.

Do any of you have either experience with these units compared to each other, and have spent even more time looking into reviews trying to find an answer - or maybe know of a different unit that is the answer to my prayers?
 

Juular

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Mar 14, 2020
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I don't know what conflicting pieces of information you see on them, all these PSUs have reviews from Aris where you can see RPM and noise graphs depending on load (granted, wattages don't match up but this data should translate between 750-1000W SKUs well). All of them should be relatively quiet at ~70% load (since that's a requirement for gold color) but at full load Seasonic Prime Titanium and Corsair AX Titanium are quietest among these options.
https://www.techpowerup.com/review/seasonic-prime-750/6.html
https://www.techpowerup.com/review/corsair-ax1000/2.html
https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/be-quiet-straight-power-11-1000w-psu,5465-5.html
Although, if you wouldn't be upgrading to top notch SKU but rather smth midrange then you don't need neither 850W PSU nor a PSU this expensive as these aren't the only good PSUs out there (there are quite a bit of other gold colored units in the list and some blue colored ones can be considered almost to be just as good). For example Corsair RMx and RMi, other Seasonic Focus and PRIME based units such as NZXT E/C, Phanteks AMP (they weren't gilded because of ripple just outside of requirements but they're still good if cheaper), CWT GPU units such as Bitfenix Whisper, Thermaltake GF1 and Deepcool DQ-M, EVGA G2 and Super Flower Leadex II/III it's based on, Aerocool P7 maybe even if you'll find it, Fractal Design ION+ and ADATA XPG Core Reactor also but they're somewhat outsiders performance wise, worth considering only if cheaper than those above. Like ... literally all the tier A blue/gold stuff in the list.
 

vov4ik_il

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Mar 23, 2020
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First hand experience: I use HX1200i for a long time in my system (8700k+2080) and the psu fan has not kicked in during gaming at all yet. I had to confirm it actually works by manually engaging it through the utility.
 
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Jul 14, 2020
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I don't know what conflicting pieces of information you see on them, all these PSUs have reviews from Aris where you can see RPM and noise graphs depending on load (granted, wattages don't match up but this data should translate between 750-1000W SKUs well). All of them should be relatively quiet at ~70% load (since that's a requirement for gold color) but at full load Seasonic Prime Titanium and Corsair AX Titanium are quietest among these options.

I have seen some mention of them (seasonic prime ultra platform PSUs) using poor quality fans and that while the noise level is indeed farily low at most levels, the sound profile can be annoying, On that note, I think I have mainly been looking at reviews of the Seasonic Platinum model (which had some noise concerns) and not the titanium, which seems to fare better. I will have to look into pricing on that one.

Overall I think the "conflicting" information I've been running into is just general minor gripes regarding noise, with PSUs of a tier where I'd not expect any of such issues. I'm okay with spending the price of a top tier unit if I know it'll do everything right. I think I just kinda wish there was a clear answer like "this is the A tier PSU if you value silence"... one can only dream ;)

I am indeed planning on top notch SKUs - with the new consoles coming with 8 cores I'd expect future games to start being able to take better advantage of multi-threaded loads, so depending on what comes with the next gen I'd aim for 12 ish cores. For GPU I'm usually going for the "flagship but not titan"-model. And it's really just about peace of mind for me to be quite honest. I want my future PSU for many builds to come.

Thanks for your input!

Edit: Diving a bit deeper into JonnyGuru forums I learned that the concerns about fan and fan controller are focused on the prime ultra platform, due to the Hong Hua fan and a mix of its motor noise at lower RPMs, as well as general reliability.
 
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Jul 14, 2020
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First hand experience: I use HX1200i for a long time in my system (8700k+2080) and the psu fan has not kicked during gaming at all yet. I had confirm it actually works by manually engaging it through the utility.
Thanks - I've been pretty keen on the HXi series due to the FDB fan, general focus on low noise, and option to control fan speed via iCue.

It's really hard to pick with so many seemingly great options xD
 

Juular

Upstanding
Mar 14, 2020
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Diving a bit deeper into JonnyGuru forums I learned that the concerns about fan and fan controller are focused on the prime ultra platform, due to the Hong Hua fan and a mix of its motor noise at lower RPMs, as well as general reliability.
Hong Hua fans are everywhere, i wouldn't say they're that unreliable, Corsair RMx fan is rebranded Hong Hua for example. But speaking of Seasonic Focus / PRIME fans i've indeed seen quite a good amount of reports of it being noisy / ticking etc., no idea how prevalent it is. That said, Corsair RMi/HX/HXi and be quiet! PSUs definitely have better fans and should be very quiet at moderate load.
 
Jul 14, 2020
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That said, Corsair RMi/HX/HXi and be quiet! PSUs definitely have better fans and should be very quiet at moderate load.
Thanks again. Yeah I think the main issue with the specific fan is the motor noise at certain speeds.

I'm starting to lean heavily to the HX or HXi - due to the combo of the platinum efficiency, high(er) quality fan, and fancy fan controller implementation (which is unique to corsair afaik?).
 

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