It still makes me giggle when I read the forums an see people asking why their system is constantly BSOD'ing and locking up all the time. Then, when they list their hardware specs it goes something like this "Blah blah super fast CPU, moan tons 'o DDR, blinding fast vid card, ear drum shattering sound card, 300W no name psu..." Now more than ever, the PSU is probably the first and foremost piece of hardware you should take into consideration when building your rig. If you skimp on the PSU, you are going to be banging your head against the desk chasing down ghosts in your machine. I usually recommend at least a decent brand name 400W PSU. Today we're gonna put the Cool Max Aluminum 550W Triple Fan w/ LED PSU (whew, thank god for copy and paste...) through the wringer.
Packaging and Specs Lets let the monster loose. As the title of the review states, Cool Max went with a three fan setup, and the exhaust fan on the back of the PSU is a Tri-Color LED fan.
Here's the bottom and the front of the unit. The fans you see are both intake and CoolMAX came through with gold finger guards all around.
Here is the exhaust side of the PSU. The fan is a tri-lighted LED (Blue, Green, Red) variety, and off to the lower left of the fan, you can see the adjustable fan control switch. It has three settings for Auto, Medium and Low. While on Auto, the fan speeds are controlled in relation to the internal temps of the PSU though the use of a temperature probe mounted inside the PSU.
Who says I don't love you guys...After promptly voiding my warranty, we get to see the inner workings of this beast. Cool Max definitely is taking cooling the unit seriously. The temperature probe is located underneath the gold heatsink, and the fan controller is located at the bottom right hand side of the heatsink. You can just make out the fan connector for the intake fan located on the cover of the unit. This is a nice touch if you ever wanted to swap out fans at a later date. While inspecting the inside, I did come across one pot that looks like it is the +5V line and I am awaiting confirmation on this. I did not notice any other pots in the PSU.
OK, with the cover back on, we can take a look at the temperature curve the fans operate on in relation to the psu temps when set to Auto.
Unfortunately, there is no fan monitoring cable on this PSU, so I couldn't take R.P.M. measurements on the fans. However, I did notice the fan noise increasing, and decreasing as the temps in my system rose and fell. When running the PSU on the 'Low' setting, the fans are almost inaudible while jumping up to 'Medium' produced a little fan whir. In most systems the fans in the PSU will not be a noise factor unless you are running an ultra-quiet setup.
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