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Choosing the Power Supply

In last year’s system building guide, we chose the 600W Seasonic quiet power supply. This was a masterpiece of overbuilt, highly efficient, ultra-quiet, heavy power output. This year, Seasonic’s highly anticipated Energy Plus series did not fail to impress us. Seasonic was the first power supply manufacturer to receive the coveted "80 Plus" certificate in the United States, meaning that its power supplies are more than 80 percent efficient, and in practice often well above that. Seasonic achieves this by incorporating a state-of-the-art Dual Forward Converter circuit design with active power factor correction. The end result is that less of your expensive electricity is dissipated as heat, and more is converted into stable power for your system. Particularly because graphics cards these days need more and more energy, we went for a slightly more powerful version which is the S12 Energy+ 650W. Of course, you will not use all 650 of those watts. The power supply only puts out as much power as your system uses in real-time, thus saving electricity and preventing excessive heat build-up. The S12 Energy+ 650W achieves a remarkable 88 percent efficiency, and it is whisper-quiet. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2

Figure 2 Seasonic's Energy Plus series is powerful, quiet, and super-efficient.

The S12 ENERGY+ series also incorporates a Dual Magnetic Amplifier circuit to keep a 3 percent regulation on the critical 12VDC rail. This is particularly crucial for stability while overclocking your high-end graphic cards, CPU, or memory.

Another big draw of the S12 ENERGY+ is its exquisite quietness. That is due to a combination of the Seasonic proprietary Smart & Silent Fan Control, a low-noise 12cm ball bearing fan mounted on soft rubber cushions, and honeycomb-shaped ventilation holes to provide exceptional cooling and silence. The power supply ships with all the necessary connectors and all cables have been neatly sleeved. As we will see, cooling will be further enhanced by our choice of case, which isolates the power supply into a completely separate compartment—further insulating the system from the power supply's heat.

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