Power supplies are one of the growing segments of the computer hardware market. Until just a few short years ago your choices for a power supply were, AT or ATX, and for a server or a desktop. While there was some variation, for the average user the choice was very easy. However since the time around the release of the Athlon, power supplies began to take on a more important meaning for computers.
The power needed by the Athlon as well as the Pentium IV later on, was more than most 250 watt and even many 300 watt power supplies could supply without problems. Since then CPU speed has increased by over 1GHz and the power requirements have increased as well to accommodate this.
Though Sea Sonic Electronics isn't as well known a name as Enermax or Antec in the power supply business. However they have been making power supplies for all kinds of products since 1975, which helps inspire at least some confidence in this company.
Sea Sonic Super Tornado 400W Power Supply
Power supplies almost all look alike. Currently more companies are trying to make their power supplies different from the rest, with different colors, extra fans or other things. Does this power supply follow this trend, lets take a quick look at the power supply. For a look at more detailed specifications
We can see that Sea Sonic didn't do anything extremely different from the standard power supply, apart from the large fan and the honey comb structure on the back of the power supply. The inclusion of the 4 pin connector to a SATA power connector, and the plastic tubing and clips to tidy things up is very nice to see.
The cabling of the power supply is pretty nice with it being able to reach up and down the height of a full tower case. All the cables are included that you need, from standard ATX power to the 12V cable required by PIV's. Sea Sonic says that the honey comb design of the back of the case as well as the large 120mm fan are supposed to keep the power supply cool. We will see in a little bit if this is true or not.
The power output of the power supply is very similar to the RaidMax, with 28A on the 3.3v line and 30A on the 5v line. The 12v line is better than either the Enermax or the RaidMax power supplies by 5-7A at 22A. The Enermax has better power levels than either other power supplies, by 4A and 2A on the 3.3v and 5v respectively. Lets see if these results are similar to the real results we see.
Installation of this power supply is easy and painless, as there is no switches that you can accidentally push to switch from 115v to 230v as this is done by the power supply automatically. This is a very nice feature for first time system builders as they might accidentally move it over to the 230v section, which can cause major problems to all things connected to the power supply. Lets look at a couple of results to see if the power supply will keep the voltages clean, keep the supply cool and quiet.
AMD Athlon XP 2500+ (1833MHz, Barton Core)
1 - 256MB Corair PC3200, 1 - 256MB OCZ PC3500 - (166MHz, 2-2-5-2 1T)
|Hard Drives :
2*40GB Maxtor 7200RPM (D740X), 2*80GB Maxtor 7200RPM SATA
||ATi AiW 9000Pro 64MB (275MHz / 270MHz)
||Windows XP Professional SP1 w/Direct X 9
||2*Vantec Stealth 80mm Case fan, 80mm Thermaltake case fan, 80mm Alpha fan
||Alpha PAL-8045T / 80mm Crystal Fan
||Enermax EG365P-VE 350Watts
||RaidMax 400Watt PM-S400W
||Sea Sonic SS-400FB
||SiSoftware Sandra 2004
The power supplies will all be tested using a combination of Sisoftware Sandra burn-in test as well as . The temperature of the power supply was taken with a thermal probe with the probe sticking in a grill in the front of the power supply (Enermax, Sea Sonic), or deep inside the power supply itself, as far away from the air supply as possible.
Sound was measured using the Radio Shack digital sound meter we have used previously. Sound was recorded from about 1" or less away from the side of the power supply, on the side with the power specifications on it (in the case of most power supplies). This specific location was about halfway along the power supply. So lets look at how this power supply fairs compared to these other two.