Your average everyday PC user probably has what is considered a low end system. The CPU is likely in the 2ghz range (or equivalent in AMD CPU’s) 512mb of ram, and not that many components in all to draw too much power. This kind of user can easily get away with a 300-350w PSU. But if you’re not an average user, if you have greater demands from your system and a lot of power hungry devices, you’re going to want something a little beefier in your PSU requirements.
SLI/Crossfire systems obviously draw quite a bit of power (Nvidia's top cards will happily draw on up to 110w each, with ATI just behind them at 100w; make that an SLI or Crossfire setup and that's a lot of power for just 2 components in your system) and are one of the main reasons for wanting a PSU with over 400w of power. Plenty of PSU’s in the market these days offer 400w or more, one such unit being the Seasonic S12-600. This power supply is rated for 600w, supports all the major new technology standards including SLI, and is even rated for 80% efficiency, so let’s see how it fares.
Specifications and Features
Double +12V outputs for increased safety and twice the applications
External quiet fan control output
Super high efficiency - the optimal solution for low noise, cooling, and high reliability
Active Power Factor Correction conserves energy
Smart & Silent Fan Control reduces noise without increasing temperature
120mm bottom mounted Quiet Cooing Fan doubles the air flow and lifetime with half the RPM & noise
Ultra ventilation (honey comb structure) maximizes ventilation to minimize heat and noise
Advanced forward converter circuit design for the highest reliability and efficiency
Universal Free AC Input (Full Range) allows you to plug & run safely anywhere in the world
Twisted & Tidy Wires for improved neatness, case airflow, and EMI result
Patented Easy Swap Connector allows you to unplug connectors easily & quickly
Dual 6P VGA Power Connectors supports SLI and dual PCI-E graphic cards
Dr. Cable Cable Management Kit
All-in-1 Connector Design supports PC, IPC, workstation, server, and dual CPU systems
AC Input: 100-240V, 50/60 Hz
Voltage Regulation: ±5% on all lines except -12V line ±10%
24-pin Main power connector (adapter for 20-pin supplied)
Manufacturer's 3 Year Warranty
Dimensions: 150mm x 140mm x 86mm (5.9"x5.5"x3.4")
Complies with the latest Intel ATX 12V v2.0 specifications
Total protections: OVP, OPP, and SCP
MTBF > 100,000 hours @ 25°C
PFC harmonics compliance: EN61000-3-2
The box for the Seasonic S12-600 did arrive a little beaten up (thanks Mr. Postman) but everything inside was fine. Unlike the more ‘flashy’ units on the market, the Seasonic box offers you a more business like approach which should appeal to everyone equally. The rear offers you information on the capabilities and features of the unit, and I have to say that one of them is a little misleading (more on this shortly).
Opening the box we see that everything is neatly packed and bagged. Included with the PSU are a Manual, 4 screws for mounting, a cable management package called Dr. Cable, power cable for your wall socket, and a 3 pin Fan ‘controller’ cable.
I personally feel that the box is a little misleading here as you find statements about external fan control, with control being very much the wrong word. External Fan Power would be more correct in my opinion. The External Fan ‘controller’ allows you to power up to 3 fans, with the 3 plug labeled with an L or an H (two L’s and one H); the two L’s are for low speed 5v with the 12v H making up the third. Simple and effective but not exactly ‘control’.
Before we move onto the PSU itself, and just want to plug the cable management system supplied. No, it isn’t anything overly special, but it is included and it does work very well indeed. It’s a cinch to install as well; you simply wrap it around your wires and let the wiring protrude from it where it is need in your PC case. Most non-sleeved PSU’s come with (at most) cable ties and if you are lucky, a cable grip loop. The Dr. Cable kit has the cable wrap, zip ties and a cable grip loop.
The PSU is solid matte black (powder coated by the rough feel of it) and is pretty plain to look at in that department. We have a 120mm ADDA fan in the bottom of the unit which is thermally speed controlled and protected by a 120mm stainless steel fan grill.
There is no exhaust fan, but rather a honeycomb grill to let the air sucked in by the bottom fan escape. Floating middle left in the rear grill is the power socket and power switch.
For cables we have a modular ATX/ATX12v/BTX style power connector that can power both 20pin and 24pin motherboards. Some dual core CPU motherboards that have started appearing on the market are sporting P8 Aux connectors rather than P4 Aux connectors and while they all ship with P4 to P8 adapters, the Seasonic S12-600 comes with both a P4 and a P8 connector. Note also that all of the wiring is twisted to aid in cable tidying.
Only 6 Molex connectors are supplied (on two cables, along with a floppy connector on each), which is a little low but do keep in mind that there are plenty of dedicated connectors on this PSU. These extras should power a good few devices without taking up a Molex. All the molex connectors are of the EZ grip variety which makes removal from devices very easy indeed.
4 SATA drives can powered from the two cables. One thing that is slightly odd is that Seasonic have opted to use 2 side facing plugs and 2 front facing (one of each on each cable). I would have preferred to have seen side facing plugs only. Also featured on the Seasonic S12-600 are 2 PCIe VGA plugs for those of you with SLI/Crossfire/Dual graphics setups.
The last cable is a fan speed monitoring cable to plug into a fan header on your motherboard.
Inside we find 2 very large heatsinks, which with 600w available is hardly surprising. The interior is very well laid out in regards to a tidy nature, which should aid greatly in air flow. Also of note is that Seasonic have used Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors which are designed for a long life.
There are a few questionable points, but overall you get the impression that this is a solid unit, and that is always a good impression to have. Let’s see if the actual performance can back that up.