Zalman started out with their amazing 'flower-shaped' coolers just a few years back. Peaz had the opportunity to review several of those silent coolers. Due to the design, a slow fan was all that was needed to keep the processor cool. That was their premise to silent computing.
But thanks to the overclocking craze, everyone continued to use high performance fans like the 60mm Delta Black Label fan and the 38mm Delta Focus Flow models. They push insane amounts of airflow to improve the cooling performance of the heat sink for better processor overclocking.
However, many people soon realized that these high-performance fans are really annoying. You definitely can't sleep with the unbearable noise from those fans. To make things worse, other components like graphics cards, especially NVIDIA's GeForce FX 5800 Ultra @ 'The Dustbuster', now come with noisy high-speed fans due to the incredible amount of heat generated.
Many people now realise that using high-speed fans is not the way to go. Many have started replacing noisy CPU and graphics cards coolers with expensive but quieter and more efficient water coolers. But even with water coolers, many hard disk drives and power supplies still make a notable amount of noise.
Many power supplies come with two fans. Some even come with three fans or four of them! And these fan-heavy power supplies are not particularly quiet. So, to build a quiet system, using a quiet power supply is absolutely necessary.
Thankfully, Zalman has a line of quiet power supplies, one of which we will be looking at today!
Zalman Power Supplies
The 300W Zalman ST300BLP was the first power supply released by Zalman. It was designed for ultra-quiet operation. Since I did not have the opportunity to test the ST300BLP, I cannot comment on it. But according to reviews from other sites, it is quiet but not totally silent. Buzzing at only 25dB, isn't that quiet enough?!
The newer ZM300A-APF which replaced the ST300BLP reduced the noise level even further. It also used a proper fan grill with more air vents for better airflow.
At low load, the noise level of the ZM300A-APF was a totally inaudible 20dB! An impressive feat. But 300W is simply not enough for a high-end system. Installing the fastest processor, the fastest video card available in the market and having tons of hard disks and other peripherals will certainly drain it completely.
So, Zalman decided to release a more powerful model - the ZM400A-APF! But even the ZM400A soon proved to have some drawbacks. To Zalman's credit, they quickly came up with an updated version of that model - the brand-new ZM400B-APS! As you can see, the two 400W Zalman power supplies come in totally different packaging.
Today, we will take an in-depth look at the new Zalman ZM400B-APS power supply and pit it against the ZM400A-APF it was meant to replace. Let's go!