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What is a Fanless Power Supply?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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For some computer users, avoiding excess noise from their machine is crucial. Such users are often interested in the fanless power supply, which does not contain a fan. This cuts down on the amount of noise put out by the computer, since the fan is usually one of the main contributors to the noise. The fanless power supply typically employs passive cooling instead of a fan in order to keep from overheating, allowing it to be an effective component of a silent computer.

Most types of power supplies use a fan to circulate air so that they do not overheat, but since a fanless power supply does not have this option, it needs to be constructed differently. For example, some have an aluminum case rather than a steel case since the former type of metal is better at dispersing heat evenly. The design is usually different from a regular power supply, as well, as some feature heat sinks that are attached to the back. Others feature fins or holes throughout the case in order to increase the flow of air and prevent overheating.

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One of the disadvantages of a fanless power supply is that it typically features lower wattage than most other power supplies. While some models go up to 500 watts, this is still not usually enough wattage to properly power a top-of-the-line computer, especially one running dual graphics cards. It is best to keep in mind that most gaming computers do best with anywhere from 800 to 1000 watts, so a fanless power supply is usually not an option for such a machine. Rather, it is a good choice for a casual computer user who wants to keep their system as quiet as possible while they browse the web, use word processing programs, or play older computer games.

Another detail to keep in mind regarding the typical fanless power supply is that it cannot be expected to last as long as most other types. Despite different designs to keep the power supply from overheating, this kind of product is still usually no match for a regular power supply when it comes to life span because it still usually puts out more heat than a standard product. Therefore, the importance of having a silent computer should be weighed against the possibility of needing to buy a new power supply sooner than usual. If it is determined that having a long life span is important, those in search of a silent computer can look into a quiet power supply that contains a nearly noiseless fan, rather than a fanless power supply.

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