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Zalman 300W ZM300A-APF Quiet Power Supply
When was the last time you gave more than a passing thought to your power supply? If it works, good. If it can supply 300 Watts, super. If it makes noise.... you live with it right? The answer to that last question doesn't always have to be no, and in the case of the Zalman ZM300A-APF the answer most certainly is "quiet."
Zalman have founded their company on the concept of providing cooling and related products which adhere to their own CNPS (Computer Noise Prevention System) standards. So as we opened up the box for the ZM300A-APF a low noise power supply greeted us.
From the outside there is no difference between this power supply and any other you can see except for the lack of a 115V-250V selector switch (this power supply has circuitry which doesn't require it). The ATX 2.03 compatible power supply is Pentium 4 compliant and supplies a healthy 300W of juice to the computer.
Zalman's power supply comes with one internal exhaust fan, (7) molex connectors, (2) FDD connectors, a 24-pin ATX connector, and a 6-pin & 4-pin Pentium 4 auxiliary power connector.
Additionally, to make powering all those case fans we have these days easier, this goes against the low-noise mantra just slightly, Zalman also include a rather handy Molex-to-four 3-pin fan headers connector. Two of those fan headers supply 12V, and two supply a lower voltage for quieter cooling possibilities (5V).
Along with the power supply come a fairly detailed set of instructions. Within the booklet are a set of good technical explanations behind the ZM300A. I think it's worth quoting two of the sections here for a better understanding of what goes into making a reliable, and good power supply. Wattage and noise levels are only one facet after all. The most important component can be the internal circuitry which is almost always transparent to the user.
The power cables are nice and long at about 55 cm which is great for those tall tower cases. For those users there is always the concern of power cables not reaching the lower components. With the ZM300A's its fan running at 1200 RPM for an internal temperature of 40 degrees Celsius or below, the heatsink is almost impossible to hear.
When the internal temperature rises to between 50-60 degrees Celsius the fan speed rises up to the 1500RPM mark. Above that point the fan will increase to 2000RPM to ensure proper cooling levels are maintained.
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