Some time ago I reviewed a Super Flower 350W psu. It was a reasonably glowing review… I felt the supply performed way above it’s price bracket and represented excellent value for money. It did. It does. But now Super Flower have nudged the old dual 80mm fan psu aside, to make way for their new 140mm fan cooled beast.
To stick with the recap for a while, many people were reporting some peculiar repeatitive clicking sound with the dual fan Super Flower psus, as well as many of the HiPer (I think) and Top Power supplies (these are essentially the same units). Well, low and behold my supply did begin to emit this rather peculiar (and slightly unnerving) gentle ticking noise. Apparently it’s entirely normal, but it’s something I’d rather a psu didn’t do. Interestingly the rather expensive Tagan range seem to display this behaviour as well. Let’s hope this new Super Flower offering will spare our ears (and my nerves) from the odd noises.
I’m your biggest fan!
Yeah I’ve used this heading before… big whoop, wanna fight about it?
So… a 140mm fan… that’s… big. Most computers still use the good old staple diet of 80mm fans. Some more modern efforts (as well as quality older models) have ousted these runts of the fan world in favour of their beefier 120mm brothers. But this is the first time I have seen a 140mm fan in a computer, and I think it’s clear that the future is big. Big fans spin slower whilst pushing the same (or more) air, and can push this air while producing less noise than a smaller fan. This is certainly a good thing, and means Super Flower can market this as a super quiet supply – something which is becoming increasingly important to computer users and hardware buyers.
The SF-450TS comes in a fairly attractive retail box along with a power lead (I got a silly euro type one, but UK retail boxes will include a proper plug) and a well printed manual. The box is emblazoned with all kinds of funky icons and details of features, which we’ll go through.
“Remain running fan after turning off”
Quite a clever little feature this – after turning off the PC (via the ATX power switch) the psu fan will continue to spin, thus exhausting the remaining heat from the system, for a further 10 minutes. Very nice! Actually, the fan continues to spin for 5 minutes. The manual states this figure, but the box graphic says 10. How odd.
Something I unfortunately cannot test, but that’s quite a claim.
“Power controlling IC”
Well, ok. Fairly vague, and probably something fairly essential to any PSU.
“Serial ATA support”
A marvellous addition, but only 2 SATA power plugs are provided. I understand it must be hard for psu manufacturers to decide how many SATA connectors to include as takeup has been fairly slow. Two is a good start.
As with the previous Super Flower psu, this unit has an automatic fan speed dependant on temperature. Nice feature.
“Full load at 0C-50C”
I assume this means the psu can provide it’s full output upto 50 degrees C, at which point I guess it must drop off slightly. Seems a reasonable range.
“Green Power efficiency > 72%”
Not amazing, certainly not bad.
“Fan speed monitoring”
A wire and 3pin connector are provided to connect the psu fan to the motherboard. Nice, but most people will probably be using the fan header on the board for, wait for it, a fan. It means you can monitor the fans speed using MBM or similar which some might find useful.
“Fan speed switch”
As previously mentioned, the excellent speed selector switch is back (as seen on the full Super Flower range). A closer look at this later.
“Output voltage protection”
A fairly generic accolade. Better than not having it I guess!
“PFC efficiency >= 0.996″
Well… when’s the last time you got 99.6% for anything? Active PFC isn’t the most important ‘feature’ ever.
Whew, well, that took ages. Let’s take a peek at the sexy outer, and the goodies on the inside.
This is the “black diamond” titanium coloured version. I’m not entirely sure what alternative colours are available but the box suggests that blue, gold, green, red and plain steel models exist. The finish on this paint job is an amazing thing to behold, it’s absolutely gorgeous. A very professional car-quality shine exudes quality. It’s definitely something that needs to be shown off in a windowed or perspex case. The fan is almost the entire size of the bottom of the unit, and the air is vented out of the back of the unit through some lovely hexagonal mesh (very popular in the case modding community at the minute). The fan is translucent and peaking inside you can see that the unit even uses lush red PCBs! I’m sure these must be more expensive than plain board and seems a strange extra expense to incur. I guess with enough buying power these costs must pail into insignificance.
Opening her up we can see the red PCBs and some decent quality heatsinks on the FETs. The construction and layout are of a high quality and very neat. Brownie points for the Super Flower engineers.
Super Flower certainly haven’t skimped on cables and connectors. The unit boasts 9 standard molex plugs as well as the 2 SATA power plugs. We also have 2 floppy drive style plugs (nowadays more useful for graphics cards such as the 9800 range). Of course we also have the ATX lead, shrouded in a rather fetching Super Flower branded braiding, and the p4 extra power connector. Finally we have the aforementioned fan speed monitoring plug and a further mystery 2pin header. Venturing into the manual gave no clues as to what this is for; my best guess is some kind of “green” power switch… I’m not brave enough to plug it into anything, I simply tucked it away!
The cables hooking up this myriad of connectors are all really quite long. The image above shows the supply installed into a Coolermaster ATCS220 case, a standard midi tower size, and the case looks full already! Too much is definitely better than too little, as I have found so many times buying cheap psus with no more than 6 molexes none long enough to reach where they should. So this isn’t a negative point, but you will have to do some clever cable management to keep your case neat and tidy. I managed to get everything in really quite cleanly:
The monster fan looks almost absurd when you get the supply into your case! But it’s obvious that this thing has some serious air-shifting potential!
Honey I’m home
Taking a look at the rear of the unit we see the fan speed controller, the same design as the previous supply but with a rather fetching blue button in place of the old red one. Pressing the button cycles through Auto, Slow and Turbo, lighting a blue, green or red LED respectively. The LEDs are really quite bright, and will cast a spot onto a wall behind. This might annoy you or might fill you with glee, I’m rather indifferent to it. The hexagonal ‘honeycomb’ mesh looks fantastic and has been treated magnificently by the painting process. it’s also very unrestrictive to airflow – a good thing with that 140mm monster piling air through it.
So we’ve covered the major features and the design of the SF-450TS, what of it’s performance:
|Rail||MBM reading after 1 hour of Prime95||Percentage error|
|+3.3V||+3.30||0%, spot on|
|1.7V core||1.66||2.35% under|
Tested using an Athlon 1.33GHz chip on an AOpen AK77+ board
The rails fair rather well. 5% is often touted as a reasonable margin for the voltage rails on a power supply, and all but the -5V rail adhere to this comfortably. In all honesty I don’t know how important the -5V rail is, other than that it is connected to a pin on the ATX connector. Nearly 12% over is quite a margin, but as a (somewhat) educated guess I would dare say that being over is better than being under. Over can be cut down, under cannot be made up. Good performance here.
So… shall I buy it?
The SF-450TS is a gorgeous unit with good solid performance. The large fan creates such a quiet whisper that I can hardly hear it over the whirr of my hard disks. The blue illumination from the LEDs embedded into this fan (did I forget to mention that?) would be enough for a soft illumination of a case without any further internal lighting, or can form a part of your existing lightint colour scheme. The lights cannot be turned off however, at least not without the crafty swipe of a soldering iron (or a pair of scissors…). The continued cooling after shutdown is a fantastic idea – integrating this into the power supply just makes so much sense that I don’t know why it hasn’t been like this all along.
One word of warning – the SF-450TS is slightly longer than a regular power supply. It should fit into the majority of cases, but it might not fit into all. It has a good 20mm extra on regular units – this did actually pose a problem in my modded case since I have installed an aquatube reservoir up top near the psu. It fits snugly up against normal sized units (such as my 120mm fan model) but the mammoth 450-TS won’t fit into the case. As long as there is no restriction at the end of the psu – and all but the fewest cases with have nothing, just a shelf to rest the unit on – there will be no problem. But it’s something to consider.
I can’t comment on price since the main stockist here for Super Flower, ebuyer, don’t have them listed and in fact they seem quite elusive things. If you find one, and the price is good, I certainly recommend you consider purchasing one. I’m very happy with mine.
Great quality voltage rails.
Plenty of cabling and connectors.
Only ATX cable is braided.
I couldn’t possibly leave a review without featuring Psyduck, who has become somewhat of a mascot. So here he (she? it?) is, showing off once again the lovely shine of the casing:
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