Picking up a power supply unit for your computer is certainly something that one has to choose carefully nowadays. It is this very hardware that can make or break your high performance system. One can go cheap and of course expect below standard quality. One can also go expensive by buying well known and proven reliable brands. Some opt for power supplies that look liked it was made in Vegas with all those light effects or you can have a solid, state of the art, well priced power supply unit with all the latest technology but still looks very simple.
The last one will probably describe the power supply unit that we have on our test bench today. Armed with the latest improvements in PC power supply technology, the Seasonic Super Tornado 400 offers what most power supply doesn’t have in terms of advance electrical features. Let’s find out why this power supply is different from the others…
The first thing that will come into mind when you say tornado is lots of power and wind and that is probably where it got its name from. Sporting a huge 120mm fan and an ultra ventilation design, this PSU will surely keep your system cool.
With a slogan of “the advanced choice for gamers and overclockers”, it is obvious that the target of this power supply is the enthusiast market. Whether it will live up to its promise, we will find out soon enough.
The Super Tornado 400 is equipped with the latest in power supply technology. Features like Active PFC, S2FC, Forward Converter and Universal Free Input are some of the advantages it has over its competition.
Check out our related review of the Corsair HX620W.
Obviously the first thing that can be noticed of this PSU is that it is very plain looking. Some will probably say boring. The casing is made of steel and the internals looks dull with its aluminum heatsink and black colored fan. Compared to other branded (non Active PFC) PSUs, the Seasonic Super Tornado 400 is definitely lighter. That may sound bad coz traditionally more weight means better quality but you’ll understand later why an Active PFC PSU like the Tornado 400 is lighter.
Even though the fan looks plain, it is huge. The 120mm cyclone cooling fan outperforms all dual-fan units by doubling the airflow with half the RPM and noise. It is capable of giving out 70CFM of air. Its placement is also strategic as it prevents lubricant leakage and produces 0% chafe on the bearing. With its S2FC (Smart and Silent Fan Control) feature, it reduces noise without increasing temperature. Automatic temp adjustment prevents manual errors. This feature also extends fan life by eliminating unnecessary rotation. What’s the difference between Seasonic’s S2FC and other “noise killers”? Seasonic’s “Smart & Silent Fan Control” technology is not only quieter than other brands, but also cooler. Superior intelligence in the thermal fan control circuit provides minimal noise under 90% of operational conditions while allowing maximum cooling airflow precisely and only when it is needed.
Complementing the huge fan to create an ultra ventilation chassis design is the PSU’s honey comb structure that creates maximum ventilation and minimum air resistance. This design also enhances airflow to solve thermal and noise problems. Making the system quiet and cool at the same time. Just what the enthusiast ordered.
Related: Thermaltake Power Supply Review
First of all what is PFC? Short for Power Factor Correction, PFC is the relationship between working (active) power and total power consumed (apparent power). Simply, power factor is a measurement of how effectively electrical power is being used. A higher power factor represents a more effective use of electrical power. Normally, PSUs without PFC function has a PF of around 50% only. This alone tells you the benefit of PFC like reduced electric bills, increased system capacity and improved voltage. This all equates to improved stability.
But why Active PFC? What’s wrong with Passive PFC? Here’s a cut and paste explanation. Passive PFC, using inductor, capacitor circuitry to reduce harmonic current, because power source frequency is 50 Hz or 60Hz low frequency, it needs a large inductor and capacitor. Moreover, the power factor improvement is only around 75%~80%. Active PFC, using active components (control circuit and power sine conductor On/Off switch), the fundamental working theory is to adjust input current wave-form to simulate input voltage waveform. With this method, we can achieve power factor near or equal to the 100% power factor target. Active type power factor correction using active component (control circuit and power sine conductor ON/OFF switch). Its fundamental working theory is to adjust input current waveform to looks like input voltage waveform, this can reach the point where power factor of 1 goal.
Also, the input voltage range can be 90Vdc to 264V without additional switch for choosing the voltage range. To have a universal voltage model, this power factor regulator is a very important additional value. Otherwise, the cost is increased more. Active PFC improves Power Factor to more than 95%, which surpasses the 75%PF with Passive PFC solution. Thus Active PFC is more energy saving than Passive PFC. Lighter equipment will be the trend for all PSU. Passive PFC PSU adopts cumbersome components that make it much heavier than an Active PFC PSU. That answers the question as to why the Seasonic Super Tornado 400 is surprisingly lighter than most branded PSU makes with only Passive PFC.
Seasonic has produced one of the most advanced PC Power Supply Unit to date. Its features make you ask why other manufacturers are not following suit. Though not as “colorful” as most new PSUs out of the market now, the Seasonic’s beauty is within. The amount of work and technology spent in creating this unit guarantees its quality and reliability. At 22 dBA, it is one of the quietest PSU we have used ever without having to lower its fan operating voltage. This is an example of how you can have the best of both worlds, airflow and quietness. Pricewise, this unit is more expensive than most mainstream PSUs of the same wattage but not as expensive as premier brands with only half the features. For gamers and enthusiast though who don’t want any non-sense in their system, this is an excellent buy. This has been the quietest fan cooled PSU we have used to date. So, if you want an ultra quiet PSU that can practically last you a lifetime in terms of reliability and efficiency, then the Seasonic Super Tornado 400 is highly recommended. It has the most features you can find in any PC PSU to date.