Zalman ZM460-APS

Zalman is probably better known for its range of unique and usually very silent coolers rather than its power supplies. So the idea of a Zalman power supply is quite an intriguing one. Is it a silent runner?

This particularly unit touts 460W of power and 80 per cent efficiency. To keep things quiet it has a low rotation speed 120mm fan that cools efficiently while maintaining close to silent operation. The rather conventional fan design is actually a little dissappointing in some ways as I was expecting some strange copper-clad flower like contraption.

All of the cables are braided and include seven molex and two SATA. There is only one PCI-E connector, but a doubler is supplied that adapts this to two PCI-E connectors. This means that both cards will be running of a single rail. The PCI-E cable comes off 12V1, which is 16A. That isn’t a lot to power two graphics cards, as well as what else might be on that rail, such as the motherboard, memory and parts of the processor. 12V2 is 18A, which is solely providing auxiliary CPU power. This seems a little odd, but the only other option would have been to put PCI-E on 12V2 with the auxiliary CPU power, which would have been just as bad.

Testing was consistent with the rest of the power supplies in this test, stable with very little variation. There was a certain amount of voltage drop, down to 11.66V but this is within specification and almost expected at 100 per cent load.

At £70 this is a lot of money for a 460W power supply. By all means it will power a fairly decent system but I wouldn’t want to use this in a CrossFire or SLI setup. I think money would be better spent on the Antec Neo HE550, which is CrossFire certified and offers a little more power.

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