Articles: Cases/PSU

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The Korean Zalman is a well-known manufacturer of CPU cooling systems with an original, although sometimes disputable, design. The developer has always been striving for minimizing the noise from its cooling solutions having invested a lot of time and effort into the so-called Computer Noise Prevention System as Zalman and did reach this goal just when the fast-growing frequencies and heat dissipation of central processors had provoked the arrival of efficient, but very noisy cooling systems, to users’ unanimous indignation.

Zalman’s ambition went further as the company started producing a small but carefully collected assortment of computer parts, including ATX power supply units (PSU). Zalman classifies them as CNPS systems, too.

This article is going to take a closer look at three different PSUs that sell under the Zalman trademark.

Zalman ZM300A-APF

The junior model of the PSU series from Zalman comes in a plain white box, but you receive the same accessories as the purchaser of the more advanced products: a power cable, a ZM-MC1 adapter for attaching system fans, and a comprehensive user’s manual. The manual not only contains installation instructions and the list of declared specifications, but also explains some PSU-related terms. For example, you can learn the difference between passive and active power factor correction there.

The adapter (you see it next to the PSU in the snapshot) is plugged into any of the PSU power connectors for IDE devices (PC plug). On the other end of the adapter we have four 3-pin connectors for attaching system fans. Two of them receive +12V voltage and the other two get +5V voltage; in other words, you can easily reduce the rotation speed – and the noise! – of the attached fans. It seems reasonable, however, to try to modify the adapter for outputting two +7V currents as I guess there are few users who have four system fans in their computer, while two fans that work at an intermediate voltage (and speed) are a more likely situation. You probably know that this modification is performed by supplying +12V to the fan’s “plus” and +5V to its “minus”. This operation requires just a thin screwdriver and half a minute of your precious time: detach both 5V wires from the PC plug connector and move the black +12V wire (“ground”) into the cell where the red +5V wire used to be.

The external resemblance of this PSU to products from FSP Group is confirmed as we open the PSU case: it is marked as “FSP300-60PLN”. In other words, we have a PSU from FSP Group that sells under the Zalman trademark. It is quite natural as FSP Group is more involved into OEM manufacture, while Zalman operates in the retail market.

The device is the height of accuracy inside: everything is neatly soldered up and fitted together and all potentially hazardous elements have heat-shrinkage insulation. The line filter is soldered on the main board and consists of two inductors. The filter wire also has a ferrite pipe on (you see it in the snapshot – it is wrapped into heat-shrinkage cambric and is fastened to the heatsink with a nylon brace). Such trifles indicate high quality of the PSU. If the manufacture saw to every little detail, we may expect that everything else will be up to the mark, too.

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