Page 2 - Physical Look - Outside
With this being the first set of review photos taken exclusive with my Canon EOS 60D dSLR camera and new L-series lens, I think the Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1050W has a level of subtle beauty we can all grow to appreciate -- not saying power supplies are the highlights of your average build; because it is not. The Cooler Master SPH line arrives in a textured dark grey spray finish for a sleek yet subtle appearance, along with some imprints on the side indicating its family and model. To make sure you will see the "SPH 1050W" text right side up at all times, the orientation of it is different on both sides, so whatever side facing the user after installation will always be correct. Residing behind the honeycomb mesh array fan grille -- designed for minimal air resistance while providing adequate protection -- is the primary and only cooling fan installed. The 135mm fan generates airflow by drawing air from the bottom of the power supply over its internal components to keep the temperatures in check. Exhaust heat is allowed to leave at the back of the power supply through the large secondary mesh opening.
Measuring in at 18.0cm in length, the Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1050W is one the longest power supplies I have used. The extra length is needed to accommodate its modular connector board at the back, as well as a plethora of internal components to obtain maximum performance. We will take a look inside the PSU on the next page. For most ATX or eATX chassis, the additional centimeters over a 'short' 14cm power supply like the FSP AURUM CM Gold 650W should not be much of a problem. However, if you have a mATX case that takes standard power supplies, be sure to measure out everything accordingly so there will be no surprises during installation. Meanwhile, four screws on each side of the Cooler Master SPH secure the power supply case together; where one side has a warranty seal on -- so you can't open the power supply without voiding the warranty. The fan grille uses hex screws to attach to the power supply casing. I can't seem to find one in my toolbox that fits, so I am not sure if you will be able to clean the fan without putting your five year coverage in jeopardy.
Starting from the back part of the power supply, we have the same familiar honeycomb mesh design like most PSUs with bottom mounted fans; and the standard on/off switch located bellow the male connector for power input on the western edge. The low resistance honeycomb mesh design is implemented to maximize airflow and minimize air resistance. This is done as heat needs to leave the power supply as easily and efficiently as possible, because the Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1050W incorporates only one 135mm fan at the bottom, with no auxiliary fans. However, I think the design can be a little more efficient, as the power input and switch panel occupies nearly a quarter of the rear exhaust area. Reducing the size of the on/off switch and deleting the Cooler Master logo would probably help. As with most new power supplies, the Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1050W has an automatic full range (100V-240V) AC line voltage selection, so the user does not have to worry about manually selecting input voltage.
Like the OCZ ZX Series 850W, the Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1050W is a fully modular power supply. This means all cables are completely detachable from the main unit. While it is somewhat questionable with regards to why this is necessary, since cables such as the ATX 24-pin and ATX 4-pin/EPS 8-pin have practically an 100% chance of being connected at all times, it may prove to be beneficial to an extent when building your computer initially. The downside to this is higher electrical contact loss at the connectors compared to permanently fixed cables. In the end, this comes down to personal preference, and we have no problems with this design.
The rear cable connection panel is done nicely. Similar connectors are grouped together; and are laid out in a very logical manner. To ensure you know what is going on, a diagram is situated in the upper left corner for minimal ambiguity. The stuff you might not be familiar with are probably the connectors adjacent to the connector diagram as aforementioned. Actually, the first one is a proprietary port to the included front panel fan controller; as for the two next to it that looks like a 3-pin fan header -- that's pretty much what it is. Continued from that point on, from left to right and top to bottom, we have two ATX 4-pin/EPS 8-pin connectors, five Molex/SATA connectors, four PCIe 8-pin connectors, and one ATX 24-pin connector. Incompatible outputs will not physically fit into each other, so I think Cooler Master has done a great job in this regard. This generous array of available connectors should be more than sufficient for casual users and power enthusiasts alike.
The external build quality of Cooler Master's Silent Pro Hybrid 1050W power supply is also excellent -- a good indication the company is serious about the product they are selling. We will take it apart in just a moment. Fit is done well with minimal panel gaps, and all edges are nicely finished off. The level of refinement with regards to the external build quality is right up there with all other high quality PSUs I have used in the past. We will crack open this power supply to see what's inside in the following section, and find out more about its OEM in just a moment.
The voltage specification label at the top of the Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1050W. There are two main virtual rails. Up to 22A can be delivered via the +3.3V rail for a total of 72.6W; while 25A on the +5V rail brings the output to 125W in this area. The total combined output for the +3.3V and +5V rail is 150W. In other words, your power allocation combination must fall within the limits of the listed specifications. Meanwhile, a single powerful +12V rail delivers up to 82A (984W) to reduce operating overhead compared to multiple +12V rails. Overall, the combined power output for the whole Silent Pro Hybrid is... well, 1050W haha. Again, your power distribution in your system must fall within the limits provided -- it must not exceed 72.6W on the +3.3V rail, 125W on the +5V rail and 150W combined for both, 984W on the +12V rail, and 1050W combined between the +12V and +3.3/+5V rails. It does sound a bit confusing to understand how this works at first, but generally speaking this configuration allows very flexible power demands and should be sufficient to accommodate most users. On the other hand, I have seen lower wattage PSUs with more power on the +5V rail, so I would actually expect a little more in this area for a 1050W power supply unit.
The Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1050W is 80 Plus Gold certified, which means that it is certified to be at least 87%, 90%, 87% efficient at 20%, 50%, and 100% load, respectively. The only higher certification available is 80 Plus Platinum, which is now becoming more readily available at press time.
A total of 12 modular cables are included out of the box. All cables are flat and easy to bend, making them extremely easy to work with. The ATX 24-pin, ATX 4-pin/EPS 8-pin and PCIe 8-pin cables are all 16 AWG, while the rest are 18 AWG. The following cables are included out of the box:
- 1x ATX 24-pin, ~70cm
- 2x ATX 4+4-pin, ~70cm
- 4x PCIe 6+2 pin, 2 connector each, ~70cm to first connector, ~10cm spacing thereafter
- 3x SATA, 4 connectors each, ~50cm to first connector, ~10cm spacing thereafter
- 1x Molex, 3 connectors each, ~50cm to first connector, ~10cm spacing thereafter
- 1x Molex and Floppy 4-pin, 3 connectors total, ~50cm to first connector, ~10cm spacing thereafter
These are just quick rough measurements, but should be reasonably accurate measured from end to end. Most users should have no problems with Cooler Master's Silent Pro Hybrid 1050W, even if your case has a bottom power supply mount. Considering how 50cm is considered the standard, the Silent Pro Hybrid actually has exceptionally long cables.
One of the most unique aspects of the Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1050W is the fact that it comes with a 5.25" drive bay fan controller. What's so special about a fan controller that deserves an entire section of its own? Well, not only is it able to adjust the speed of up to three system fans, but it can also control the speed of the 135mm fan inside the PSU itself. In the past, what makes a power supply silent is pretty much at the mercy of the ones designing the fan control system. I am rather surprised no one came up with this earlier, haha. With that in mind, you can set the system to either Auto or Manual mode. A corresponding blue LED will show you where the switch is. In Auto mode and under 200W load, the Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1050W's internal fan can be turned off completely. Since most computers don't use nearly that much power while idling, I think this is absolutely brilliant for silent PC enthusiasts. (On the other hand, Seasonic's Platinum series PSUs can operate in fanless mode when the load less than 30% load -- or 300W for the 1000W version.) The fan will automatically kick in when the threshold has been exceeded. The left control know is for the PSU fan, while the one on the right is for up to three system fans. A National Semiconductor LM317T three terminal adjustable regulator works behind the scenes to make this possible.
I do have a few complaints about the implementation. In manual mode, the fan cannot be shut down on minimum setting (Although it spins so slowly, it is literally impossible to hear it). Also, if I put my computer in Prime95 load, the minimum fan speed threshold will be set very close to maximum for some reason -- despite the fact that my configuration under Prime95 load doesn't even use that much power in the first place. In other words, the manual fan control knob will suddenly become completely useless if your CPU load is high. If I leave it on Auto, the Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid will occasionally do some 'fan speed hunting', and it gets extremely annoying. The only way to rectify the constant significant speeding up and slowing down is to switch it from Auto to Manual, then back to Auto again. Other times, it might start off with the fan speed to be too high, and then slow down after a while. These are clearly design bugs.