20 October 2023

In today's electronic world, increasing importance is being placed not only on performance and efficiency, but also on user comfort. Power supplies have a great influence on these aspects in the case of desktop computers. They play a key role in supplying power to all components. When we think of computer power supplies, we often imagine the characteristic hum of running fans. But is there a way to combine the necessary cooling of a computer with silence? It turns out there is - with the help of fanless power supplies. In this article, we take a closer look at fanless power supply technology, its advantages and potential challenges.

Akyga ATX Fanless passive power supply with cable set

What is a Fanless power supply?

The word 'Fanless' means 'fanless'. ATX power supplies of this type have no fans, instead using a passive cooling method. This is based on heat dissipation through a heatsink or radiator. This heatsink is often made of aluminium or copper, materials with excellent heat conduction properties. As a result, Fanless power supplies can effectively remove the heat generated during operation without the use of noisy fans.

Because of their use of passive cooling mechanisms, Fanless power supplies are also referred to as passive power supplies.

passive cooling system with proximity to the heat sink in the passive power supply

Why choose a Fanless power supply?

  • Silence - for many users, fan noise can be an impediment to concentration or relaxation. Fanless power supplies eliminate this problem, delivering power in complete silence.
  • Lower energy consumption - the absence of a fan in a power supply means lower energy consumption, which translates into lower electricity bills in the long run. This makes passive power supplies an eco-friendly choice.
  • Longer life - the absence of moving parts (in this case fans) can translate into less wear and tear on the unit. Mechanical components are much more likely to fail than static components.
  • Aesthetically pleasing design - Fanless power supplies often have a sleek and minimalist design to match modern computers and cases.

Akyga ATX Fanless Passive Power Supply

Limitations of Fanless power supplies

  • Performance limit - Fanless power supplies are usually available in lower wattage versions. This may not be sufficient for more powerful computers, such as gaming PCs. Higher power generates more heat, which would be more difficult to dissipate passively.
  • Cooling issues - adequate airflow inside the case and effective cooling systems for other components are required to ensure proper operation of a fanless power supply.
  • Price - passive power supplies can be more expensive than traditional models. This is due to the use of specialised materials and advanced cooling technology.

Passive power supply with open housing and visible interior

Semi-passive power supplies

What if your computer needs more power than a passive power supply can offer? Semi-passive power supplies, also known as active-passive power supplies, can be a good solution. They feature a unique hybrid design. During low computer load, these power supplies operate in passive mode, meaning they do not use fans and do not generate noise. However, at higher loads, when the internal temperature of the PSU exceeds a certain threshold, the fan turns on. In this way, semi-passive power supplies combine the advantages of both technologies: quiet operation at low load and efficient cooling at high load. They can be used in more demanding applications such as audio signal processing or powering audiovisual equipment.

graphics showing the construction of the semi-passive power supply

Passive power supply applications

Fanless power supplies are used in a wide range of applications, including:

  • Home and office computers: for those looking for quiet computer operation, a passive power supply can be the perfect solution. It is ideal for desktop PCs and HTPCs (Home Theater PCs). 
  • Servers and data centres: where reliability and continuous operation are needed, passive power supplies can be used to power servers. 
  • Industrial applications: in industries where resistance to vibration, dust and moisture is required, Fanless power supplies can be essential. Their design without moving parts makes them more resistant to extreme operating conditions.
  • Audiophilia: in the audiophile industry, where sound quality is crucial, Fanless power supplies can be used to power amplifiers or other audio components, ensuring quiet operation and minimal sound interference.

Fanless power supply standing next to the stethoscope

Totally silent cooling

ATX Fanless power supplies are an innovative solution for those looking for quiet and energy-efficient systems. They offer many advantages, but it is worth considering their limitations when choosing a silent power supply. Nevertheless, for many users they may prove to be the ideal solution.

Passive power supplies from Akyga are not only the answer to the needs of those looking for quiet computer hardware, but also the solution to the problems of failure rates and power consumption. This innovative approach to cooling electronics is an example of how technology can evolve in line with user expectations and the needs of our planet. This is why passive power supplies are gaining popularity and gaining recognition among technology enthusiasts all over the world. See for yourself and choose Fanless power supplies by Akyga!