It has been 16 months since our last power supply review, but the long wait is finally over. We have a new PSU and cases editor, and this is the first of many new PSU reviews to come. The first PSU to hit our new testing lab is the S12G 650W from Seasonic. Seasonic is a company that hardly requires any introduction; they are one of the oldest and most reputable computer PSU designers, manufacturers and retailers. Today, their products are held in very high regard by experts and enthusiasts. The company has their own retail range but they also serve as an ODM for many other well-known brands.

The target groups of the S12G series are advanced users, enthusiasts, and generally those who are not afraid to pay a bit more for advanced performance. It has impressive specifications and features, including an 80 Plus Gold efficiency certification and a "Smart and Silent Fan Control", as well as a five-year manufacturer's warranty. Despite that, it does not really break the bank, as the 650W version that we will be testing today retails for $89.99 plus shipping, a price that appears quite reasonable for such a product.

A year or two ago, you would have had a hard time trying to find a high quality 80 Plus Gold certified unit for that kind of price; however, today Seasonic's retail range has tight competition from several other manufacturers, such as Antec, EVGA, Rosewill, and others. As the Seasonic S12G is not a modular unit and doesn't really include any special features, the company clearly relies on quality and performance above all else; middling quality and average performance cannot be tolerated when several other manufacturers are breathing down your neck. Let us see if the 650W version of the S12G can live up to Seasonic's reputation.

Packaging and Bundle

Seasonic supplies the S12G PSU inside a fairly well designed cardboard box, with a black/blue color theme. The front of the box is tidy, with just a few badges with the certifications of the unit on display. The sides and rear of the box however are littered with information about the unit, in several languages.

Companies rarely supply anything noteworthy alongside their PSUs, especially the non-modular models, but the Seasonic S12G appears to be an exception. Besides the usual power cord, manual, and screws, Seasonic also includes a few cable ties, three blue/black velco cable straps, and a case badge with the company's logo.

The Seasonic S12G 650W PSU
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  • E.Fyll - Sunday, March 2, 2014 - link

    Because an audio recording will be:

    a) distorted by the sound recording device,
    b) distorted by the sound playing device and,
    c) entirely unrelated to the original volume.

    Even if you consider that a) the recording device is perfect and b) the playback device is perfect, plus d) that the sound file is uncompressed and of very high quality, the end result will be affected simply by how high is the volume knob of each user.

    That's misleading, so I'm not going to do it. It has no practical meaning over me simply stating how the unit "sounds like" in the text.
  • pintos - Sunday, March 2, 2014 - link

    How are you measuring the sound level? Wouldn't that have the same problems?
  • pintos - Sunday, March 2, 2014 - link

    Also, same question for the rest of your equipment. Don't they also have measuring issues yet they're fine to publish?
  • emn13 - Saturday, March 1, 2014 - link

    You're wrong.
    frequency spectrums aren't hard to read: flat or smooth are plain noise (white or otherwise), and bumpy is tonal. If you include a time component it gets a little messier, but then, we're not talking high-precision sound here, just a general feel of the music; even that may be acceptable.

    Furthermore, it certainly doesn't take any high-cost equipment: any bog-standard computer mic will do a surprisingly good job, and if you spend a *little* effort getting a decent (not necessarily best-of-the best) mic and verify the system's quality using a a simple frequency response plot, you can get more than adequate quality for this purpose for at most a few hundred dollars - likely less, but it's not worth your time at that point.
  • E.Fyll - Sunday, March 2, 2014 - link

    Well, frequency spectrums are very hard to read, they do are entirely useless to the standard consumer (the same "type" of noise can actually sound a lot different) and if you think that you can do it with just a "computer mic", well, I have nothing more to say...

    If I attempt to do anything like that, I would have wasted time and resources on something entirely useless and ridiculously inaccurate. Sorry, that I cannot do. Call me an arrogant perfectionist but I would rather not do something at all if I cannot do it correctly.
  • quest for silence - Monday, March 3, 2014 - link

    "A" in dB(A) stands for "A-weighted"; the further explanation as "the part of dB range that your ears can perceive" is just meaningless.
  • quest for silence - Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - link

    "A" in "dB(A)" stands for "A-weighted", so that the subsequent state: «i.e. it is within the part of the dB range that your ears can perceive» is meaningless.
  • g.davis - Saturday, March 1, 2014 - link

    Ya, it'd be nice if AT can get numbers for reliability of PSUs somehow. Well, actually, for any electronic device they cover (ie. HDD, SSD, RAM, notebooks, GPU, motherboard, complete systems, etc.). However, I doubt that's possible aside from an occasional external report.
  • Archipelago - Saturday, March 1, 2014 - link

    I have had a Seasonic 400W fanless and it's totally quiet. The only time I heard it is the faint click when I shut down.
  • mark28 - Saturday, March 1, 2014 - link

    Thanks for the info. This makes me wonder if Seasonic has quality control issues which is far worse than my noise issue. Maybe they just don't test for noise output during quality checks but that kind of ignores a large part of the people who buy fanless parts specifically to reduce noise regardless of efficiency.

    The noise from the fanless Seasonic PSU I had was so annoying that I replaced it with an actively cooled Corsair one. The difference was like listening to a crying baby and the static noise you hear in between radio stations. Even if it's quieter in volume level (ie. several rooms away), the crying of a baby is way more annoying than static noise.

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