Conclusion

With their latest SFX/SFX-L units, Be Quiet! is trying to balance themselves somewhere inside the boundaries of the mainstream market by designing a reliable product that performs well but, at the same time, is antagonistically priced. SFX PSUs are becoming a significant part of the market share and Be Quiet! obviously wants to entice as many system builders as possible.

The SFX-L Power 500W unit that we reviewed today is a little longer than a standard SFX PSU, limiting its compatibility with some cases and designs, but offering better thermal and acoustics performance for more advanced systems. The presence of four 6+2 pin PCIe connectors also makes it ideal for more advanced gaming systems that have, or may eventually have, more than one graphics card installed. The output of this unit should be able to handle two mainstream cards, yet we definitely do not recommend trying to power two current generation top-tier cards with it. Future generation cards may be more energy-efficient, allowing the SFX-L Power 500W to effortlessly power them.

While its power quality figures could certainly use an improvement, they are well within the design guideline limits. OEM High Power's designs rarely are great performers when it comes to line filtering, so the relatively high voltage ripple was not surprising. On the other hand, the energy conversion efficiency of the SFX-L Power 500W PSU is excellent, easily meeting the 80Plus Gold certification standards. The PSU also displayed exceptional low load efficiency performance during our testing, which is particularly good for systems that stay on 24/7, such as, for example, NAS or NVR servers.

The marketing focus of the SFX-L Power 500W PSU, and nearly of all PSUs that the company retails, is low-noise operation. The concept of elongating the chassis and using a 120 mm is also based on the improvement of the unit’s thermal performance and, in extent, lower noise operation. While the SFX-L Power 500W definitely is not loud, we feel that Be Quiet! failed their supporters here by not implementing a semi-fanless control mode. The high efficiency of the SFX-L Power 500W could allow it to easily output hundreds of watts before active cooling became necessary, even with its currently undersized heatsinks. Other than that, the thermal performance of the SFX-L Power 500W is good but has room for improvement, as the cooling capabilities of the unit are hindered by the small heatsinks, resulting to high noise levels when the PSU is heavily loaded.

The retail price of the SFX-L Power 500W at the time of this review is $100, which is reasonable for a quality 80Plus Gold certified SFX 500W PSU. It comes with a three years manufacturer warranty, which is alright but, again, not impressive by today’s standards. We feel that the Be Quiet! SFX-L Power 500W is without a trump card against the several other SFX PSUs now available around that price, which limits the market potential considerably. It is not by any means a bad SFX-L PSU but, at the same time, it is unimpressive. We believe that if it had a semi-fanless mode or perhaps a longer warranty, it could convince a significantly larger percentage of users.

Hot Test Results
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8 Comments

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  • u.of.ipod - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    Nice review! Any plans to review the new Silverstone SFX models with 500w/650w capacities? Reply
  • jrs77 - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    I have the Silverstone SFX-L 500, which seems to be more or less the same PSU as this one. Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - link

    Ditto. Great PSU. I've had a number of SFX Silverstone PSU's over the years and all have been excellent. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    You're clearly putting effort into the reviews and graphs. Yet you still don't mention the voltage at which the units were tested for efficiency. I know it can be found in that 2014 pipeline post you linked to. But how many readers are not going to look that up and may expect testing at 110 V, because they're from the US, and be disappointed when they find out the good numbers shown by AT don't match their reality? Reply
  • meacupla - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    Oh, nice. Someone thought to use a FDB fan in the PSU.

    Other pricey options out there, like Corsair's SF line, still insist on using sleeve bearings, for some reason.
    Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - link

    They wanted it to be quiet. They didn't say anything about it lasting more than 50,000 hours ;) Reply
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - link

    That's still almost 6 years of non-stop operation! (o.O) I'm sure there's cases where people are running decade old power supplies and someone reading the comments will say as much, but if you turn your PC off when you're not using it or just run it for 8 hours a day, 50,000 hours could be like 17 years. Reply
  • Brian_R170 - Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - link

    Not all FDBs are the same (Not sure which one is actually used in the Globe Fan in this PSU) and not all are actually manufactured better than sleeve bearings.

    Corsair's SF-series and Enermax Revolution PSUs with sleeve bearings are semi-passive. For many users, that will translate to lower noise and longer life than an FDB fan that runs all the time. I'm somewhat disappointed that the Be Quiet! doesn't have a semi-passive mode since "acoustics performance is of utmost importance to the company".
    Reply

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