Antec Phantom 500W Hybrid Fan PSU Review
The new Phantom 500 power supply unit (PSU) is a more powerful version of Antec's totally silent Phantom 350. While the original Phantom 350 was fan-less, the new Phantom 500 incorporates what Antec calls hybrid fan technology. Inside, the electronics are basically the same, but thanks to a variable-speed fan with three user selectable temperature profiles, the rated output has increased to 500 watts. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
The Antec Phantom 500 power supply operates in silent mode (fan not running) under most conditions. In the silent mode, the finned aluminum chassis acts as a large heatsink, that dissipates heat without the use of a fan. When operating under heavy loads and/or in warm environmental conditions the internal fan will turn on and ramp up in speed as the internal temperature increases.
Antec Phantom 500 Key Features:
- Hybrid fan technology provides flexible operation
- 500W continuous power output (up to 50Â°C)
- High efficiency, up to~86% (US version)
- Dual +12V outputs and Dual PCI-e 6-pin connectors
- ATX 12V 2.01 compliant and EPS12V support (dual CPU)
- Gold plated contacts
- 3-Year warranty
The main difference between the original Phantom 350 power supply and the new Antec Phantom 500 is the inclusion of the hybrid fan technology. If the power supply's internal temperature rises above a user determined limit (40Â°, 47.5Â°, or 55Â°C), the variable speed fan will activate and provide additional cooling. This added forced air cooling allows for the Phantom 500's increased output capacity.
The Phantom 500 power supply was evaluated on both features and performance. A full range of equipment was used to test the power supply under controlled load conditions. In addition to measuring the power going in and coming out I looked at voltage regulation, electrical noise (AC ripple), sound level, efficiency and cost. Here is a list of the equipment used during testing.
- FLUKE 87-III True RMS digital multimeter (Accuracy +/- 0.05%)
- WattsUp? Pro — digital wattmeter (Accuracy 3% of full scale)
- Hitachi V-650F 60 MHz dual trace oscilloscope (Accuracy +/- 3%)
- Powerstat Variable Autotransformer, 1.4 KVA, 0-140 VAC
- FLUKE 52-II digital thermometer (Accuracy +/- 0.3ÂºC/0.5ÂºF)
- Extech Model 407736 digital sound level meter (Accuracy +/- 1.5 dB)
- AccuLab V1-10kg digital balance (Accuracy +/- 1g)
- Homemade PSU load tester — selectable loads (up to 470W)
- Seasonic PSU load tester (up to 137W)
Establishing a controlled load is critical to testing and evaluating a PC power supply. I built my own power supply load tester using 13 wire-wound, ceramic resistors of various sizes. This unit can now place up to a 470 watt combined load onto the power supply being tested and includes independent +12V1 and +12V2 loads. Different combinations of resistors can be switched in or out to select various loads. In addition to my own load tester, I also used a load tester manufactured by Seasonic (75W and 137W loads).
In the upper-right of this picture is the new +12V load section, which uses three 2 ohm, 300 watt power resistors to increase the existing +12V1 load by 70 watts (for a total of 210 watts) and add a new +12V2 load of 140 watts. (The two smaller resistors underneath are 0.01 ohm, 25 watt shunt resistors used to calibrate the load tester.)
The Antec Phantom 500 power supply with hybrid fan technology is rated for a combined, continuous maximum output power of 500 watts with a maximum ambient temperature of 50Â°C. This is an important feature and is an area where some less reputable manufactures mislead their customers by significantly limiting a power supply's full load output if the internal operating temperature exceeds 25Â°C. In fact, the Phantom 500 incorporates an internal over-temperature sensor that will allow the power supply to operate up to 100Â°C before initiating a shutdown.
The Phantom 500 power supply comes in a large box and includes a power cord, mounting screws, auxiliary mounting hardware, and a detailed multilingual User's Manual.
Most of the specs for the Phantom 500 are nearly identical to the Phantom 350 except for the maximum rated output. The increase from 350 to 500 watts is a result of higher combined loads rather than higher output ratings on specific rails. This is made possible by the inclusion of the cooling fan.
Chassis Ventilation Note (from the Phantom 500 User's Manual): Before installing the Phantom 500 into your PC chassis, please note that your chassis must be well ventilated. Traditional ATX power supplies include at least one fan that cools the power supply and helps expel heat from the chassis. Even though the Phantom 500 includes a fan, the fan will remain idle (to insure silent operation) until the power supply's internal temperature exceeds a user-determined limit. Therefore, you should make sure that (at least one) exhaust fan is installed in your PC to cool the whole system without the help of a power supply fan.