A fanless Power Supply Unit is a great step forward and all the technical reviews I read (although not always understood) were unanimous in their praise of the Seasonic X-400FL.
Unfortunately there were none that actually described the problems that might be encountered when fitting this unit, otherwise I would probably have sought an alternative. In the event it took me a whole day to fit. By contrast I had replaced PSUs on two other occasions using the same mATX PC case ... ... and on both occasions it took no more than an hour.
My expectations were raised when I began unpacking the Seasonic X-400FL. The box was solid and the artwork and information suggested there was something of high quality inside. Indeed, when I opened the box I found a substantial pouch carrying all the many cabling options and the unit itself was covered by a velvet like drawstring bag. With hindsight, this was really over the top for a Computer Component and, as I will explain later, I would have preferred it, if the thought and money spent on packaging had been invested in research to come up with better cabling solutions.
When it came to a trial fit of the Power Supply Unit, it was immediately apparent that the threaded fixing holes did not line up with the holes in my PC case. To overcome this problem, I had to cut 0.5mm off one corner of the plastic bezel around the mains socket which was binding against the cutout in the PC case. Then I had to extend two of the holes in the PC case by 0.5mm to line up with the threaded holes on the PSU.
With the PSU installed I realised there was not enough room between the PSU and the rear of my optical drive to plug in the modular cable plugs. This meant that I would have to connect the cables to the PSU before fitting it in the PC case.
I took a look at the cables provided, they were all twice the length necessary and when the cables were selected and fitted, they were much bulkier and stiffer than the cabling attached to the "bog standard" power unit I had removed.
I was aware that some new PC cases had been designed for fitting the PSU in the bottom of the case and some also had innovative cable management, both of which, might require longer cables. However, understanding this did nothing to ease my frustration.
Not to be outdone ... I began working out how I could roll up, or fold the excess cable, and where this bunch of excess cable could be best accomodated. I decided to do a trial fit of the cabling. I connected the far end first and worked my way back to the PSU to see what excess needed to be "rolled up".
When I came to fit the cable with four SATA connections I discovered that the last, angled, plug on the cable faced the wrong way!
How did I know it was facing the wrong way?
Well, when you install your hard drives and SSDs and attach the SATA "data" cables the angled plugs face down towards the motherboard SATA data sockets. The plug on the Seasonic cable also faced down ... but the PSU is "above" the drive enclosure in a standard mATX case ..... Doh !
It was around this time I started to consider the price I had paid for this PSU, and the amount of time and energy I was spending, solving problems that should have been resolved at the design stage!
So here's the solution ... attach the angled plug on the end of the cable to the optical drive in the top of the case, work your way DOWN fitting a plug to each drive and pushing the excess cable between each plug into the gap between the drives. When you get to the bottom, there is still enough cable to come all the way back up to the modular socket on the PSU... Yes, that means totally unneccessary, double cabling !!
Having rolled up the excess on the other cables, and bound them with cable ties, I then had to juggle the PSU in one hand whilst connecting the modular plugs with the other. Eventually, after a lot of cable twisting and bending I was able to re-fit the PSU case.
When I got everything back together, and turned on the PC the difference was remarkable! - Not a sound! - Absoloutely nothing !
I had, some months previously, installed an after cooler with a 120mm fan to my CPU and a very quiet 100mm case fan to keep the air moving inside.
The Seasonic was silent! The whole system was now silent! and there seemed to be little or no heat coming off the PSU.
I am pleased with the end result, and maybe I will be grateful, sometime in the future, when I upgrade to a new PC case that requires longer cables... ...
But ... ... I resent having paid so much for such a poorly designed cable system.
As far as I can tell there is nothing to be gained from SeaSonic's modular cabling system that could not be acheived with a range of different extensions to a smaller number of fixed cables. I do not expect to spend a full day fitting a PSU to a PC case. If it were not for the time I had already invested, and the additional time required to replace the Seasonic, I would have returned the whole kit for a refund.