September 4, 2017 // 6 p.m.
Manufacturer: Be Quiet!
UK price (as reviewed): £99.98 (inc. VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $99.90 (exc. tax)
Be Quiet! has been playing a small role in the market with its 80 Plus Bronze-rated SFX Power 2 units, but at only 300W and 400W, it's unlikely to have been at the top of shortlists of those looking to build meatier SFF systems. Now, however, it has introduced the SFX L Power series, adding 80 Plus Gold-rated 500W and 600W models to its small form factor PSU family. We've the lower capacity one in, and this is arguably the sweet spot for the type of system we described above. 500W will easily handle Intel or AMD Ryzen mainstream processors paired with basically any single graphics card provided you don't go completely overboard on overclocks. High-end desktop systems (X299 or Threadripper) might require a bit more, but these are much less of a focus for small form factor fans anyway.
Sitting between standard ATX and SFX in terms of size and volume, SFX-L seems like a great middle ground, as you're able to retain 120mm fan support for better airflow and lower noise while still reducing footprint considerably compared to an ATX model. With this PSU, Be Quiet! supplies an adaptor bracket that lets you fit the SFX L Power 500W into a standard ATX PSU mounting point.
With its all-black design, the SFX L Power 500W is not designed to stand out, but we wouldn't say it looks bad, and the build quality meets the German manufacturer's usual high standards.
The 120mm fan is, sadly, not semi-passive, so it'll remain on even when your system is idle. This is something that rival SilverStone does have, so hopefully the fan is quiet enough in low-load situations to be unnoticeable.
One bonus of this PSU is that it's fully modular – something which can prove to be of utmost importance in the tight confines of a small form factor case. The ports are all clearly labelled, and there is an abundance of connectors including a total of four eight-pin (6+2) PCIe connectors for full multi-GPU support (probably more than this PSU can handle, in fact), six SATA headers, and three Molex ones.
A flat, all-black design is used for all cables, which is pleasing, and while lengths are a little low for the mainboard and CPU power cables at 30cm, this is reflective of the type of system this PSU targets.
The SFX L Power 500W uses Japanese-made capacitors throughout and a DC-to-DC topology for the 3.3V and 5V lines. The 12V delivery is a single-rail design, and the unit can push its full capacity down it if necessary – something we always like to see. It carries a three-year warranty as well.