Silverstone SST-ST30NF Power Supply review
Here's a first look at the noiseless power supply from Silverstone. It has an aluminum housing with lots of fins in order to improve heat dissipation. Because of all the heatsinks this power supply weighs pretty heavy.
Besides that the rear has ventilation holes there are some remarkable things like the Temperature and Power indication LEDs. The upper LED indicates the temperature of the PSU. If the temperature is below 55°C then it will stay green. But when the PSU is about to overheat it will switch to red. When the temperature really gets too hot the power supply will automatically shut down. The second LED indicates the power level. Amber indicates that the system is shut down, green means that the system is running, and red means that there is a power fault.
There's no input voltage selector because the input voltage is automatically selected by the PSU.
And the back of the PSU has air-intake honeycomb-shaped ventilation holes.
The left side of the PSU has the SilverStone logo engraved, so you can see it through your case window (if you have one).
The ATX12V cable is nicely braided, just like the Aux and 4-pin ATX 12V connector which are also braided.
The next picture shows the two black Serial ATA power cables. And the last picture shows all the Molex connectors. This PSU has 6 Molex connectors and 2 floppy disc connectors.
Opening the PSU took some time, since it was held together by lots of small screws. Here are some pictures of the interior of the SST-30NF. You can see the massive aluminum heatsinks, and that it uses a copper heatpipe to transfer the heat to the rear of the PSU. The aluminum heatsinks were covered with thermal pads and thermal compound to improve heat dissipation to the aluminum cover.
Testing of the Silverstone SST-30NF Power Supply
Test system Specifications :
Intel Pentium 4 2.8C (800MHz FSB)
AOpen AX4SG Max motherboard (Springdale 865G chipset)
2x Corsair XMS3500C2 256MB RAM
MSI GeForce 4 Ti4200 with 128MB RAM 3D Card
Maxtor 120GB SATA Hard Disk
Silverstone SST-ST30NF Power Supply
Antec P160 Aluminum case
OS : Windows XP with SP1
Cooling: A 120mm fan in the rear of the case, Spire QuieTude IV CPU heatsink, and Swiftech MCX159 Northbridge Cooler.
Now we are going to test the voltage output of the 3.3V, 5V, and 12V line of this power supply.
* For the 5V and 12V lines we used a multimeter from Fluke (Fluke Multimeter 75). We used a multimeter because readouts from the motherboard are mostly inaccurate.
* There's no good testing method for the 3.3V line except depending on the motherboard readout, so the 3.3V line was monitored with Speedfan 4.14.
* Idle conditions: running idle in WinXP for about 5 minutes after boot-up.
* Load conditions were done with folding@home and Prime95 torture test running for 15minutes and some other normal programs.
* I also did a 'Media' test, this consists out of playing a DVD while listening to some music and doing some web browsing.
Here are the results:
During idle the output voltages were pretty good, only the 3.3V line was a little too low.
During load, the 3.3V line lowered to 3.20V, and the 12V line suffered to 11.89V.
This is still well within the official ATX Voltage Specifications, but it could be better.
Compared to the SilverStone SST-ST35F-G02 350W PSU which I tested a year ago the newer SST-ST30NF performs better. Most of its voltages were lower, except the 3.3V line which was a little bit higher. During load the lines of the newer model also fluctuated less.
After about 10 hours of normal usage, the PSU felt warm, but still not hot. I measured about 29°C-31°C with a laser temperature meter with an ambient temperature of 23.6°C. During heavy load, the PSU felt a little bit warmer, but still not hot. After 15 minutes it was 33°C-35°C.
The next day I ran Folding @ home for 2 hours, while playing some games and listening to a web radio, the PSU still didn't get much higher than 39°C. So the passive cooling system seems to work very well.
This is the first passive cooled power supply that I have tested and it seems to be working pretty well. The aluminum housing, the huge heatsinks, and the heatpipe do a good job at keeping this power supply at a reasonable temperature. The design of the power supply also looks good I think, but that's a personal opinion.
During my tests, the measured voltages were well and it never got too hot. But some improvements on the 3.3V and 12V line (during load) are welcome.
Overall it seems like the perfect PSU for users that want an absolutely quiet system or HTPC. But unfortunately, this comes at a price, the SilverStone SST-ST30NF is very expensive. The average price in shops seems to be around $150-160, making it more expensive than a good 500W PSU.
The Good Stuff
- Dead silent
- Voltages were good, but the 12V line suffered a bit during load.
- Has two Serial ATA power cables
- Six Molex connectors (the previous PSU from SilverStone that I tested only had 4 Molex connectors)
The Bad Stuff/Things that could be better
- Possibly heat issues if the other cooling in your case is inadequate.
- Very expensive.
Added: August 30th 2004
Product reviewed: Silverstone SST-ST30NF Power Supply