SilverStone Decathlon DA700 power supply

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Oct 28, 2008 by Mike Chin

Product
Silverstone Decathlon DA700
700W ATX power supply
Manufacturer
SilverStone Technology
Market Price
~US$155

The ratings of power supplies for DIY computers have become so routinely high that a 700W unit hardly raises an eyebrow these days. Surprisingly, it is actually possible to assemble a PC that can push such a PSU to its limits, even with all the gains in energy efficiency made in processors. The source of the ridiculous power draw for gamers is the high end graphics card, especially pairs or even threesomes in CrossFire or SLI configuration. The nVidia GTX280 and the ATI 4870 X2 cards both make the power requirements of most current CPU seem positively anorexic.

SilverStone, once a maker of stylish mostly aluminum cases, has also offered power supplies for a number of years. They've had good success, tackling both the conventional gaming / performance sector as well as the silent-loving crowd. The fanless Silverstone ST30NF Fanless PSU, a 300W model that dates back to 2004, is still being made in an updated version, and still one of our favorites. The 120mm fan Element ST50EF-Plus model also reviewed well a couple of years ago, though it did not match the quietest reviewed PSUs available then.

The DA700 is next to the bottom model in the Decathlon series, modular cable PSUs oriented to the "power user". There are seven models, starting at 650W and ending at 1200W. Silverstone actually makes no fewer than six series of power supplies, one of which is aimed at the silent user. The 700W model in that series, ST70F actually sports a lower noise rating than the DA700: 18 dBA versus 23 dBA minimum. Regardless, the DA700 is the model Silvertone sent to challenge "Anandtech's assessment that Enermax offers the quietest power supplies at the moment." SPCR's own review of the Enermax Modu82+ 625W, posted around the same time, made the same assessment as well. Anandtech review of the DA700 stated that "SilverStone is telling the truth and not just blowing hot air" with regard to the acoustics. Naturally, SilverStone is hoping we'll reach the same conclusion.

One small complication is that the Enermax was tested in a live room, while today, six months later, our testing procedure has progressed to a quieter anechoic chamber where there is no echo and the background noise level is several decibels lower. We'll make adjustments to make the comparison fair, but a full-blown test of the Enermax was not possible to repeat.

PACKAGING, FEATURES & SPECS


A fairly standard looking retail box.


Inside, there's the PSU, a manual, AC cable, detachable cables, and a pouch to keep unused cables.

DA700 FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS (from the SilverStone web site)
FEATURE & BRIEF Our comment
Class-leading single +12V rail with 58A at 50°C
No worries about any individual cables not being able to handle all the current demanded on it.
100% modular cables Shockingly, all the cables are detachable. There are no captive cables.
Single PCI-E 8pin connectors & quad PCI-E 6pin connectors A GPU support list states that it supports dual nVidia GTX260 cards, a single GTX280 and dual ATI HD4870 cards.
Quiet running 120mm fan OK, we'll fine out just how quiet.
Support for ATX 12V 2.2 & EPS 12V Unlike ATX12V, the EPS12V guideline provides standards on power for video cards, including multiple video cards. nVidia SLI certification means nVidia tested it with dual-video cards and approved it.
Active PFC Fairly standard for a high end PSU.
Efficiency greater than 80% Like just about every PSU on the market.
Japanese primary capacitor OK

 

SPECIFICATIONS

The label usually tells us most of what we need to know, but not in this case.


Surprisingly uninformative label.

The product web page, captured in the image below, has much more complete information. Note: Many cables are supplied, and their lengths are listed in the specs table below.

An observation: Even though the total current for the 12V line is given as 58A, this much current would be available on the 12V line only if the other lines were delivering less than 4W (since the maximum rating is 700W). The reader should be aware that total 12V power capability for any ATX12V PSU is not a fixed number, but can vary depending on many conditions, including load on the other lines, and operating temperature.



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