Fanless PSUs: Kingwin Stryker STR-500 & Silverstone ST50NF

Power
Viewing page 6 of 6 pages. Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6

NOISE COMPARISONS

The new comparison table below shows the SPL versus Power Load data on PSUs tested in ambient room temperature, typically 20~24¬įC. It is most relevant when PSUs are used in cases that provide wide open access to cooler outside air for the PSU cooling fan.

PSU Noise (dBA@1m) vs. Power in Ambient Room Temperature
Model
90W
150W
200W
250W
300W
400W
500W
6-700W
850W
Kingwin STR-500 Fanless
<10*
<10
<10
<10
<10
<10
<13
n/a
n/a
Seasonic X-460 Fanless
<10*
<10
<10
<10
<10
<11
<13
n/a
n/a
Kingwin Lazer Platinum LZP-550
<10*
<10
<10
<10
<10
<10
16
n/a
n/a
Seasonic X-400 Fanless
<10*
<10
<10
<10
<10
<11
n/a
n/a
n/a
Silverstone ST50NF Fanless
11
11
11
11
15
15
16
n/a
n/a
Enermax Modu/Pro87+ 500
11
11
11
11
11
11
18
n/a
n/a
Corsair AX850
<10
<10
<10
11~13
12
13
17
24
35
Seasonic X-650
<10
<10
<10
<10
<10
16
27
32
n/a
Nexus NX-5000
11
11
12
12
12.5
14
19
n/a
n/a
Antec CP-850
12
12
12
12
12
14
20
24
40
Enermax Eco80+ 500W
<11
12
12
16
20
23
28
n/a
n/a
Antec TP-750
12
12
12
14
15
27
31
40
n/a
Cougar GX-700
15
15
15
17
21
25
35
35
n/a
The green boxes are >30 dBA@1m SPL.
*<10= below the ambient of our anechoic chamber; immeasurably low @1m in any environment

Caution: Please keep in mind that the data in the above table is specific to the conditions of our test setup. Change the cooling configuration, the ambient temperature and any number of other factors, and you could change the point at which the fans start speeding up, as well as the rate of the rise in speed. The baseline SPL is accurate, however, probably to within 1 dBA.

CONCLUSIONS

We began this comparison review knowing that the Silverstone was outmatched by the Kingwin, and the tests went overwhelmingly to the favorite. Part of the reason for the one-sided outcome is that in a fanless power supply, the effect of efficiency on cooling is enormous. With the STR-500 producing just half the heat of the ST50NF, the heat-related stresses on the components are far less, as is the ease of cooling. With both PSUs using the same external heatsink approach to cooling, the result is inevitable. The Kingwin also has the advantage of the most recent advances in electronic power technology, while the Silverstone uses technology that is at least a few years old.

The Kingwin STR-500 power supply is unique in the marketplace today: Along with the fan-cooled LZP-550, it is the most energy efficient computer power supply, and also the very quietest. It is silent in operation, up to its output limits. Its primary competitors are the Seasonic X series 80 Plus Gold models, the X460 and X400. Its other electrical performance and build quality also appear very good, and the detachable, modular cables are a nice benefit, but the biggest selling factors are silent operation and superior efficiency: At 500W, its AC power consumption is about 15W lower than any 80 Plus Gold model at the same load. The efficiency improvement starts much lower, with a couple watts saved even down at the 50W level. Those who live in 220~240 VAC service areas get the benefit of even higher efficiency, 96% at the peak.

The Silverstone ST50NF is a fine PSU in its own right, but our sample exhibited higher-than-ideal ripple, and it could not escape the limitations of its lower efficiency against the Kingwin. It also exhibited more audible electronic noise under load than either the Kingwin or earlier-tested Seasonic X fanless PSUs. If the latter did not exist, the ST50NF would be the natural choice for a quality fanless ATX PSU. But those superior competitors do exist, and they are being sold at prices significantly lower than the ST50NF's $200. These factors make the ST50NF a tough sell.

The good news for who seek a fanless ATX PSU is that, as of early September 2011, Newegg is selling the Kingwin STR-500 for $160. That is still a pretty steep price for a 500W PSU, but pretty good for the quietest, most energy efficient 500W ATX PSU in the world. Incidentally, Newegg is currently offering the Seasonic X400 and X460 at even lower bargain prices, $90 and $110, respectively. This is a good time to be a silent PC builder.

Much thanks to Kingwin Technology and Silverstone Technology for the review samples.


Kingwin Stryker Fanless STR-500 receives the SPCR Editor's Choice Award

* * *

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Fanless PSU Torture Test Shootout
Kingwin LZP-550 80 Plus Platinum
Seasonic X-400 Fanless
Power Supply Fundamentals
Recommended Power Supplies
SPCR PSU Test Rig V.4

* * *

Discuss this article in the SPCR Forums.



Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6

Power - Article Index
Help support this site, buy from one of our affiliate retailers!
Search: