SilverStone Strider ST56F power supply

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January 15, 2006 by Devon Cooke

Product
SilverStone Strider ST56F
560W Power Supply
Manufacturer
SilverStone Technology Co. Ltd.
Market Price
US$120~130

"Strider" is an odd word to name a power supply. It brings to mind the dour warrior from Lord of the Rings movies. Maybe that's the image SilverStone is going for: The strong, silent type. With a capacity of 560W, it should certainly be strong enough. The question is, will it do steadfast battle without making excessive noise, or will it charge in with its fan screaming a battlecry?

SilverStone is best known for its high-end cases, such as the Temjin TJ-06, or the Lascala LC-11, but they also sell a large range of power supplies. Despite its substantial price and heavy-duty construction, the Strider 560W belongs to SilverStone's "basic" line. Other lines include the Zeus, for workstations, and the fanless Nightjar.


The retail box is simple and classy...


...and the contents are equally Spartan.

FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS

Feature Highlights of the SilverStone Strider ST56F (from SilverStone's web site)
FEATURE & BRIEF COMMENT
Efficiency over 80%
The manual says "Greater than 80% typical at normal AC main voltage and full load on all output"... can it do it?
Dual +12V rails for advanced systems A standard requirement of ATX12V
Dual PCI-E connectors
Standard for SLI & CrossFire support.
Silent running 120mm fan
No running fan is truly silent... but we'll settle for quiet.
Support for ATX 12V 2.01 & EPS 12V
"Support for" = Compliance?

OUTPUT SPECIFICATIONS

SPECIFICATIONS: SilverStone Strider ST56F (from SilverStone's web site)
AC Input
90~264 VAC / 47~63 Hz
AC Input Current
10A @ 100VAC / 5A @ 240VAC
DC Output
+3.3V
+5V
+12V1
+12V2
-12V
+5VSB
Maximum Output Current
30A
30A
18A
18A
0.5A
2.0A
Maximum Combined
180W
432W
6.0W
10.0W
560W

In addition to the usual marketing blurbs, SilverStone's web site includes extremely comprehensive technical specifications. In fact, the manual reads as if it has been adapted from the official ATX12V spec document. This makes comparing the two side by side quite easy, and — uh oh — not all of the specs seem to be in compliance. In fact, the ATX12V and EPS12V standards are not even mentioned in the manual. The only place these standards are mentioned is under "special features" on the product page itself, where it reads "Support for ATX 12V 2.01 & EPS 12V".

The violation of the ATX12V spec is fairly minor: 80 mV ripple on the +3.3V rail instead of the required 50 mV. In reality, it is very difficult to judge whether this variation will make any meaningful difference in the operation of the power supply.

  • SilverStone's engineers might just be very conservative. After all, 80 mV is the listed specification, but this amount of ripple may only occur under very specific extreme circumstances. This is often the case; ripple tends to increase when the load across the lines is very unbalanced, which is an unrealistic scenario.
  • Even if it does violate the ATX12V spec, it is unlikely to cause problems unless it is used with hardware that is particularly sensitive to ripple on the +3.3V line, or under circumstances (mainly overclocking) where excess ripple may cause instability.
  • Because many manufacturers don't declare ripple, it is hard to know how common this particular violation is.

When it comes down to it, the high ripple spec is probably only a problem on paper. It seems reasonable to give SilverStone the benefit of the doubt and agree that the Strider has "support for" ATX12V even if it doesn't strictly comply with it. It is worth noting that the Strider does not show up on any of Intel's ATX12V Tested Power Supply Lists.

The violation of EPS12V is a little more serious: EPS12V requires tighter (±3%) voltage regulation and at least three +12V rails. But, as with the first violation, this is mainly a problem on paper. We often see ±3% regulation even on units that don't declare it, and the issue of multiple rails has very little to do with how a power supply actually performs (in most cases it only affects the over-current protection circuitry). In addition, there are many, many other examples of power supplies that support the EPS12V motherboard connectors without actually complying with the standard.



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