SilverStone Strider SST-ST1500 (1500W)
The next model from SilverStone has the highest wattage rating among all PSUs in this review and comes from the Strider series, too.
The PSU is large (the picture on its box rather shows the above-discussed SST-ST1200 which is somewhat smaller). The power cord is connected to a nonstandard socket, the same as in the previous model, which may provoke problems for some buyers.
All cables are detachable, which allows putting together a very powerful system inside a compact case. In this case you can purchase separately a special set of short cables as we have just described in the SST-ST1200 review on the previous page.
The PSU is equipped with the following connectors:
- One connector for a mainboard power cable
- Two connectors for CPU power cables
- Four connectors for graphics card cables
- Four connectors for peripheral power cables
Included with the PSU are:
- Mainboard cable with a 24-pin connector (54cm)
- CPU cable with a 4+4-pin connector (74cm)
- CPU cable with an 8-pin connector (74cm)
- Four graphics card cables with one 6+2-pin and one 6-pin connector on each (55+15cm)
- Four cables with three SATA power plugs on each (50+24+24cm)
- Four cables with three Molex connectors and one floppy-drive plug on each (50+25+25+15cm)
The cables are long and there is a whole dozen of SATA power plugs. Anyway, it is the Enermax Revolution 85+ that remains the leader in this respect as it offers more cables and more connectors and more places to connect them to the PSU. With the Strider, if you need more than nine SATA power plugs, there will be no place left for attaching PATA cables. Even the 1000W OCZ Z series model has 12 SATA power plugs and a free place for a cable with PATA connectors. Thus, the Strider SST-ST1500 is good but not the best in this respect.
All power supplies of such wattage I have tested so far were manufactured by Channel Well. The Strider SST-ST1500 is the first exception as it was developed by Enhance. Its interior resembles the above-described Strider SST-ST1200, also manufactured by Enhance, but the platforms are actually different.
The Strider is more conventional than CWT’s power supplies that actually consist of two power supplies in one housing. Here, we can see two power transformers working in sync in one power converter. The PSU does not employ DC-DC converters to produce +5V and +3.3V voltages out of +12V, although such converters have already become popular in top-wattage models. Instead, it uses traditional dedicated regulators based on magnetic amplifiers.
Electrolytic capacitors from Teapo are installed at the output. They enjoy a reputation of high-quality components.
The PSU’s 12V rail is split into as many as eight “virtual” output lines, 25A each. Its full load capacity is as high as 1320W. The load capacity of the +5V and +3.3V rails is very high, too, even though it is going to be uncalled for by today’s +12V-oriented computers.
Together with an APC SmartUPS SC 620 this power supply worked at loads up to 422W when powered by the mains. They switched to the batteries normally but the UPS would report overload and shut down at 200W or more. Thus, you need an UPS with sinusoidal output voltage for this power supply. Most of high-wattage UPSes are such, though.
Output Voltage Stability
My tests were limited to the capabilities of our testbed which are somewhat more modest than those of the PSU. The testbed can produce a load up to 1300W: up to 1100W for the +12V rail and up to 200W for the +5V and +3.3V rails combined.
The +12V rail boasts superb stability as its voltage remains within a 2% deflection even at very high loads. The +3.3V voltage is somewhat worse. The +5V voltage shows the same problem as we have seen with the SST-ST1200: it bottoms out below the permissible minimum of 4.75V at high load. But as I have noted many times already, that’s not a problem for modern computers which consume no more than a few dozen watts from the +5V rail (this voltage powers HDDs and feeds the mainboard a little whereas CPUs and graphics cards depend on +12V).
Output Voltage Ripple
At a load of 1300W (the maximum load our testbed can produce) the oscillograms of the high-frequency pulsations look splendid. The voltage ripple is much below the limit on each rail and there are no short spikes. It means that the capacitors at the PSU’s output are high quality and properly selected.
This PSU is cooled by a 135x135x25mm fan from Young Lin Tech Co.
Its initial speed is 830rpm and the fan only begins to accelerate at a load of 950W. That’s an excellent result that makes the Strider SST-ST1500 a truly quiet power supply.
Efficiency and Power Factor
The PSU is third in efficiency in this review behind the OCZ Z series and the Enermax Revolution 85+, stopping just short of the 90% mark. At a load of 1300W the efficiency declines to 84%, which is very good, too.
The standby source easily copes with its job: its output voltage is 4.86V at a current of 6A, which is higher than the permissible minimum of 4.75V.
Strictly speaking, it would be incorrect to directly compare the SilverStone Strider SST-ST1500 with the other tested PSUs because it is the only one to have a wattage rating of 1500W. All PSUs of that wattage I have tested so far were based on a rather complex and expensive platform developed by CWT. The Strider is based on a different platform and surpasses them in circuit design as well as in consumer properties. It is quieter, more stable, and does not have any load balancing requirements. So, if you feel like your computer needs 1500 watts of power, you should consider the SilverStone Strider SST-ST1500 in the first place.