Reviews - Silverstone ST1500 1500W
Sample Provided by: SilverStone (By OklahomaWolf on Sun, Nov-29-2009)

Page 1 -

Greetings, readers. It is another fine day here in the jonnyGURU.com labs, which look suspiciously like a basement with bad carpeting, and I have something special for you today. That's right, today I am going somewhere I haven't gone before. No, I'm not talking about the shower. I'm talking about load testing something huge, something at the very limits of what the lab gear is capable of. Today's review is of the Silverstone Strider 1500 watt unit.

Like most Silverstone units, our would be 1500 watt space heater has most of its marketing hype right on the front of the box:

  • 100% modular cables with cable bag
    -100% modular is very nice. However, as we saw with last week's Ultra X4 review, the extra ATX connector can sometimes present voltage drop issues if we run the 3.3V and 5V rails too hard.
  • 1500W continuous and 1600W peak power
    -Folks, I might as well fess up right now. I can load test up to and beyond 1600W. But there's a problem in that my power measurement devices only reach to 1850W at the wall. Since I don't put much stock in peak numbers anyway, I hope y'all don't mind if I stop at a mere 100% of full load this time as I do every time.
  • Efficiency 85%-88% at 20%-100% loading with 80 PLUS Silver certification
    -This kind of efficiency is pretty much necessary to get this kind of power output and still get a pass from the UL for North American operation. Yes, there is a more powerful unit out there than this one, but it only reached approval by offering two power cords: one designed only for 20A outlets, and one with a 15A circuit breaker for normal outlets. Otherwise, there would be no Ultra X4 1600W.
  • Class-leading eight +12V rails with 110A (Peak up to 120A)
    -That's a lot of rails, but then again 110A is a lot of power. That's 1320 watts for the 12V rails alone... more capacity than a 1200W unit could manage with all the rails going at once. We'll see if these rails are sensibly distributed a bit later on.
  • 1500W continuous power output with 40°C operating temperature
    -Uh, Silverstone? My hot box is ruthless when it comes to units this big. I can pretty much guarantee it will exceed 40 degrees, even with all three auxiliary 12V loaders helping out with some of the load. I'll just have to see how this bad boy handles the heat.
  • Strict ±3% voltage regulation
    -While not that impressive, keep in mind this number is being applied to something powerful enough to almost require its own circuit breaker back at your house's breaker box to get to full power. Three percent is not that impressive any more when you're talking about a 1kW unit, but this unit is five hundred watts more capable.
  • Silent Running 135mm fan with 19dBA minimum
    -Sorry, but I don't have the facilities to test these claims. But if you like, I'll whistle Mike + The Mechanics songs all review long again. You say you'll shoot me if I do? Well... ok. I'll spare you just this once.
  • Japanese main capacitors
    -Ah, but what of the secondary capacitors?
  • Four PCI-E 8pin, eight PCI-E 6pin, and 12 SATA connectors support
    -Huh... I could have sworn I saw a VGAx3 logo on the front of the box. This little blurb would have me believe this monster can take four high power video cards. And so it should... what else are you going to need to power with a 1500W power supply?
  • Support ATX 12V 2.3 & EPS 12V
  • Active PFC

Ah, good. Silverstone has come through for us once again by confirming that the black unit pictured on the box really is black. 4.2kg? Are you serious? That's almost ten pounds of power supply! Ooh, look at that little load table there... 12 volts at 25 amperes times eight. That should do the trick, depending on how it's split up.

In case you're not able to read the marketing hype in English, Silverstone has once again decided to accommodate you. On this side of the box, it's all repeated in nine different languages.

Except for the spec manual for the 1500W model being up front and center in this shot, you wouldn't know that a 1500W unit lurks below that sheet of white foam.

And there you have it - the contents of the box. There are two manuals, a modular cable bag, a 14 gauge power cord, two PCI-E dual 6 pin to one 8 pin adapters, some zip ties, some velcro ties, some thumbscrews, some regular screws, and some modular cables. I think that's it. That is, except for the Mall of America. Oh, wait, that's not a mall, it's a power supply. Wait here... I'm going to go inside and buy a CD. There's gotta be a music store in there somewhere.

The two user guides didn't come alone, they brought a friend - a little sheet of paper that says this power supply is capable of drawing lots of current, and that you should use only the power cord included and avoid use of an extension cord. And they are correct in saying this. If it's putting out 1500 watts, it's going to be pulling in a fair bit more than that, even with 80 Plus Silver certification. That's assuming this sample can hold to the certification... we'll find out soon enough.

A quick look at the spec manual, which gives you just about every spec on this unit you could want.

The installation manual is pretty much the same thing Silverstone throws in with a good many of their upscale units. It's a very nicely done, not to mention thick, affair with lots of pictures and multiple languages.

Continuing on, here's a picture of an industrial AC unit... I mean, power supply. Wow, that's a big one. See that little white speck there on the top? The one you can just barely make out against the massive expanse of blackness? That's the fan hub. Okay, okay, I'll stop with the hyperbole. On page two.

Meantime, we'll take a look at the back of our Silverstone minivan. Gosh, I love matte black, but I could do with fewer stickers on the surface with the fan on it.

Well, it looks like we can't just use any old power cord anyway. This unit uses that special C19 connector we saw on the Strider 1200W model. As was also the case on that model, there is no power switch... almost every inch of free space on the rear panel of this unit is needed for ventilation.

What's that little metallic sticker, you ask? Why, that's the sticker that tells you the modular cable interface is licensed from its patent holder, Ultra Products. Kind of sticks out on this unit, doesn't it? Kind of like that big stone chip in your car's freshly painted headlight door cover that you got because the highway department thought it was a jolly good idea to dump gravel all over a well traveled paved highway where nobody ever slows down.

With apologies for letting Mr. Fuji get dust on his lens, here's the top panel of the unit, with Silverstone's logo embossed on it. Why couldn't we have put the stickers here? Won't this panel go unseen in most cases? Wouldn't an embossed Silverstone logo look better on the football field stretches of metal bracketing the fan on the other side of the housing where we can see it?

As if the 12V capacity of this unit wasn't somehow enough, this unit carries with it a seriously powerful combined 3.3V/5V rating of 280 watts. While this is intended more to make sure that your two tons of hard drives and gobs of memory have enough power to run, you could also use this unit to power that old Duron rig you're building for that kid down the street. Of course, you'd then be wasting serious amounts of 12V potential.

SST
ST1500
3.3V 5V 12V1 12V2 12V3 12V4 12V5 12V6 12V7 12V8 -12V 5VSB
40A 40A 25A 25A 25A 25A 25A 25A 25A 25A 0.5A 6A
Max Power 280W 1320W 6W 30W
1500W

Speaking of potential, did you spot the 5VSB rating yet? Yup, this thing can manage 6 amperes on that rail. For most systems not named Phobos, this is a massive amount of overkill.

For those anxious to find out who built this unit, it's Enhance. That makes three OEM's now that I know of who have PS2 sized units of greater than 1400W currently on the market, the others being Channel Well Technology and Andyson; though you can't get the CWT PUC based model in North America due to them not passing the UL certification stage. The Andyson model? That would be the Ultra X4 1600W.

Here are the modular cables for you in one big table covering mess.

The modular connectors. Fear not, for the EPS12V connectors will not interchange with the PCI-E connectors.

Type of connector: Silverstone
ST1500
Modular Cables
4+4 pin EPS12V/ATX12V (750mm) 1 12V1/12V2
8-pin EPS12V (750mm) 1
ATX connector (540mm) 20+4 pin 12V3
5.25" Drive (500mm+250mm+250mm) 12 12V3/12V4
3.5" Drive connectors (+150mm) 4 12V3/12V4
SATA (500mm+250mm+250mm) 12 12V3/12V4
6+2 PCIe (540mm) 4 12V5/12V6/
12V7/12V8
6 pin PCIe (+150mm) 4
Dual 6 pin PCIe to single 6+2 pin PCIe (150mm) 2 N/A
Unit Dimensions(L x W x H)
220mm x 150mm x 86mm

Is the 12V distribution sensible? Why, yes it is. Each of 12V5 to 12V8 is dedicated to one chain of PCI-E connectors. Each of those rails gets one 6+2 pin and one 6 pin connector. Enough for four cards. And with a 25A limit on each rail, it is very unlikely you'll run into the overcurrent protection, even with the most powerful cards now on the market. And if you do, with four 12V rails dedicated to only PCI-E connectors, you can always start combining, as this unit draws its 12V water from one big pool.

Of the rest of the 12V rails, two are dedicated to the EPS12V/ATX12V cables alone. That's 50A for the CPU... just try and use that up, I dare you. The remaining two are for the ATX and peripheral connectors, with one of the four peripheral connectors on 12V3 and the remaining three on 12V4. You're probably not going to use up that combined 50A either.


 

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