Today, I'm taking a look at the Silverstone ST56ZF. The ST56ZF is quite an interesting power supply. Last year, almost everyone went with dual 12V rails because Intel told them they needed to do so because they did not want any single rail putting out more than 240VA. It's now been a little over a year since the last time Intel revised the ATX12V spec and high end PCI-e video cards are proving that 240VA per 12V rail simply isn't enough unless you're going to give each PCI-e connector it's own 12V rail.
What we're seeing in some cases are power supply manufacturers saying "ATX12V specifications be damned!" and they're making power supplies with one giant 12V rail, like the ST65ZF.
The 12V rail on this unit is rated at 38A. That's almost double Intel's suggested "limit."
The box for the ST56ZF is huge...
The appearance of the ST56ZF is somewhat industrial, like a high-end server power supply. As it should, since this unit is built by Etasis: A company known for server grade power supplies. For ten years, Etasis has been making 1U and 2U rackmount and redundant power supplies. Combine this with Silverstone's marketing sense and you have combination with some serious potential.
The specs of the power supply are not laid out in a traditional table.
Silverstone ST56ZF 560W
Max Combined Watts
The label shows us that the rails are distributed just the way they need to be. One may say, "it's only a 560W power supply, yet it's around $130" but look at what's out there:
OCZ 600W for almost $150 with only 35A on the combined 12V rails.
Ultra X-Finity 600W for $100 with only 35A on the combined 12V rails.
Spire Rocketeer 600W for $100 with only 29A on the combined 12V rails.
Seeing a trend here?
I mean, certainly you might find the OCZ's voltage pots beneficial, or Ultra's FlexForce cables to your liking, or you want something modular like the Spire... and that's all fine. We all have our personal preference. But this puppy has a no-nonsense 38A on the 12V rail. Sure, it's one 12V rail so you don't get the separation of EMI caused by drive motors from critical components like the CPU, but you won't run into the problem of a rail suddenly being overloaded and cutting the power supply off when you may have a mere 8A load on the other rail.
Don't let this basic looking ventilation grill fool you. This is not a cheap power supply.
Similar to the OCZ I just reviewed, this power supply only has sleeves on the ATX, 8-pin EPS and PCI-e cables.
Type of connector:
2 x 2 12V connectors
2 x 3 PCIe
8-pin Xeon/EPS connector
6-pin Xeon/AUX connector
5.25" Drive connectors
3.5" Drive connectors
SATA Drive power connectors
Fan only connectors (thermostatically controlled 12V only)
* 4-pin (2x2) is obtained by using an adapter on the 8-pin EPS.
Or you can do what I do and just plug four of the eight pins into the interface.
Silverstone hooks us up with a pair of PCI express connectors and plenty of drive and SATA power connectors (especially if you use the SATA power connectors on your SATA drives.) We're left a bit short on floppy power connectors and the only way to use this power supply in a motherboard with a four-pin 12V connector for CPU power is to use an adapter or plug four of the eight pins of the 8-pin EPS into the 4-pin socket.
Furthermore, only the main ATX power connector and the EPS cable are sleeved. So you might want to work a little harder than the average bear to hide these cables if you're installing this power supply in a window case.
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