This week, a very small package came was dropped off on my doorstep by FedEx. At first I thought it was more Gloria Jean's coffee for the Keurig coffee maker, but it turns out that SilverStone's latest SFX power supply was inside of this package.
SFX power supplies are used in MicroATX and FlexATX chassis. They're considerably smaller in size than ATX power supplies and because of this they tend to be lower power. Typically SFX power supplies are around 300W. This SilverStone, on the other hand, is a 450W unit.
Looking at the specs on the side of the box, we can see that SilverStone opted for the lead-free black paint on this particular unit. That's good as I have a tendency to suck on power supply housings and really can't afford any further drain bamage.
We also see how small this unit is before we actually open the box. 125mm x 63.5mm x 100mm. That equates to 4.92" x 2.5" x 3.93" for those lead paint eating individuals that haven't evolved to the metric system yet.
The DC output capability table is also located on this side of the box. Let's put that up on an easy to read table:
This unit has a whopping 432W of power available on the +12V rail. That's impressive for a 450W unit! Also on this side of the box we see that the unit has an MTBF of 100,000 hours at 25°C and an operating temperature of 10 to 50°C. But neither of these figures actually tell us at what temperature the 450W is derived at. You see, any electronic component has what's called a "de-rating curve". The hotter the component runs, the less capable it is. So in terms of power supplies, a power supply that is rated at 450W at 25°C may only be able to do 350W at 40 or 50°C.
To find out what this PSU's 450W is rated at, let's look at the small print on the back of the box....
Ah... supposedly this unit is rated at 450W continuous at 50°C. That's good. Your typical PC only tends to run at about 40°C, so this kind of overhead should mean you'll never have a failure due to overheating.
The box also states that this unit is 80 Plus Bronze certified. That means the unit is 82% efficient at 20% load, 85% efficient at 50% load and 82% efficient at 100% load.
Let's look at the rest of the back of the box...
It looks crowded but really we just have the same bullet-points repeated over and over again in 10 different languages. The two charts to the right look interesting, so let's have a closer look at those....
Since an SFX unit is so small, an 80mm fan is about the largest you're going to be able to use to keep the unit cool. This is a drawback because smaller fans tend to be louder than larger fans. But if this chart is accurate, this PSU should never get too loud since 38dBA is still within typical room ambience and this particular fan controller shouldn't ramp up to this speed until the load is considerable.
The second chart on the box simply shows the 80 Plus Bronze standard and how efficient a PSU will be at different loads. At 230V AC input, a power supply is going to be more efficient because at higher voltages, there is less current traveling through the primary side of the PSU, specifically the PFC circuit.
Now let's open the box up and see what's inside...
Inside the box we see the power supply unit with it's cables neatly bound with a Velcro strap, a power cord, three Zip-Ties, two different sets of mounting screws and an adapter plate.
The two things that really separate this power supply are the two sets of screws and the adapter plate. The two sets of screws included are one set of four thumb screws and one set of four conventional screws. The adapter plate is a VERY nice addition to this package and is going to seriously effect this units functionality score. The adapter plate allows users to install this power supply in standard ATX chassis.
Also included in the box are two manuals. One is a generic power supply overview manual that comes with all SilverStone power supplies and the other discusses matters specific to the SST-ST45SF power supply.
The aesthetics of the unit are quite simple. The housing is a semi-gloss black and the grill is punched into the steel. Not much in the looks department here. A fan grill and a stamped SilverStone logo could have helped a little.
Through the back of the unit we see there's ample ventilation through a honeycomb grill. We are also given a power switch. +1!
On the top of the unit (or bottom depending on how the unit is mounted) we see stickers galore. We have our specification sticker which cautions us not to open the unit. This sticker also shows us that the unit is UL listed under E190414, showing that this unit is manufactured by FSP, quite possibly based on the FSP450-60GHS.
We also have our customary "Warranty void if removed" sticker, both "Active PFC" and "Full Range" stickers as well as a part number, serial number, EAN code and UPC code. Whew! That's a lot of bar codes!
The "it's just a power supply, who cares how it looks" theme continues out of the PSU housing and onto the cables. The sleeving does not go into the power supply housing and it only goes up to the first connector of each cable.
Speaking of the cables: I'm noticing that the cables on this unit are VERY short. Of course, this unit is meant to go into a microATX chassis so the cables don't need to be too long, but if you're going to use this in an ATX chassis using the adapter plate, I hope it's a small chassis! The 20+4 pin power connector is on the end of a 300mm, or 1' long cable.
The 4+4 CPU power connector is slightly longer at 410mm, or 16".
The first PCIe connector is a 6+2-pin and it comes in at 380mm, about 15" from the housing. The second connector, a 6-pin, is 150mm further down the line at 530mm, or 21".
Both the SATA and peripheral power connectors are 300mm + 200mm + 100mm for a total of 600mm. That's a connector at 12", 20" and 24".
Here's our customary table of power connectors and unit dimensions for those of you that skim the reviews for the tables, pictures and then jump to the conclusion:
Type of connector:
20+4-pin ATX connector (300mm)
4+4 pin ATX12V/EPS12V (410mm)
PCIe (380mm + 150mm)
5.25" Drive (30mm+200mm)
3.5" Drive (+100mm)
Unit Dimensions(L x W x H)
125mm x 63.5mm x 100mm
Now let's get on with the cold load tests....
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