Reviews - Silverstone ST50NF Fanless 500W
Sample Provided by: SilverStone (By OklahomaWolf on Mon, Sep-19-2011)

Page 1 - First Look

No, no, no, no, no, NO! This is not what I asked for. I specifically said I wanted to review a jar of silver gummi bears at night. Alas, the god of gummi bears misheard me, and sent me one of these instead - a Silverstone Nightjar ST50NF. So, I shall do my best to cope with this unfortunate situation by doing what I always do - review this thing as a power supply. Some licking and nibbling may be involved, however. I do need to be sure this isn't just one big power supply shaped gummi bear.

You may recall that I reviewed a Silverstone fanless unit once before, in the Etasis built ST45NF. That unit, while impressive in some ways, was less impressive in others. One of those ways was efficiency - it barely passed standard 80 Plus certification. This time out, we have a new OEM, higher power rating, and a higher efficiency rating. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in the load testing.

But first, you guessed it - box pictures.

Color - silver. Cooling system - fanless. Noise level - 0dBA. Obviousness detector - broken. Wait a minute - 3.5kg? That's a heavy power supply there, mister.

I love boxes that don't do much marketing. Makes my job a lot easier.

Time to unpack this thing. And before I do, I would like to re-assure you all that neither the box nor the styrofoam tastes like gummi bears.

Here's what came in the box: a power cord, some velcro ties, two manuals, some thumbscrews, a bag of normal screws, another bag of normal screws, and the Empire State Power Supply. I call it that because it's roughly about the same weight as the Empire State Building.

Here's the spec manual. And I'm really glad to see it. Why? Because of some temperature vs. power rating shenanigans I'll get into a bit later.

The installation manual stops just short of also telling you how to tie your shoes. As always, Silverstone goes overboard with the user guides... something I used to like to see, but am now starting to feel is a little wasteful. I mean, who can't figure out how to install a power supply? Four screws, plug in some wires, and go.

Here's the boat anchor... I mean, power supply in person. It looks a lot like the old ST45NF, but is not an Etasis built unit at all. This one comes from Seventeam.

I have to say, the silver finish on this beast is a somewhat nice change from the steady flow of matte black, matte black, matte black, around here lately.

Here's the back end of the unit where the power cable goes. You can also see a couple of status LEDs on the right side of the picture. One's for power, one's for temperature. They change colors based on the state of the protection circuitry. The temp LED is green in normal use, red if the unit gets too hot and shuts down. The power LED is amber in standby, green when the unit's main power is on, and red when the unit is in protective shutdown.

Nothing seen in the above picture tastes like gummi bears, I'm sad to say. I don't exactly remember what the AC receptacle tastes like. The doctors say I should be getting those memories back any day now.

Both sides of the unit are open mesh construction, for promotion of airflow. Though this is a fanless unit, you do still need some air moving through it from other fans in the system.

Looking at the front, we see that, unlike some other fanless power supplies I've tested recently, this one is not modular.

No fans to see in this view today. Instead, we get a good look at a big heatsink.

The label for the unit. The specs indicate that it is good for a whopping 6A more current on the 12V rail than its Etasis built predecessor was rated for at 115V operation.

Silverstone ST50NF

+3.3V +5V +12V -12V +5VSB
18A 18A 38A 0.5A 2.5A
Max Power @ 25 °C 120W 456W 6W 12.5W
500W

And now is where I get into the temperature rating funny business on this unit. In the above table, I have provided the maximum temperature during 115V operation at which you can expect full power, according to the manual. From here, the unit de-rates to 70% of full power at 35 degrees. That's 350 watts. You are probably wondering, what then is the deal with the 45 degree claim on the box?

According to the manual, you get 70% of full power at 45 degrees if and only if you decide to run it at 230V. It also suggests, rightly so, that you will find the unit doing a lot better if you push air through it.

So, here's the deal. If you have this thing sitting around with no airflow, you will probably only get full power in North America if you keep it below 25 degrees. You may get full power at 35 if you cool it via other case fans. Me? I have a hot box. I am not going to spare this unit a little bit of torture due to some ambiguity around the temperature ratings. I'm going to get it hot. If it shuts down... too bad, so sad, don't be mad, start a fad, mind your dad, make faces at a lad, listen to a NAD, live in a bachelor's pad...

Sorry. Got a bit carried away there.

Here are the cables for you. To my profound annoyance, not only has Silverstone not sleeved all the way into the case, they've kept the tradition alive of making peripheral connectors 250mm apart. But only the Molex connectors - the SATA ones don't have this treatment. They're learning.

Type of connector: Silverstone ST50NF
ATX connector (550mm) 20+4 pin
4+4 pin EPS12V/ATX12V connector (580mm) 1
6+2 pin PCIe (510mm) 1
6 pin PCIe (+150mm) 1
5.25" Drive (510mm+250mm+150mm) 6
3.5" Drive (150mm) 2
SATA (530mm+150mm+150mm) 6
Unit Dimensions (L x W x H)
160mm x 150mm x 86mm

 

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