in Power supply units

Silverstone Strider 600w modular

ST60F stock

Introduction

After recently reviewing Silverstone’s high-end enthusiast PSU, the ST50EF, I now have in my hands the mid-range extreme gamer unit. Capable of supporting 600w of PC parts, the Strider is pretty much future proof…

About Silverstone

Founded in the summer of 2003, SilverStone Technology is now a proven leader in the field of aluminium enclosure design and manufacturing. Our expertise in creating functional works of art from ordinary electronics and computer components is widely recognized. Numerous designs and ideas for improving computer enclosures were first created by our talented team of engineers, who are regarded by many as leaders in their respective fields. Today, SilverStone Technology continues to garner attention and awards that reflect our original vision of creating the most advanced and beautiful products available on the market.

ST60F Specs.

Input Voltage

90V ~ 264V (Auto Range)

Input Frequency Range

47Hz ~ 63Hz

PFC

Active PFC (PF>0.95 at full load)

Efficiency

75.80%

MTBF

100,000 hours at 25°C, full load

Operating temperature

0 ~ 50°C

Protection

Over current protection, Under voltage protection, Over voltage protection, Short circuit, No load operation

Connectors

1 x 24/20-pin motherboard connector (550mm)

1 x 8-pin ATX12V connector (550mm)

1 x 4-pin ATX12V connector (550mm)

1 x 6-pin AUX connector (550mm)

2 x 6-pin PCI-E (550mm)

1 x quad SATA power connectors (2 x 500mm + 250mm)

2 x dual 4-pin IDE connectors (500mm + 250mm)

2 x dual 4-pin IDE & single floppy power connectors
(500mm + 250mm + 150mm)

Color

black (lead-free paint)

Cooling System

Single 120mm low noise sleeve bearing fan

Noise Level

24 dBA minimum

Weight

2.9 kg

Dimension

150 mm (W) x 86 mm (H) x 180 mm (D)

The Strider

The ST60F (Strider)’s box is the exact same style as the ST50EF (Element) I reviewed earlier this month so I’ll be a little light on the packaging side of the review; I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

ST60F box

Once you’re inside the box, you’ll find that the Strider is completely modular. This means that you have a box with no wires coming out. This is the first PSU I’ve ever seen which is like this. As well as the PSU itself, you’ll find the bunch of wires that connect the mains to your PC hardware, a 20-24 pin converter, 4 black screws, a instruction pamphlet and a kettle plug.

ST60F box contents
ST60F
ST60F cables

The Strider is slightly bigger than the Element that I reviewed earlier, and is just smaller than the Spire Rocketeer that I also reviewed. The 120mm fan that the unit is equipped with is off-centre on the bottom of the unit and is all the cooling that the Strider needs. Silverstone has once again chosen to go for a subtle aesthetic design, with the unit covered with matt black paint.

ST60F connector
ST60F sleeving

The wires themselves are sleeved with black mesh and held in place with short pieces of shrink wrapping. The wires are quite flexible meaning that installation will be a lot less taxing when trying to route the cabling. When looking through the cabling, you’ll find the EPS connector which is another type of power standard; much like ATX 12v, but mainly designed with servers in mind. This shows Silverstone’s commitment to versatile products that don’t cut down on features. With the inclusion of EPS support, Silverstone have widened the reach of the Strider.

Below all the connections for the power cables, you’ll find the simple and useful wiring diagram telling you which cable goes where.

ST60F rear sockets

The Strider has 4 separate 12v rails; 12v1, 12v2, 12v3 and 12v4. Each of these give 18a of current apart from the 12v3 rail which sends 16a. The 12v1 rail is for the CPU, the 12v2 is for the second CPU (if one is present) and any SATA drives, the 12v3 is for the motherboard and any PCI-e graphics cards while 12v4 is for any other drives, fans etc. and other PCI-e graphics cards. As SilverStone have designed the power supply to be connected in a certain way, it’s important that you follow the wiring instructions given to you on a handy sheet to ensure that you get the most out of the Strider.

After speaking with the SilverStone rep I discovered the following:

The Strider was never designed to support 4 separate graphics cards. The problem is not necessarily with wattage but the ampage of each of the 12v rails. A normal graphics card pulls between 6 – 10a during gameplay and general desktop usage. The Strider pushes 16a and 18a on the 12v3 and 12v4 line respectively. Considering as these lines also have to deal with the motherboard, disc drivers and fans etc. there is not enough current left to run 2 x 10a graphics cards. While the cards may work on startup, the extra load generated by gaming would cause system instability and other graphical oddities.

The reason why the Strider has 4 PCI-e connectors is to power dual GPU graphics cards as they require two PCI-e power connectors. These cards pull only 10a combined, meaning that the Strider can easily cope with the load.

In summary, even though the Strider has the theoretical ability to run four separate graphics cards, it was never designed to.

According to nVidia’s website you’ll be able to run the following with the Striders 600W output:

Dual GeForce 7800 GTX 256MB or Dual GeForce 6800 Ultra
AMD Athlon 64 FX-57 2.8 GHz or Intel Pentium EE 840 3.2 GHz
NVIDIA nForce4 SLI X16 motherboard with 2GB system memory
Two HDDs in Raid 0 configuration
Two optical drives
PCI sound card
LCD at 1600×1200 resolution

Two Geforce 7950 GX2 pull combined about 400w of power, so you should be able to run these cards. The Strider will provide enough ampage as well to satisfy these power hungry cards. To further push the point home, the Strider is one of the growing list of PSU’s certified by nVidia to run SLi rigs.

After running the tests, I popped open the hood of the Strider to find its inner workings. It was laid out in an orderly fashion, meaning that airflow will be maximised. Speaking of airflow, the fan used in this model is the same as the one used in the Element (ADDA brushless (sleeve bearings) 120mm 12v DC). Whilst the manual says nothing of it, I’m sure that the fan is thermally throttled. I say this because, even though the Element and Strider use the same fan, the Strider is rated as having a higher noise level.

ST60F innerds

The Strider is a little less efficient than its smaller brother, the Element, with its efficiency peaking at 68% maximum. Whilst not insanely inefficient, it is a lot less than what is required for the PSU to be RoHS compliant.

Testing

To test the unit, I’ll be using the following setup:

Intel P4 3.2 GHz (socket 478)
Gigabyte GA-8IPE1000-G motherboard
Sapphire Radeon 9200 256mb Graphics Card
1Gb OCZ RAM
200Gb Maxtor SATA HDD
80Gb Western Digital IDE HDD

To make sure that the unit is being tested to the max, I’ll be using everything that my PC has that sucks power. This includes, running CPU Burn-in, playing load music, copying files, and playing Unreal and having as many powered USB devices as possible connected.

I’ll use Speedfan to graph and record the results. I’ll also use a multimeter to read the rails from a molex plug.

ST60F 3.3v rail
3.3v rail – Graph shows 50 minutes

ST60F 5v rail
5v rail – Graph shows 50 minutes

ST60F 12v rail
12v rail – Graph shows 50 minutes

Full load started about half way through the graph depending on which rail you are looking at. As far as variations go, the Strider is pretty stable. There are no great troughs or peaks in the graphs. The Striders stability is slightly less than both the Element and the iGreen 430w, but it does produce more wattage over more 12v rails. This means that parts of your rig can be supplied with noiseless power feeds providing a more stable overclock and gaming experience.

ST60F graph

The voltmeter read the same as the motherboards on board voltage testing facilities.

The efficiency is what really lets down the Strider. Whilst a figure of 68% (100w of input makes 68w of output) max isn’t horrendous, computing has finally realised that the environment matters. Efficiency not only saves the environment but your wallet too, and you might want to choose a penny-saving power supply when there are so many to choose out there, rather than a less efficient higher wattage unit.

The PSU was also used in a separate rig to test SLi functionality. Even in an overclocked environment, the rails remained stable. Rest assured, the SLI certification is well deserved.

Conclusion

Quiet, stable, powerful. Those are just three words to describe this power supply. It does pretty much everything that it says it will on the box. My one niggling problems is the 4 PCI-e connectors. Unless you’re running low wattage GPU’s, the Strider won’t be able to give them enough juice to allow them to run.

Other than that, the Strider is a solid buy for anyone looking for a modular power supply. Capable of support high-end dual SLi options, it could be the one to provide a stable supply to your delicate components for many months to come…

Pros Cons
SLi/Crossfire compliant Larger than normal ATX supplies
Fully modular Relatively low efficiency
EPS support
Stable rails