By – John Williamson

Silverstone He

The mainstream PC market has prioritized power efficiency savings as illustrated by the Intel Haswell idle cycle and Nvidia’s Maxwell architecture. As a result, a reputable 550-600 watt PSU is more than ample for a single GPU setup. In contrast to this, there are a number of professional overclockers and enthusiasts opting for 2-4 cards and overclocking them with either water or LN2. The advent of 4k gaming is an alluring prospect but one which requires multiple GPUs to achieve playable framerates at high settings. In the past couple of months, the aftermarket AMD r9 290 GPUs have plummeted in price at around £200 and offer exceptional performance in multi-card configurations.

However, AMD’s heat and power output is quite substantial so a minimum of 850 watts is recommended. Furthermore, to operate at peak efficiency, you need to allow for some headroom to keep the PSU performing quiet and reduce the long-term strain. Subsequently, a 1000W would be a good bet, with 1200-1500w providing upgradability to 4-way Crossfire. Gaming performance starts to hit the law of diminishing returns around 3 cards, but 4 cards were popular for quite some time due to Bitcoin mining. Today, we are looking at Silverstone’s premium offering which operates at 1500w (1600w peak) and maintains a highly impressive 80+ Gold rating.

Test System:

  • Intel i7 4770K @4.7GHz
  • Swiftech H320 Liquid Cooling
  • 16GB Avexir 2400Mhz RAM
  • Sapphire Vapor-x 290X 8GB Crossfire
  • 480GB Seagate SSD
  • Phanteks Enthoo Luxe Case
  • Noctua IndustrialPPC Fans

Silverstone’s packaging adopts a gold and black theme which enunciates the unit’s incredible efficiency rating. The aesthetical choice is brilliant due to the uncomplicated, subtle design containing a detailed synopsis and intriguing diagrams. In terms of protection, the packaging utilizes thick cardboard with large tabs that are extremely difficult to rip. This adds a great level of rigidity and eliminates impact on the PSU whilst being transported. Inside the box is a compartment for modular cables and high-quality supporting foam to shield the PSU. Other additions include an installation guide, technical booklet, velcro cable ties, zip ties, mounting screws and a magnetic dust filter. The bundled filter features 8 magnets, a soft mesh finish and embossed Silverstone logo. I would expect the majority of premium customers to already own a luxury case with dust filters but it’s always handy to own a spare filter with universal case support.

Silverstone PSU 1

This recently updated version of the ST-1500 is ludicrously small for a power supply outputting over 1500 watts and measures in at 180mm deep instead of the typical 220mm figure. As a result, the PSU is fantastic in confined spaces and gives you more room to work with cables. There is a large demand for this reduced size as Micro-ATX cases are capable of accommodating 2-way Crossfire or SLI setups. Furthermore, it is now possible on M-ATX motherboards to attain high overclocks using a 240mm radiator in a custom loop or closed loop solution. This configuration all amounts to a high power draw and usually unsuitable PSU length to allow for heavy load. For an extreme user, this PSU would allow for a 295×2 Crossfire build in compact cases and handle games at extreme resolutions. Currently, the 295×2 is available from Overclockers UK for £499 and I would recommended it alongside this particular power supply.

Silverstone PSU 1

The Strider Gold S has been finished in lead-free and scratch resistant black paint containing an embossed Silverstone logo. This creates a clean, neutral look that fits builds across a wide range of colour schemes. There are also stickers for the modular cable placements and the standard branding identifier. Silverstone also made a conscience effort to reduce dust build-up by blocking off the modular connectors that aren’t in use. These plastic tabs work brilliantly and means you have to apply less compressed air when cleaning the entire unit.

Silverstrone PSU 6

Onto the rear, there are 4 mounting screw holes and a mammoth C20 power outlet connector. The Strider Gold S doesn’t feature a manual flick switch for either on/off or voltage but the active Power Factor Correction automatically alters the output depending on your PC’s power draw. This happens on cold boot and shutdown when you hear a distinct click which is the embedded PFC switching to a suitable amount of peak power which heightens the efficiency and prolongs the product’s lifespan. You will need to use the included C19 IEC 320 AC adapter which is rated at 16A. Silverstone recommends that you avoid using an extension plug or surge protector but I doubt you will encounter any issues providing your electricity has a stable throughput.

With a max load of around 1600 watts, you are going to require a lot of cables and thankfully Silverstone has you covered. Included is a 20+4 pin MB, 2x CPU 4+4, 8x PCI-E 6+2, 16x SATA, 6x Peripheral (for devices like an LED strip) and 2x floppy cables. These cables are constructed with a flexible coating making them easy to bend around corners neatly tie away behind the back of your chassis. Overall, the finish is exceptionally high without any visible wiring, uneven widths or bent treads.

However, there is a major problem with the 20+4 pin connector which utilizes an awkward additional 4 pin end that requires a lot of force to fit properly into the unit. I usually go for a delicate approach, and this just made the 4 pin cable fall out. You have to apply quite a bit of pressure as the contact point is fairly far back. Subsequently, this makes you feel constrained as the cable is extremely hard to put in/out. Thankfully, this cable isn’t a necessity and the power will still be reliable without it being plugged in. The cable lengths are more than ample for even the most complicated setup and you shouldn’t experience any problems when routing.

The DC fan operates at a minimum of 18dBA and peak temperature of 40C to maintain the quoted gold efficiency. Surpassing the maximum temperature threshold could yield a reduced efficiency so be wary of your system’s ability to maintain 40C.  I tested the PSU in a smaller, claustrophobic mATX case and the maximum recorded delta was 44C.  Despite this, exceeding the 80+ rate didn’t effect the efficiency in a noticeable way as there was only a 1% discrepancy. Under heavy load, the fan curve increased but not in an overly audible manner which lends itself to virtually silent usage. Under 600 watts, 18dBA was achievable on the 135mm fan which made the system quiet whilst maintaining around 40C. I even tested the fan on a day’s cycle of OCCT with 2 cards and couldn’t hear anything obnoxious from the PSU as the fan reached a limit of 32dBA.

Silverstone PSU 1

Silverstone’s ST-1500-GS is built by Enhance and maintains a strict voltage regulation of ±3% resulting in a very low ripple effect. The ripple via ATX standards is managed within a 50-120 mVp-p range and minor variations improves the product’s lifespan and possible power consistency. In this particular case, the ripple was kept to a bare minimum and a major improvement over other power supplies. Moving onto the efficiency testing, the results were a little mixed.

At low power demands between 200-400watts, the PSU barely reached the gold standard at 87%. In all honestly, this PSU isn’t designed for optimal idle states and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are hitting at least 700 watts on a regular basis. At 50%, the figure hits 90% and 87% when power reaches the upper limits of 75%.

Silverstone PSU 1

The end result is a PSU that performs admirably on medium-full load and hits the quoted gold rating. Its application of power is reliable and extremely consistent even when hitting extreme wattage. I still think the low draw figures could be worked on, but this is only a minor grienvance and a possible after-effect of the mindblowing heat to wattage ratio. Silverstone set our their priorities with heavy load as they rightfully don’t expect the end-user buying this product to be running at less than 500watts for a significant time.

Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?

The Silverstone Strider Gold S 1500W is an impeccably made power supply and the best in its class when you factor in the impressive size, high effiency rating and quiet operation.  I do feel the 3 year warranty is short and should be extended to 5 years so the PSU feels like more of an investment and better value-for-money.  Nevertheless, Silverstone are renowned for producing dependable products and the ST1500-GS is no different.

Silverstone Strider Gold S 1500W Power Supply Summary:

Print

  • Time Used – 13 Days
  • System Specs – Intel i7 4770K, 16GB RAM, 8GB Sapphire 290X
  • Software Used – OCCT, Prime95, 3DMark, CPU-Z, HWMonitor
  • Acquisition Method – Review Unit
  • Date Released – Q4 2014
  • Availability – Amazon
  • Warranty – 3 Years
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  • thehistoricalgamer

    Is that Amazon link by availability suppose to take you somewhere? Looks like a dead link.

    • AdamAmes

      Fixed that. Again….

      Sometimes working with WordPress is such a pain in the backside.