A Closer Look (Cont’d)
As we said earlier, the ST50EF-Plus is well suited to SFF and HTPC builds, but what about powering a desktop gaming rig or other high-end PC? In this day and age of 700W to 1,000W power supplies, is a 500W unit enough? It might come as a surprise that the majority of modern PC’s actually use only 200 watts or less of power (75% typical efficiency x 200 watts AC in = 150 watts DC load). For example: I measured the AC power consumption during idle, CPU load, and gaming conditions of a modest PC (Athlon 64 3200+, (2) Corsair 512 MB XMS 3200XL RAM, and GF6600GT PCI-e 128 MB video card). Here is what I found:
System idle (sitting at Windows XP desktop) 112 watts AC
CPU full load (Folding@Home) 139 watts AC
Gaming benchmarks (3DMark2001SE) 158 watts AC
But let’s not stop thereâ€¦ I recently used the ST50EF-Plus while reviewing the Koolance PC4-1025BK liquid cooling system. This rig included a Pentium Extreme Edition dual core 955 CPU, (2) Corsair CM2X512-8000UL DDR RAM, and two nVIDIA 7800GTX 512 MB video cards.
With both CPU cores fully loaded and running benchmarks on the twin GPUs, I recorded the following measurements.
System idle (sitting at Windows XP desktop) 252 watts AC
CPU full load (CPUBurn x 4) 336 watts AC
Gaming benchmarks (3DMark06) 433 watts AC
If we assume an 84% conversion efficiency at the highest load (433 watts AC x .84 = 364 watts DC), this results in a maximum DC load of 364 watts; well within the ST50EF-Plus’ rated 500W capacity. It also fits neatly into the PC-V1000 chassis, which won’t accommodate a longer, high capacity power supply without modification.
The SilverStone Element power supply has a full assortment of cables and connectors. The main wiring harnesses measure approximately 20’~21′ long to the first connector and all of the main power cables and two PCI-E cables are covered with black plastic mesh sleeving.
- Main power connector (24-pin/20-pin)
- ATX 12V (4-pin) using adapter from EPS 12V 8-pin
- EPS 12V (8-pin)
- (2) PCI Express (6-pin)
- (6) Peripheral Optical/HDD (4-pin)
- (2) Peripheral FDD (4-pin)
- (6) Serial ATA (15-pin)
Two adapter cables come with the Element ST50EF-Plus: one 24-pin to 20-pin adapter and one 8-pin to 4-pin 12V adapter. Note: A 24-pin connector can be plugged into a 20-pin motherboard socket and an 8-pin 12V connector can be plugged into a 4-pin motherboard socket, as long as there are no other components mounted nearby that physically block the larger connectors.
The +12V adapter cable that was supplied with my review sample and all early shipments of the ST50EF-Plus, combines the two +12V1 wires with the two +12V2 wires during the transition from the +12V 8-pin connector to the +12V 4-pin (ATX) connector. Under some conditions, this may shift too much load onto one +12V output or the other and cause a PSU shutdown, even though the combined load doesn’t exceed 36A.
SilverStone has replaced this adapter with a new one that only passes the two +12V2 wires in the 8-pin connector to the 4-pin connector. In the unlikely event you are experiencing problems with a SilverStone Element-Plus PSU that seems related to overloading the +12V outputs, and you are using the adapter shown above, contact the SilverStone branch office nearest you and they will send you a new adapter at no charge.
Here are a few pictures showing the layout and components inside the Element ST50EF power supply.
Note the large black capacitor at bottom-left in the next picture with a 105Â°C A3 rating => industrial grade components.