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 there… 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. 

 

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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. 

 

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  • 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.

 

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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. 

 

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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.

 

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Note the large black capacitor at bottom-left in the next picture with a 105°C A3 rating => industrial grade components.

 

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