Final Thoughts and Conclusions
SilverStone recently introduced two new entry level SFX power supplies for small form factor enthusiasts, the ST30SF (V2.0) and the ST45SF (V3.0). Their most obvious feature is small size, but the power supplies also incorporates a new larger 92mm cooling fan instead of the 80mm fan used in previous models, which results in very quiet operation. Either unit would make a nice upgrade for your next SFX build over a cheap generic power supply.
Both SFX power supplies delivered very good voltage regulation and kept AC ripple and noise well under control; even while operating at 100% load and elevated temperatures. The ST30SF and ST45SF easily met the 80 Plus Bronze efficiency certification requirements and both units include an SFX to ATX adapter bracket so they can be installed in a small ATX style enclosure if desired.
On the down side, we were disappointed to see that both new models are only backed by a 3-year warranty and have their max operating temperatures de-rated from 50°C to 40°C from previous models.
MSRP for the SilverStone ST30SF is $49.99 USD
MSRP for the SilverStone ST45SF is $69.99 USD
• SFX form factor (63x125x100mm HxWxD)
• Very good voltage regulation (±2% on the three main outputs)
• Low AC ripple and noise on the DC outputs
• Very quiet 92mm cooling fan
• 80 Plus Bronze efficiency (82%~85%)
• Single +12V output
• Active PFC with universal AC input
• SFX to ATX adapter bracket included
• 3-Year warranty
• Operating temp de-rated from 50°C to 40°C from previous models
SilverStone ST30SF and ST45SF SFX Power Supplies
Our thanks to SilverStone for sending the two SFX PSUs for review.
I disagree with the negative
I disagree with the negative comment on rerating of the operating temp.
Anyone trying to run high power apps in a small enclosure that is typical of a SFX power supply installation “is doing it wrong”. For small enclosures where SFX power supplies are used, the associated motherboard is typically mini-ITX. Anyone trying to run high power apps on a mini-ITX board “is doing it wrong”. I won’t comment on the “fringe users” that attempt to operate high end, heat-producing monster video cards on mini-ITX mobos strapped to a ridiculously overpriced (and maybe even overclocked) CPU in the absolute smallest case they can find just so they can brag about playing the lastest game at the absolute highest resolution possible in a multi-screen setup (with the largets screens possible, of course).
A major problem with “small form factor anything” is moving heat away from the heat-producing elements. The pictures of internals of these power supplies clearly show that these units are “packed” internally. Physical objects block or otherwise restrict airflow making cooling difficult, unless that device is mated to a high volume fan, but then “noise” can become a problem.
Now move this challenge (small size & heat) to a mini-ITX mobo. Pack any “high end” mini-ITX mobo, and there are just a few of those around, with a high power CPU and the problem changes to mounting an adequate CPU heatsink/fan due to component clearances. Since a lot of high power CPUs have extensive I/O options, the end user may even be trading off a lot of capability for small space. Said another way, if a high power CPU has lots of PCIe lanes, and most of those CPUs can power a pair of PCIe x16 Gen2 or even Gen3 slots, how does one access all of those lanes on a mini-ITX mobo? See my point about tradeoffs?
Now combine SFX power supplies and mini-ITX mobos into those small “cube like” cases. The problem of removing heat from the inside of the case becomes a problem of getting enough airflow across all of the heat-producing elements inside the case. If the intent is to build a relatively quiet PC, heat will build up because the high powered fans needed to move the heat away will not be used because they are too noisy. Such a small case could have “mesh” sides all over the place to help with airflow, but then case rigidity (not to mention appearance) could suffer. Again, there are tradeoffs due to size.
Look at the problem this way:
“high power, small size, low noise, low operating temps – pick any 2”
So I fail to see the value in knocking a manufacturer for derating the operating temps of it’s SFX products to something more inline with “common sense” and “reasonable for typical applications”.
Now, the warranty “knock” seems reasonable in view of the general trend in the industry towards longer warranties on power supplies, but again, consider the platform. SFX is a small chassis compared to typical ATX power supplies, so heat buildup may still be an issue here, unless a noisy high airflow fan is used (but then other mechanical engineering issues related to airflow have to be considered), and heat degrades the lifetime of any quality part no matter who makes it.
Also consider the MSRP prices cited in the article itself. At those prices, expecting a longer warranty seems unreasonable nowadays. Longer warranties typically translate to higher product prices because manufacturers will spend more on longer warranty products, both to produce them and to support them through their warranty lifecycles.
So, while I find Lee’s power supplies reviews to be balanced and informative, I think his negative comments in this review are an attempt to “stir up a tempest inside a teapot”.
Talk about stirring up a
Talk about stirring up a tempest inside a teapot! Your rant about people who max out their mini ITX motherboards is over the top. First of all no one is “doing it wrong” except you. Some of us “fringe users” successfully run “high end” mini ITX motherboards inside of those “cube like” cases without problem “even overclocked”. In fact I have been doing it daily for about three years now using the ST45SF power supply without a single component failure. You do it with water cooling and three Cougar Vortex hydro-dynamic bearing fans. High power, small size, low noise, low operating temps – pick all 4! See my point about trade-offs? Oh and I also have 2 8GB GSkill TridentX overclocked DIMMS, 2 4TB WD enterprise 3.5 HDs in RAID-0 (8TB), two Samsung 256GB SSDs, a Swiftech MCP35X water pump, a Black Ice Xtreme 120mm x 38mm radiator, and room for a double slot mini ITX GPU, all running off a high performance ASUS Maximus VI Impact mini ITX motherboard, inside a version 1.0 NCase M1 chassis. At full load for one hour my chassis, mobo, and quad core CPU temps remain under 40C, and at idle are under 32C and totally silent. With modern parts it would be even better. I don’t see your “trade offs due to size” argument, or your “appearance” argument for that matter. You just don’t know how to do it yet.
Ironically, making a case
Ironically, making a case smaller makes it EASIER to get fresh air to components (and hot air out). You don’t even need a battery of case fans lie you do with a 42L ATX Overcompensator: with good design, the fans on individual components are placed right next to the case intakes, so they will pull in their own fresh air directly.
The previous two comments
The previous two comments have small form factor (SFF) builds figured out.
Stop spouting your theories about SFF builds and comment on the power supplies being reviewed.
SFX Joule worrier?
SFX Joule worrier?
As someone who has done
As someone who has done everything you’re moaning about – what’s your issue?
I have a very nice, very quiet HTPC/gaming PC rigged up that’s entirely water-cooled and using one of the older SFX PSUs from Silverstone. Granted it’s very hard to max the PSU even under load with limited component space, but the PSU fan is inaudible or quieter than the already quiet radiator fans.
I think “ease of building” is the main concern – getting everything in neatly was a nightmare, but entirely possible in the FTZ01.
However, at this wattage, most high end users will go for the 500 or 600W versions, so while your gripes miss the mark in general, in this specific case I’d say they’re fair.
I actually found the 40/50degC rating confusing.
WHY is the home unit rated at a lower temperature if the NAS unit would run longer and be more prone to wear out?
Is that the DERATING concern?
Does the derating concern apply or is there some confusion between the NAS and HOME units?
Version 2 is the NAS unit.
Version 3 is the HOME unit.
“450W continuous power output at 50℃ temperature rated for 24/7 operation (V2.0)
450W continuous power output at 40℃ temperature rated for 24/7 operation (V3.0)”
The site next to the FAN PROFILES also says the SAME thing for both units (“perfect for quiet home or office use”) which doesn’t quite make sense since it says above that V3 is quieter and meant for HOME with V2 meant for NAS/IPC.