With so many mediocre power supplies on the market, most users don’t know how much power they actually need. We’re certain there will be a lot of discussion about the adequacy of a 400 W unit, but our own testing has shown that even our high-end quad-SLI $4000 build needed less than 600 W peak power.
Knowing that we wouldn’t need more than 400 watts, we looked for a quality part that could truly meet its rated capacity while providing the vast majority of that power over the 12V rails. The Silverstone ST400 suits this purpose perfectly.
Providing up to 18 amps on each 12 V rail but only 348 watts combined 12 V power, the ST400 is strong enough to power all our components even in an overclocked state. Given that most of our power will be going to graphics cards, we’re not so sure that there’s enough power left for any large upgrades, but at least we know Silverstone’s quality will keep this system running in its current hardware configuration for a very long time.
Knowing that some users would be powering a quad-core processor along with many drives and accessories at once, Silverstone didn’t include a second PCI-Express connector for use with “big” cards or SLI. Fortunately, Gigabyte includes 4-pin to PCI-Express power adapters with each 8800 GT graphics card, and our lack of extra drives and accessories left us plenty of connectors and capacity to use one of Gigabyte’s power adapters.
Case Cooling: OKGEAR D12SL-12
Our chosen case included a single intake and single exhaust fan, and the two were perfectly capable of keeping internal temperatures tolerable. So why add fans to such a low-heat system? For overclocking, of course!
Rated at 47 CFM and 28 decibels per fan, the OKGEAR D12SL-12 120mm fans are the best low-cost fans we could find. These are produced by famed high-value fan manufacturer Yate Loon and sell for only $4.50 each.
Our Cooler Master Centurion 590 case supports two additional intake fans on the side and two exhaust fans on top, but we bought only two fans total. These will be attached to the side panel over the CPU cooler and graphics card, since the placement is perfect for cooling these components, turning the top fan mounts into passive outlets for the positive pressure created.
- Cheap and Easy
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E7200
- Motherboard: MSI P7N SLI Platinum
- Graphics: Two Gigabyte GeForce 8800 GT
- Memory: Crucial Ballistix PC2-6400 (2 GB)
- Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 500 GB
- Case: Cooler Master Centurion 590
- The Problem of Bottom-Mounted Power
- Power Supply: Silverstone ST400
- Test System Configuration
- 3D Games: Crysis, Prey
- Supreme Commander, UT3, Warhammer
- Audio, Video
- Synthetics, Continued