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SilverStone SX550 SFX PSU Review

SilverStone continues to enrich its SFX PSU portfolio. One of the most recent additions is the SX550, a budget-oriented unit featuring Gold-class efficiency and fixed cables instead of modular ones. As you can tell, it's intended to bring prices down.

Efficiency, Temperature And Noise

Efficiency

Our efficiency testing procedure is detailed here.

Using the results from the previous page, we plotted a chart showing the SX550's efficiency at low loads and loads from 10 to 110 percent of its maximum-rated capacity.

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The ACRF topology cannot match more advanced and more expensive designs when it comes to efficiency. The SX550 scores last under normal loads, while under light loads it manages to surpass two SFX-based competitors.

Efficiency At Low Loads

In the following tests, we measure the SX550's efficiency at loads significantly lower than 10 percent of its maximum capacity (the lowest load the 80 PLUS standard measures). The loads we dialed were 20, 40, 60 and 80W. This is important for representing when a PC is idle, with power-saving features turned on.

Test #12V5V3.3V5VSBDC/AC (Watts)EfficiencyFan SpeedFan NoisePF/AC Volts
11.211A0.491A0.471A0.195A19.6368.81%1495 RPM27.8 dB(A)0.859
12.017V5.100V3.378V5.055V28.53115.2V
22.453A0.980A0.977A0.395A39.7479.82%1495 RPM27.8 dB(A)0.953
12.013V5.093V3.370V5.042V49.79115.1V
33.698A1.467A1.485A5.028A59.8484.07%1495 RPM27.8 dB(A)0.973
12.005V5.085V3.363V5.028V71.18115.1V
44.931A1.964A1.965A0.795A79.7086.00%1495 RPM27.8 dB(A)0.976
11.996V5.078V3.355V5.013V92.68115.1V

Under 20 W of load, efficiency drops below 70 percent. We don't like to see this. However, in the next three tests, the SX550 achieves decent efficiency levels. The fan's noise is kept low throughout all low-load tests.

5VSB Efficiency

The ATX specification states that 5VSB standby supply efficiency should be as high as possible, recommending 50 percent or higher with 100 mA of load, 60 percent or higher with 250 mA of load and 70 percent or higher with 1 A or more of load.

We take four measurements: one each at 100, 250 and 1000 mA, and one with the full load the 5VSB rail can handle. 

Test #5VSBDC/AC (Watts)EfficiencyPF/AC Volts
10.101A0.5172.86%0.113
5.055V0.70115.2V
20.251A1.2778.40%0.219
5.048V1.62157.6V
31.002A5.0380.74%0.384
5.015V6.23157.6V
42.501A12.3777.07%0.456
4.947V16.05115.1V

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The 5VSB rail achieves decent performance overall.

Power Consumption In Idle And Standby

In the table below, you'll find the power consumption and voltage values of all rails (except -12V) when the PSU is idle (powered on, but without any load on its rails), and the power consumption when the PSU is in standby mode (without any load, at 5VSB).

Mode12V5V3.3V5VSBWattsPF/AC Volts
Idle12.041V5.108V3.385V5.058V8.830.530
115.1V
Standby0.120.021
115.1V
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With a little lower vampire power, the SX550 would attain improved results in our 5VSB efficiency measurements. Be that as it may, this PSU easily meets the ErP Lot 6 2013 directive's requirements with both voltage inputs.

Fan RPM, Delta Temperature And Output Noise

Our mixed noise testing is described in detail here.

The first chart below illustrates the cooling fan's speed (in RPM), and the delta between input and output temperature. The results were obtained at 38 °C (100.4 °F) to 47 °C (116.6 °F) ambient temperature.   

The next chart shows the cooling fan's speed (again, in RPM) and output noise. We measured acoustics from one meter away, inside a small, custom-made anechoic chamber with internals completely covered in sound-proofing material (be quiet! Noise Absorber kit). Background noise inside the chamber was below 18 dB(A) during testing, and the results were obtained with the PSU operating at 38 °C (100.4 °F) to 47 °C (116.6 °F) ambient temperature. 

The following graph illustrates the fan's output noise over the PSU's operating range. The same conditions of the above graph apply to our measurements, though the ambient temperature was between at 28 °C (82.4 °F) to 30 °C (86 °F).  

At normal operating temperatures, the SX550 achieves quiet enough operation, especially if we take into account its small dimensions and 80 mm fan. Up to around 200 W, the noise output is under 28 dB(A), while it exceeds 40 dB(A) with higher than 275 W loads. Noise drops again within 37-40 dB(A) for a short period, and with higher than 400 W loads it reaches the 43-46 dB(A) region.

  • turkey3_scratch
    It doesn't seem like Silverstone can get anything right these days. I don't see how they can't include a rubber grommet where the wires leave the cage. When people are bending those wires around the case, they can easily rub up against a sharp edge like that and cut through the insulation or even damage the wires and increase the resistance. For $95 this is a rip off, I think it should be priced at $75. It's pretty loud, too.

    Also, according to your thing the PS113 doesn't support OTP, even though this unit seems to. It also seems to support UVP. Doesn't quite make sense to me. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/power-supplies-101,4193-22.html
    Reply
  • Aris_Mp
    Most supervisor ICs don't support OTP, so this protection is implemented through other circuits in PSUs that actually have OTP.
    Reply
  • Clamyboy74
    Having few cables is the point of an sfx psu. Sfx cases don't have much driver space, and short wires are good for small cases. Who in their right mind would but an sfx psu for use in a mod tower case, especially with a $95 price tag? When you review sfx psu's please bear into consideration that these are made for use in small cases, where short cables, few connectors are deal breakers for consumers. Thank you.
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    The thing that hurts this unit is that there is no common hardware configuration that will fit into an SFX case and require more than a 400W power supply like the Corsair SF which is much better. Most high-end AMD GPUs like the R9 390 are just way too large to even fit into an SFX case. If you think of cards that can actually fit into an SFX case, they are going to be small form factor cards, which are almost always under 200W, or these days even quite less. CPU overclocking to extremes can't be done in SFX cases with limited cooler sizes and due to airflow restrictions, so, really, I don't see a position in the market where this unit can be competitive over the Corsair SF400. And since this unit does not come with an SFX to ATX bracket, it is implied that nobody will probably install it into a case that takes an ATX PS2 power supply.
    Reply
  • AlistairAB
    I have the corsaif sf450 and can confirm it blows the silverstone out of the water (silverstone never fixed their fan problems with their sfx psus)
    Reply
  • Samer1970
    18459920 said:
    The thing that hurts this unit is that there is no common hardware configuration that will fit into an SFX case and require more than a 400W power supply like the Corsair SF which is much better. Most high-end AMD GPUs like the R9 390 are just way too large to even fit into an SFX case. If you think of cards that can actually fit into an SFX case, they are going to be small form factor cards, which are almost always under 200W, or these days even quite less. CPU overclocking to extremes can't be done in SFX cases with limited cooler sizes and due to airflow restrictions, so, really, I don't see a position in the market where this unit can be competitive over the Corsair SF400. And since this unit does not come with an SFX to ATX bracket, it is implied that nobody will probably install it into a case that takes an ATX PS2 power supply.

    how about Titan X Pascal cards / 1080 ti? They consume 435Watt total System power.
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    Not quite samer and not cards that would fit in an SFX case.

    Also, my bad guys, I meant SF450 not 400.
    Reply
  • Samer1970
    18460559 said:
    Not quite samer and not cards that would fit in an SFX case.

    Also, my bad guys, I meant SF450 not 400.

    maybe you should check the following cases :

    http://www.fractal-design.com/home/product/cases/node-series/node-202

    http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=533

    http://www.silverstonetek.com/raven/products/index.php?model=RVZ02

    https://www.ncases.com/

    https://www.dan-cases.com/
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    If you own a 1080Ti why would you get a mediocre PSU like this anyway? Once again, it doesn't seem to have a purpose at all. Once power requirements get anywhere past 300W you probably have high-end hardware in which case a unit like this is a poor choice over the SF600.

    Budget power supplies over 500W really have no place in this world. People purchase budget power supplies over 500W for three reasons:

    1) They have high end hardware and underestimate the need for a quality PSU
    2) They are uninformed and think "more watts" is better.
    3) They overestimate their power requirements.

    I suppose you could argue if they have 225W of hardware a 550W unit like this is perfect in terms of efficiency. Okay, maybe so. But that depends on how much you value efficiency, I suppose.

    The unit still performs poorly compared to Corsair. It's true, Corsair SF dominate the SFX market with the best units.
    Reply
  • Samer1970
    18460649 said:
    If you own a 1080Ti why would you get a mediocre PSU like this anyway? Once again, it doesn't seem to have a purpose at all. Once power requirements get anywhere past 300W you probably have high-end hardware in which case a unit like this is a poor choice over the SF600.

    Budget power supplies over 500W really have no place in this world. People purchase budget power supplies over 500W for three reasons:

    1) They have high end hardware and underestimate the need for a quality PSU
    2) They are uninformed and think "more watts" is better.
    3) They overestimate their power requirements.

    I suppose you could argue if they have 225W of hardware a 550W unit like this is perfect in terms of efficiency. Okay, maybe so. But that depends on how much you value efficiency, I suppose.

    The unit still performs poorly compared to Corsair. It's true, Corsair SF dominate the SFX market with the best units.

    Does not need to be 1080 ti , any 250 watt GPU card ... from 390 , 390x to others .. there are people on budget and use such cards in compact systems .

    I just mentioned gtx 1080 ti as a modern example ..
    Reply