SilverStone SX800-LTI PSU Review

[Update, 4/17/2018: SilverStone informed us that all new SX800-LTI units are equipped with an double ball-bearing fan]

SilverStone is known for constantly pushing the power density of its PSUs higher. The SX800-LTI is a solid example of this: in addition to compact dimensions, it can also deliver 800W of power. That's more than enough for a potent gaming PC with a couple of high-end graphics cards installed.

We're only disappointed by its single EPS connector, which renders the SX800-LTI incompatible with enthusiast-oriented motherboards that need extra power for the CPU, requiring a second one. In our opinion, every 750W+ PSU, regardless of form factor, should have two EPS connectors. Ideally, even high-end 650W units should follow this example.

The SX800-LTI is based on an efficient platform from Enhance Electronics. It features fully modular cabling and uses Japanese capacitors exclusively for increased reliability. To facilitate quieter operation, Enhance arms its design with a semi-passive mode that keeps the fan from spinning under light and moderate loads. Thanks to an excellent efficiency rating, thermal loads are kept low, so the fan doesn't need to move much air. Still, because of the PSU's compact dimensions and high capacity (at least as far as the SFX-L category goes), we expect a densely-populated enclosure, and that doesn't make cooling easy. This is the main problem in compact PSUs: cramped boards often allow for heat to build up quickly. But for high capacity and good ripple suppression, you need lots of components. Some of them, like the main transformer and the APFC's bulk caps, have to be large enough to enable increased power levels. During our detailed noise measurements, we'll pay particular attention to the fan profile's aggressiveness. Our tests will also shine some light on the cooling system's effectiveness, especially under stressful conditions characterized by brutal operating temperatures.

Specifications

The SX800-LTI features high efficiency certifications: it earns the 80 PLUS program's top level and the second-best rating from Cybenetics. Moreover, it carries a LAMBDA-S++ rating, indicating that noise output falls between 30-35 dB(A). SilverStone's maximum operating temperature is restricted at 40°C, which we'd expect from an Enhance platform. However, in our experience, we shouldn't have any problem at higher temperatures.

All necessary protection features are present, including the over-temperature protection we find in most Enhance designs. The fan failure feature is mostly provided in server units; in desktop PSUs, OTP saves the day in case the fan breaks down.

Speaking of fans, we expected a higher-quality one in the SX800-LTI, not a plain sleeve bearing-based cooler. This is probably why SilverStone only includes a three-year warranty.

Power Specifications

Rail3.3V5V12V5VSB-12V
Max. PowerAmps1615662.50.3
Watts8079212.53.6
Total Max. Power (W)800

The minor rails look weak, given their 80W of maximum combined power. However, most modern systems don't need much from the 5V and 3.3V rails. On the other hand, the +12V rail is very heavily utilized, and SilverStone's SX800-LTI delivers up to 66A on that one. Finally, the 5VSB rail has a fairly typical capacity of 12.5W.

Cables And Connectors

Modular Cables
DescriptionCable CountConnector Count (Total)Gauge
ATX connector 20+4 pin (300mm)1116-22AWG
4+4 pin EPS12V (410mm)1116AWG
6+2 pin PCIe (400mm+150mm) 1216-18AWG
6+2 pin PCIe (550mm+150mm) 1216-18AWG
SATA (300mm+200mm+90mm+90mm)31218AWG
Four-pin Molex (300mm+200mm+200mm)1318AWG
FDD Adapter (+110mm)1122AWG

The cables are designed to be short, since this PSU is mostly intended for compact cases. It would be nice, though, if SilverStone offered two versions of this PSU: one with short cables and one with longer ones for use in bigger enclosures.

Although you get a satisfactory number of PCIe connectors, a third pair would be nice in light of this PSU's 800W capacity. On the contrary, just one EPS connector is a huge let-down. We really wonder why many OEMs are so conservative when it comes to tacking on a second EPS connector.

Finally, the distance between peripheral connectors is good. We did find it interesting that the SATA cables have a second connector located 20cm away from the first one, while the third and forth connectors are closer together.

Power Distribution

Since this PSU features a single +12V rail, we do not have anything to say about its power distribution.

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  • shrapnel_indie
    I know a guy that used to work for SLM at one time in his life. On one of the products for the company brands owned, he could mod it (it was a musical instrument amplifier) for just a couple of pennies and could have saved the company large sums of money on warranty work and improve reliability. He proposed the change, and it was denied because it broke the price-point, and warranties would cover any issues anyway.

    When bean-counters run the show, products will suffer, just so the price-point isn't exceeded and (now days particularly, immediate) profits are maximized. Makes me wonder if Silverstone listened to their bean-counters a little too much.
  • Aris_Mp
    The thing I appreciate in SilverStone is that they didn't follow the marketing war in the warranty periods. For me it is really weird to see 10-12 years warranty in PSUs. Now with the mining craziness many companies are trying to find ways to get out of this.
  • seanwilson5274
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  • derekullo
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  • SilverStone Guy
    Anonymous said:
    When bean-counters run the show, products will suffer, just so the price-point isn't exceeded and (now days particularly, immediate) profits are maximized. Makes me wonder if Silverstone listened to their bean-counters a little too much.


    If bean-counters had their way, a PSU like this would have never been released in the first place! It's a very niche product that will not sell in significant quantities. Implementing sleeve bearing fan was not a cost-cutting move, it was out of necessity to keep the PSU noise low for the intended applications. At the time of development, FDB version of this fan was not yet available to us.