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SilverStone Strider Gold S 1500W PSU Review

SilverStone has a long tradition of offering small PSUs, and the new ST1500-GS is an excellent example of this, achieving an impressive 646 watt per liter power density score.

Our Verdict

If you are shopping for a powerful PSU with compact dimensions, then your choices are limited. SilverStone's ST1500-GS offers decent performance; however, it's high price tag results in a low performance-per-dollar score. If your chassis can handle a larger PSU, then there are better options in this price range.

For

  • Full power at 47 °C • Decent ripple suppression (except on 5VSB) • Lots of connectors • Compact dimensions • Quality caps • Efficiency at 5VSB

Against

  • Efficiency • Hold-up time • Ripple suppression at 5VSB • Spotted some build-quality issues • Short warranty • Lacks on/off switch

Introduction

SilverStone is a company with a strong presence in the PSU market and its portfolio includes a very rich variety of products, covering every market segment from low-end to high-end PSUs. Many SilverStone PSUs feature high-power density, including the flagship ST1500-GS unit, which achieves an impressive 646 watt per liter score, thanks to its low depth for such a high-capacity PSU, which is only 18 centimeters. To give you an idea of the compact dimensions of the ST1500-GS, its predecessor had 225 mm length, the same with the EVGA 1600 P2/G2 units. Only Enermax with its Platimax 1500 platform, the same used by the LEPA G1600 and P1700 units, managed to squeeze so many watts in such a small PCB. In most cases, users who need such powerful PSUs will most likely install them in full-tower chassis where the PSU compartments can easily accommodate very large units. However, this doesn't mean that there won't be users in need of a smaller, but still powerful PSU, and this is where the ST1500-GS comes in.

The ST1500-GS belongs to the Strider Gold S series, which includes five units with capacities ranging from 550 W to 1500 W. According to SilverStone, this line includes the world's smallest, fully modular ATX PSUs. This seems like an accurate claim; the ST1500-GS is very compact for a 1500 W unit, while the ST85F-GS measures in at only 15 cm depth and the rest of the Strider Gold S series units are just 14 cm long. In addition, all Strider Gold S PSUs feature Gold efficiency, which might not be considered high-end anymore, but this is still high enough for the majority of users. Moreover, Gold PSUs are now offered at reasonable prices, which in many cases come out to be significantly lower than their Platinum and Titanium counterparts.

Specifications

Efficiency is compatible with the 80 Plus Gold requirements and, according to SilverStone's specs, the unit can deliver its full power continuously at up to 40 degrees Celsius, while the ATX spec recommends at least 50 C. In any case, we will crank up the heat inside our hot box at up to 45 C (and maybe even higher) and if something goes wrong, the complete protections set that equips this PSU will most likely save the unit. With Over Temperature Protection (OTP), situations that usually lead to the PSU's failure can be avoided.

The cooling of this unit is handled by a double ball-bearing fan from Young Lin Tech, which isn't supported by a semi-passive mode. Since such high-capacity PSUs need increased airflow, typically very powerful fans are used; these fans need high start-up voltages, meaning their lower attainable speeds are still high enough to produce increased noise. Although we aren't in favor of the semi-passive mode, the fact is, that with the proper internal design (including beefy heat sinks), this mode can offer significantly reduced noise output at lower loads, especially in PSUs with fans that fit the above description.

The major selling point of this unit is depicted in its compact dimensions. However, in this case, 18-cm length for 1500 W isn't so impressive since the LEPA G1600 and P1700 units offer even more wattage with the same dimensions. Finally, the major downsides of the ST1500-GS are the big price tag and the really short warranty period for this category of PSUs.

Power Specifications

Rail3.3V5V12V112V25VSB-12V
Max. PowerAmps252570703.50.3
Watts150144017.53.6
Total Max. Power (W)1500 (1600 Peak)

The PSU has two virtual +12V rails; we call them virtual because they aren't regulated by dedicated circuits, but are just separated by Over Current Protection (OCP). It has actually been several years since the last time we encountered a truly two +12V rail PSU (CWT PUC platform).

Cables And Connectors

Modular Cables
DescriptionCable CountConnector Count (Total)
ATX connector 20+4 pin (550mm)11
4+4 pin EPS12V (750mm)11
4+4 pin EPS12V (550mm)11
6+2 pin PCIe (550mm+145mm)48
SATA (600mm+140mm+140mm+140mm)416
SATA (300mm+190mm+90mm+90mm)14
4 pin Molex (600mm+150mm+150mm) / FDD (+150mm)26 / 2

The PSU has enough EPS and PCIe connectors to deliver its max power efficiently. Moreover, we found an additional SATA cable, so the number of the corresponding connectors is 20 in total, instead of the advertised 16. In addition, the number of 4-pin peripheral connectors is adequate, and SilverStone provides two FDD connectors in case some users still use them.

The main ATX cable should be at least 60 cm long, which it isn’t, since this PSU will most likely be installed in a full tower chassis and it isn't wise to use cable extenders, especially in a 1.5 kW PSU. As you can see from the table above, there are two EPS cables, one short and one really long, while the PCIe cables are long enough and the distance between PCIe connectors is enough to cover any case. The majority of SATA cables have enough length and a large distance between the connectors; the same applies to the pair of cables hosting the peripheral connectors. Finally, the 24-pin ATX connector, along with the EPS and PCIe connectors use thicker, 16AWG gauges, while all the rest of the connectors use 18AWG wires.

Power Distribution

Power Distribution
12V1ATX, EPS (2x), PCIe socket (1x), SATA, Peripheral
12V2PCIe sockets (3x)

The six shunt resistors that we found on the modular PCB indicate that this platform was initially designed with six +12V rails. However, it looks as if Enhance Electronics -- the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for this PSU -- decided to drop the number of +12V rails to two by shorting them together in groups of three. One of the two +12V rails feeds three of the four PCIe sockets on the modular PCB, while the other one powers the rest of the sockets. In our opinion, power distribution could be better and SilverStone should mix the fourth PCIe socket with the EPS sockets. However, we should mention that we didn't encounter any OCP problems during our test sessions, even when we overloaded the PSU with up to 1650 W.

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Power Supplies in the Forums

  • Eggz
    Too bad for this model, but I can't wait to see what this watt-per-litre ratio does for SFX!
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    I would not be that bothered by the lack of a physical switch: most people plug their PC in a power strip, surge protector or UPS and these usually have their own switch.

    Someone bothered enough by the 5VSB power draw to bend under their desk or reach over wherever the switch ends up being in their setup to switch the PSU off should be similarly bothered by the standby power draw of their displays, USB hub, external HDDs and other devices enough to want to turn them all off as well. The simplest way to achieve that is plugging everything into one power strip and turning everything on/off at once from there.

    Also, leaving the 5VSB supply on 24/7 costs less than $0.20/year in power. How much does a replacement CR2032 battery cost and how many power-off hours does it last? It might be cheaper to leave the 5VSB power on.

    The only time where I cut power completely off is during power outages to spare my components all the surges and sags over the first few seconds after power comes back on.
    Reply
  • Blueberries
    I don't think I'll ever have a use personally for a 1500w PC, but if I need that kind of juice this is exactly what I'd be looking at.

    Not the best option, clearly, but what you'd expect from a Gold rated PSU and solid build integrity that should last a long time. I would test this PSU without a fan or with a low noise Noctua fan.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    I would not be that bothered by the lack of a physical switch: most people plug their PC in a power strip, surge protector or UPS and these usually have their own switch.

    Someone bothered enough by the 5VSB power draw to bend under their desk or reach over wherever the switch ends up being in their setup to switch the PSU off should be similarly bothered by the standby power draw of their displays, USB hub, external HDDs and other devices enough to want to turn them all off as well. The simplest way to achieve that is plugging everything into one power strip and turning everything on/off at once from there.

    Also, leaving the 5VSB supply on 24/7 costs less than $0.20/year in power. How much does a replacement CR2032 battery cost and how many power-off hours does it last? It might be cheaper to leave the 5VSB power on.

    The only time where I cut power completely off is during power outages to spare my components all the surges and sags over the first few seconds after power comes back on.

    While I agree with you for the most part, I have had a set of Creative Labs speakers for 10 years that have a remote that use a CR2032 and it is still good with plenty of use and standby time.

    I do agree though that it is annoying not to have the switch on the PSU. Of course I look at it from a repair point of view where having that option is faster than pulling the plug every time I would need to test something.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    16447176 said:
    While I agree with you for the most part, I have had a set of Creative Labs speakers for 10 years that have a remote that use a CR2032 and it is still good with plenty of use and standby time.
    A good battery-operated remote tries very hard to minimize leakage and standby current while a computer RTC which may expect to have 5VSB power available all the time except during power outages has little reason to go to extremes to minimize battery power draw.

    My old Sears TV's remote drains 4xAA in less than a year.
    Reply
  • mctylr
    I would not be that bothered by the lack of a physical switch: most people plug their PC in a power strip, surge protector or UPS and these usually have their own switch.

    In my experience the power supply switch is primarily a convenience, used to ensure a power supply and connected system is de-energized when servicing the computer; inserting or removing components, such as swapping video cards, installing storage drives, etc. This is because the 5VSB (5 volt stand-by) is supplied by the motherboard to PCI and PCI express slots, as well as obviously flowing across a few of the PCB traces, so it is recommended to disconnect power, including stand-by voltage to prevent accidents.
    Reply
  • Frozen Fractal
    Errrm, there's a typo in the article. Look at page 3, the same paragraph has been repeated :)
    Reply
  • Frozen Fractal
    While I don't bother about in-build power switches so much since I always switch off/on via the main wall socket anyway, but it's a nice addition to cater to everyone's need, which is especially expected in these kind of high-wattage PSUs. When we talk about 1.5kW, compromise is what people would reluctantly want.

    Judging by the actual results of the PSU, I think "80+ Silver" should've fitted nicely with it. That way, it wouldn't defame "80+ Gold" Standard :P What I mean actually is, it's barely holding on to the 80+ gold standard. While it doesn't actually translate to significant deal breaker, it's somewhat disappointing to see 550W-approved things in this 1.5kW unit.

    However, the PCB neatness certainly gets my thumbs up. Among the most units I've seen from different distributors and OEMs, this one looks very neat (apart from the gooey use of solder there, Ewwww!), components are arranged very nicely, and there aren't any glue (or whatever you wanna say them) oozing out from or underneath heatsinks and FETs.
    Reply