Power supply is the main grid for powering up PCs and its components. The power supply manufacturer are in numbers in market, and with high quality supplies, the competition has become even stronger. While the power consumption has been brought down by graphics card manufacturer, high end SLI/CFX setups would still be needed the top of the line units; this is to ensure the continuous and max output of power to the components, high capacity power supplies are required. Meanwhile, to understand which platform has better output, OEMs matters. Well, there are several yet popular OEMs being on the list for many years.
To start with, some top OEMs, such as Seasonic, CWT, Sunflower, Froxtronics and few others have been known as the top power supply makers in industry. So if you’re looking to buy an enthusiastic series power supply, then you would need to consider looking at the OEM behind the particular unit. Enhance OEM has been one of the quality OEM in industry. Being manufacturing high capacity units of Cooler Master, Asus, Rosewill, it has own many units of SilverStone designed power supplies.
SilverStone has been one of the quality PSU designer using popular OEMs to deliver high efficiency units to end consumers, and to industrial levels as well. Lately, I received a power supply unit, media sample, from Silverstone for the review. Courtesy SilverStone.
Today I am taking a look at the SilverStone’s most popular series, the Strider 850 GOLD series, with model – TF85-GS. The power supply has the GOLD certification, delivers up to 91% efficiency on high loads. A modular based design, having dimension of 150 mm (W) x 86 mm (H) x 150 mm (D) and fits in any standard and gaming case. The 850W unit is capable of powering up the high end SLI setup. Having single rail modular design, it offers 70 Ampere on +12V rail configuration, which gives a hefty 840W and 900W peak. SilverStone is offering 3 years of warranty on ST85F-GS PSU.
The Strider GS series comes in 750W and 850W (this sample).
- Compact design with a depth of 150mm for easy integration
- 80 PLUS Gold certification
- 100% modular cables
- 24/7 continuous power output with 40℃ operating temperature
- Class-leading single +12V rail
- Strict ±3% voltage regulation and low ripple & noise
- Silent running 120mm fan with 18dBA minimum
The PSU shipped in a dedicated cardboard box, has a black base color scheme with stylish S designed on it. The top of the box has a SilverStone logo, Strider Gold Series and some features below to it. The wattage is being bold and heavier in the lower part, in addition, the 80 PLUS GOLD Sticker at bottom right.
The bottom side is populated with marketing content..
The side of the box contains cables and connectors details.
The other side has the main specification detail on the current and voltages and max output. the extreme left colum shows, GS series comes in 750W and 850W power supply units. The 850W peaks out at 900W from wall.
I opened the box and my first impression is the PSU straight wrapped up in a plastic bubble bag. The interior packaging does not looks solid as it lacks polyethylene foam, which usually considered for safe shipping. The cables and connectors are sheltered under the card board cover.
Below to it, are a couple of manuals for users who needs some guidance related to power supply and it’s fundamentals. It’s good to see that SilverStone has put some quality detail in the manual related to PSU. You can conduct with the manual if you have any difficulties understanding connectors and vice versa.
I got here a bundle of cables and connectors in black, the flat cable ver popular and appreciated by hardware enthusiasts. Alongside I have a cord cable in black and the plastic bag having extra accessories.
The add-Ons include, Zipties, black strips for Cables, 4 black slot screws and 4 power supply screws.
Cables and Connectors:
SilverStone is using flat cables and collection of the cables are flat from top to bottom, not to mention it’s been popular among hardware enthusiasts and builder.
A 24P Motherboard connector with combine 20P and a separate 4P.
A couple of 4+4P connector for CPU current with flat cabling design.
the SATA cable for HDD, SSD and controllers. There are 2 cables with total of 8 connectors on them, 4 each.
The 4P molex connector packaged in the box. Total of 8 connector details with 4 each on 2 cables.
Here I have the flat PCIE cable with 6+2P allows compatibility to 6P and 8P cards likewise. The package includes 4 single connector base PCIE cables with 8P blue connectivity to PSU and black to video cards.
A Close Look – Exterior
The Power supply is in black color. The top of the Power supply has the an engraved SilverStone on it.
Looking at the sides, the huge sticker pasted contains the specifications of this power supply related to power. The power ratings, however, pretty small in view. The lower left contains the safety certifications, different for different regions. The material texture is plain black and metal, while there is not much designing from company’s point of view.
The fan side is very well designed as expected from the Silverstone. The grill is painted black (Lead free paint) and screwed tightly to ends. In addition, the Warranty Void sticker in white is at the edge of PSU. The top plate is being fixed with the 4 screws at corners.
The fan side has a grill on top with a big SilverStone logo in middle.
Move on front, the power supply is being designed for enthusiastic class, which is why it is fully modular. The connector rail diagram is at lower bottom. The top row has four PCIe connector in blue, and two black, while the two black connectors are EPS. The bottom row has the IDE & SATA and one 24P MB connector.
The back side, as usual, with holes and a brief look inside the PSU. Looking at the backside, the Power cord AC input is located at right corner and the power ON and OFF button is just below to it. This power supply is one of the most compact design with a depth of about 150mm offers an easy installation for most compact to high end rigs.
A Close Look – Interior
Let’s have a tour inside PSU. Once I opened the unit, the first thing come up, is the transparent, grey 120mm silent cooling fan with model, AD1212HS-A71GL, having power rating of 0.44A on 12V consuming 5.28W.
The unit is one of the smallest in ATX category, while the inside is not very housing much of the components. Looking from the top, the unit inside is populated with components, however, with the empty spaces, too, in the middle. The primary and secondary phases have add-on PCBs to assisting the components and to ensure PSU being fully functional.
Closing to the main components, the AC input for Strider GS 850W container with a couple of Y capacitor and then it trails down on main PCB.
Moving towards up, the transformer wrapped in yellow tape placing right behind to heatsink. The primary side has the Capacitors fixed with fluid placed right on the edge of PCB. The extra white fluid spreading out of the place. This unit got only one heatsink and the huge one, taking both corners covered completely.
Here, Strider 850W GS is using Panasonic 330 uF x 420V capacitor, best known for longer durability. Rated at 105C ensures to have a higher durability under extreme circumstances. When connected in parallel, it makes up-to 660 uF on 420V. This value might be suprising for many, yes, definitely. However, this is how capacitors in parallel replicate the results.
The primary side has the PWM board, controls the PWM function for Power supply.
ON the secondary side, the bunch of wires grouped together, leading onto the modular phase, powering up the connectors. The yellow ones are directly from side of the board, while the other ones taking different route.
The secondary capacitors are the mixture of Taiwanese Taicon, Aishi and Teapo. The taicon comes in better quality. So it’s kind of mixture of good and slightly low quality secondary capacitors inside the power supply.
The Teapo brand capacitor I was talking about. It’s placed right in the middle.
Lastly, the modular PCB pictured on the secondary side, is very well soldered by Enahnce Technology.
Test Bed and Procedure.
For Power Supply testing, following specification is used.
- Intel Core i5 8400 2.8GHz (6 Core – 3.9GHZ Boost)
- Asus PRIME Z370P Motherboard
- Gskill RIPJAWS 8GB DDR4 3200MHz
- Samsung 750 EVO 500GB SSD
- 2x Seagate 2TB Hard Drive
- Sapphire 290/290X in Crossfire
- Thermalright Venomous CPU Cooler
- Thermaltake V51 Core PC Chassis
- Noctua NF-F12 3000 RPM case fan (Sponsored by Noctua)
- 2x SilverStone FHP 141-VF 2000 RPM case fan (Sponsored by SilverStone)
- Enermax D.F. Storm 3500 RPM case fan (Sponsored by Enermax)
The first and foremost part of this testing is the Voltage readings by using digital meter. I have also taken some readings on idle power consumption of system. So in order to get an idea of idle power drawn from Wall, I kept the system in no-usage mode or Idling.
About load testing and efficiency, CPU put on torture test via Prime95 and Heaven 4.0v combine. The processor, Intel Core i5 8400 6C/6T clocked at @2.8GHz Turbo Boost @3.9GHz and 290/290X in crossfire. Moreover, I stressed the system in gaming as well. This is for groups who only interested in knowing about gaming power draw from wall. During the tests, I took voltage values under maximum load conditions and after taking into account, I ready them to show them in charts. A couple of games and synthetic benchmark used to put some effective load on power supply.
As for equipment and tools, due to lack of funds and correspondence, it is not possible for me to obtain a high end testing instruments; those are expensive and out of reach completely. Therefore, the procedure of testing is being very limited. I got an EU Power Monitor to obtain the wattage readings pulled from the wall. In addition, a Thermaltake Dr. Power II being used to consider the voltages.
Power Draw & Efficiency
In the above tests, under single GPU configuration, the power supply was drawing about 88W on IDLE, while at 20-30% loads, max power drawn was about 421W at an efficiency of 87-88%. The efficiency level is optimal at significantly lower load levels.
From consumer’s perspective, real time gaming load and power consumption has been very important, so I focused on testing this power supply, and put on Prime 95 & Heaven 4.0v benchmarks together for extensive stress. The ideal load on power supply is 50-60% because an efficiency peaks out at mid loads. The instrument showed 652W pulled from the wall as the total system power power draw, which is almost doubling the previous test. This wattage is about 50%- 60% load, marking the power efficiency at 90% as the peak point.
The system pulled 612W from the wall socket during Metro Last Light gameplay. This 40W or 7% less power drawn from wall is due to the fact, in gaming system, specifically, graphics card don’t pull at full capacity as compared to extremely high stressing synthetic tests.
Conversely, the power efficiency would rather fall a bit as more load % applied on it, such as 80-100% load.
Stability Testing of Power Supply
During the wattage test, I also made sure to checked the voltages under idle and full LOAD; this helps to understand the power supply’s tolerance level and stability factor. Basically, under the ATX specification, the PSU voltage fluctuation should be 5%, anything exceeds would be alarming for Power supply functionality; on +12v rail the max acceptance level should remain between 11.4-12.6 Volts. Anything below from the minimum limit would sign the PSU being problematic.
So, looking at the chart above, the voltages are pretty stable at idle, and on loads most of them are very stable. However, 11.9v on +12V rail was the max drop on high stress. Overall, the stability level seems good. Again, this is not professional testing,
Noise and Fan speed
In power supply, fan noise is not always significant and decisive factor, but many folks looks for the silent components, to say the least. So in this regard, SilverStone’s Strider 850W GS has something noticeable in noise department, too.
I have been testing it for several days and what I have noticed is the fan, specifically, under/on 50% load, the noise was almost inaudible during operation. This is due to the fact; the fan is of low profile means low RPM.
SilverStone has been well known as the quality Power supply designer for years. Having a long history of designing low to high end PSUs, it has been competing with other quality brands like corsair, Silverstone, cooler master and etc. for many years now. Strider GS series is one of the popular series in the SilverStone Power supply line up. An enthusiastic level power supply, having complete modular design and GOLD rated efficiency.
The samples unit is 850W in GOLD certification, which output at efficiency 87-91% @20-100% load. The load testing with multiple GPUs, allowed the load to push to 50% and according the figures, the whole system’s power draw reached 652W pull from the wall, measured via Digital Meter. Having considering readings, the obtained efficiency is about 90%. The fact is, this efficiency range is, in no doubt, expected as most supplies delivers at such loads. Therefore, as far as the efficiency is concern, the power supply has delivered decently however, under my less professional testing procedure.
On the other hand, the voltage regulations are just fine. The most readings on voltages have been very constant and closer; the maximum voltage reading was 12.28v, while it stayed well at around 12.0v on +12V it seems OK. However, it dipped at 11.9v, an acceptable level. Overall, the performance result under above testing procedure has been satisfying.
On part of noise, the fan was not much of the notice here, at least, when considering 50% loads. During the test, I did not notice any noise jump but it kept on almost inaudible side, which is always a plus.
Price & Availability:
With GOLD efficiency certification, this power supply is retailing at $169 US Dollar with 3 years official warranty period on Amazon. I think the price is just fine, but the warranty period is bit low for the consumer being looking for more privileges in today’s competitive market. Well, I am not sure why SilverStone has been offering such a limited backup, although its products are best known for greatly designed and good in terms of performance, too. Nevertheless, there are other ways SilverStone shines in the league.