SilverPower. Now there's a name I haven't heard for a good few years. Originally founded by Tagan back in 2004 as their budget range, SilverPower has had a fairly slow but steady life with a string of good reviews including the Blue Lightning 600w that launched the brand and the GuardianX 1000W that ironically got pulled from the shelves because it was better than most of Tagan's high-end models at the time!
Fast forward 6 years to the current day and Tagan are pretty much out of the game with only a few of their previous-gen units floating around on retailers weekly special lists. However their sibling is still going strong mostly thanks to its good positioning price-wise and the currently poor state of the economy. However let's not beat about the bush and get straight into the specs...
• Super high efficiency for energy savings (Energy Star 4.0 compliant)
• Detachable modular cables - use precisely the cables you need
• DC to DC converter design, superior dynamic response & greater system stability
• Practical dual +12 V Rails, ample 12 V output with OCP for extreme utilisation
• Tight voltage regulation, improved load regulation to minimise voltage fl uctuations
• Japanese high temperature (105°C) capacitors
• Solid capacitors on 12V rails for extreme stress operation conditions
• Active power factor correction [99% PF] for reduced line noise and power distortion
• Dual sided PCB layout for better use of PCP space
• Smart and silent fan control [S2FC], one of the best performance noise controller available on the
• San Ace silent fan [SANYO DENKI], premium quality fan for silent operation; 12 cm ball bearing
fan mounted on soft rubber cushions to reduce fan vibration and rotation noises
• Ultra ventilation [honey comb structure] for increased airfl ow and reduced noise levels
• All in one DC cabling design to support PC, IPC, workstation systems
• 4x 6+2 pin PCI-E connectors to support all multi-GPU platforms
• Patented Easy Swap peripheral connectors for easy plug and unplug connection
• Universal AC input for plug and run anywhere around the world
• Over Voltage / Under Voltage / Over Current / Over Power / Short Circuit Protection
• >150,000 hours MTBF, excluding fan
• 2 Year warranty
Super high efficiency, DC to DC design, dual +12v rails, Jap caps, Sanyo Denki fan, 2yr warranty......certainly doesn't sound like your average budget PSU. In fact it sounds better than a lot of the high-end models I've seen recently. I'm intrigued.
|Silver Power 750w Rail Layout|
A closer look at the rails reveals a fairly powerful +5v rail sitting alongside a slightly lower powered +3.3v rail. Of course the maximum output of both rails no matter the distribution of load is 150w. Over on the +12v side both rails sit at 38A with maximum load of 744w (62A). At least with a dual rail layout we are almost guaranteed that the unit is using OCP to protect from overloading - unlike most single rail PSU's.
Lets move on...
Packaging & Appearance
When it comes to box graphics, most manufacturers tend to use some thing along the lines of fast cars or sniper rifles to symbolise performance and power. Silver Power on the other hand have opted for an angry Gorilla! Sure Gorilla's are powerful, and in that sense it does get the message across that the PSU means (no monkey) business. But they're not exactly the nicest of creatures to look at, and I'm sure that Silver Power could have come up with something a little more inventive based around their name.
Inside the box is a strictly no frills affair with only the required accessories to get you up and running plus all of the modular cables inside a separate canvas drawstring bag. The PSU its self has been given only minimal protection from courier damage by being wrapped in bubblewrap. Our sample arrived in perfect condition, but your mileage may vary depending on what outer packaging is used by online retailers.
The overall appearance of the PSU is also on the basic side with Silver Power opting for a plain matte black finish along with a silver wire grill covering a 120mm fan (how old school!). Unfortunately Mr Angry Gorilla isn't just limited to appearances on the packaging, but also on the fan grill badge as well.
Moving round to the sides and rear there really is very little to speak about again....other than Mr Angry Gorilla. I'm beginning to wonder if people may avoid purchasing this PSU purely because they don't want to have the crap frightened out of them whenever they peer inside their windowed PC case.
Here's where it gets a little interesting. Round the front of the unit is a total of six modular connectors accompanied by a bundle of hard-wired connectors. Going from left to right, the first two modular connectors are for PCI-e power while the remaining four are for Molex/SATA. Interestingly Silver Power have decided not to colour code the connectors, instead keeping everything in stealthy black.
Let's move on to the next page now and take a closer look at the modular interface and cables.
Cables & Connectors
Starting with the usability of the modular connector system we immediately hit a rather major flaw. As the image below-left shows, it is possible to plug one of the Molex/SATA cables into one of the PCI-E headers. What does this mean? Well imagine accidentally plugging your £400 SSD Drive (that is designed to run at 3v/5v) straight into 12v....not a pretty sight. In short, Silver Power haven't done enough to make sure that numpties don't fry their hardware when plugging in modular connectors.
On the up-side though, Silver Power have opted to use the 'ribbon' style modular cables often seen on high-end PSU's manufactured by Corsair and ULTRA. These look so much more tidy that traditional sleeved cables and have a tighter bend radius under most circumstances. A total of seven cables are provided, meaning that one cable will always be left over if you decide to make use of all the modular headers. However, this does give you the flexability to use 3x Molex and 1x SATA cables if you have more Molex than SATA devices, or visa-versa if your PC is filled with something ridiculous like 12 hard disks (ahem Tom!). *Editors note. Whats up with 12 hard drives its a server?!*
Going in for a closer look at the ATX 24-Pin, EPS 8-Pin and PCI-E 8-Pin connectors we can see that Silver Power have retained compatibility with older/lower range motherboards and graphics cards by allowing certain parts of the connectors to be snapped off in order to support 20-Pin, 4-Pin and 6-Pin standards respectively. This is a feature that has been dropped by a lot of manufacturers on their higher-wattage models, so it's good to see that Silver Power aren't so quick to ditch the legacy standards.
|Silver Power 750w Connectors|
|ATX Connector||Hard Wired||1x 20+4 Pin|
|EPS-12v / P4-12v Connector(s)||Hard Wired||1x 4+4 Pin|
|Floppy Disk Connectors||Modular||1x|
|PCI-E Connectors||Modular / Hard Wired||2x 6+2 Pin / 2x 6+2 Pin|
The table above shows the number of connectors included with the Silver Power 750w in both modular and hard wired formats. Yet again we can see that manufacturers seem to be favoring SATA over Molex connectors despite SATA being limited to Hard Disk and optical devices. But anyway, let's not get too tied up with the cables and instead move on to the PSU's internals...
Well, well, well. Lookie what we have here. If I'm not mistaken, this particular Silver Power unit was was given birth to at the Seasonic factory. In fact, wouldn't you say that those internals look mighty similar to the XFX Black Edition that I reviewed at the end of last year? However, before you all dismiss the Silver Power as being likely to explode under heavy loads, what we need to remember is that the XFX unit had a single +12v rail with no OCP, whereas the Silver Power is listed as having two rails, more than likely to be virtually split using OCP.
As seen in the specifications the Silver Power 750w uses 'DC-DC Technology' which essentially means that the primary transformer in the unit converts 240VAC down to a single 12VDC output that is then converted to 3.3VDC and 5VDC by a set of VRM modules. The smaller of the two transformers is used exclusively for the +5vSB stand-by rail.
The primary (high voltage) capacitors are manufactured by Japanese company Nippon Chemicon and carry the rating of 400v / 390uF / 105°C. This high quality is also carried over to the secondary (low voltage) side of the unit where a range of Nippon Chemicon KZE capacitors has been used, most with specs of 16v / 2900uf / 105°C. Even looking at some of the smaller capacitors, everything is Nippon. So hopefully this will translate to some really nice scope results and a long PSU life.
Last but not least we come to the fan. Silver Power have opted for a Sanyo Denki San Ace 120 unit carrying the model number of 9S1212H403. Unfortunately the specifications for this fan seem to be quite elusive as a quick search of Google and Sanyo's website didn't turn up any accurate results. However after extensive digging around non-english websites, a few seemed to suggest that the fan is capable of 83CFM at <36dbA.
Now that the internal examination is complete, it's time to see just how the unit performs over on the next page...
Simulated Load Results (Graphs)
As per usual I'm going to be conducting the testing of the Silver Power 750w on OC3D's trusty SunMoon SM-268+ DC load tester. This equipment is capable of placing a user specified load on all of the PSU's rails (+3.3v, +5v, +12v, -12v, +5vSB) up to a maximum load of 1680w. Ambient temperature will also be maintained at Sahara-like temperatures of 50°C (±5%) with all results being recorded using a Fluke Digital Multimeter and Thermometer.
For those of you not familiar with the layout of our relatively new graphs, the highest and lowest values on the Y-axis (voltage) represent the maximum and minimum voltages allowed by ATX specifications. If the results should fall outside the graph at any time, then that's an instant FAIL. However, merely staying inside these boundaries does not necessarily indicate a good PSU. In order to display truly great voltage regulation, a PSU must stick as closely as possible to the thick white horizontal line (ideal voltage) as possible.
You will also notice that the graph is split into three sections as depicted by the Green, Amber and Red backgrounds. These indicate normal usage (green), heavily uneven load distribution (amber) and overloading of the PSU (red). For the most part all we need to worry about is how it performs in the green section, but good performance in the other sections will undoubtedly earn the PSU extra brownie points.
Both the +3.3v and +5v rail voltages start a little on the high side in the first of the tests at 3.41v and 5.16v respectively. Normally this would be an early warning that the output voltage is likely to dip significantly as load is applied and that the manufacturer has set the voltages higher to counteract this. However, in the case of the Silver Power 750w this couldn't be further from the truth. Those lines are about the straightest lines I've ever encountered from any PSU, and if Silver Power were to drop the idle voltages just a tad, the results could have easily been sitting proud with the white line. Even when a wonky cross-load is placed on the rails there is very little effect. Simply awesome.
The +12v rail tells a similar story with a rather high idle voltage and only a minor droop in voltages as increasing load is applied. Once again the PSU is totally unfazed by cross-loads on either the +3.3v & 5v or +12v rails and even the max load results where the PSU is pushed to a whopping 930w the output voltage doesn't drop below 12.06v. Oh and yes, you heard that right....the Silver Power can put out almost 200w more than its rated 750w output.
As seen back on the introduction and packaging pages, the Silver Power 750w is 80PLUS Silver certified. This guarantees that the PSU will have an efficiency level of 85% at 150w and 750w loads along with 89% efficiency at 375w. As we can see from the graph above the unit has absolutely no trouble meeting these targets, consistently delivering between 89-90% efficiency. Of course, we need to bear in mind that those running from 120v mains (N.America / Japan) will see slightly lower results than these due to our 240v mains setup. But even with a 1-2% drop in efficiency the Silver Power unit should still have no problems living up to its certifications.
Simulated Load Results (Data)
OK, so we've seen the graphs over on the previous page. Now here's the data that they were derived from.
|Silver Power 750w Load Results @ 50°C|
|+3.3v||+5.0v||+12v||+5vSB||-12v|| AC Watts / |
|Efficiency|| Intake / |
|4.50A||4.50A||11.75A||0.75A||0.20A||211w / |
|89.09%||51.8°C / |
|91.01%|| 50.1°C / |
|13.50A||13.50A||35.25A||2.25A||0.60A||623w / |
|90.52%||51.2C / |
|18.00A||18.00A||47.00A||3.00A||0.80A||839w / |
|89.03%|| 50.0°C / |
|18.00A||18.00A||1.00A||0.00A||0.00A||197w / |
|83.75%||48.8°C / |
|1.00A||1.00A||62.00A||0.00A||0.00A||845w / |
|89.70%||50.0°C / |
|15.00A||15.00A||65.00A||3.00A||0.50A||1051w / |
|89.05%||52.0°C / |
To repeat what's already been said on the previous page, the Silver Power SP-SS750M is one very stable PSU across all tests including the Max load test where it's pushed to an impressive 936w. The only minor issue I'd like to see rectified is the relatively high idle voltages that give the feeling that Silver Power haven't spent much time fine tuning the unit. As for the rest of the results: efficiency is great, exhaust temperatures are low and cross-loading the unit had little negative effect. Nice.
|Silver Power 750w Scope Results @ 50c |
The greatness also continues on to the ripple results where the +12v rail seems to be impersonating a pancake. Seriously though, 30mV of ripple on the +12v rail at full load is quite possibly the best result seen yet on OC3D since we began using the oscilloscope. The +3.3v rail is equally as awesome with a maximum ripple of 18mV in test 4 and only slightly higher in the Max Load test. The +5v rail results seem to go hand-in-hand with the +12v results which may suggest that only the +3.3v rail received the DC-DC VRM treatment whereas the +5v rail was derived direct from the transformer. But regardless the results are still well within ATX specs.
Now on to the conclusion...
In the past, Silver Power have always managed to strike a decent medium between price, performance and features. With this in mind I'm going to start this conclusion by taking a look at the price: £95. To put that into perspective, that's £30 cheaper than the Corsair HX750w, £15 cheaper than the XFX 750w, £30 cheaper than the Be Quiet P8 750w and £20 cheaper than the Enermax Infiniti 720w.
Of course price means absolutely nothing if the PSU doesn't have the performance, stability and safety to justify the expense. So how does the SP-SS750M fair?
Well, starting with the voltage stability all three of the main rails fluctuated very little from idle to full load. In fact, the +3.3v rail in particular produced an almost straight line on the results graphs showing that Silver Power haven't just concentrated on the performance of the +12 rail like some manufacturers, but on the PSU as a whole. This was also reflected in the cross-load and maximum load testing that didn't show any weakness in the PSU at all. In fact, with a maximum load of 936w being maintained continously in the OCP/Max Load test it really showed just how strong the unit is.
I have to admit being slightly worried that the Silver Power shared almost identical internals to the XFX Black Edition PSU that I blew up two of last year, but these worries were soon proved to be totally unfounded as the Silver Power 750w powered off safely as soon as the OCP threshold was breached.
Efficiency was also above advertised levels by a few % at any given load level and the ripple results....WHOA...the ripple results on the +12v rail in particular were simply awesome. 30mV at 750w load could quite possibly be one of the lowest (best) results I've seen in a long time/ever. The +3.3v rail was also equally as good, and only the +5v rail let the side down a little.
Now for the bad stuff....GET THAT GOD FORSAKEN GORILLA OFF THE PSU. On the packaging I can forgive, but I cant really see anybody wanting a primate peeping back at them through a windowed PC case. It looks ugly, it could cost Silver Power some sales from enthusiasts who put vanity next to performance and it just made me want to *facepalm*. Of course you can always rip the label off, but getting it through an RMA without any raised eyebrows may not be so easy.
At the end of the day, the Silver Power 750w is a bloody bargin. Sure it doesn't have the good looks that some of its competition posess, but the performance more than makes up for it.
- Superb voltage Stability
- Above 80PLUS Silver level efficiency.
- Ripple? What Ripple.
- Lovely ribbon-style modular cables
- Capable of punching almost 200w above its weight.
- Quite easy to plug molex/sata connectors into PCI-e sockets....eek
- Ugly packaging and specs label on unit.
Thanks to Silver Power for the sample today, discuss our results n the forums.