Silverstone Strider 560w ST56F ATX PSU Page: 1
Introduction

After recently reviewing some of the most monstrous power supplies in the market, namely the Silverstone Zeus 750w and the PCP&C Turbo-Cool 1kw, I thought it was about time I put my feet firmly back on the ground and reviewed some more 'modest' power supplies for the user on a bit of a tighter budget.

Today I'll be looking at the Strider 560w power supply from Silverstone. With Dual Rails and a standard ATX size which should fit any case, including most HTPC/M-ATX machines, will it have the power to complete the package?


Packaging

It's good so see that Silverstone are continuing their professionally styled packaging across their entire power supply range. The packaging makes it easy to pick out Silverstone products among the other brands, and the unit's specifications are clearly visible on all sides of the box.

Silverstone Box Silverstone Box Side

The front and left side of the box show pictures of the power supply along with its vital statistics. The Strider 560w boasts efficiency greater than 80%, Four SATA connectors, SLI / Crossfire ready and Dual +12v rails.

Silverstone Box Side Silverstone Box Specs

The other sides of the box give more detailed information about the unit. From the pictures above we can see that the unit has two +12v rails, each able to provide up to 18a. The unit is cooled by a 120mm fan, which has a noise level of 21dBA minimum. I find it rather strange why Silverstone only quote the minimum noise level of the unit rather than the min/max or even average. This could be slightly deceiving for some users looking for a quiet PSU at a quick glance.

Silverstone Package Silverstone Package

Included in the box are the following items:

- ST56F Manual
- Power Cord
- 4x Black ATX Screws
- 1x Power Supply

I was disappointed to see that Silverstone didn't include a sheet explaining the rail layout of the unit as they did with the previously reviewed Zeus 750w model. However, as the unit only has 2 rails, I would hazard a guess that +12v1 is responsible for Motherboard/Molex power, and +12v2 is responsible for PCI-E cards.

The power supply is protected from scratches by a clear plastic bag, but no other padding to protect the unit from larger knocks was included. This may be a problem if the power supply experiences some rough handling from a courier, but I'm pleased to say that my unit arrived in pristine condition.


Silverstone Strider 560w ST56F ATX PSU Page: 2
Specification

The following specification has been taken in most part from Silverstone's website:

Equipped with a brand new design and the latest components, the Strider ST56F is the first SilverStone power supply to boost overall working efficiency of greater than 80%. Thanks to this high efficiency, the ST56F produces less wasted heat than typical power supplies and allows the included 120mm fan to operate at very low speeds, ensuring quietness at all times. This high output and efficiency are packed inside a simple yet stylish interior with compact dimensions for compatibility with nearly any ATX casing on the market. If high wattage power for dual core/dual video card processing and quietness are a priority, the Strider ST56F is the power supply for you.

- Efficiency over 80%
- Dual +12V rails for advanced systems
- Dual PCI-E connectors (Certified by ATI CrossFire)
- Silent running 120mm fan
- Support for ATX 12V 2.01 & EPS 12V

Specs

The ST56F is actually Crossfire Certified and therefore should be able to run the latest ATI dual card setup's without any issues. However the Silverstone website does not mention if the ST56F is SLI certified which I found rather strange. After all, if the power supply has enough juice to power a Crossfire setup, then it shouldn't have any issues powering an SLI setup.


Silverstone Strider 560w ST56F ATX PSU Page: 3
Appearance

Measuring 150 mm (W) x 86 mm (H) x 140 mm (D) the Strider ST56F is actually one of the smallest power supplies I have ever tested. I can confidently say that this power supply should fit any standard ATX case and also the majority of M-ATX and HTPC cases. In fact, this power supply would have been an ideal companion for the Aspire X-QPack case I reviewed a short while ago.

The ST56F may be small, but it's certainly no lightweight. Weighing in at 2.2kg it rather surprised me when I first picked it up.

Silverstone Front Silverstone Side

Silverstone Side

Keeping in theme with the rest of Silverstone's product line-up, the ST56F is sprayed in matt black paint (which was actually quite shiny - and proved hard to photograph), with a simplistic Silverstone sticker on the side displaying the vital statistics and usual warnings of the power supply.

The front of the ST56F has a honeycomb grill as seen on most power supplies that utilise a 120mm fan. Behind the grill you can just about see some of the internals, which all apart from the green and white cable look very tidily arranged. You may also notice the lack of a voltage selection switch (110/230v), this is because the unit is able to detect the input voltage and switch accordingly.

On top of the unit you can see the 120mm fan placed slightly off centre to better cover the components. The fan is covered with a painted black grill.


Silverstone Strider 560w ST56F ATX PSU Page: 4
Connectors

It seems quite common for smaller power supplies not to be as well equipped in the connectors department as some of the larger units. However, the ST56F looks like it may well be an exception to this observation, so lets take a look...

Silverstone Cables Silverstone Cables

As with other Silverstone power supplies that I've reviewed, only the ATX, EPS12v, P412v and PCI-E connectors are sleeved. It would be nice to see the molex and sata cables also sleeved, as otherwise it looks like a bit of an unfinished job.

The ST56F actually comes with both 4-pin P4-12v and 8-Pin EPS12v connectors which I found a bit strange, considering most other power supplies either provide an 8-pin to 4-pin converter or allow the EPS12v connector to be snapped in half for use with P4-12v motherboards. This leads to a bit of extra clutter as motherboard only use one of these two connectors, thus meaning one of the cables will need to be tidied away somewhere.

Silverstone ATX

The ATX connector on the ST56F is native 24-pin. However, as you can see above, a small block of 4 connectors can be broken off to switch the connector to 20-pin, and thus make it compatible with older motherboards.

Connector Connector Connector

Connector Connector Connector Connector

With 4 SATA and 6 Molex plugs, the ST56F should have enough connectors to power the components in most systems without any problems.


Silverstone Strider 560w ST56F ATX PSU Page: 5
Looking Inside

As with all power supplies that pass through Overclock3D, i'll be taking a look inside the ST56F. By doing this i should be able to get a good idea of the overal build quality of the unit and how it is likely to perform in our tests.

My initial impressions of this unit on Page #1 was that it was supprisingly heavy, lets have a look inside and see if we can find out where all this weight is coming from...

ST56F Internals ST56F Internals

ST56F Internals ST56F Internals

Silverstone have done a very good job of cramming all of the components into a small area. The circuit board components and cabling are arranged well with very little in the way to hinder good airflow.

Aluminium heatsinks with large fins have been attached to the capacitors to allow for excelent cooling over a large surface area. The included 120mm fan is manufacturerd by ADDA (Model: AD1212HS-A71GL) which, according to ADDA's PDF runs at a mere 220rpm while still managing to push an amazing 85.2cfm at 39.1dBA....something doesn't sound quite right to me there.

ST56F Pots

Now here's something i wasn't expecting to see in the ST56F....Adjustable Potentiometers (pots). These 3 pots are responsible for adjusting the voltages on the +3.3v, +5v and +12v rails which could come in very handy if the rail voltages drop below ATX specifications or if you need to supply a bit of extra voltage to some of your components (e.g RAM).


Silverstone Strider 560w ST56F ATX PSU Page: 6
Load Testing

In order for the results from all current and future PSU reviews to remain fair and comparable, Overclock3D uses a custom built Power Supply load stress tester.

The tester is capable of placing loads on the following rails:

+3.3v - 20a Load
+5.0v - 20a Load
+12v1 - 10a Load
+12v2 - 10a Load
+12v3 - 10a Load
+12v4 - 10a Load
(or 40a on a single +12v rail)

The results are collected from a Mastech MAS-345 Multimeter which logs its readings via RS232 to a PC.


ST56F 3.3v Rail ST56F 5v Rail

Some very impressive results on both the +3.3v and +5v rails for the ST56F. Both rails remained well within ATX 2.0 specification of 5%. Don't forget that a little tweaking of the adjustable pots inside the PSU could provide even better results for these rails.

ST56F +12v1 Rail ST56F +12v2 Rail

Yet another set of impressive results from such a small power supply. +12v1 performed very well, staying within the 12.0v marker, however +12v2 dipped slightly lower down to 11.91v. Under most circumstances this voltage dip would not be a problem as it still remains within ATX 2.0 specification of 5%, however it is worth noting that the voltage could be increased using the 'pots' inside the power supply if required.


Temperature Testing

Quite often, the cooling methods employed by some manufacturers are inadequate, and result in heat from the power supply finding its way back into your case.

The OC3D Temperature Tester involves placing the power supply into a standard ATX case, and measuring temperatures at various places around the power supply after 30 minutes at idle and full load on the OC3D PSU Tester.


Idle Temperature Load Temperature

Ambient: Room temperature taken approx 10ft away from testing equipment.
In: Temperature taken 5" away from the PSU ventilation grill inside the case.
Out: Temperature taken 5" away from the PSU fan at the back of the case.

Under idle conditions the ST56F only raised the case temperature by 1.5°C over ambient pushing most of the heat from the power supply out of the back of the case.

Under load conditions the ST56F raised the case temperature by only 2.2°C, which is very good news for those of us with small cases and not many case fans. The highest temperature that the air expelled out of the back of the unit was 28.1°C which would lead me to believe that this power supply is very efficient.


Noise Testing

After reading that this power supply would be a minimum of 21dbA on the packaging, and then finding out that the ADDA fan cooling the unit was rated at 39.1dBA @ 12v, I wasn't holding out much hope of this unit being silent under load conditions. However...

Under idle conditions, the ST56F was completely inaudible to my ear at around 30cm from the unit. Only when I moved my ear right up next to the power supply fan could I hear a very silent hum.

Under load conditions the ST56F did start to get a bit noisy. At 30cm away from the unit I could hear the fan blowing at what I would say was around 25dBA. With the power supply installed in a case and the door shut, the noise was reduced to more acceptable levels - but maybe slightly more than HTPC users would like.


Silverstone Strider 560w ST56F ATX PSU Page: 7
Conclusion

If you are looking for a power supply that will fit almost any case, and will remain cool and reasonably quiet under heavy load conditions, then the Silverstone Strider ST56F is certainly the unit for you.

With very good results from our stress tests and Crossfire certification from ATI, the ST56F should be able to run high-end video cards or other high amperage components without any problems.

Currently retailing for £75.50 over at Specialtech.co.uk the ST56F is placed in direct competition with similar specification units from Tagan and Enermax - and in my opinion, certainly performs on par with them.

Pro's
- Good stress test results
- Adjustable potentiometers
- Plenty of connectors
- Small enough to fit most M-ATX cases.

Con's
- Not all cables sleeved
- Could be quieter under load

RecommendedValue Award

Buy this product now at Specialtech.co.uk

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