Silverstone Strider 600w ST60F Modular PSU Page: 1
Introduction

I'm a big fan of the concept behind the modular power design, and how it can help reduce clutter and improve airflow inside your case. However no modular unit that I've reviewed to date has really impressed me to the point of making me want to go out and buy one. Most units seem to be underpowered, have unstable rails or strange arrangements of connectors.

Today I'm going to be taking a look at the ST60F 600w Strider power supply from Silverstone which I'm told is based upon the highly acclaimed ST65ZF unit. Hopefully this unit will satisfy my hunger for a modular power source. Let's find out...


Packaging

After reviewing a fair few Silverstone power supplies, I was pretty certain of what to expect in the packaging department. The ST60F comes in a professionally styled box that follows the same design as the rest of their PSU line.

This standardised design 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 ST60F Box Silverstone ST60F Box

The box arrived in a bit of a bad way, with a large dent in the top left corner and scratches all over. Luckily on inspecting the contents nothing was damaged, which was a great relief.

The front and top of the box show pictures of the power supply along with its vital statistics. The Strider 600w boasts full support for ATX12v and EPS12v standards, Quad +12v rails and a quiet running 120mm fan.

Silverstone ST60F Box Silverstone ST60F Box

Flip around to the other sides of the packaging, and we can see that Silverstone have included some information regarding the rail layout, noise output (24dba minimum) and some of the units incorporated safety features such as OCP (over current protection), UVP (under voltage protection), OVP (over voltage protection) and SCP (short circuit protection).

Silverstone ST60F Packaging Silverstone ST60F Packaging

The power supply is protected from scratches by a clear plastic bag, but no other padding to protect the unit from larger knocks has been included. I am quite surprised that the unit did not sustain any cosmetic damage after the packaging appeared to have had quite a rough ride.

The ST60F package contains the following items:

1x Silverstone ST60F manual.
1x ST60F rail distribution leaflet.
4x Black case screws
2x Additional PCI-E cables for Quad-SLI.
1x Power cord.
1x ST60F Power Supply.



Silverstone Strider 600w ST60F Modular PSU Page: 2
Specifications

The following information has been taken directly from Silverstone's website:

Taking the modular power supply design to the limit, the ST60F combines a core based on the highly acclaimed Zeus ST65ZF and a quiet running 120mm fan to create a truly fantastic package. With 600W of continuous power output at 50°C, it is the industry’s first EPS12V modular power supply and also an excellent choice for high-end desktop systems with dual graphics cards. Housed in an all new environmentally friendly casing and offering the highest number of cables of any power supplies in its class, the ST60F is without a doubt, the new benchmark for enthusiast power supplies.

- Quad +12V rail for superior performance
- 100% modular cables include dual PCI-E
- Powerful & quiet running 120mm fan
- Industrial class components
- Support for ATX 12V 2.01 & EPS 12V


ST60F Specs

Despite the specifications above (and indeed on the PSU label) stating that the ST60F has 8a on +12v4, changes have been made to the unit to better accommodate Crossfire / SLI users, and as a result +12v4 has been upgraded to 18a. More information regarding this change can be found here.



Silverstone Strider 600w ST60F Modular PSU Page: 3
Appearance

Measuring in at 150 x 86 x 180 (WxHxD), you may notice that the ST60F is slightly longer than the average PSU. This is mainly down to the extra circuitry required for the modular connections. It is also worth noting that the molex's for the modular connections add a further ~20mm to the length of the PSU.

Silverstone Strider ST60F Back Silverstone Strider ST60F Top

Keeping in theme with the rest of Silverstone's product line-up, the ST60F is sprayed in matt black 'no thrills' paint. Previous versions of the unit (with the 8a +12v4 rail) were galvanised, which makes it quite easy to see at a glance whether you have one of the newer units.

The top of the unit sports a 120mm fan placed slightly off centre to better cover the internal heatsinks. The fan (and your fingers) is protected with a painted black grill.

The back of the unit sports a honeycomb mesh for allowing air forced into the unit by the 120mm fan to exit out of your PC case. You may also notice that there is no 110/240v switch present on the back of the unit. This is because the ST60F, like many other modern PSU's is able to auto-detect the input voltage.

Silverstone ST60F Side Silverstone ST60F Side

As illustrated above, the side of the ST60F has a small cut-out with two adjustable potentiometers (pots) positioned just behind. Pot's can be used to adjust the voltage output of the rails on the power supply, and can come in handy when voltages droop outside of ATX specifications.

It's great to see that Silverstone has decided to make the pots easily accessible to the end user, as many other PSU's require you to open up the unit, thus voiding the manufacturers warranty.

Silverstone ST60F Modular Silverstone ST60F Modular

The front of the ST60F comes with a total of 11 connectors for plugging the provided modular cables into. This is significantly more than some of the other modular power supplies we've recently reviewed at OC3D. It's also good to see that Silverstone decided to make this unit 'fully modular' unlike other manufacturers that tend to hard-wire in the ATX connectors.



Silverstone Strider 600w ST60F Modular PSU Page: 4
Connectors

Modular power supplies have a bit of a bad reputation for problems with their modular connectors and lack of cables. Will the ST60F suffer from the same issues? Lets take a look...

Silverstone ST60F Cables Silverstone ST60F Cables

All cables on the ST60F are sleeved in black mesh right up to the first connector. The sleeving job is very professional, with sticky tape being used to hold the mesh in place rather than the usual cable ties. The end of each connector is then finished off with black shrink-wrap to produce a professional looking finish.

Some of the earlier ST60F units suffered with a problem regarding the softness of the plastic used in the molex plugs. This allowed for the plugs to be accidentally plugged in to the unit up the wrong way resulting in the voltage provided to your components being reversed (not good). Thankfully this issue has now been resolved, and the plastic used on the molex plugs with the newer units is much harder, and thus almost impossible to plug into the unit incorrectly.

Silverstone ST60F Cables Silverstone ST60F Cables

Interestingly, the ST60F also comes with two cables capable of turning the ST60F into a Quad-SLI PSU. Unfortunately this idea is quite poorly executed and requires all four of the modular molex connectors on the PSU to operate. This means that you will not be able to plug in ANY of the molex based modular cables if you wish to utilise Quad-SLI. However, to ease the pain slightly, Silverstone have added a single molex connector to the end of each PCI-E connector so that you're not totally without any molex based power.

Silverstone ST60F ATX Silverstone ST60F P412v

As with most modern Power Supplies, the ATX connector can be split or joined together to form either a 20-Pin or 24-Pin connector. The ST60F comes with both 4-Pin P412V and 8-Pin EPS12v, and as the entire PSU is modular - you can remove whichever connector is not required.

ATX P412V PCI-E

Molex SATA Floppy



Silverstone Strider 600w ST60F Modular PSU Page: 5
Looking Inside

As with all power supplies that pass through Overclock3D, I'll be taking a look inside the ST60F. By doing this I should be able to get a good idea of the overall build quality of the unit and how it is likely to perform in our tests.

Silverstone ST60F Inside Silverstone ST60F Inside

On opening up the ST60F I was pleasantly surprised by the size and quality of components contained within. The capacitors and other circuitry seemed over-sized for a unit rated at 600w (which is a good thing), and the large aluminium heatsinks were clearly designed with optimal airflow in mind.

Silverstone ST60F Pots

In the image above we can see the circuit board containing the adjustable potentiometers mentioned earlier in the review. There are a total of 3 pots, but strangely only one of these has any affect on the voltages. With a screw driver in one hand and a multimeter in the other, I set out to find the maximum and minimum voltages selectable. The results can be seen below:

+3.3v: 3.37v - 3.37v (no change)
+5.0v: 4.98v - 5.6v
+12v: 11.86v - 13.5v


Silverstone ST60F Fan Silverstone ST60F Fan

The 120mm fan cooling the unit is manufactured by ADDA (Model: AD1212HS-A71GL). At 12v the fan spins at 2200rpm and pushes 85.2cfm at a noise level of 39.1dBA.

Luckily the ST60F makes use of a temperature based fan controller, which keeps the fan noise levels down when the unit is idle or under moderate load.



Silverstone Strider 600w ST60F Modular 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 will be placing the following loads on each of the ST60F's rails:

+3.3v - 20a Load
+5.0v - 20a Load
+12v1 - 10a Load
+12v2 - 10a Load
+12v3 - 10a Load
+12v4 - 10a Load

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

Silverstone Strider 3.3v Silverstone Strider 5v

Fluctuation on the +3.3v rail of the ST60F was minimal considering how much load was placed on the rail, however the +5v rail wasn't quite as impressive and suffered almost 6% fluctuation bringing the voltage down to a disappointing 4.88v. Although this is low by the standards of some other Silverstone PSU's we've tested in the past, the rail still managed to stay within ATX specifications and is very unlikely to cause any problems.

Silverstone Strider +12v1 Silverstone Strider +12v2

Silverstone Strider +12v4 Silverstone Strider +12v4

All of the +12v rails managed to stay within 3% fluctuation, which again is not the best scores we've seen from Silverstone PSU's, but certainly still very respectable. The important thing is that all 4 of the +12v rails managed to either stay bang on 12.00v or very close to it when under heavy load.


Efficiency Testing

Efficiency tests are performed by measuring the wattage consumed by the power supply at the mains against the power (in watts) consumed by the OC3D power supply stress tester.

The results may not be as accurate as those produced by professional testing equipment, but will certainly come in handy when comparing several power supplies against each other.

Silverstone ST60F Efficiency

The Silverstone Strider ST60F was placed under a load of 646 watts. This counts for a total of 107% of the power supplies rated output and 90% of its peak output. At this load, the power supply required 838 watts from the mains to produce the 646 watts required by our custom made power supply tester. Therefore the efficiency of this power supply can be found by a simple equation: (646 / 838) * 100 that works out to be an efficiency rating of 77.08%.


Noise Testing

At present Overclock3D doesn't have the professional equipment required to reliably measure the noise output of devices. However, as a new part of our testing procedure we will be recording the PSU at idle and load so that you can make your own judgments. All recordings are taken at 30cm distance from the unit outside of a PC case.

Idle Recording - Download
Load Recording - Download

At idle the unit was very silent. All that could be heard at around 30cm away was the gentle whooshing of air from the 120mm fan. If the unit was installed inside a PC enclosure I am confident that the noise would be totally dampened.

Under load conditions the ST60F did start to get a bit noisy. Yet again, with the power supply installed in a case and the door shut, the noise would have been reduced to more acceptable levels - but maybe slightly more than HTPC/Silent PC users would like.



Silverstone Strider 600w ST60F Modular PSU Page: 7
Conclusion

The Silverstone Strider 600w ST60F is a great unit with desirable features such as adjustable rails and a fully modular cabling system. Selling for just under £90 over at SpecialTech, the ST60F is slightly cheaper than most of the other high-end 600w modular PSU's on the market.

These excellent qualities are only let down by its mediocre performance in the voltage stability tests, which in realistic terms are highly unlikely to cause an problems - but fall short of the results we've obtained from other Silverstone units in the past.

The measured efficiency of the unit is slightly higher than the figures given by Silverstone which is a bonus, however most modern power supplies including modular units from other manufacturers have managed at least 80% efficiency and it would be nice to see a revised version of this power supply designed with high efficiency in mind.


Pro's
+ Fully modular cabling system
+ Plenty of connectors
+ Adjustable rails
+ Professionally sleeved

Con's
- Rail stability not as good as other Silverstone PSU's.
- Efficiency not on par with previously tested units.


OC3D Recommended

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