SilverStone Element ST50EF-Plus

Written by Dan Reis    Wednesday, 20 September 2006 10:21
Article Index
SilverStone Element ST50EF-Plus
Packaging, Exterior, and Interior
Connectors and Specifications
Testing, Setup, and Results
Conclusion
All Pages

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SilverStone currently has a product stable consisting of elegant HTPC enclosures, computer cases, CPU coolers, fans, and power supplies. The Element power supply series is promoted as SilverStone's most efficient and quietest series to date. Their other power supply series include the Strider, which ranges from 360W-750W (600W and 750W models have modular cables) targeted at enthusiasts and mainstream use, the Zeus with industrial class components for workstation apps, the Nightjar which is fan-less, and Gemini redundant power supplies. In this review we kick the tires on the Element ST50EF-Plus which is a 500W power supply.


With the mainstream slowly becoming dual-core, dual video card (be it SLI or CrossFire), and terabytes of storage, 500W power supplies will be the "entry level" recommendation for most builders these days. I have always believed that the power supply should be one of the first components selected when planning out your computer. If you have all high end components, and throw a sub-par power supply in, you will be asking for trouble.


 

The ST50EF-Plus comes in a very sturdy cardboard box, with appealing and not overbearing graphics. The power supplied was packaged in a plastic bag to protect the finish, but I was a little shocked there was no bubble warp or anti static foam to protect from the bumps of shipping. (On the flip side, the product was packaged very well for shipping when it was received.) Inside you find the needed components to install the power supply. The manual, screws, power cable, 4-pin P4 power connector, and a 24-20 pin converter.

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The ST50EF-Plus is painted black (lead-free) for a nice matte finish that should compliment just about any setup. It uses a single 120mm Adda fan (AD1212HS-A71GL) that according to the spec sheet is rated at 85.2 CFM @ 39.1 dBA spinning at 2200 RPM. The weight of the ST50EF-Plus is 2.5 kg (about 6 lbs) so it would seem to be a pretty stout power supply.

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The inside of the ST50EF-Plus is packed full of components to make up the 2.5 kg weight. Surprisingly the heatsink does not look to make up that much of the weight. It will be interesting to see the operating temps later on in the review to see how the ADDA 120mm fan takes care of the heat. Otherwise the standard fare is in there. Large capacitors, coils, and other electronics to convert the power into useable voltage for your components. SilverStone gets kudos for running the cables our of the left side of the PSU to allow for easier routing of the cables in your case. I would have liked to see a grommet on the shell to protect the bundle of wires coming out of the power supply. Some adjustable pots for the rails would be nice too.

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SilverStone definitely pulled out the stops with the connectors. Enough to power even the most demanding rig, but not overkill so that you have a tough time routing the cables inside your case. In the bundle are 6 x 4-pin IDE connectors, 2 x 4-pin floppy connectors, 6 x SATA connectors, 2 x 6-pin PCI-E connectors, along with the 24-pin motherboard connector and 8-pin ATX12V connector (with corresponding 4-pin conversion cable). The only omission is an RPM monitor for the fan.

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The ST50EF-Plus has dual 12V rails spitting out 18A on each rail, and combined peak of 38A. The 3.3V + 5V rail each have 25A. SiverStone is marketing the Element series as their most efficient and quietest power supplies. After switching out my Enermax 535W that had a 92mm intake and 80mm exhaust, the Silverstone is light years quieter. The ST50EF-Plus also comes with the standard protections: Over current, Over voltage, Short circuit and No load operation. The power supply is rated to have an 80% efficiency rating.

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The test system is comprised of the following:

  • ABIT AN8 SLI
  • AMD64 3200+ (939 Venice Core)
  • 2 GB OCZ Platinum 4800
  • PowerColor X800GT PCI-E
  • PowerColor Theatre 550 Pro PCI-E
  • Seagate 250 GB Sata
  • 2 x Seagate 400 GB Sata (Raid 0)
  • Plextor 16X DVD Burner Sata
  • Plextor 12X DVD Burner IDE
  • Floppy 
  • 2 x 120mm Case Fans
  • Thermaltake Shark Case

Overclocked settings are as follows:

  • Multiplier = 10
  • External Freq = 250
  • CPU = 1.5V
  • Timings = 2-3-2-5
  • Memory Voltage = 2.8V
  • Chipset Voltage = 1.7V
  • Hyper Transport Voltage = 1.3V

 

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We test power supplies by reading voltage fluctuations, and temperature readings at idle and full load. Voltage measurements are taken with a digital multimeter with the probes inserted into an unused 4-pin molex connector for the 12V and 5V lines. For the 3.3V line, the probes are inserted into the appropriate pins on the 24-pin connector. The system is allowed to idle at the desktop with only system tray programs running and the results are recorded. Then the system is 100% loaded. I like to convert DVD's, along with running CPU Burn, since it puts a 100% load on the CPU. Voltages and temperatures are recorded again. The recording process consists of letting the multimeter and temperature probes sit for 30 seconds, and results are recorded every 10 seconds. The results are averaged for the final result. The results speak for themselves. Rock stable lines, very good temps, and quiet to boot. The SilverStone ST50EF-Plus has left me speechless.

 


With the Element series SilverStone set out to create an efficient and quiet power supply. They seem to have hit that on both marks as well a having ROCK STABLE rails. This power supply would be equally at home in a demanding gaming rig or the quietest HTPC. There were a few marks that I think SilverStone could still improve on this power supply. The inclusion of a RPM monitor for the fan would be nice as well as some type of grommet to protect the cabling coming out of the case. Other than that this power supply hits on all cylinders. This is my first time around with a SilverStone power supply as I tended to stick to the companies that have been know to produce quality power supplies like Antec, Enermax, PC Power & Cooling. I can honestly say that SilverStone can be added to that short list.

Pros

  • Dual 12V rails
  • Cables exit left side for easy routing
  • Rock stable rails
  • Whisper Quiet
  • Good looking
  • Enough connectors for the most demanding rig, but not too many for cabling nightmare
  • Excellent 80% efficiency rating

Cons

  • No RPM monitor for fan
  • No grommet to protect cables coming out of the case                                           

 

We would like to thank the folks at SilverStone for providing us with this product. If you have any questions, comments, constructive criticism even, please hit us up in the forums.

 

UPDATE:

SilverStone has informed us that they have discovered the 8pin EPS12V to 4pin ATX12V adapter included with the ST50EF-Plus is not suitable for use with the power supply.  Most systems will not be affected, but for systems with a high +12v rail draw, using the incorrect adapter may prevent the power supply from achieving full power. The photo below shows the revised adapter. SilverStone will send a new adapter out to any current ST50EF-Plus user for free by request.

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