Review:Silverstone ST365 PSU
From OCAU Wiki
This is my first attempt at reviewing something, so any constructive criticism / appraisal is welcome.
The PSU being reviewed, the Silverstone ST365 (360w), is about the cheapest brand name 24pin PSU on the market. The cost was a mere $55, almost as cheap as pathetic generic units, so expectations weren’t super high. I grabbed it to put in a mates computer I was building, but thought that I might as well give it a bit of a test in the couple of days I had it around.
I was mainly impressed but also a little disappointed at a first glance. What was impressive was the finish and build quality of the unit. Really this one looks and feels as good as PSU’s of 3 or 4 times the price, with a sleek black paint job. The 120mm (ADDA) fan looks to be of reasonable quality to. Connector wise is where this one is a little disappointing. The good bits are that the main 24 pin connector is sleeved and 4 pins can be unclipped for compatibility with 20pin motherboards. The ATX12V/P4 connector is also sleeved, again quite impressive for a budget unit. The unit also has 4 SATA connectors, 8 Molex connectors, and 1 floppy connector, but unfortunately NO PCIE connector. This is rather disappointing, especially considering the PSU was only released recently. From Silverstone’s website it appears to be that this also applies to the 400W and 460w Strider models. While Molex to PCIE adapters are available, they are rather clunky and I don’t like using them. I don’t have a digital camera to show you some pretty pictures, but Silverstone has plenty of nice pictures of the unit.
Specifications and test system
For a budget unit, the specifications are rather impressive. The big one is an excellent 300W combined 12V rail, or 25A. There’s power supplies (usually generic brands) of over 500W that have smaller combined 12V ratings. And since that for athlon64/P4, 80% or more of the load is on this rail, it makes it, along with brand, the big factor in making a quality PSU (more important than wattage ratings actually). The voltage ranges are rated to the standard +-5% as per ATX spec, and ripple is also per ATX spec, except 12V/-12V, which is rated for 100mV (atx spec is 120mV), which can’t hurt.
The first test system was a basic a64 3000+/1gig/integrated 6100, which the PSU ran fine (of course). But to test a PSU a properly you need to give it the ‘worst case scenario’ (something many PSU reviewer’s fail to do when they test their SLI capable PSU’s on single video card system). I doubt anyone would try and run a high end SLI system off this PSU (except perhaps a 6600gt SLI system, which this PSU would likely handle fine), so the worst case is a heavily overclocked single video card system with lots of hard drives / peripherals. The specifications are:
- Amd Opteron 146 @ 3ghz
- ATI X800XT @ 545/545 (flashed from X800PRO)
- OCZ value vx @ 2-2-2-8 215mhz 3.3V (bh-5, can run faster but not 100% stable at 250mhz so had to use a lower divider)
- DFI ultra-D motherboard
- 2 160gb hard drives (1 IDE, 1 SATA)
- 2 optical drives
- 6 LED case fans
- Cold cathode lighting
- DVB card + sound card
Not satisfied that this system was putting a big enough load on the PSU, I made up a couple of resister banks (a total of 8 33ohm 5W resisters), to add roughly another 3A on the 12V rail (to represent 5 or so more hard drives perhaps, or an extremely hungry video card such as x1800xt at max o/c, or a P4 prescott).
With the somewhat power hungry test system, this should be a good test of whether the PSU can live to its specifications. Due to the lack of a PCIE connector, I had to use a dodgy molex to PCIE adapter. However the system booted fine (despite heavy overclocking), so I got to the real testing. First up on the list was a few runs of 3dmark05, which went fine, scoring the usual 6500 marks or so I got with the Tagan PSU that normally runs this system. However 3dmark05 isn’t that sensitive to errors (as OCAU found out in their 13 PSU roundup a while back), so I ran a few 32mb SuperPi runs, and it passed every time. Not bad. While testing 3dmark05, I measured the rails with a $17 Digitor multimeter, which is rated for within 0.5% accuracy. The 5V and 12V rails were measured off a molex connector, and the 3.3V off a SATA connector. The results were:
Load (3dmark05) voltages
These are quite impressive results for a budget unit. To quantify this, the 3.3V and 5V rails are about 3% from nominal (well within ATX spec), and didn’t move a bit (though this was half expected). The 12V rail was about 1% from nominal (and a small drop of 0.11V between idle/load is excellent for any PSU, especially a budget unit), which again is an excellent result for a budget unit, or any unit for that matter. It should be noted that the 12V1 for cpu was not measured, and will likely be a tiny bit higher than 12V1 measured from a molex (both 12V1 and 12V2 come from the same source, but separate current limiters and different sets of wires). Finally for further stress testing, I played some counter strikes source (surf / fun maps) for a few hours (which is quite sensitive to errors), with no signs of instability. Acoustic wise the PSU is quiet, due to the quality ADDA 120mm fan, and was largely inaudible in both test systems (though will likely be more noticeable in a silent pc).
It is fairly clear that despite being a budget unit, this PSU is as capable of handling heavily overclocked systems as more expensive units, and provides evidence to counter the idea that you need a premium PSU to get the most out of your CPU /video card. While the lack of a PCIE connector is disappointing, everything else about this unit was impressive, so it gets my recommendation.
Overall rating: 8 / 10
Note: DFI has a 480w minimum PSU policy, so I wouldn’t recommend using this PSU for the ultra-d/sli-d boards if you ever want tech support of them (despite the obvious capabilities of the PSU to run stable on these motherboards as the test proves).
Review by David Hocking (snoop(at)aanet.com.au)