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Silverstone SST-SX550 550W PSU Review

Correctly testing power supplies is a complex procedure and KitGuru have configured a test bench which can deliver up to a 2,000 watt DC load. Due to public requests we changed our temperature settings increasing ambient temperatures by 10c (to 35c) in our environment to greater reflect warmer internal chassis conditions.

We use combinations of the following hardware:
• SunMoon SM-268
• CSI3710A Programmable DC load (+3.3V and +5V outputs)
• CSI3711A Programmable DC load (+12V1, +12V2, +12V3, and +12V4)
• Extech Power Analyzer
• Extech MultiMaster MM570 digital multimeter
• SkyTronic DSL 2 Digital Sound Level Meter (6-130dBa)
• Digital oscilloscope (20M S/s with 12 Bit ADC)
• Variable Autotransformer, 1.4 KVA

We combine all +12V output for the results below.

DC Output Load Regulation

Combined

DC Load

+3.3V
+5V
+12V
+5VSB
A
V
A
V
A
V
A
V
110W
1.18
3.33
1.18
5.01
8.02
12.09
0.50
5.03
220W
2.06
3.33
2.07
5.00
16.13
12.08
0.50
5.02
340W
3.05
3.32
3.06
4.99
25.14
12.06
1.00
5.03
445W
4.12
3.32
4.06
4.98
33.25
12.04
1.50
5.02
550W
5.15
3.31
5.02
4.97
41.05
11.97
2.50
5.03
Silverstone SST-SX550
Maximum Load
630W

Load regulation is good across the output range. The power supply delivered 630 watts of power before it would shut down, safely.

Next we want to try Cross Loading. This basically means loads which are not balanced. If a PC for instance needs 500W on the +12V outputs but something like 30W via the combined 3.3V and +5V outputs then the voltage regulation can fluctuate badly.

Cross Load Testing +3.3V +5V +12V -12V +5VSB
A V A V A V A V A V
493W 1.0 3.33 1.0 5.02 40.5 11.96 0.2 -12.03 0.50 5.02
153W 15.0 3.30 15.0 4.98 2.0 12.08 0.2 -12.01 0.50 5.02

The unit passed the Cross Load test without any concerns.

We then used an oscilloscope to measure AC ripple and noise present on the DC outputs. We set the oscilloscope time base to check for AC ripple at both high and low ends of the spectrum. ATX12V V2.2 specification for DC output ripple and noise is defined in the ATX 12V power supply design guide.

ATX12V Ver 2.2 Noise/Ripple Tolerance
Output
Ripple (mV p-p)
+3.3V
50
+5V
50
+12V1
120
+12V2
120
-12V
120
+5VSB
50

Obviously when measuring AC noise and ripple on the DC outputs the cleaner (less recorded) means we have a better end result. We measured this AC signal amplitude to see how closely the unit complied with the ATX standard.

AC Ripple (mV p-p)
DC Load +3.3V +5V +12V 5VSB
110W 5 5 10 10
220W 5 10 20 10
340W 15 10 25 10
445W 20 15 30 15
550W 20 15 40 15

Noise suppression is good with the +3.3V and +5V rail peaking at 20mV and 15mV respectively. The +12V rail peaks at 40mV under full load conditions.

Efficiency (%)
110W
88.75
220W
89.88
340W
91.71
445W
90.88
550W
89.45

Efficiency is excellent, peaking at around 91.8% at 50% load. At full load, this drops to around 89.5%. Solid results.

We take the issue of noise very seriously at KitGuru and this is why we have built a special home brew system as a reference point when we test noise levels of various components. Why do this? Well this means we can eliminate secondary noise pollution in the test room and concentrate on components we are testing. It also brings us slightly closer to industry standards, such as DIN 45635.

Today to test the Power Supply we have taken it into our acoustics room environment and have set our SkyTronic DSL 2 Digital Sound Level Meter (6-130dBa) one meter away from the unit. We have no other fans running so we can effectively measure just the noise from the unit itself. That said, measuring lower than 28dBa proves very difficult, unless in strict laboratory conditions.

As this can be a little confusing for people, here are various dBa ratings in with real world situations to help describe the various levels.

KitGuru noise guide
10dBA – Normal Breathing/Rustling Leaves
20-25dBA – Whisper
30dBA – High Quality Computer fan
40dBA – A Bubbling Brook, or a Refrigerator
50dBA – Normal Conversation
60dBA – Laughter
70dBA – Vacuum Cleaner or Hairdryer
80dBA – City Traffic or a Garbage Disposal
90dBA – Motorcycle or Lawnmower
100dBA – MP3 Player at maximum output
110dBA – Orchestra
120dBA – Front row rock concert/Jet Engine
130dBA – Threshold of Pain
140dBA – Military Jet takeoff/Gunshot (close range)
160dBA – Instant Perforation of eardrum

Noise (dBA)
110W
<28.0
220W
<28.0
340W
33.4
445W
36.4
550W 38.9

The small 80mm fan doesn’t have much work to do until around 350-400 watts is demanded from the unit. It starts to actively spin up at this point. Its certainly audible at around 450 watts load, and the fan quickly spins up to around 3,750 rpm (our own readings of the fan speeds) as load rises to 550 watts. You really wouldn’t want to be running this unit at 550 watts continuously however.

Using a slightly larger 92mm fan would have helped reduce noise levels, but we imagine SilverStone are reserving the larger, quieter fans for their higher cost units (SX500-G and SX650-G).

Temperature (c)
Intake
Exhaust
110W
36
39
220W
37
42
340W
41
47
445W
45
53
550W
47
59

The small fan has to work hard in the last 30 percent of total load, but the internal temperatures are actually pretty good.

Maximum load
Efficiency
630W
88.7

Pushing the power supply above its rated limits generates an efficiency level of 88.7%. This is not a viable ‘real world’ situation, but its interesting nonetheless.

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