Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

SilverStone SFX SX500-G 500W Power Supply Review

SilverStone has been championing as well as leading the SFX form factor push for computer power supplies. Its SX500-G represents what we think is he most power we have ever seen shoehorned into a minuscule footprint. SilverStone likes to refer to the it in Watts Per Liter. At 630 "WPL" shows it takes up less than a liter of space in your new build.

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Conclusions

The SilverStone SX500-G is one of a growing list of power supplies we have seen over the years that is not a standard ATX/EPS power supply. Among those non-ATX form factor units SFX/SFX-L units, like this unit, have been among the most common with SilverStone having a very big footprint in that market. So, today, with the 500W SX500-G gracing our presence we are seeing both a bit of a unique item in our reviews and a common item from SilverStone. As this makes this unit right in their wheelhouse, we would expect SilverStone to definitely deliver. That said, just because something is in a vendors wheel house that doesn't mean they do not occasionally strike out. So, let's see how SilverStone did today!


HardOCP’s testing methodology is intended to very much push power supplies to their advertised wattage rating in temperatures that will represent some of the hottest computer enthusiast cases. So if a unit passes all our testing it is definitely not something to take lightly. In fact we expect more power supplies to fail our testing than make it through unscathed.

Build Quality

As the build quality of the SilverStone SX500-G starts the day off it does so with a bit of the old "been there, seen that" feeling. Perhaps that is because it looks like most previous SFX units we have seen from SilverStone. Even so, the overall build quality is very good/excellent. When it comes to the exterior, there is not a whole lot to say as the unit is tiny and the fit/finish is very similar to what we have seen from other SilverStone units. The unit does manage to feature a fully modular design which is really nice and the cables are the FlexForce style which is generally a popular choice among users. With this unit also featuring a single 92mm overhead fan for cooling (a bit of a departure from some other SilverStone SFX units), and a large power sticker on the side of the unit, there is little in the way of space to brand this unit. So, instead, we just get to admire the nice black finish of the unit. When we move to the interior of the unit, we see that this unit is packed with components given its small form factor. That said, the component quality is definitely excellent today as we have standard capacitors provided by Nippon Chemi-con and Rubycon while we see Nippon Chemi-con providing the solid capacitors. In addition to that, this unit has a FDB Globe Fan for cooling which will probably blow some wind up our quiet cooling enthusiasts skirts. Otherwise, the integration again looks good but incredibly tight due to the units size. When we move to the support, we again see that this unit sports the short 3 year warranty that SilverStone seems to favor, but it does come with very good documentation which SilverStone is known for.

Load Testing

When we look to the load testing results for the SilverStone SX500-G, we see that the results posted are good in an absolute sense which is a nice place to start at. For instance, while the weakest part of this units performance in the regular load tests was the 12v regulation we still only saw a peak change of 0.13v on the 12v rail. The minor rails did much better with peak changes of just 0.03v each. Now, when we look at the competition we see that these good absolute values don't quite translate as well into the relative comparisons but they are not terrible either. In fact, this unit was better than the Thermaltake Toughpower SFX 600W, SilverStone SX600-G, and SilverStone ST45SF-G. Additionally, it was mixed with the against the Corsair SF600, SilverStone ST45SF V3.0, and Fractal Design Tesla R2 500W but trailed the SilverStone NJ520. Now, those aren't all the same capacity unit as this nor are they all the same form factor but they are the closest units we have to compare this unit to today and, in the end, the SX500-G did a decent enough job here as it was competitive. Now, when we move to the efficiency of the SX500-G, we see that this unit is posting a range of 87.35% to 91.07% at 120v and 86.79% to 90.42%. We also see that it was 86.07%-90.92%-88.58% efficient using 80 Plus’ load testing parameters which means this unit just missed its 80 Plus Gold rating at 20% load.

The Transient Load Tests results for the SilverStone SX500-G are all passing but they end up being not as good as we would have hoped for due to one large factor. When directly loaded, the 12v rail had a peak change of ~560mV and the 5v rail had a peak change of ~60mV. Obviously, that 560mV number is quite big and it is the sole reason today that this unit is not class leading in this aspect of testing. In fact, due to that 12v value, this unit ended up mixed with the Thermaltake Toughpower SFX 600W, Corsair SF600, SilverStone ST45SF V3.0, SilverStone SX600-G, SilverStone ST45SF-G, Fractal Design Tesla R2 500W, and SilverStone NJ520. That is, quite literally, everyone we compared it to today. Everyone! So, the SX500-G is competitive but it isn't actually doing a good job here as if you were to look at how the actual 12v results stacked up against those other units you find that it was way behind.

DC Output Quality

With the DC output quality today, we see that the SilverStone SX500-G is getting into the game finally. Starting off in our testing today, we see that the SX500-G is a bit noisy on the 12v rail (~25mV) but generally quiet on the minor rails. During our testing, these values increased on the minor rails by only small amounts to end at ~10mV of ripple/noise and actually decreased on the 12v rail by a bit. Relative to the units we have been comparing it to today, the SX500-G ended up doing better than the Thermaltake Toughpower SFX 600W, SilverStone ST45SF V3.0, SilverStone SX600-G, SilverStone ST45SF-G, and Fractal Design Tesla R2 500W while tying the Corsair SF600 and ending mixed with the SilverStone NJ520. So, we have a case here where the SX500-G is legitimately doing a very good job in relation to the competition. So, while not absolutely leading the pack, we do see this unit running with the top end of the pack and that is definitely good to see after a few of those early results that were doing well until an ill timed stumble or two.

Noise

The SilverStone SX500-G, like other small non-ATX form factor power supplies, gives us a scenario where we can not use a very large fan because of the form factor yet power outputs are climbing and users typically use these kinds of units in scenarios where they want a quiet unit. Basically, the perfect storm for complaints about noise output. That said, the SX500-G seems to navigate this tricky situation decently well as it employs a FDB fan and a fan controller that resulted in this unit being quiet through the vast majority of our testing. Indeed, it was not until Test #4 (full load) where this unit began to become apparent in our testing environment. So, if you used this unit in a normal configuration and you stayed out of that full power kind of load this unit would be a well behaved unit.

Paul's Thoughts:

The SilverStone SX500-G is another good SFX unit from SilverStone. That said, while it makes improvements in some areas it also takes some steps back in other areas. That isn't exactly a deal killer, but what seems to hamper this unit a bit when it comes to wow factor (with that being the case) is that SilverStone seems to have this unit bracketed by products around this unit that perform similarly like the ST45SF-G and the SX600-G. Sure this unit does a bit better here or a bit better there, in some aspects of testing, but none of those numbers make us seriously stand up and look at this unit as transformative. So, I am definitely glad to see that constant level of performance from SilverStone in this segment. However, it would be nice to see them take some time and give us something that just kills it with the next set of SFX units they roll out. Please?

The Bottom Line

The SilverStone SX500-G is the latest SFX unit that we have seen from SilverStone and SilverStone is somewhat of a leader in the market when it comes to SFX units. However, while a good unit, the SX500-G did not exactly end up being a leader in our testing today. True, it did have excellent build quality, very good absolute voltage regulation, excellent efficiency, excellent DC output capacity, and it was quiet. At the same time, however, the unit did not do well in the Transient Load tests and it never managed to get out of the shadows of other units until the DC output quality portion of our testing. On top of that, the SX500-G is coming in to testing today retailing at $104.04 at Amazon with Free Prime Shipping while the 100W larger (and generally competitive) SX600-G is retailing for $110 with Free Prime Shipping. With just a $6 difference that makes the SX500-G a tough sell even when it does inch past the SX600-G in certain aspects of testing. If this unit saw a bit of a price cut it would be a much more attractive option and with the ST45SF-G selling at $81.37 (back up to $96 at publication) with Free Prime Shipping there is room there to position this a bit better with regards to price. Overall though, the SX500-G is a good SFX unit that is in need of a bit of adjustment in the market to make it a better choice than it is today.

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SilverStone SFX SX500-G 500W Power Supply

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