With the vast selection of advanced ATX PSUs available today, PC users can easily pick one that perfectly suits their budget and needs. When shopping for an SFX PSU however, the options are very limited, as very few companies do market advanced high quality SFX PSUs. Even when the company has a few SFX units available, most of the time these are expensive top-tier models, leaving budget-driven users bewildered.

One of the companies that invests a lot on small form factor systems is SilverStone. The company currently markets dozens of proprietary PC cases, many of which require SFX PSUs. SilverStone is also marketing some of the most advanced SFX PSUs available, such as the 700W SX700-LPT that we reviewed a few months ago and their newly released 800W SX800-LTI with 80Plus Titanium compliance. Outrageously powerful (and expensive) SFX PSUs are not useful to users that want to build simple, compact media or office PCs. Their “SFX extended” form factors make them incompatible with very compact case designs anyway, including many of SilverStone’s own products.

Today we are having a look at the two SFX units that SilverStone is offering for budget-conscious builders, the ST30SF and the ST45SF. Although they are not as grand as the top-tier PSUs we mentioned before, they do have a high power output of 300W and 450W respectively, sufficient for typical media and gaming PCs. They only have an 80Plus Bronze efficiency certification, but what they lack in technology they make up for in price. We should clarify that the units in this review are the latest version, V2.0 for the ST30SF and the V3.0 for the ST45SF, that have been reengineered for improved performance in home and gaming PCs. Most of the differences over their previous versions will be highlighted in the following pages, but the first difference that we should point out is that the new units are rated at 40°C ambient temperature, whereas the previous versions were rated at 50°C.

SilverStone ST30SF Power specifications ( Rated @ 40 °C )
AC INPUT 100 - 240 VAC, 50 - 60 Hz
RAIL +3.3V +5V +12V +5Vsb -12V
MAX OUTPUT 16A 16A 25A 3A 0.3A
90W 300W 15W 3.6W
TOTAL 300W

SilverStone ST45SF Power specifications ( Rated @ 40 °C )
AC INPUT 100 - 240 VAC, 50 - 60 Hz
RAIL +3.3V +5V +12V +5Vsb -12V
MAX OUTPUT 20A 20A 37.5A 3A 0.3A
110W 450W 15W 3.6W
TOTAL 450W

 

Packaging & Bundle

SilverStone supplies their cost-effective SFX PSUs in aesthetically simple, practical cardboard boxes. The artwork on the black boxes is minimal, but SilverStone had every worthwhile bit of information printed on them and they should provide ample shipping protection to the lightweight units.

We expected to find only the absolute minimum of items bundled alongside such units but SilverStone had us surprised. Except from the thorough manual, black mounting screws and the necessary AC cable, the company also supplies an ATX to SFX adapter frame, allowing these SFX units to be installed into ATX compatible cases. This greatly enhances the value of the units, ensuring that they may fit into other cases into the future, as well as their potential market group, as they may be appealing to modders and other people that wish to save some space in their PSU compartment for some reason.

Connector type SilverStone ST30SF SilverStone ST45SF
ATX 24 Pin 1 1
EPS 4+4 Pin 1 1
EPS 8 Pin - -
PCI-E 6+2 Pin - 1
PCI-E 6 Pin 1 1
SATA 3 3
Molex 2 2
Floppy 1 1
The SilverStone ST30SF & ST45SF SFX PSUs
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  • hasseb64 - Thursday, January 26, 2017 - link

    Bronze? Wouldent installed one for free... Reply
  • A5 - Thursday, January 26, 2017 - link

    The difference between Bronze and Titanium at 450W 100% load is 36W (roughly $38/year if you run 100% 24/7/365).

    Which isn't nothing, but it isn't a huge deal down in this power range.
    Reply
  • TurboTastic - Thursday, January 26, 2017 - link

    I totally would install one for free, and $45 is close enough to free to make it an easy choice!

    Yes, bronze is the minimum of the 80Plus certification. But it still means that it's 80Plus, which is better than a lot of the competition at this price point.

    And what do you lose? 10W on standby, or 20W during the few minutes a day when you're really pushing the little Celeron kiosk you'd put this into? You could spend $90 on a Corsair SF450 Gold unit, or $160 on a Silverstone Platinum SX700. Even if those units had zero standby power consumption (they don't, the platinum still burns like 7W on standby), that $45 difference would buy like 4 years of electricity. You could run it for more than a decade on the SX700 before breaking even.

    It's the right choice for the sign-in kiosk in the lobby, or a thin Word/Excel/Outlook client in the office. It's a fine choice for a NAS, or a media server in a closet. This is the right choice for the little Facebook machine you want to build for Grandma. And I depend on reviews like this from Anandtech so I can pick quality budget components for those machines! I'd probably be looking for a 300-500W ATX form factor power supply for 80% of my builds, and a small form-factor PSU like this one in this same power range for another 15%. Only a tiny fraction are the monster workstations and servers that need big, efficient power supplies.

    Thanks, Fylladitakis, for another review of a typical power supply!
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, January 26, 2017 - link

    The minimum level is just 80 Plus, Bronze is the first step up above it. That said, especially at the 300W level just 80+ Bronze is better than most of what's on the market. Especially since this appears to be a modern 12V first design, vs a lot of the other junk on the market being old split rail designs.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/80_Plus#Efficiency_l...
    Reply
  • 80-wattHamster - Monday, January 30, 2017 - link

    80+ is a certification based solely on efficiency, and has nothing to do with output quality or durability. It's true that in today's market, the marketing pull of 80+ being what it is, that a non-rated model isn't likely to be any good. But the rating by itself is nigh-meaningless in determining if a given unit is any good. Reply
  • romrunning - Thursday, January 26, 2017 - link

    The SG05 that I bought with the 450W SFX PSU is still going strong. I really don't hear the fan in the PSU at all. It seems to be quieter than the CPU's fan in this min-ITX case. Reply
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Thursday, January 26, 2017 - link

    Thanks for reviewing these smaller, relatively lower-power-rated PSUs!

    Props for the segment on "how picking an oversized PSU can lead to inferior overall performance", though I find it odd how this never gets mentioned in the reviews of idiotically oversized PSUs that are positioned at mainstream users (600-700W). These units get panned for being only bronze efficiency, but in the power draw situations of single-GPU systems, they would be a lot more efficient in the idle/light-usage state and possibly better while gaming compared to a PSU that is only at 30% load (in the case of a 700W).
    Reply
  • StrangerGuy - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 - link

    Yeah, it's really funny and idiotic with all that "ZOMG you need a 600W+ PSU or your PC will explode" PSU memes all around....For a typical gaming single GPU PC that idles ~50W and maybe touch 300W at full load where a 600W+ PSU will run so far away from the sweet spot on the efficiency curve. Reply
  • phexac - Thursday, January 26, 2017 - link

    I generally stay away from commenting on the actual items you guys review, but I have to wonder here...how many people actually care about power supply reviews? Seems like there are plenty of other things to review out there... Reply
  • galta - Thursday, January 26, 2017 - link

    Maybe the do not care, but they should. Reply

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