Not too long ago, a rogue division of Cooler Master left to form their own company called Silverstonetek. While they are arguably more famous for their HTPC cases today, Silverstone has already developed a vast number of power supplies and is getting stronger with each new series.

The Olympia series is designed by Silverstone's newly acquired crew that came over from several member of different teams of the power supply business. With this move, Silverstone makes it clear that they are interested in branching out into other areas of the power supply market. At the CeBIT earlier this year, they were already showing a server power supply, and more will follow in the near future.

There are two things which help this power supply stand out from most other units. Silverstone is one of the first manufacturers that is actually returning to Taiwan for production. What's noteworthy about this is the fact that Silverstone has set up a robot factory in Taiwan that is building the PSU totally by itself. The positive effect of this is the same as what we see with things like car manufacturing where the work is done by robots: the overall soldering and precision is just better than it is by hand. This fact can be seen quite clear later when we take a look inside of this unit.

The second special characteristic is the single 12V rail. In a time when other manufacturers are building up to six 12V rails in their PSUs, Silverstone has come up with a single rail able to pull a load up to 54 amps. If we look to the actual Intel ATX12V specs, it states that there should be no rail with more than 20 amps for safety reasons. That's a fine step but not possible when you listen to the graphics card manufacturers. They ask for up to 30 amps from a single 12V rail which would make every OCP kick in if reached since they lie at around 24 amps. The result would be a shut-down of the PC while running the actual application. With a single 12V rail Silverstone went in another direction. If you have enough power to supply every component in the PC from a single rail, there would never be any problem since the PSU is regulating all the power drawn from just one source.

This might be a valid way to design a power supply, but, even though we don't know what it is, Intel probably had a reason for designing the specifications around a 20 amp per 12V rail limit. Silverstone backs up their design choice by stating that there is no application which could force this kind of power supply to fail. We have not heard of any problems in the field with a single high current 12V rail, and in our tests we weren't able to provoke this power supply into failing. We will make sure to pay close attention to this during the tests.

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  • Araemo - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    That makes sense, and makes me think my guess about the 20A limit is possibly a contributing factor - It would be a safety issue if someone hung 40A worth of fans, lights, motorized case windows, whatever you want.. off of one pair of wires (IE, one molex connector feeding into the mass of extenders and passthrough connectors that most fans and lights I've seen use.).

    You'd likely overheat the wires carrying all that power, if not the connectors as well, which could cause fire or electrocution hazards.

    While a GPU may draw significantly more than 20A, they are also using 3 pairs now, so the actual power draw will be closer to 20A per pair.
  • DerekWilson - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    The PCIe V2.0 PSUs I've seen suggest only using connectors from the same 12V rail for PCIe graphics cards -- because if you don't, you'll be connecting the common from two different 12V rails together.

    This can cause issues.

    If a graphics card has one 4pin and 1 8pin connector, like the HD 2900 XT, the GPU can potentially draw up to 225W from a single 12V rail through 2x PCIe graphics power connectors (3 pairs). That's about 19 amps through one rail for one PSU, but not over each pair.
  • SilthDraeth - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    They explained it.
    The Intel ATX standard calls for no more than 20 Amps per 12V rail. So in order to avoid maxing out a single 12V rail at 20 Amps, PSUs have multiple rails support up to 20 Amps each.

    If you use a single rail that can max out at 54 Amps as stated here, then you do not need the additional rails, but you are going against the ATX standard.
  • Duraz0rz - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    Also, I didn't see if there was a reason that it was advertised as a single rail, yet you have 4 12V rails.

    Nice article...really love the line curves for the load outputs. One thing I noticed missing is ripple testing. Any reason why it's not here?
  • SilthDraeth - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    That confused me as well. I think they mentioned that the PSU supposedly includes an ability to turn the other rails off, but it doesn't work, and it always has 4. They did state the PCB was originally designed for 4 rails. Reply
  • Duraz0rz - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    Nevermind...disregard my statement about the ripple testing. I probably just missed it in the original article after skimming the comments from it :) Reply

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