The Ultimate Power Supply
Is there no end in sight to the ever burgeoning wattages of power supply units (PSU)? While we expect wattages to rise in tandem with the advent of power hungry graphics cards that now come not just in pairs, but also in triplets and even quad configurations, we are still astonished to find so many vendors offering PSUs that break the 1kW barrier.
SilverStone's top model in its Strider PSU series is exactly that, boasting 1500W of continuous power. Mind you, the company lists its peak output at 1600W, along with an almost matter-of-fact statement that the SilverStone Strider 1500W is effectively at the limit of what an internal PC power supply can achieve in terms of wattage rating. Is this PSU indeed the pinnacle of the technology now?
A Flurry of Cables
Weighing a substantial 4.2kg, the SilverStone Strider is as hefty as its wattage promises. A matte black paint that quickly became smudged by our finger marks uniformly coats the casing of this PSU. As expected from SilverStone, the exterior casing is plain and ordinary, the smooth finish broken by a relatively quiet 135mm fan in the center. The rear of the PSU has a honeycombed grill, though surprisingly, we didn't find a power switch, only an indicator.
Since the point of having such a high wattage PSU is so that it can power multiple components, SilverStone has included a staggering number of modular power cables. For graphics cards alone, we found four PCIe cables, each featuring a pair of 6-pin and 8-pin connectors for a total of eight +12V rails, each rated at up to 25A. With that many, the only issue with connecting up to four high-end graphics cards lies entirely on whether you can afford them.
Additionally, there are twelve SATA power cables, with another twelve 4-pin connectors in the box. These rounded, sleeved modular cables are attached to the PSU in the factory, so it's up to the user to remove the unused ones (and there will be a lot of those). They are also fairly long, so those with a larger, full tower chassis will not find them lacking like some we have experienced.
Top Class Efficiency
A 1500W PSU is certainly mind-boggling but what makes the Strider even more impressive is its 80 PLUS Silver award for power efficiency. It's quite the technological feat, since power efficiency is usually not associated with high wattage PSUs.
Such high efficiency figures are not merely marketing shine that do not apply at common workloads. In fact, you can expect 85% at least for almost every conceivable situation; if not then your system does not use enough power to justify having a 1500W PSU.
Other features that add shine to the Strider include its built-in protection for over-voltage, over-current, short circuit and other situations that will ensure that your system components are safe in the event of electrical outages.
The SilverStone Strider 1500W provides an almost outrageous amount of power in that plain black package. Complemented by premium features that are found on all high-end PSU models, this well-made PSU shows that high efficiency can co-exist with high wattage just fine. Quiet and stable, it's hard to imagine an existing PC system that can stretch this PSU to its limits. Even for the really hardcore enthusiasts, this is one PSU that will last for a while.
At around US$400, it is one of the most expensive PSUs that we have seen but the high-end crowd would probably not mind paying the premium for such a solidly built PSU.