SilverStone SX500-LG Power Supply Review

SilverStone's SX500-LG fits into the new SFX-L form factor. It's longer than normal SFX units, allowing for a larger fan that reduces output noise.

SilverStone is a key player in the SFX PSU space, with several offerings in that category. Unfortunately, the form factor's shallow depth doesn't allow for fans larger than 80mm in diameter. And smaller fans mean more noise output, since they have to spin faster.

Because acoustics are an important buying factor for many users nowadays, SilverStone tweaked the SFX form factor and introduced SFX-L, which has the same width and height as SFX, but specifies increased depth to allow for a larger cooling fan that's up to 120mm in diameter.

If you look at the top of the newly released SX500-LG PSU, you will notice that the fan covers most of it. SilverStone used the largest fan that'd fit, which in this case has a 120mm diameter. The difference in noise between an 80 and 120mm fan providing the same airflow can be tremendous, especially at higher loads and under tough conditions. Thus, we think SilverStone made the right move with its SFX-L form factor, and we hope the series will follow with additional units in the future. In addition to less noise at high loads, the SX500-LG also generates a lower-pitch tone compared to its smaller SFX-based siblings using 80mm fans.

Specifications

The SX500-LG PSU meets the 80 PLUS Gold requirements, which should allow for a more relaxed fan profile, since energy loss will be kept at low levels even under full-load conditions. Thus, the fan won't have to rotate at its maximum speed in order to dissipate heat. In addition, the SX500-LG features a semi-passive mode, so at light loads it's totally inaudible. This is good news for the sleeve-bearing fan since it translates to a longer lifespan. That's a crucial point; fans with this bearing type don't last as long as those using fluid dynamic ball bearings (FDB).

Like most SilverStone units, this is a fully modular PSU featuring all protections except for OTP (over-temperature protection), according to the company's official specs. That's not good, since the highest operating temperature this unit can deliver its full load continuously is restricted to only 40 degrees Celsius, while the ATX spec recommends 50 degrees. During our breakdown process, however, we discovered that the SX500-LG's supervisor IC does support OTP. We also found two thermistors attached to the secondary heat sink, which means OTP must be present with a trigger point higher than 46 degrees Celsius (after all, we didn't encounter any unexpected shutdowns during our hot-box test sessions).

In the dimensions section, we see that the only difference between the SFX-L and SFX units is a 13cm depth measurement compared to 10cm, respectively. The warranty on the SX500-LG PSUs is respectable at three years, though we'd prefer even longer coverage. The PSU is priced at £70, which doesn't make it inexpensive. However, compact dimensions can significantly increase PSU production costs, affecting the final retail price.

Power Specifications

Rail3.3V5V12V5VSB-12V
Max. PowerAmps20204030.3
Watts          105480153.6
Total Max. Power (W)

500

The single +12V rail in the SX500-LG can deliver up to 40A, meaning it can easily handle two mid-range graphics card or one higher-end model. The minor rails have a rather unusual max combined power level, which barely exceeds 100W, so it will suffice for all systems that are covered by a 500W PSU. Finally, the 5VSB rail is a bit more powerful than usual, making it a very welcome feature.

Cables And Connectors

Modular Cables 
  ATX connector (300mm)20+4 pin
  4+4 pin EPS12V (410mm)1
  6+2 pin PCIe (405mm+150mm)2
  SATA (300mm+200mm+100mm)3
  Four-pin Molex (300mm+200mm) / FDD (+200mm)2 / 1

All cables are short, since this PSU is designed for smaller enclosures. Longer cables would only cause trouble for routing and management. The distance among connectors is pretty long, which can prove to be helpful, even in small cases. The only downside is the low number of SATA connectors, which should be at least six based on this unit's capacity, not three. Some users might ask for more PCIe connectivity, which is understandable since even a compact PSU could handle two mid-range cards. However, we aren't sure if a small chassis, which this PSU is intended for, is even meant for such a configuration. Finally, all connectors use 18AWG wires, which are typical in most PSUs nowadays.

Power Distribution

Since this PSU features a single +12V rail, there's nothing to say about its power distribution.

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9 comments
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  • Giannis Karagiannis
    Nice review! Indeed, the price is high but this is common with non standard ATX size PSUs. Apart from the high price it looks like a very good unit however.
  • PaulBags
    I'm waiting to see the 700w platinum version of this in review. If we can get a 700w platinum sfx-l, how long until we can get shorter and/or higher wattage fanless atx?
  • Aris_Mp
    I will ask for their 700 W model as well.

    As for higher wattage fanless ATX units, only with Titanium efficiency (for less energy dissipation)
  • jtd871
    YMMV, but there are people who have reported a galloping or chirping noise associated with this model. It's not clear if it's the fan, the thermistor that turns the fan on and off or a combination of both. Based on the ambient testing temps for this review, it might not have been noticed or noticeable. Discussion on [H] for those wanting more info.
  • Aris_Mp
    Haven't noticed anything weird in my sample, else I would have mentioned it in the review.
  • Vlad Rose
    Still not compatible with their first generation Raven RVZ01 models. Be careful if you buy one through an online retailer as you might get back stock as Silverstone never bothered to call it a revision change..
  • mikelim2000
    Got the same PSU, no weird sound, almost dead silent. My PC is dead silent, no case fans, only other fan is the Be Quiet! Shadow Rock LP for my cpu and that's literally dead silent.
  • ThePSU
    Honestly....Aris no mean to offend you but you barely explain how you test these, what equipment you use, or anything. Just a bunch of oscillating graphs is not making you a confident reviewer to me. One must reveal how they come up with these numbers in detail and equipment used. Otherwise until I can myself replicate these things, your reviews are utterly useless to me.
  • Aris_Mp
    I am not easily offended no worries. There is a whole article about this. And also there are links to this article right before each new test, in all of my reviews. For me as well a reviewer that doesn't share is methodology and equipment isn't a trust worthy one.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/how-we-test-psu,4042.html