9-Way 850W Power Supply Roundup

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     December 23, 2009

Silverstone Strider Plus 850W

For longtime readers of Hardware Canucks, the inclusion of a power supply from Silverstone into this review should come as no surprise. From the Decathlon to the Olympia, for years now they have been producing some of the best power supplies around. They have also flirted with a number of OEMs like FSP, Impervio, Seventeam and Etasis but with their recently released Strider Plus series, they have gone a new platform from an old favorite: Enhance. The Strider Plus series represents Silverstone’s first steps into the high wattage, 80Plus Silver market and believe it or not, it also takes the crown of the most cost-conscious product in this roundup. With a street price of about $145 Canadian, the potential bang for buck of this unit is phenomenal.

When it comes to the box of the Strider Plus, there is one overriding observation: this thing is huge. Silverstone must have cut down a small forest to make it which really doesn’t feel right considering the entire point of these new PSUs is efficiency. Where’s the efficiency in asking the customer to pay megabucks to ship a box that simply dwarfs everything we have seen in the past? With or without the foam padding, the PSU is simply lost within this cavernous interior. What a waste.

Regardless of the Strider’s relatively low price point when compared to some of the competition, the accessories included seem to be well thought out and we have to compliment Silverstone for giving us things we can actually use. The inclusion of black screws and (wonder of wonders) thumb screws is a godsend while the Velcro ties will definitely come in handy when trying to run herd on stray cables. Standard black non-reusable zip ties are also included.

Silverstone once again sticks to their tried, tested and true solution of a highly durable satin black finish accompanied by a stamped logo on the lower portion of the Strider’s housing. Other than the single massive 135mm fan adorning its top, there is one thing that should jump out at you right away: there is no on / off switch on the back of this unit. This means your system will always be drawing a modicum of power from the wall even if everything is turned off. Alternately, other units allow you to cut your system’s overall consumption footprint by toggling the power switch instead of unplugging the PSU.

Everything about the Strider Plus is larger than life and that observation goes for the modular interface as well. Basically, since every cable is modular (yes, even the ATX cable) things can get a bit complicated but everything has its set place in the grand scheme of things. To make matters easier for the first time builder that doesn’t care to read the manual or the handy pictogram on the PSU itself, all of the modular connectors are keyed so they will accept only one type of cable. The two 8-pin black plugs are used for the CPU connectors, the blue outputs are used for PCI-E cables and finally the remaining connectors for SATA and Molex cables.

All of the cables are fully sleeved as is befitting of a high-end 850W power supply but what struck us as the most interesting was the treatment given to the PCI-E connectors. In a move similar to Antec’s new “Powercache” system, Silverstone has installed a capacitor about an inch away from every PCI-E connector. Supposedly, this should help with voltage regulation and ripple suppression.

Ah yes, the usual appearance of the tank-like Enhance interior is a great thing to see again on a Silverstone power supply. The telltale finger-like heatsinks are in abundant supply and are interspersed with temperature monitoring sensors for control of the fan. The capacitors used aren’t quite up to the temperature specs of some of the other units in this roundup but a pair of 85°C NCCs on the primary along with Teapos on the secondary isn’t anything to scoff at either.

From our vantage point, the modular interface seemed to be very well done with excellent solder points and a clean design. We couldn’t ask for more in terms of quality.

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