Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Which PSU to get for the Silverstone SG13?

Silverstone SG 13 case which I recently moved my whole PC into, does indeed support ATX power supply units (PSUs). In fact I currently have an ATX power supply in it. The one that I use is one of the smallest ATX PSUs out there. Being only 140mm long, it should fit just fine in the SG13 as per specifications posted by Silverstone. But in reality, that is not the case.

The following is a photograph of the current state of my PC.

SG13

There is hardly any room for the air to circulate inside the case. That is without even the 3.5” bay installed. (I simply place the HDD on the top of the cables, but the HDD will be removed from the PC soon) The lack of space is mostly due to the long cables this power supply comes bundled with. Since it is an ATX PSU, ideally it should go inside a larger case and the cables need to be long enough to reach the components. Inside the SG13, those cables are way too long.

What can I do about the cables?

I can of course spend some time and do a proper cable management job. I didn’t have to do that with previous cases but skipping that in this case is inexcusable.

There is another option too. I can buy the PP05-E short cable kit sold separately by Silverstone. Those cables should fit my PSU just fine because they are compatible with every modular PSU sold by Silverstone. Sadly, they don’t come cheap. JPY 3,000 is a steep price to pay for a set of cables.

How about more room?

But what if I make PSU smaller as well? Wait a second now. Didn’t I tell that the PSU that I use is amongst the smallest ATX PSU’s available in the present market? Yes, I said ATX. You do not have to restrict yourself to ATX PSUs though. There are other form factors that with much smaller foot prints. Two of such popular form factors are SFX and SFX-L form factors.

The following image shows how the SFX and SFX-L PSUs compare to ATX PSUs. In addition to the breadth and depth difference, the thickness is also 26% less than ATX (86mm vs 63.5mm)

SFX vs SFX-L vs ATX PSU

In addition to the extra room these smaller PSUs take up, as added benefits, they come with shorter cables (which makes purchase of that short cable kit a redundancy) and have a lighter chassis. Both are important to me.

Currently, the best SFX and SFX-L PSUs available in the market belong to Silverstone. On the SFX front, we have the 600W 80PLUS Gold Rated SX600-G. On the SFX-L front, we have the 600W 80PLUS Gold Rated SX500-LG. Both of them are similarly priced here in Japan at around $120-130. Yes, they are not cheap, especially considering the fact that my ATX PSU costs less and offers more power and expandability.

The reasons to choose the SFX model

1. 100W more power headroom for future expandability (mostly the graphics card)

2. Smaller size will give more room to work with and breathing room for components

The reasons to choose the SFX-L model

1. Larger 120mm fan will make less noise compared to the smaller 80mm fan (although it show they are not that much different if you compare these two models) and will help exhaust warm air more

2. Less headroom means the PSU will be using more of its capacity at even slight loading, and the fan will be spinning. Both of these PSUs have fans that stop spinning at idle to reduce noise. I do not want them to stop spinning because it is the only active exhaust the PC’s got. At idle it is not that much of an issue though.

So which one is it?

I am still researching. If I had to make a decision right now, I would go for the SFX-L model ,the SX500-LG.

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