Thursday, September 24, 2015

Finally did the PSU upgrade: Silverstone SX500-LG

I was delaying purchasing of the new PSU  until I could find it at a reasonable price and until I piled up enough Rakuten points. By 15th of this month, I had a total of 3700 points and sadly about 1500 points were to become expired at the end of the month. So I had to buy something else with that points or buy the PSU now.
I was going to buy either the Silverstone SX500-LG or the Sharkoon SilentStorm SFX Gold 500W model. I was leaning towards the latter because it was
  • cheaper (much cheaper on Rakuten, like JPY2,500 compared to the Silverstone),
  • had more connectors on the SATA power cable (4 vs. 3) and
  • had a fan that was always running (compared to semi-silent one on the Silverstone).

But the Silverstone one

  • had all Japanese caps,
  • had shorter power cables and
  • was from a well-known manufacturer (not OEM, mind you) in the field of PSUs.
But I decided to wait a bit longer to see if the Silverstone unit would drop in price. I could wait till the end of the month anyways. One day I noticed that there was a new listing for less than JPY14,000 on Rakuten, by a shop called EC-JOY!. Still it was almost a thousand bucks pricier than the Sharkoon unit, but I would trade that amount for peace of mind. (I’ve been burned several times for cheeping out on stuff.) So I decided to go for the Silverstone. I have seen EC-JPY!’s listings on but I had never bought anything from them.
It was mentioned that the delivery charges weren't included in the price but it turned out to be free after all. I ordered it on Thursday the 17th and it arrived on Saturday the 19th. It could have taken longer because of the holidays. (This is the Silver Week in Japan.) It was no one day delivery like Amazon Prime, but I’ve purchases from Rakuten take more than a week.

Funny thing was, I wasn’t that keen on tearing apart the PC to install the PSU. I took few days and finally installed it last night after putting the kid to bed. The reason for the delay probably was because it is not a performance enhancing upgrade. Or maybe I am getting too old for these kind of things.

One of the dilemmas I had about these SFF PSUs was about the orientation of the fan. Since all PSUs nowadays come with the fan operating as intake, if I installed the fan facing downwards, it would take the warm air that’s built up inside the case and if I installed the fan facing downwards, it would take the relatively cooler air from the outside. The thing with the Silverstone SG13 case is, there is no way to prevent the warm air getting into the PSU regardless of the orientation of the fan. This is because, there is a considerably large gap between the roof and the PSU, where the warm air generated by the CPU cooler and the video card can get trapped in, and this warm air can easily get sucked into the PSU. The situation gets worse with a SFX unit because the gap widens. It probably is better than the orientation where the fan is facing downwards though, because some cool air can get sucked in as well. However, having it facing downward will help warm air be actively exhausted out of the case, making life easier for the components.

So I decided to install it as the fan facing downwards.

If you think that swapping the PSU was a quick job, you are mistaken: at least not in my case. This is due to the fact that I have a 2.5” SSD installed on the floor of the front of the case, and it is covered by the radiator of the CPU cooler. It was impossible to plug the SATA power cable without first removing the radiator. And to remove the radiator, I had to remove the front cover of the case. So, it wasn't as straightforward as one might have thought; as I originally had thought. But I was very familiar with the drill as I had to swap out the  radiator couple of weeks ago because I bought a new cooler and swapped back with the old cooler because the new one was not fit for the job.

The installation of the PSU itself was very easy. I first installed the SFX to ATX adapter on to the PSU and then installed the required cables to the components inside the case. Then I visualized how the other ends of the cables had to be plugged into the PSU and then routed them in such a way that they didn't block the path of the airflow from the front fan, which is also the fan that was cooling the radiator. I then roughly placed the PSU inside the case and plugged in the cables to it. And then I screwed in the PSU. The short cables sure were a lifesaver. Although the 24pin ATX cable was a bit stubborn that it didn't easily bend because of its shortness.

(Sadly I forgot to take a photo of the internals of the case after installing the PSU. I will update this post when I open it up in the future.)

PSU installed - view from the back

I didn't use the supportive bracket because it would not come in contact with the PSU anyways. It was simply adding unnecessary weight to the system albeit only a few grammes. It was only designed to carry the weight of ATX PSUs. SFX PSUs probably don't need it because they aren't that heavy. (The main reason for going SFX in the first place.)

Speaking of weight, how much did it lose? 800g. The final weight of the PC read as 5.4kg. It's not too bad, but I’m sad that I couldn’t cut it below the 5kg mark. That would have been awesome.

Weight of the rig

Remember where I started? With the SG09 system, I was at 12kg. I've since halved the w ought of the PC. Sure if had to cheat a bit like taking out the hard drives completely and going 100% solid state. Yes, I still use the hard drives to store the data but they are plugged in as external drives using the external drive dock I recently bought from Amazon.

You know what? I can improve it even further , but I'll have to give up on my overclock for that. Switching to the stock cooler will drop the weight by another couple of hundred grammes. I of course have to use a front intake fan but I don't have to use the Gentle Typhoon AP29 fan which is a bit on the heavier side. There are lots of case fans which are lighter and probably perform as well as it because I don't want static pressure from a case fan. But I don't have to buy anything new so I'll leave it as an option when I really need it.

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