There is so much conjecture and argument over what is and isn’t a “gaming” system that it’s ridiculous. On one side, you have the SLI/CrossfireX crowd who swear up and down that you absolutely, positively must have multiple GPUs in order to have any type of semblance to a good gaming experience. On the other side, there are people (myself included) that feel that a 2500K/3570K/FX-8120/FX-8320 and GTX 660 Ti/HD 7870 makes a considerably potent gamer. You would be seriously hard pressed to find a game that any combination of those CPUs and GPUs couldn’t handle. If you want to take it a step further, some of them will tell you that a pair of GTX 570s in SLI is serious gaming equipment, but a single GTX 670 or 680 isn’t. Of course, the GTX 670 or 680 will outperform the 570s in SLI, and will do it without the SLI/CrossfireX stutter. It will also do it without needing copious amounts of power. Today’s gaming systems hit harder than ever on the performance front, and do it with power efficiency that is worlds away from what we have seen previously. How much power do you need to run your “gaming system”, do you need the 1200 watts you did two years ago to achieve that kind of performance? There are a lot of factors at play. First, let’s start by agreeing that a 3570K running at 4.6GHz, an OC’d GTX 680, 16GB of 1866MHz RAM, two SSDs and two HDDs is going to make for a serious gaming system.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about how we are going to look at power. Unfortunately, no one has stepped in and created a standardized required power rating for PSUs. Silverstone took it upon themselves to lay it all on the line with their new Strider Gold series. The power rating given is not a peak rating, it is a real rating. The rating shows continuous (not peak spikes) output power that the unit is capable of at 40 degrees C, with less than 3% ripple and noise and voltage regulation within 3%. In other words, what you see is the clean power the unit can produce for an indefinite amount of time. It is the real rating that all manufacturers should subscribe to and be held accountable for. You would probably be shocked at how the rating of your own PSU would change if this were adhered to, and how many “750 Watt” units would suddenly be labeled as “480 Watts” or thereabouts. So, using real power, how much are we going to need to run our serious gaming system? Using Silverstone’s stringent ratings, we are going to use 550 watts. If you think 550 watts can’t do it, you are about to have your eyes opened very wide.
With this in mind, looking at the 550 watt rating of the Silverstone Strider Gold ST55F-G changes a bit, but there is much more to the ST55F-G than unexpected power capabilities. The Silverstone Strider Gold ST55F-G is fully modular, including all MB and PCIe connections. Connections for one 6+2 pin and one 6 pin PCIe, eight SATA, three 4-pin molex and one floppy connector fit the expansion needs for almost any single GPU system. MB, 8-pin and PCIe connectors are a generous 550mm, while SATA and 4-pin connectors are slightly shorter at 500mm with all cables sleeved in black mesh. The depth of the ST55F-G comes in at a smaller than standard 140mm, making it a perfect choice for smaller form factor systems. A 120mm silent fan provides ample cooling for the ST55F-G. To keep things running safely, Silverstone has built seven way protection into the ST55F-G, including No Load Protection, which is a step rarely seen taken. Naturally, with 80 PLUS Gold Certification, the ST55F-G is going to provide its power with great efficiency.