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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [08.11.04]
Manufactured by: SilverStone


The Test

It's obvious that a 250W power supply isn't meant for the hardcore gamer or overclocker crowd. Therefore, we're not going to submit this unit to the torture the X-Connect endured in our last PSU review.

The 30NF is clearly aimed at the HTPC market, and should be tested as such. But I still wanted to push it to the limits!

Our test system in this case consisted of an aluminum ATX case, with NO intake or exhaust fans. The CPU is a Pentium 4 Prescott running at 2.8 GHz. The video card used is a GeForce FX 5900. In addition, a Creative Audigy 2 ZS was installed, along with a Hauppage PVR-250 decoder card. All running on an Intel D875PBZ, this should replicate a pretty common fast home theatre PC.

The CPU cooler used was a stock P4 Prescott heatsink. This is important to remember.

To test power and heat levels, I ran Prime95 along with an infinite 3dMark 03 loop of the game tests.

First, let's find out what happened when the test was run without a case fan:

Yikes! A 2.8 GHz CPU reaching 75 degrees! With no exhaust fan to expel the CPU heat, it REALLY builds up, potentially creating a non-stable situation. Let's add a single 80mm case fan to the test setup, and see what happens:

Ahh, MUCH better. 65 seems high, but it's well within Prescott's range.

So it seems that if you want to enjoy a fanless PSU, you are going to have to either consider a CPU that excels in cool operation (something you should be doing anyway, but we wanted to push this unit within a reasonable level), or somehow move the heat from the inside of the case to the outside.. Wait a minute! The Reserator 1 does just that.

Under Load

We also have to find out how well this 250W can handle our high end HTPC. Using the same load test, I checked out the voltage rates using Intel's system monitor util:

No problem! The 12V rail suffers a bit, but it's very well within specs.

As with every other SilverStone product we've reviewed so far (going back to their Cooler Master days), the SST-30NF is second to none in terms of construction quality and design. It screams high end from the moment you receive the box. That's a good thing too, because the price is anything but low.

As our tests proved, the SST-30NF stands up to some pretty harsh test environments. I wouldn't recommend installing the same system we tested with (Prescott is a bad idea for SFF and low noise systems in general), but you could get away with it if you wanted to. Any anything below what we tested should work perfectly fine.

I would highly recommend something like the Reserator 1 to help transfer the heat created by the CPU and Video Card to outside the system if you are considering hot components like Prescott CPU's and GeForce FX 59xx video cards. The heatpipe system simply can't cope with that much heat being produced.

If you're building a Home Theatre PC, I can't think of a better power supply to use than this one. And what do you know, we said the exact same thing about SilverStone's HTPC case!

  • Absolutely 100% soundless
  • Very powerful for a 250W PSU
  • Looks great!

  • Expensive

Final Score: 95%