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|31st October 2008, 15:31||#1|
Join Date: May 2002
SilverStone Decathlon DA700 power supply
The ratings of power supplies for DIY computers have become so routinely high that a 700W unit hardly raises an eyebrow these days. Surprisingly, it is actually possible to assemble a PC that can push such a PSU to its limits, even with all the gains in energy efficiency made in processors. The source of the ridiculous power draw for gamers is the high end graphics card, especially pairs or even threesomes in CrossFire or SLI configuration. The nVidia GTX280 and the ATI 4870 X2 cards both make the power requirements of most current CPU seem positively anorexic.
SilverStone, once a maker of stylish mostly aluminum cases, has also offered power supplies for a number of years. They've had good success, tackling both the conventional gaming / performance sector as well as the silent-loving crowd. The fanless Silverstone ST30NF Fanless PSU, a 300W model that dates back to 2004, is still being made in an updated version, and still one of our favorites. The 120mm fan Element ST50EF-Plus model also reviewed well a couple of years ago, though it did not match the quietest reviewed PSUs available then.
The DA700 is next to the bottom model in the Decathlon series, modular cable PSUs oriented to the "power user". There are seven models, starting at 650W and ending at 1200W. Silverstone actually makes no fewer than six series of power supplies, one of which is aimed at the silent user. The 700W model in that series, ST70F actually sports a lower noise rating than the DA700: 18 dBA versus 23 dBA minimum. Regardless, the DA700 is the model Silvertone sent to challenge "Anandtech's assessment that Enermax offers the quietest power supplies at the moment." SPCR's own review of the Enermax Modu82+ 625W, posted around the same time, made the same assessment as well. Anandtech review of the DA700 stated that "SilverStone is telling the truth and not just blowing hot air" with regard to the acoustics. Naturally, SilverStone is hoping we'll reach the same conclusion.
One small complication is that the Enermax was tested in a live room, while today, six months later, our testing procedure has progressed to a quieter anechoic chamber where there is no echo and the background noise level is several decibels lower. We'll make adjustments to make the comparison fair, but a full-blown test of the Enermax was not possible to repeat.
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