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Practical Power: SilverStone Olympia & FSP Everest

Let’s start off by looking at the power figures that determines the stature (and price) of the two items. Silverstone’s Olympia is rated for an amazing 1k2W, while the FSP Everest comes in at a comparatively shy 600W. These power figures can get misleading for a very simple reason – the value is calculated from the sum of all the supply rails’ capacity. This means that one can grab a power supply that promises insane amounts of power and still not get a PC to function simply because there exists a weak rail incapable of feeding the PC in question. Of course, there is the problem of manufacturers overrating their PSUs. However, that by itself, is another story altogether.

In that case, is the 1k2W Olympia twice as powerful as the 600W Everest? In absolute terms, assuming neither PSU makers are liars, total power capable of the Olympia is indeed double that of the Everest without accounting for manufacturing variablity. Now, look carefully at the two PSU labels on the boxes and the differences begin to show. First of all, the Olympia has a single 12V rail against the Everest’s four. Secondly, the combine 12V rail is capable of 1080W on the Olympia, which makes it considerably more than the 864W afforded by the Everest.

Here comes the twist: FSP states the maximal combined power of its 12V rails to add up to a mere 575W. This is a far cry from the sum of individual rail capacity added up. It would become apparent in our later tests how power ratings do not actually reflect real world performance. Apparent in the sheer high current capability of the Silverstone is a penchant for power-guzzling graphics accelerators and multicore CPUs whose Voltage Regulation Modules (VRMs) buck off a 12V rail.

What use is all the power if they do not exit the PSU? FSP chose a modular approach, using captive leads for regular, often-used connectors. Extra cords are supplied should the user intend to power more components. With over a hundred amperes on hand to handle, the Olympia took the no-frills approach with captive leads on all its outputs.

Size-wise, the less muscular Everest measures 165mm short, and the Olympia some 220mm long. With all that mass, potential users of the Olympia should ensure their cases have a support strut to deal with rotational forces ready to tear off case rear panels.

Somewhat oddball is the use of a 16A IEC socket rather than the 10A one found on the majority of conventional PSUs. Known as the IEC320 16-20A plug/socket arrangement, its larger contact area allows greater current delivery from the mains. Whether the impressive looking power inlet is a mere marketing tactic or a serious necessity remains a question. Assuming 80% efficiency with 1k2W power draw, 1k5W will pass through the mains inlet. Maximal current (on 110V sockets) amounts to 13.6A, theoratically justifying its use. Never lose the cord supplied, for the last IEC320 20A plug I bought set me back a cool SGD20 (around 14USD with the current tumultuous exchange rate). On a separate note, the supplied cord does seem to lack grip on those nickel plated pins.

A 14cm fan draws air into the Silverstone while a 12cm unit does the job for the FSP. Bling-haters rejoice! Neither fans are lighted even though the transparent Yate Loon of the FSP looks suspiciously so.

VR-Zone is a leading online technology news publication reporting on bleeding edge trends in PC and mobile gadgets, with in-depth reviews and commentaries.

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