This paper is aimed at the modeling and simulation of wind power system, with particular emphasis on small wind turbines employing surface permanent magnet synchronous generators (SPMSGs). Generator and inverter front-end interaction is analytically and numerically modeled, in order to evaluate the generator's efficiency depending on its electric parameters, both during normal and power limited operation. Passive and active rectifier front-end are taken into account to assess the influence of power electronics front-end over system performances. The final target of this work is to determine design guidelines for small wind turbine system optimization. The analysis is carried out through simulations which take into account the interactions of the SPMSG's electrical parameters and through the evaluation of the generator's efficiency at different operating conditions and inverter front-end architectures. The data obtained was further validated with experimental characterization of two different system architectures.