Good day to you, loyal readers, and welcome. Today's review marks a momentous occasion, for today's review sample comes from Maxpoint, better known as Tagan. Like last week's Hipro review, the Tagan PipeRock II 680W (TG680-BZII) will be my first look at an offering from Maxpoint/Tagan, and I for one am excited.
Hmm... PipeRock? Where did that name come from, I have to wonder. And what should I listen to while I'm writing this up, pipe organ or rock music? Maybe I should put Muse on and listen to both at the same time.
But before I fire up my MP3 player, here's a box shot for you with some bragging points. Fortunately, those bragging points are legible enough that I don't feel the need to retype them. But I will comment.
It appears that 80 Plus has seen fit to bestow Bronze on this unit, with the box bragging that the unit can do this via the awesomeness of DC-DC topology. For those who are new to the site, usually this means the unit is designed to use voltage regulation modules to supply the 3.3V and 5V from one big 12V rail. More and more units these days are using such a strategy. Some, like the Enermax Revolution 85+, are doing exceptionally well with it. We'll see how this unit does with it on pages two and three.
I must admit, I had some trouble finding this unit at the 80 Plus site at first. Then, I realized that it was indeed present, only under a different name: TG680-U33II.
Reliable due to high value components? We'll see about that on page four, dear box.
As is quite common with boxes in general, this one has more than one side. This side presents us with some cable pictures with length data and connector counts, as well as little logos for what else comes in the box. This includes a picture of one, two, three... ah yes... four screws with a line below it saying "five screws." You marketing people over at Tagan HQ haven't been smoking your PipeRock II's... have you?
More box goodness. This side has no real information you didn't already know about this unit, but instead shows off some awards from various websites. Will our logo show up there in the future? We'll find that out on page five.
The marketing hype resumes on the back of the box. Now, these are too small to make out in this shot, so here you go:
PipeRock II modular cable management is the best cable type for optional cable usage.
-English must not be a strong point at Tagan HQ. Of course modular cables are best for "optional" cables. You can't remove hardwired cables, therefore hardwired cables aren't really optional, are they?
Compatible with Intel EPS12V Ver.2.92/ATX12V Ver.2.2 and downward versions.
Over 82% efficiency means money saving due to the reduction of heat loss.
-Reduction of heat... loss? How will retaining heat save me money? Oh, wait, they must mean this unit won't heat up as much as lower efficiency units. There's that language barrier again.
TSCT (Tagan Silence Control Technology) keeps power supply running at "Super Low Noise" level.
-Folks, I'd love to be able to verify such claims, but the reality is, with four electronic loads all running at once in the same room, noise measurements are impossible.
PCI-E cables support Triple-SLI and CrossfireX high-end graphic cards for perfect display.
-Wait, triple SLI on a 680W unit? That's pushing it a bit. Especially since there are only two PCI-E connectors present on this unit.
Low power consumption in stand-by mode, meets Energy Star 4.0 requirements.
Active Power Factor Correction with high PF value of >0.98.
-That's a number not really worth mentioning, as all APFC units I test measure above 0.95 on a regular basis, and most stay above 0.98. Likewise, APFC is pretty much the norm these days on good units. APFC is more interesting to us end users for its side benefit - automatic input voltage selection. This is because the power factor correction itself is of more benefit to the utility than anything in your system.
Me being a closet pipe organ nut, I was half hoping to find one inside the box. It seems that the laws of physics won't allow the universe to fit a twenty ton musical instrument into a 13" long box. You try to tell mother nature to use TARDIS technology, but noooooooooooooo...
Ahem. Sorry. Got off track there. Back on track, it looks like I have some more proof that this unit underwent a name change, for the first thing I see in the above picture is the user manual for the "SuperRock" with a little note indicating that the manual was to be changed. SuperRock? Really? Who comes up with these names?
And here's the old manual, not that it does us much good. The connector counts are all different in here, and there's no 12V rail distribution info, so I'll just move on now.
Ah, there's that power supply. Let's just get this unpacked now.
And once again, I get a retail package not meant for North America, as one can tell by the European spec power cord. Hmm... power supply? Check. Modular cables? Check. Old SuperRock manual? Check. Cable ties? Uh, nope. Five screws? Nope, not even one.
Guys! You forgot my cable ties and screws! What am I going to do if I have a screw loose? Oh, right... that's normal for me. I forgot.
The power supply itself is done up in that nice matte black color I know and love, with the label finished in a metallic shine. Like Mikey, I likey.
And it looks like the hardwired cables, all two of them, are sleeved right up into the case. I like that too, especially when there is no protective grommet to keep the wires from getting frayed.
Certified by Tagan. High performance. Sorry, Tagan, but you can certify anything you want... I'm still going to put the unit through its paces.
Here's the label itself. That big blue "Tagan" lights up in blue whenever power is applied to the unit with the switch on. See the review thumbnail up at the top of the page? That's what it looks like lit up. Whoa... 672W on the combined 12V rails for a 680W unit? Yup, it's using DC-DC topology all right... only a design that regulates the 5V and 3.3V rails directly off of one big 12V rail could pull that off. If it's rated honestly, of course.
Here's a tentacle shot for you. While the largest organ pipe I have seen in person was over 32 feet long, these cables mercifully come up rather short of that number. Still, they're a good length for a large-ish computer case, both of them coming in at lengths greater than those specified on the box. I hear you asking me about 12V rail distribution on the modular connector panel... I'll get to that on page four.
The sleeving on the modular cables turned out to be hit and miss for me, with the SATA and Molex cabling only getting sleeved to the first connector.
In a nonsensical turn of events, the spacing between the SATA connectors turned out to be a long 255mm stretch of unsleeved wire. Why so much length? How many people really keep their SATA devices that far apart? That's like adding that 32 foot organ pipe to that little chapel organ at your church. You know, the one with only four stops and one keyboard on it that doesn't really need to be big enough to shake the fear of the Almighty into you.
Tagan could have put a couple more SATA connectors into these long stretches of cable and made them more useful, methinks. It's not like SATA drives need a lot of power... five connectors on a cable wouldn't be too much. Okay, maybe 20 SATA connectors on a 680W unit is a bit absurd, but you know what I'm getting at, right? Too much unsleeved tangle prone wire between connectors.
Type of connector:
ATX connector (560mm)
4+4 pin EPS12V/ATX12V connector (575mm)
5.25" Drive (500mm+145mm+145mm)
3.5" Drive connectors (+150mm)
6 pin PCIe (540mm)
6+2 pin PCIe (540mm)
Unit Dimensions(L x W x H)
180mm x 150mm x 86mm
Add our RSS feeds to your favorite RSS Reader or homepage.