Reviews - Thortech Thunderbolt 1200W
Sample Provided by: Thortech (By jonny on Tue, Mar-15-2011)

Page 1 - The packaging

Getting the opportunity to review this particular unit was a pleasant surprise.  An 80 Plus Gold, semi-modular 1200W unit that's only 160mm deep?  Pretty impressive.  I mean, high wattage and high efficiency together still isn't too common (although its becoming more and more common) and any kind of modularity requires additional real estate within the housing, yet somehow this unit manages to be small, powerful and efficient... and rated at continuous at 50°C to boot.  On paper, this sounds pretty sweet.  And that's why we're here today.  We're going to crank up the load, bring up the heat and see what this power supply can actually do.

Our initial impression is a very simple, but nicely decorated box.  Right off the bat, we're told that this unit is 80 Plus Gold and has a 5 year warranty.

The side of the box has quite a bit more to tell us...

Aside from the obvious ATX12V 2.3, EPS12V 2.91, ERP, ATI Crossfire, Nvidia SLI ready icons, we're told of some other interesting facts and features of this PSU.  The fan is a ball bearing fan.  That means the fan will likely outlive the PSU.  Solid caps are used. Those are very temperature tolerant and last a long time.  Japanese capacitors are known to be superior to their Chinese and Taiwanese counterparts.  87+ efficiency?  That will be impressive if we can duplicate it, but for 80 Plus Gold, we're going to need to see as high as 90% efficiency.  Quad +12V rails.  That's good if there's ample power on each of the rails to support high end components.  PCIe 6+2-pin connectors are important if you're going to use high end graphics cards, which I imagine you would if you feel the need to implement a 1200w power supply.  Finally, "cable management".  This is another way of saying a power supply is modular or, in the case of this particular unit, semi-modular.

On the other side of the box, we have six bulletpoints in nine languages.  Many of this information is redundant with what we had just seen on the other side:

So here we're reminded of the units 80 Plus Gold certification, which means up to 90% efficiency.  Or more specifically, 90% efficiency at 50% load.  At 20 and 100%, the unit is going to need to be at least 87% efficient.

Once again we're told of the unit's "quad +12V rails", the "modular cable management", the "compact housing" (like I said, the unit is only 160mm deep), the "Japanese named brand capacitors" (we'll name those capacitors for you when we open the unit up) and the "135mm dual-ball-bearing fan".

The back of the box has a whole bunch of good information on it....

What kind of "good information", you might ask?  Well, the information is the kind of stuff someone like me would find more important that what you typically find on a retail box.  Here's we're told that the PSU is 1200w continuous at 50°C, the unit has APC >=0.99, the dimensions of the unit (160 x 150 x 86mm), that it supports a full range of input voltages (100 to 240VAC) and frequencies (50 to 60 Hz), that MTBF is < 120,000 hours and that this PSU has OPP, OCP, OTP, OVP, UVP and SCP protection.

The back of the box also tells us what cables we have, what the length of those cables are and what connectors are on those cables.  We'll represent this information in out usual fashion here:

Thortech Thunderbolt 1200
Type of connector: Quantity:
Fixed Cables
24-pin ATX connector (530mm) 1
4+4-pin ATX12V/EPS12V (580mm) 1
8-pin EPS12V (580mm) 1
PCIe (4 cables w/ 1 connector each) (580mm) 4
SATA (1 cable w/ 4 connectors) (580mm+180mm+180mm+180mm) 4
Modular Cables
PCIe (4 cables w/ 1 connector each) (580mm) 4
SATA (2 cables w/ 4 connectors each) (480mm+180mm+180mm+180mm) 8
5.25" Peripheral Power Connector (2 cables w/ 3 connectors each) (530mm+180mm+180mm) 6
3.5" Drive power adapter (+180mm) 1
Unit Dimensions(L x W x H)
160mm x 86mm x 150mm

The back also has the DC output table, which we will also represent in our usual fashion:

+3.3V +5V +12V1 +12V2 +12V3 +12V4 -12V +5VSB
25A 25A 30A 30A 30A 30A 0.8A 6A
Max Power 180W 1200W 9.6W 30W

They claim to have four +12V rails, but there's no documentation that states what rail goes to what connector.  We'll need to research this further.

Opening the box we find a lot of foam, which is good for making sure your power supply gets to you in one piece, a "quick installation guide" and, what in the picture looks like a smaller box, is actually a cardboard spacer.

The guide is in eight languages and is in full color and on glossy stock.  It shows what connectors go where and how to hook them up, but don't expect any technical information.  That's all on the box and only on the box.

As we remove the manual and lift off the top piece of foam, we expose the power supply, a power cable and a nylon bag.

Dumping out the contents of the nylon bag shows us our modular cables, some "Thortech" branded velcro straps and some thumb screws.

Here is the power supply with all of its cables. Note that Geil went with a gold and black thread in the cable sleeving. The modular connectors are black for the SATA and peripheral power cables and yellow for the PCIe cables.


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