Good day to you, my loyal readers. When last we met, I was making a spectacle of myself cracking some of the worst jokes in human history as I looked at the Inwin BUC gaming case. Today, I figured I would review something to put in that case that should help you do some hardcore gaming. It's Thermaltake's recent 1200 watt power supply entry into the Toughpower Grand line of units.
Now, the last time I looked at this line, it was to take a peek at the 750W model. Built by Channel Well Technology, that unit turned out to be quite a decent performer indeed. But there's a big gap between 750 watts and 1200 watts. Did Thermaltake manage to pull off the same kind of performance in this new model? We'll find out on the coming pages. Before that, however, let's look at the box.
Oh, for the love of... do I really have to type all this marketing out again? Sigh. I'd best get started then.
Robust and dedicated +12V output -Toughpower Grand Series is equipped with a pure and powerful single or dual +12V rail(s) to provide the best compatibility for your PC. -Says who? A properly designed quad 12V or more design is no more or less compatible than this would be. This myth needs to just die already.
Auto FanDelayCool -Auto FanDelayCool allows fan to continue to operate (around 15sec) after system shuts-down to ensure all components are properly cooled. Compared with other power supply (the red line), Toughpower Grand (the blue line) cools down quickly. -Red line? Blue line? Oh, they're talking about the graph next to the marketing blurb. I thought they were listening to Glass Tiger for a second there.
High Quality & Reliability -100% 105°C/221°F Japanese electrolytic capacitors. -Solid state capacitors in +3.3V & +5V output. -But what about the rest of the components? Reliability isn't solely dependent on the capacitors, Thermaltake.
Newly designed Double Forward circuitry -DC to DC Converter Design for +3.3V & +5V & synchronous rectification circuit for +12V -Double Forward & new Active PFC Circuit design -Newly designed? Oh, come on. There's nothing new about double forward and sync rectification anymore, unless you're Encino Man and have never seen a power supply before.
Official 80PLUS® GOLD Certified -Official 80 Plus Gold Certified (you just said that, Thermaltake) -Ultra-High efficiency (up to 93% efficiency) -Thermaltake may be writing checks they can't cash tossing out a number that high. We'll see what the efficiency is really like on the next two pages.
NVIDIA SLI & AMD CrossFire X Certified -Toughpower Grand series is certified by NVIDIA & AMD most severe 2-way graphic cards test.
Ultra silent dual ball bearing flower-shape fan with honeycomb ventilation -Proprietary ultra silent dual ball bearing 14cm fan always operates at optimal speed (according to temperature inside the power supply unit) for the quietest performance. Besides, the innovative honeycomb grill provides the best ventilation.
Vibration Absorbent Gaskets -Through the use of special materials, the vibration absorbent gaskets can be the optimal buffer against vibrating noises and are easy to install.
There is more to the marketing than this on the lower part of that picture, but I'm going to be lazy and refuse to reprint it. Squint or take a trip down to the store as you please if you wish to read it.
And I'm not reprinting all this marketing, either. It's all mostly stuff I already typed out, along with a couple of tables on how many connectors there are and how the load distribution works out.
And yes, there is more marketing on the sides of the box. Above, you see the entirety of it, for it is merely repeated over and over in several different languages. Once again, a claim that we could see 93% efficiency. I'm skeptical. That's 80 Plus Platinum level efficiency, hard to do even at 230V at this kind of power output.
A plain brown box with an upside down Thermaltake logo greets us as we remove the outer box. Let's open it and see if we're reviewing a power supply, or a set of Russian nesting boxes. Yes, I know I've used that joke in the past. Hey, this box repeated its own marketing several times already... I can be unoriginal this one time, can't I?
Looks like there is indeed some stuff in the box. Let's go ahead and unpack.
As is usually the case for a high end Thermaltake, a lot of goodies came with this one. A velvet bag full of accessories, a bag of modular cables, a Velcro bag with more modular cables, a user guide, a warranty sheet, a power cord, and a power supply.
Here's the user guide. Conveniently, the very middle pages are in Greek, this being a multilingual manual with but a few items of useful info. What does the Greek say? I have no idea. Do I look like Evangelos Papathanassiou to you?
Here's the warranty sheet for you. This model, being a TP Grand, is good for a seven year guarantee. Something I like to see. It's my cup of tea. The way I like it to be. It looks good to me.
Ouch! Hey, who threw the bonsai tree?
Inside that velvet accessory bag, I found four of those weird hard plastic cable management clips, the two silicone vibration dampers, a case badge, and a baggie with some extra long screws. Don't lose those - you need them for these rounded corner Grand units.
Here's the power supply itself. Wolfie likes. Performance aside, these things just look fantastic.
It even looks good from the front. Modular cable connectors are different colors, but not so different that they look bad against the color scheme. And I'm digging the separation of the peripheral connectors from the PCI-E connectors by that big red band. The functionality score is going to get a boost from this.
A look at the exhaust grille shows you why you need those extra long screws. One hole can take a short screw, but the others will not.
That mirrored panel in the center lights up when the unit is on, along with the light in the power switch. Here, lemme show you...
There you go. All lit up. I hope this eye candy doesn't detract from the cooling performance of this unit. It's not like this is some little 400 watter.
If you have a windowed case, this is what you'll be seeing. Very nice.
Here's our flower power fan the box was talking about.
And now for a load table, and... I gotta bang my head on the desk for a minute here. Hold on a second.
Max Power @ 50°C
Ok, what is the point of this? Two 12V rails, one at 40A, one at 85A. One may shut down properly in the presence of a partial short, one's high enough that it probably won't. Why would you want to do this? It makes no sense! The rail distribution on this unit has all the peripheral connectors on the 85A rail. Only the CPU connectors are on 12V1. So the CPU cables get a reasonable OCP trip point and all the hard drive cables don't? Do I have to tell you what that means for hard drives with middling or bad SATA power connectors?
Now, I've said this over and over, and I'm going to say it again. As long as a multiple 12V design is done well, there's no problem with regard to "trapped power." This rail distribution is not done well, and it has nothing to do with trapped power. What I mean is, it might as well have a single 100A 12V rail for all the good the OCP is when it's set like this. Either do it right, and split this into 6-8 25-30A rails, or just do it single 12V and drop the pretense of "industrial grade protections;" says I.
This just makes no sense to me at all.
Before I give you a look at the cabling on this unit, a peek at the modular connectors close up. I have no problem with these, but I do have a caution for you. The hardwired CPU cables will plug in to the red connectors... don't do that and power the unit up. You will be presenting the unit a dead short on the 12V2 rails. Both of them. 100 amperes through a few wires... do you really want to test the unit's short protection that way?
The hardwired cables on this unit make sense to me. Two CPU cables (one a 4+4 pin modular affair), and the usual ATX mainboard cable. There's nothing there that really shouldn't be, on a 1200 watt unit.
The list of modular cables includes an ugly unsleeved adapter for 3.5" devices. Most of us will have no use for that thing, though, so I'll let that slide.
Two of the red PCI-E cables each have two 6+2 pin connectors on them, so it is possible to run up to four video cards off this beast's 12V2 rail.
Type of connector:
4+4 pin EPS12V/ATX12V connector (610mm)
8 pin EPS12V (610mm)
ATX connector (600mm)
6+2 pin PCIe (600mm)
6+2 pin PCIe (+150mm)
5.25" Drive (500mm+150mm+150mm+150mm)
5.25" - 3.5" Drive adapter (150mm)
Unit Dimensions(L x W x H)
180mm x 150mm x 86mm
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