It seems like every day I'm seeing power supply companies coming out with power supplies with more and more output. It used to be that 1000W was a big deal. Now it seems to be the norm. Then 1100W units came out and eventually 1200W.
The last 1200W unit I had a look at was the ePower Xscale-1200. I was very impressed with that unit and it walked out of here with an 8.5 score. The only things against it seemed to be a high price, a lack of sleeving on some of the cables and ripple that exceeded 150mV during load tests greater than 1000W total output. Today's it's time for the Thermaltake Toughpower CableManagement 1200W to step up to the challenge.
Judging by the size of this box (16" long) I get the feeling I'm in for a big power supply!
On one side of the box, we're told to RTFW in eight different languages for "detail (sic) product information." This side of the box also has the break down of the output rails as well as a listing of certifications. I've blown the output table part of this picture up below...
Below I have assembled my typical DC output table. You'll notice I've grouped +12V1 with +12V3 and +12V2 with +12V4 the same way they're grouped in the above label. This is because each of these two +12V rails are split off of the same two sources. There's actual evidence of this rail grouping later on in this review.
Max Combined Watts
Supposedly, the +12V rails are capable of making up the entire 1200W capability of this power supply. What's funny is that the manual states that the +3.3V rail requires a 0.5A minimum load (1.65W), the +5V rail requires a 0.5A minimum load (2.5W), so not to split hairs but that would mean the +12V can only output 1195.85W continuously. ;)
The opposite side of the box has a great list of bullet-points. We're once again reminded of the certifications this power supply has. From left to right, we have UL Recognized (US and Canada), TUV, CB, FCC, BSMI and CE.
I blew up the bullet points above so it's a little easier to read. Here we learn things about the power supply such as how the PSU is rated at 1300W peak at 50°C, has four +12V rails, has three each of both 6-pin and 8-pin PCI-e connectors, is modular, is independently regulated, features 3% regulation, has active power factor correction, is up to 87% efficient, uses "industrial grade" components, has a 120,000 hour MTBF, a 140MM cooling fan, and has all of the necessary protections.
Finally, I get to open the box. On the right side I can see my large bundle of modular cables, while on the left there is a giant foam block with a manual and warranty card set on top.
After pulling the modular cables out of the box, I found a smaller gloss black box underneath. Inside this box is a power cord, set of four mounting screws and a grommet that can be installed between the power supply and chassis to help dampen vibration noises potentially caused by the PSU's cooling fan.
Aesthetically, the Thermaltake Toughpower sports a modest, semi-gloss champagne-gray finish. There's a black specification label that will face away from the user so you won't see it once the unit is installed in a case.
The side of the power supply that faces out towards the user in most of the tower cases on the market is covered with a giant aluminum sticker. If your case has a window, your friends will not be able to deny that you do in fact have a 1200W Thermaltake power supply.
What is refreshing about the modular interface on the Thermaltake Toughpower 1200W is not just that they tell you what connector is for what (peripheral vs. VGA card) but also what rail each connector is on. This is especially useful for very high end machines, like when I'm pulling 1000W from the wall when running a quad FX with 8800GTX SLI.
Going by the diagram on the sticker, we can see that +12V1 feeds power to the peripheral connectors. +12V1 also supplies power to the two +12V leads on the fixed 24-pin main ATX connector. +12V3 feeds power to two of the 6-pin PCI-e connectors and one of the 8-pin connectors. +12V4 feeds power to the third 6-pin PCI-e connectors and two more 8-pin connectors.
The only thing not disclosed on this label is what is on the +12V2. But if we look at page 15 of the manual, we see that +12V2 feeds power to the fixed 4+4 pin connector. The 4+4 connector is an 8-pin EPS12V connector that can be broken in half to work in an older motherboard that uses a 4-pin for power.
There is a second 8-pin connector. I show the two side by side in the photo above. The one that splits in half is on the left. The other is on the right.
The second 8-pin does not split into two connectors like the 4+4 8-pin connector on +12V2. But this connector does split it's power between +12V2 and +12V3. This connector can be handy for some very, very high end machines. I have witnessed, on some quad FX machines, power supplies shutting down if the particular unit is designed to run all CPU power off of a single rail. Once stress testing kicks in, it's not unheard of for all four cores together to pull more than 20A of power. This is an ideal use for this second 8-pin connector. Because the power is split across two rails, there is more power available to all of the cores. And because +12V3 is capable of 36A, the PC shouldn't shut down even if you're loading up both the CPU cores using +12V3 and high end SLI using +12V3.
The only combination out there that remains untested on rails split up this way is quad FX with three way Crossfire or SLI using three 300W PCI-e cards. Since that is such an outrageous combination of overkill product, it barely even deserves mentioning.
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