Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W (W0296RU) Power Supply Review
By Gabriel Torres on October 2, 2009


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Silver Award

Toughpower power supply series is around for a while now and Thermaltake has just added two new models to this series: 700 W (W0295RU) and 800 W (W0296RU). These two models are 80 Plus Silver certified, promising an efficiency of at least 88% at typical load (i.e., 50% load), using an internal project totally different from other power supplies from the same series. In fact, these two models are manufactured by a different company, FSP, while other Toughpower models are manufactured by CWT. This is the first 800 W power supply from Thermaltake, but you have to pay attention because they now have two 700 W models on the same series, with the “old” model (W0105RU) presenting lower efficiency than the new one (W0295RU).

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W power supply
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Figure 1: Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W power supply.

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W power supply
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Figure 2: Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W power supply.

Toughpower 800 W is a somewhat long power supply, being is 7” (17.5 cm) deep, having a 135 mm fan on its bottom, active PFC and no modular cabling system. Usually power supplies from the Toughpower series are available in two versions, “Standard,” with no modular cabling system, and “Cable management,” with modular cabling system. This time, however, the new 700 W and 800 W models don’t have “cable management” counterparts.

All cables have a nylon protection. The cables included on Toughpower 800 W are:

The cables are somewhat short, having 18 ½” (47 cm) between the power supply housing and the first connector on the cable and  5 ½” (140 mm) between connectors, on cables with more than one connector. The length of the cables may make it difficult for you to use this power supply inside a full tower case or even on a mid-tower case where the power supply is installed on the bottom of the case.

We were disappointed by the cable configuration from this power supply, especially on the video card cables. Not only it has two video card power connectors sharing the same cable (the recommended configuration is having each video card power connector attached to an individual cable) but two of the connectors are eight-pin models without the option to convert them into six-pin models. This makes it impossible to install two high-end video cards that require two six-pin power connectors each under SLI or CrossFire mode (e.g., GeForce GTX 260 and GeForce GTX 285) – this installation is possible only by using adapters to convert peripheral power plugs into six-pin video card power connectors.

The number of peripheral (five) and SATA (six) power connectors is also below what we would expect on a 800 W product, which is clearly targeted to users running two video cards and several hard drives.

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W power supply
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Figure 3: Cables.

Almost all wires are 16 AWG, i.e., thicker than normal. This is great to see. The only wires that are 18 AWG are the +5 V ones on the main motherboard cable and the wires used on the peripheral and SATA power cables.

Now let’s take an in-depth look inside this power supply.

A Look Inside The Toughpower 800 W

We decided to disassemble this power supply to see what it looks like inside, how it is designed, and what components are used. Please read our Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies tutorial to understand how a power supply works and to compare this power supply to others.

This page will be an overview, and then in the following pages we will discuss in detail the quality and ratings of the components used.

The first thing we noticed about this power supply is that it uses a different design using two transformers, which we will explain in details how it works later.

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W power supply
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Figure 4: Overall look.

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W power supply
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Figure 5: Overall look.

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W power supply
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Figure 6: Overall look.

Transient Filtering Stage

As we have mentioned in other articles and reviews, the first place we look when opening a power supply for a hint about its quality, is its filtering stage. The recommended components for this stage are two ferrite coils, two ceramic capacitors (Y capacitors, usually blue), one metalized polyester capacitor (X capacitor), and one MOV (Metal-Oxide Varistor). Very low-end power supplies use fewer components, usually removing the MOV and the first coil.

This stage from Toughpower 800 W is flawless, with two Y capacitors and one X capacitor more than the minimum required.

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W power supply
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Figure 7: Transient filtering stage (part 1).

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W power supply
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Figure 8: Transient filtering stage (part 2).

In the next page we will have a more detailed discussion about the components used in the Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W.

Primary Analysis

On this page we will take an in-depth look at the primary stage of Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W. For a better understanding, please read our Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies tutorial.

This power supply uses one LL25XB60 rectifying bridge in its primary, which can deliver up to 25 A at 113° C if a heatsink is used (which is the case) or up to 3.6 A at 25° C is a heatsink is not used. So in theory you would be able to pull up to 2,875 W from the power grid; assuming 80% efficiency, the bridge would allow this unit to deliver up to 2,300 W without burning itself out. Talk about overspecification! Of course we are only talking about this component and the real limit will depend on all other components from the power supply.

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W power supply
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Figure 9: Rectifying bridge.

Two SPA20N60C3 power MOSFETs are used on the active PFC circuit, each one capable of delivering up to 20.7 A at 25° C or 13.1 A at 100° C in continuous mode (note the difference temperature makes) or up to 62.1 A at 25° C in pulse mode. These transistors present a maximum resistance of 190 mΩ when turned on, a characteristic called RDS(on). This number indicates the amount of power that is wasted, so the lower this number the better, as less power will be wasted thus increasing efficiency.

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W power supply
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Figure 10: Active PFC transistors and diodes.

This power supply uses two electrolytic capacitors to filter the output from the active PFC circuit. The use of more than one capacitor here has absolute nothing to do with the “quality” of the power supply, as laypersons may assume (including people without the proper background in electronics doing power supply reviews around the web). Instead of using one big capacitor, manufacturers may choose to use two or more smaller components that will give the same total capacitance, in order to better accommodate space on the printed circuit board, as two or more capacitors with small capacitance are physically smaller than one capacitor with the same total capacitance. Toughpower 800 W uses two 330 µF x 450 V capacitors in parallel; this is equivalent of one 660 µF x 450 V capacitor. These electrolytic capacitors are Japanese, from Hitachi and rated at 85° C.

Toughpower 800 W uses a two-transformer design with two separated switching transistors driving each one of them. Several power supplies use two transformers, but usually they are identical and both are used to generate the +12 V output. What is unique about Toughpower 800 W is that one of the transformers (the bigger one) is solely in charge of generating the +12 V output, while the other one (the smaller one) is in charge of generating the +5 V output, with the +3.3 V being generated from the +5 V output. This way we could say that Toughpower 800 W has basically one +12 V and one +5 V power supply inside. This was probably done to increase efficiency.

The +12 V power supply is driven by another two SPA20N60C3 power MOSFETs, while the +5 V power supply is driven by two 2SK3667 MOSFETs, which present a maximum current of 7.5 A at 25° C in continuous mode or 30 A at 25° C in pulse mode (unfortunately the manufacturer doesn’t say the maximum current at 100° C), with an RDS(on) of 750 mΩ, which is extremely high.

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W power supply
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Figure 11:  +5 V switching transistors and +12 V switching transistors.

The switching transistors are connected using a design called “LLC resonant,” also known as a series parallel resonant converter, using a technique called "soft switching" to reduce losses and thus improve efficiency.

The active PFC circuit is controlled by an NCP1653 integrated circuit and each one of the switch sections is controlled by an L6598D integrated circuit.

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W power supply
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Figure 12: PWM controller for the +12 V power supply (top) and for the +5 V power supply (down).

Now let’s take a look at the secondary of this power supply.

Secondary Analysis

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W has two separated power supplies inside, one for the +12 V output and the other one for the +5 V output, with the +3.3 V output being generated from the +5 V output. There are a total of four Schottky rectifiers and five power MOSFETs. Each one of these MOSFETs is controlled by an individual IR1167ASPbF integrated circuit.

The +12 V output is produced by two IRFB3206PbF MOSFETs (maximum of 120 A at 100° C, maximum RDS(on) of only 3 mΩ, which is extremely low – which is terrific) and two SBR60A45CT Schottky rectifiers (60 A, 30 A per internal diode at 150° C, maximum voltage drop of 0.55 V each), each one installed in parallel with each MOSFET to prevent cross-conduction (this design is called “zero voltage switching” or “lossless switching”). Each MOSFET is controlled by an individual IR1167ASPbF integrated circuit.

The +5 V is produced by another two IRFB3206PbF MOSFETs (also controlled by individual IR1167ASPbF integrated circuits), using two SSC53L Schottky diodes to prevent cross-conduction (this design is called “zero voltage switching” or “lossless switching”). These diodes are soldered directly to the printed circuit board and thus not present on the secondary heatsink.

As explained, the +3.3 V output is produced from the +5 V output, using another IRFB3206PbF MOSFET (also controlled by an individual IR1167ASPbF integrated circuit) and one SBR4040CT Schottky rectifier (40 A, 20 A per internal diode at 110° C, 0.53 V maximum voltage drop).

The +5VSB output uses the fifth Schottky rectifier present on the secondary heatsink (another SBR4040CT).

This power supply unique design prevented us from calculating the maximum theoretical values for current and power, since we would need to explore this power supply a lot more in depth to come up with these numbers.

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W power supply
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Figure 13: MOSFETs and rectifiers.

The secondary is monitored by a PS223H integrated circuit, which presents OVP (over voltage), UVP (under voltage), OCP (over current) and OTP (over temperature, not implemented on this power supply) protections.

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W power supply
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Figure 14: Monitoring circuit.

All electrolytic capacitors from the secondary are Taiwanese from Teapo and labeled at 105° C, as usual. This unit has one single solid cap on the secondary.

Power Distribution

In Figure 15, you can see the power supply label containing all the power specs.

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W power supply
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Figure 15: Power supply label.

This power supply has two rails, distributed like this:

This distribution is perfect, as it separates the CPU (ATX12V/EPS12V) and the video cards are located on different rails.

Now let’s see if this power supply can really deliver 800 W.

Load Tests

We conducted several tests with this power supply, as described in the article Hardware Secrets Power Supply Test Methodology.

First we tested this power supply with five different load patterns, trying to pull around 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and 100% of its labeled maximum capacity (actual percentage used listed under “% Max Load”), watching how the reviewed unit behaved under each load. In the table below we list the load patterns we used and the results for each load.

If you add all the power listed for each test, you may find a different value than what is posted under “Total” below. Since each output can vary slightly (e.g., the +5 V output working at +5.10 V), the actual total amount of power being delivered is slightly different than the calculated value. On the “Total” row we are using the real amount of power being delivered, as measured by our load tester.

The +12V1 and +12V2 inputs listed below are the two +12 V independent inputs from our load tester and during all tests the +12V1 input was connected to the power supply +12V1 and +12V2 rails while the +12V2 input was connected to the power supply +12V1 rail.

Input

Test 1

Test 2

Test 3

Test 4

Test 5

+12V1

5.5 A (66 W)

12 A (144 W)

18.5 A (222 W)

23 A (276 W)

27 A (324 W)

+12V2

5.5 A (66 W)

11 A (132 W)

16 A (192 W)

23 A (276 W)

27 A (324 W)

+5V

2 A (10 W)

4 A (20 W)

6 A (30 W)

8 A (40 W)

16 A (80 W)

+3.3 V

2 A (6.6 W)

4 A (13.2 W)

6 A (30 W)

8 A (26.4 W)

16 A (52.8 W)

+5VSB

1 A (5 W)

1.5 A (7.5 W)

2 A (10 W)

2.5 A (12.5 W)

3 A (15 W)

-12 V

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

Total

159.9 W

322.9 W

479.1 W

635.0 W

796.0 W

% Max Load

20.0%

40.4%

59.9%

79.4%

99.5%

Room Temp.

45.9° C

45.2° C

46.7° C

49.3° C

47.4° C

PSU Temp.

47.9° C

48.7° C

50.2° C

54.5° C

60.0° C

Voltage Stability

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Ripple and Noise

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

AC Power

188.6 W

367.8 W

549.6 W

741.0 W

964.0 W

Efficiency

84.8%

87.8%

87.2%

85.7%

82.6%

AC Voltage

111.0 V

108.9 V

107.7 V

105.2 V

103.1 V

Power Factor

0.980

0.99

0.992

0.993

0.994

Final Result

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

If you pay close attention you will see that for the 800 W test (test five) we pulled a little bit more from +5 V and +3.3 V than we’d like to (we’d prefer to test this unit pulling 10 A from each of these outputs). This happened because if we tried to pull more than 27 A from +12V1 and +12V2 at the same time the unit would not turn on.

The new Toughpower 800 W really presents high efficiency. If you pull between 40% and 60% of this unit labeled capacity (between 320 W and 480 W) you will see efficiency about 87%. Delivering 80% of its labeled capacity (640 W) we saw efficiency above 85%. At full load efficiency dropped to 82.6%, still above the 80% mark.

This unit is Silver certified by 80 Plus, which in theory means that it presents efficiency of at least 88% at 50% load (400 W) and of at least 85% at 20% load (160 W) and 100% load (800 W). The problem is that 80 Plus collect data at a room temperature of only 23° C. As you can see during test five we were pulling 796 W from this power supply at 47° C, and this makes a huge difference. Not only efficiency drops with temperature, but it is impossible to achieve 23° C inside a high-end PC. The methodology used by 80 Plus is, in our opinion, flawed and our results provide numbers closer to reality.

Voltage regulation was one of the highlights from Toughpower 800 W, with all voltages within 3% from their nominal values, i.e., closer to their nominal values than required, as the ATX specification allows voltages to be up to 5% from their nominal values. This includes -12 V, an output that usually doesn’t like to stay so close to its nominal value. The only exception was +3.3 V during test five, which was still inside the 5% limit.

Noise and ripple levels stayed inside the allowed range (up to 120 mV for +12 V and up to 50 mV for +5 V and +3.3 V, peak-to-peak), however higher than we’d like to see. Thermaltake warned us that this would happen.

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W (W0296RU) Power Supply
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Figure 16: +12V1 input from load tester at 796.0 W (103.2 mV).

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W (W0296RU) Power Supply
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Figure 17: +12V1 input from load tester at 796.0 W (90.4 mV).

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W (W0296RU) Power Supply
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Figure 18: +5V rail with power supply delivering 796.0 W (40.4 mV).

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W (W0296RU) Power Supply
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Figure 19: +3.3 V rail with power supply delivering 796.0 W (40.4 mV).

Overload Tests

As you know by now, before overloading a power supply we like to see if the over current protection is active and its trigger point. Do test this we only installed the cables that were connected to the power supply +12V1 rail (using both +12V1 and +12V2 inputs from our load tester) and increased current until we saw the power supply shutting down. This happens when we pulled more than 29 A from the +12V1 rail.

Then starting from test five we increased current on all outputs until we reached the maximum the power supply could deliver still working inside ATX specs. The result you can see below. If we increased one amp on any output the power supply would shut down.

The main goal of our overload test is to see if the power supply burns or explodes and if its protections are active. Thus Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W passed this test.

Even though Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W has its protections working well, we could only overload this unit 9% from its labeled value, and under this maximum overloading voltage +3.3 V outputs was out of spec and ripple and noise on +5 V and +3.3 V outputs was above the maximum allowed. Of course you should not operate this unit above 800 W.

Input

Maximum

+12V1

27 A (324 W)

+12V2

27 A (324 W)

+5V

26 A (130 W)

+3.3 V

26 A (85.8 W)

+5VSB

2.5 A (12.5 W)

-12 V

0.5 A (6 W)

Total

873.2 W

% Max Load

109.2%

Room Temp.

46.5° C

PSU Temp.

63.5° C

AC Power

1,104.0 W

Efficiency

79.1%

AC Voltage

102.2 V

Power Factor

0.995

Main Specifications

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W power supply specs include:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

Thermaltake Toughpower 800 W uses a unique design in order to achieve high efficiency. During our tests efficiency was above 87% when we pulled between 40% and 60% of this unit labeled capacity (between 320 W and 480 W). Pulling 80% of its labeled capacity (640 W) we saw efficiency above 85%. At light load (20%, i.e., 160 W) and at full load efficiency dropped below 85%. We always like to remember that 80 Plus certification is obtained at a room temperature of only 23° C, which is impossible to be achieved inside a high-end PC and that is why we always test power supplies at a temperature of at least double this value. The higher the temperature, the lower efficiency is.

Voltage regulation was one of the highlights from Toughpower 800 W, with all voltages within 3% from their nominal values, i.e., closer to their nominal values than required, as the ATX specification allows voltages to be up to 5% from their nominal values. This includes -12 V, an output that usually doesn’t like to stay so close to its nominal value. The only exception was +3.3 V during test five, which was still inside the 5% limit.

Noise and ripple levels stayed inside the allowed range, however higher than we’d like to see. Thermaltake warned us that this would happen with the first production batch.

We were disappointed by the cable configuration from this power supply, especially on the video card cables. Not only it has two video card power connectors sharing the same cable (the recommended configuration is having each video card power connector attached to an individual cable) but two of the connectors are eight-pin models without the option to convert them into six-pin models. This makes it impossible to install two high-end video cards that require two six-pin power connectors each under SLI or CrossFire mode (e.g., GeForce GTX 260 and GeForce GTX 285) – this installation is possible only by using adapters to convert peripheral power plugs into six-pin video card power connectors.

The number of peripheral (five) and SATA (six) power connectors is also below what we would expect on a 800 W product, which is clearly targeted to users running two video cards and several hard drives.

What you really need to pay attention is pricing. Toughpower 800 W has an outrageous USD 250 suggested price. At USD 250 we simply can’t recommend this product when we have 850 W products with similar performance costing less, in particular XFX 850 W, Seasonic S12D 850 W and Seasonic M12D 850 W. Seasonic S12D 850 W, for example, costs USD 180 (USD 160 after a USD 20 mail-in rebate) and comes with nine SATA power connectors.

While as of today Newegg.com is offering this unit at USD 250, Amazon.com is offering it at a price we think is correct for this product, USD 170 (with free shipping), making it an option if you are looking for a 800 W power supply with high efficiency.

So our Silver Award seal is only valid if you can buy this unit for USD 170 or less. Above that you are better off buying one of the other power supplies abovementioned.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Thermaltake-Toughpower-800-W-W0296RU-Power-Supply-Review/823


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