Articles: Cases/PSU

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Started as cooling systems manufacture, Thermaltake Technology has long overgrown these limits and is currently offering, among everything else, a very extensive line of PC power supplies. There are three lines, to be exact: TR2, PurePower and ToughPower.

The company positions its power supply units (PSUs) as high-quality products intended for computer enthusiasts and advanced users and prices them accordingly. However, there is no unanimous opinion about Thermaltake’s PSUs on Web forums where they are often a subject of hot argument. So, I got curious about all this and tried to clear things out for myself and for you, too.

The entire model range of Thermaltake power supplies is covered in this article, from the obsolete but still selling W0009 (it was the model Thermaltake began shipping PC power supplies with) to a model from the newest ToughPower series. Perhaps some of the products to be discussed are not at all interesting as a purchase, yet their results in tests help understand the overall structure of Thermaltake’s model range better and find the reason why the company’s power supplies provoke such contradictory reports from users.

Before getting to the PSUs proper, I’d like to remind you in brief our power supply testing methodology.

One of the crucial parameters of any power supply is the stability of the voltages it yields. In our tests we examine the three main power rails (+5V, +12V, and +3.3V) by putting varying loads on them. As you may know, the so-called group voltage regulation is used in quite a lot of PC power supplies to simplify design. The downside of this is that the voltages outputted by the PSU depend on each other. So, it is important to check out how all the three voltages change in the entire range of permissible loads. As the result of this test a cross-load diagram is constructed in which the X-axis shows the load on the +12V rail and the Y-axis shows the combined load on the +5V and +3.3V rails. The diagram shows a colored area inside which the PSU’s output voltages do not deflect by more than 5% from their nominal values. The exact value of the deflection is marked with color from green (a deflection of less than 1%) to red (a deflection of over 4% but less than 5%).

The cross-load diagram gives you an understanding of how the particular power supply behaves in general as well as in a specific computer system. It also reveals certain problems that may occur. As opposed to this method, many reviewers limit themselves to measuring the output voltages under a few loads or even in a particular computer, but such tests only give an answer to the question, “Will this power supply work in the given computer?” and leave the rest of the issues not attended to. Particularly, problems that may arise if this PSU is installed into a differently configured computer are not identified, which is wrong.

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