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ThermalTake Toughpower 550W

This is my first review for DarkVision Hardware, let me tell you about myself a little. I'm a well known Chilean overclocker and I believe this will come pretty handy in this review as the ones that care more about their PSU are overclockers because we need more power and more stable power. This time we got to review the newest Thermaltake PSU, the "Thoughpower 550W".



Features:
  • Complies with ATX 12V 2.0 version
  • Independent Voltage Circuit: offers unflappable current delivery under heavy load and makes voltage output more stable
  • SLI, Cross-Fire, and Dual Core CPU ready
  • Active Power Factor Correction (PF>0.99) and high efficiency (80%)
  • Extremely good voltage regulation (±3%): provides steady voltage for system
  • Industrial grade components (capacitor, transformer, etc)
  • High reliability: MTBF>120,000 hours
  • Mirror effect housing and reliable 12cm ball-bearing fan
  • Protections: Over Current, Over Voltage, Short-Circuit, Under Voltage, Overload, and Over-temperature
  • Safety / EMI Approvals: CE, CB, TUV, FCC, UL, and CUL certification
Specifications:
OUTPUT
+3.3V
+5V
+12V1
+12V2
-12V
+5VSB
Max. Load
32A
40A
19A
19A
1.0A
2.0A
Min. Load
0.5A
0.5A
0.4A
0.4A
0A
0A
Load Reg.
+3% ~ -3%
+3% ~ -3%
+3% ~ -3%
+5% ~ -5%
+5% ~ -5%
+5% ~ -5%
Ripple
V(p-p)
50mV
50mV
120mV
120mV
120mV
50mV
Load Reg. Combined Output 530W 22W


Packaging:
This really surprised me because Thermaltake really put lot of information that normally PSU manufacturers don't put on their boxes, like efficiency and load regulation.





Here you can see that Thermaltake did a really nice design and a easy to carry package.



As you can see there are a lot of pictures showing the connectors and some photos of the inside of the PSU on the box, this is a nice detail so you can see everything when you are buying the PSU. You can see that it has a 20/24pin connector to plug into your motherboard. There is also a diagram showing how thermal management works in this PSU.



Here you can also see more information in a table showing the Amps in each line and also the load regulation of each line (3% is the best load regulation that you can get in the market for any brand of PSU). On the other side you can see that this model has Active PFC.

Box contents:
  • PSU
  • Power cord
  • Mounting screws
  • Manual




The PSU:




The first look at the PSU, as you can see its all black but not mirrored, it has a big 120mm fan. You can also see a sticker with all of the specifications of this PSU.



Here you can see the grill to improve airflow, the power cord plug and the power switch.




At these pictures you can see that all cables have black sleeving. You also get a peek at all the connectors and you can also see how the 24 to 20 pin connector works.

The Inside:
I opened the PSU to take a better look at it you can see that it has some nice aluminum heatspreaders and it looks pretty clean and tidy at first sight which will provide a good airflow trough the PSU. Remember that this voids your warranty.



Only 4 screws need to be taken to open the PSU one is hidden under the sticker that says "warranty voided if removed".

Testing:
Test rig:
  • AMD Opteron 148 processor
  • Lanparty Nf4 ultra-d motherboard
  • 2x512mb G.skill LE memory
  • 80GB Serial ATA HDD.
  • DVD-RW NEC 3450
  • ATI Radeon X800 256MB by Sapphire
  • Three 80mm fans and one 120mm fan
I used 2 programs to stress the PC, first I used OCCT, a program that stresses mostly CPU and RAM. I've found that this program is far more stressing that Prime95. The default test of this program lasts 30minutes.

Then I picked 3dmark01, it's a bit old but this benching application stresses all of you computer (Mostly VGA, CPU and RAM). I ran the complete tests, this lasts about 20 minutes.

I also measured idle volts this was done after booting and I measured it for 5 minutes.

Additionally, I also overclocked the CPU, RAM and VGA to see how well the PSU handles a more demanding rig. I overclocked the CPU from 2.2ghz to 3.0GHZ, RAM from DDR400 to DDR600 and VGA from 392core/350VRAM to 420core/500VRAM.

I used a multimeter to get the readings off the +3.3V, +5V and +12V rails and for the Vcore OCCT works automatically with Speedfan and makes graphs of the vcore throughout all the test.

Results:

Vcore Default:



Overclocked:



Voltage Rails:
+12v rail Min Max
Idle 12.13v 12.13v
3dmark01 & OCCT 12.12v 12.13v
Overclocked 12.11v 12.13v


+5V Rail Min Max
Idle 5.01v 5.02v
3dmark01 & OCCT 5.00v 5.04v
Overclocked 4.98v 5.00v


+3.3V Rail Min Max
Idle 3.36v 3.36v
3dmark01 & OCCT 3.34v 3.36v
Overclocked 3.34v 3.35v


As you can see every line proved to be very stable even when overlcocked, remember the CPU is past FX-57 speeds (the fastest single core CPU available from AMD)so this PSU will provide stable rails for every CPU you can buy, lines fluctuated even less than 3% or 5% as the specification said also all lines were at perfect values or just a bit higher, the Vcore is just simply perfect it didn't fluctuate at all.

Conclusion:
This PSU proved to be really good and stable. It also has some of the latest features that only the best PSUs in the market have, like separated 12v rails to improve stability, 3% or less variation on the most important rails, active PFC, all kind of overvolt and undervolt protections and it also has a high efficiency of 80%. The high efficiency means that the PSU eats up less watts trying to provide the watts needed by the PC, this helps to lower your electricity bill. The Toughpower PSU is also SLI and Crossfire ready so that's great if you are planning to upgrade to a dual graphics card system in the future.

Now to end up the review I have to tell you that this PSU is a great improvement from Thermaltake but all of this has its effect in the retail price. So it might be worth it to take a look at the other PSU out there in the same price class because you'll be able to find some other high-end PSUs from well known and respected PSU brands in the same price range.

The Thermaltake ToughPower 550W retails for about $149 and we give it a 8.5 out of ten.

Pros:
  • Stable rails
  • Quiet
  • Lots of connectors and good sleeving.
  • SLI and Crossfire ready
  • Cons:
  • It gets warm
  • It doesn't come with Intel's 8 pin connector
  •   

    Added: February 7th 2006
    Reviewer: Felipe Encinas
    Score: 8.5/10
    Related Link: ThermalTake



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    ThermalTake Toughpower 550W
    Posted by Anonymous on 2009-08-08 03:50:38
    My Score: 6/10
    I have a Tough Power 750 unit, I have no complaints about the efficiency of the unit, the most annoying thing is the cables they are so stiff and inflexible that they broken the SATA connections whist wiring up my hard drives. I have a medium PC case and what made it even worse was the graphics card came within 15mm of the hard drives. But because the cables where so stiff it made it almost impossible to connect them to the hard drives hence the damage. I would have thought the cables would have a lot more flexibility about them especially with the trend towards smaller cases.

     

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