Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W Power Supply Review

paulktreg - 2010-03-12 12:21:54 in Power Supplies
Category: Power Supplies
Reviewed by: paulktreg   
Reviewed on: April 25, 2010
Price: $237.63

Introduction:

Antec Inc., headquartered in Fremont, California, is a leading provider of high performance computer components for the enthusiast market. Most of you I'm sure will be aware of the name and in particular their range of power supplies which include the Truepower, Quattro and Earthwatts series and their high quality Nine Hundred and Sonata series computer enclosures for the gaming and enthusiast market. Antec's offerings also include, amongst other things, Veris home theatre enclosures, notebook coolers and AC adapters, computer cooling solutions and HDD enclosures.

This time around I am going to take a look at the Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W power supply and see how well it performs. The power supply features DC to DC convertors, carries 80 Plus Silver certification and a feature I haven't seen before, PowerCache, which will be explained later in the review.

Closer Look:

In order to adequately house and protect the power supply the Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W is packaged in a large and sturdy red and black themed box. The top face of the box leaves little doubt over the power supply wattage and along with a graphic to illustrate the PowerCache feature, there are 80 Plus Silver and Nvidia SLI Ready logos. The bottom face of the box carries a feature list, larger 80 Plus Silver logo with a paragraph explaining the origin and merits of the 80 Plus award scheme and a full list of the quantities and types of connector with illustrative photographs. The text throughout is given in three languages, English, French and German.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The front face of the box shows a small photograph of the power supply along with the ECC flag which presumably indicates that this specific model is made for the European market. In the bottom left hand corner of the front face the power supply physical dimensions are given along with the power supply type and a short sentence to emphasize the fact that the Truepower Quattro will give 1200W of continuous power. The opposite face carries a comprehensive specification table along pictorial storage information along with agency approval logos.

 

 

One end panel, black this time rather than red, carries a short paragraph explaining some of the main features which include the continuous power rating, six 12V rails and 80 Plus certification along with a couple of small photographs showing the power supply with and without the modular cables installed. The opposite face uses a series of small pictograms to illustrate some of the main features which include universal mains input, pulse width modulated fan speed control and industrial grade protection.

 

 

Lift the lid and the user manual sits on top of the foam encased power supply with the captive and modular cables filling the gaps on two sides along with the correct UK type power cord. The foam inserts lifts off to reveal the Truepower Quattro 1200W enclosed in a plastic bag to further protect the unit.

 

 

The power supply along with the box contents which includes the modular cable set, user manual, power supply mounting screws and power cord.

 

 

The Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W is very well packaged, enough to survive most postal systems, and comes with what is really just a basic but adequate set of accessories.

Closer Look :

The Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W is finished in matt black with two orange stripes that run all the way around the enclosure with 1200 written into oval panels on the top and bottom of the unit similar to the design on some racing cars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antec have opted to use a smaller 80mm fan mounted on the rear panel rather than the more conventional top mounted larger fan. I have to wonder whether this is enough to keep the unit cool and quiet, as small fans and quiet operation don't go together too often especially on high power units. The IEC mains input connector isn't the usual 13A rated type seen on lower power units and has been upgraded to a 16A connector. Potentially this unit could pull 12A from the wall outlet on a 115Vac supply. The rear of the unit shows the modular cable connector sockets, red for PCI-E and black for peripheral, along the bottom edge of the panel. The captive cable set is sleeved all the way into the unit which is nice to see.

 

 

Here is the small auxiliary ventilation grill on one side panel and the specification table on the other.

 

 

Here are the top and bottom faces showing the orange stripes and oval number panels.

 

 

The Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W captive cable set is quite comprehensive and there are enough connectors to wire up and run a powerful PC. The plastic tubular cases on all of the captive cable set house electrolytic capacitors connected between the +12V rail and ground (0V) and this is the PowerCache feature mentioned earlier in the review. The power supply also comes with a comprehensive set of modular cables - no PowerCache capacitors on the peripheral cables, but they are present on the modular PCI-E cables.

 

 

This photograph shows a close-up of the PowerCache capacitor on the PCI-E cable, a 2200uF in this case.

 

Pop open the plastic tube to reveal a Chemi-Con KZE 2200uF 16V electrolytic capacitor connected between +12V and ground. The electrolytic is held in place with clear plastic tape and the connection to the wires is insulated with heat shrink sleeving. (I didn't want to disturb the sleeving too much but going off the impression in the heat shrink, it looks like the connection to the wires is made using some kind of crimped ring terminal). The 2200uF is not used on all the cables, as the peripheral cables are fitted with a lower value 220uF capacitor because of their far lower current requirements.

 

 

The Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W heat sinks are oriented, and rightly so, to take advantage of the airflow from the front of the power supply out through the rear. The photograph on the right shows two vertically mounted printed circuit boards and DC to DC convertors, that are responsible for producing the +5V0 and +3V3 rails from the +12V rail.

 

 

The area of the printed circuit board to which all the wire connections is made, is very crowded and the inclusion of ferrite beads, under the heat shrink sleeving, around the +3V3 and +5V0 rail wires doesn't help, but obviously some problems with RFI have been identified and protection thought necessary.

 

The small board at the rear of the power supply carries the modular cable sockets and on closer inspection a series of electrolytic capacitors are wired across various rails that could explain their omission from the peripheral modular cables. The cooling fan is a 80mm DC brushless unit by Adda.

 

 

The build quality of the Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W is up there with the best, but things do get a little cramped. The electrolytic capacitors, all good quality, are a mixture of Chemi-Con and Sanyo as far as I can make out with a few polymer type devices used on the DC to DC convertor boards. Pretty good so far, so let's have a look at the specification and features and then see how it performs.

Specification:

 

Review Sample: Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W Power Supply, Part Number TPQ-1200GB.


Ratings Table:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W Power Supply Specification Table
AC Input
100Vac-240Vac, 15A-7A, 60Hz – 50Hz
DC Output
Min Load
Max Load
Regulation
Ripple/Noise
Max Combined
Total Power
3V3
0A
25A
-3%~+5%
<50mV
170W
1200W
+5V
0A
30A
-3%~+5%
<50mV
+12V1
0A
38A
-3%~+5%
<120mV
1200W
+12V2
0A
38A
-3%~+5%
<120mV
+12V3
0A
38A
-3%~+5%
<120mV
+12V4
0A
38A
-3%~+5%
<120mV
+12V5
0A
38A
-3%~+5%
<120mV
+12V6
0A
38A
-3%~+5%
<120mV
-12V
0A
0.5A
-3%~+5%
<120mV
6W
+5VSB
0A
6A
-3%~+5%
<50mV
30W

 

System Protection:

The user manual supplied with the power supply is very brief but you are pointed in the direction of a more detailed manual on the website that is well worth a look if further information is required. The following paragraph is taken from the download.

"The TPQ-1200 also includes a variety of industrial grade protective circuitry: OCP (Over Current Protection), OVP (Over Voltage Protection), UVP (Under Voltage Protection) and SCP (Short Circuit Protection). Sometimes the PSU will latch into a protected state. This means that you will have to clear the fault and turn the power off to the PSU before it will function again. There are no user-replaceable fuses in your TPQ-1200."

It looks like all the necessary protective features are built in but the user is given no specific figures.

 

Safety & Agency Approvals:

UL, CUL, FCC, TUV, CE, C-Tick, CCC, CB & BSMI.

 

Power Supply Weight:

 

Power Supply Weight
Manufacturer/Model
Weight
Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W
3.0kg
6.6lbs

 

Power Supply Connectors:

 

Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W Power Supply Connectors
Connector
Type
Quantity
24 Pin Motherboard
Captive
1
ATX12V/EPS12V 4+4 Pin
Captive
1
EPS12V 8 Pin
Captive
1
Peripheral 4 Pin
Captive
3
SATA 15 Pin
Captive
3
FDD 4 Pin
Captive
1
PCI-E 6 Pin
Captive
2
PCI-E 6+2 Pin
Captive
2
Peripheral 4 Pin
Modular
6
SATA 15 Pin
Modular
8
FDD 4 Pin
Modular
1
6 Pin PCI-E
Modular
2
6+2 Pin PCI-E
Modular
2

 

Power Supply Cable Lengths:

 

Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W Power Supply Connector Cable Lengths
Type
PSU > Connector Length > Connector Spacing
No. of Cables
Captive
PSU > 26" > 24 Pin Motherboard
1
Captive
PSU > 26" > ATX12V/EPS12V 4+4 Pin
1
Captive
PSU > 26" > EPS12V 8 Pin
1
Captive
PSU > 21" > Peripheral > 6" > Peripheral > 6" > Peripheral > 6" > FDD
1
Captive
PSU > 21" > SATA > 6" > SATA > 6" > SATA
1
Captive
PSU > 21" > PCI-E 6+2 Pin > 6" > PCI-E 6 Pin
2
Modular
PSU > 21" > Peripheral > 6" > Peripheral > 6" > Peripheral > 6" > FDD
1
Modular
PSU > 21" > Peripheral > 6" > Peripheral > 6" > Peripheral
1
Modular
PSU > 21" > SATA > 6" > SATA > 6" > SATA
2
Modular
PSU > 21" > SATA > 6" > SATA
1
Modular
PSU > 21" > PCI-E 6+2 Pin > 6" > PCI-E 6 Pin
2

 

Features:

Exactly as printed on the box.

Testing:

For more information on how we test our power supplies, please browse our testing methodology.

Electrical Safety:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electrical Safety Test Class 1
Manufacturer/Model
Pass/Fail
Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W
Pass

 

Short Circuit Protection:

I short circuited the 3V3, 5V0 and the 12V rail in turn. The power supply did shut down, and once the short was removed and the unit switched off for at least one second, resumed normal operation. Although listed here at the beginning of the testing section, I tend to leave this test until the very end, in case it doesn't quite go to plan.

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation:

My load resistor network is geared up for four 12V rails and it proved very difficult to load all the six rails evenly during testing. Add to this a 12V1 rail that exclusively supplies, the peripheral connectors with only a single cable for the 12V rail just added to the problems. Twenty plus amps down a single wire isn't good, so more load resistors would be needed to distribute the 12V1 loading over two or three cables. It is for these reasons that I decided to treat this power supply as a single 12V rail PSU for testing purposes. Not as strange as it sounds, because at the end of the day this and the vast majority of multi 12V rail power supplies are just that, a single 12V rail power supply split into individual +12VX rails with current limiting built into each rail. The first phase of testing, up to 50% load, was done using 12V1 to 12V4 with extra resistors added to the 12V5 and 12V6 rails to help take the total 12V load up to nearly 90A and the total power supply load close to 100% of its maximum. Testing this way is perfectly valid in my opinion and makes little or no difference to the final results and conclusions.

 

Mains Input Voltage 110VAC

 

 

Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W Power Supply DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
Supply = 110Vac/50Hz
PSU DC Rail
Measured Voltage(V)
3V3
3.32
5V0
5.01
+12V1
12.19
-12V
12.14
5VSB
5.14
Total PSU DC Loading =  0W

 

Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W Power Supply DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
Supply = 110Vac/50Hz
PSU
DC Rail
Rail Loading Amps (A)
Rail Loading Watts (W)
Measured Voltage (V)
ATX12V V2.2 Limits (V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
8.34
27.44
3.29
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
9.64
47.91
4.97
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
10.25
124.23
12.12
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
0.34
3.95
11.62
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
2.08
10.42
5.01
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total PSU DC Loading = 214W (18% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W Power Supply DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
Supply = 110Vac/50Hz
PSU
DC Rail
Rail Loading Amps (A)
Rail Loading Watts (W)
Measured Voltage (V)
ATX12V V2.2 Limits (V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
13.31
43.39
3.26
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
14.90
73.46
4.93
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
42.08
506.22
12.03
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
0.35
4.12
11.78
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
2.12
10.49
4.95
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total PSU DC Loading = 638W (53% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W Power Supply DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
Supply = 110Vac/50Hz
PSU
DC Rail
Rail Loading Amps (A)
Rail Loading Watts (W)
Measured Voltage (V)
ATX12V V2.2 Limits (V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
13.14
42.84
3.26
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
14.90
73.46
4.93
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
87.91
1046.13
11.91
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
0.35
4.17
11.93
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
2.12
10.49
4.95
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total PSU DC Loading = 1177W (98% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Mains Input Voltage 230VAC

 

 

Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W Power Supply DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
Supply = 230Vac/50Hz
PSU DC Rail
Measured Voltage(V)
3V3
3.32
5V0
5.01
+12V1
12.19
-12V
12.14
5VSB
5.14
Total PSU DC Loading =  0W

 

Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W Power Supply DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
Supply = 230Vac/50Hz
PSU
DC Rail
Rail Loading Amps (A)
Rail Loading Watts (W)
Measured Voltage (V)
ATX12V V2.2 Limits (V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
8.40
27.64
3.29
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
9.71
48.26
4.97
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
10.23
123.99
12.12
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
0.34
3.95
11.63
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
2.08
10.42
5.01
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total PSU DC Loading = 214W (18% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W Power Supply DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
Supply = 230Vac/50Hz
PSU
DC Rail
Rail Loading Amps (A)
Rail Loading Watts (W)
Measured Voltage (V)
ATX12V V2.2 Limits (V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
13.45
43.85
3.26
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
14.96
73.75
4.93
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
42.18
507.00
12.02
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
0.35
4.12
11.76
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
2.12
10.49
4.95
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total PSU DC Loading = 639W (53% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W Power Supply DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
Supply = 230Vac/50Hz
PSU
DC Rail
Rail Loading Amps (A)
Rail Loading Watts (W)
Measured Voltage (V)
ATX12V V2.2 Limits (V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
13.12
42.64
3.25
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
14.59
71.78
4.92
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
87.47
1043.52
11.93
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
0.35
4.18
11.94
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
2.12
10.49
4.95
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total PSU DC Loading = 1173W (98% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

The DC voltage load regulation of the Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W on all the rails is well within the limits set down by the ATX12V V2.2 specification at all times and for a power supply delivering over 1000W on the 12V rail alone, that's pretty good. No problems here, so let's move on.

Testing :

Efficiency and Power Factor:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W Power Supply Power Factors & Efficiency
Supply = 110Vac/50Hz
DC Load (W)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
0
25
0.92
N/A
N/A
214
266
0.99
80
Pass
638
755
0.99
84
Pass
1177
1424
1.00
83
Pass

 

Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W Power Supply Power Factors & Efficiency
Supply = 230Vac/50Hz
DC Load (W)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
0
26
0.39
N/A
N/A
214
261
0.91
82
Pass
639
737
0.97
87
Pass
1173
1363
0.99
86
Pass

 

The Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W meets the efficiency levels set down by the ATX12V V2.2 specification with ease but following the OCC testing methodolgy the levels fall far short of the claimed 80 Plus Silver level claimed. Silver level requires efficiencies of 85%, 88%, 85% at 20%, 50% and 100% loading with a power factor level over 0.9. The power factors are fine but following the OCC testing methodology the TPQ-1200 qualifies for standard 80 Plus only. Efficiency is still pretty good but not as high as claimed.

 

AC Ripple On DC Outputs:

 

I have consistently found the AC ripple levels on the DC rails to be more or less equal with a 110VAC or 230VAC mains supply. The results given below are for 230VAC only but I will continue to check the levels at 110VAC during testing and publish them below if there are any significant differences.

 

AC Ripple On +3V3 Rail at 230VAC

Oscilloscope settings: Amplitude = 10mv/div, Timebase = 2uS/div

 

AC Ripple On +5V0 Rail at 230VAC

Oscilloscope settings: Amplitude = 10mv/div, Timebase = 2uS/div

 

AC Ripple On +12V Rail at 230VAC

Oscilloscope settings: Amplitude = 20mv/div, Timebase = 2uS/div

 

AC Ripple On -12V Rail at 230VAC

Oscilloscope settings: Amplitude = 50mv/div, Timebase = 2uS/div

 

AC Ripple On +5VSB Rail at 230VAC

Oscilloscope settings: Amplitude = 30mv/div, Timebase = 2uS/div

 

Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W Power Supply AC Ripple/Noise
Supply = 230Vac/50Hz, DC Loading = 1173W
DC Rail
+3V3
+5V0
+12V
-12V0
+5VSB
ATX12 Max (mV p-p)
50
50
120
120
50
Ripple (mV p-p)
40
50
80
170
30
Pass/Fail
Pass
Pass
Pass
Fail
Pass

 

The noise/ripple levels on the Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W are a mixed bag. The main 3V3, 5V0 and 12V rails are within the ATX12V V2.2 specification limits, 5V0 just, and for a power supply shoving out nearly 1200W that's pretty good but the levels on the -12V rail are too high at 170mV. The -12V isn't used for much these days and the only use that springs to mind is the older RS232 family of serial ports, and they are seldom used these days so it shouldn't prove too much of a problem.

Testing:

Temperature, Noise Levels and Fan Speeds:

 

I am not going to give a pass or fail in this section, as the ATX12V V2.2 does not really have any references on which to base a decision.

Temperatures are purely for information only, as there are too many variables involved when installed in a case, which, by the way, it wasn't. Ambient temperature, processor cooling efficiency and case cooling fans all play their part on the temperature of the air entering the power supply, and consequently the temperature of the air leaving it. No valid conclusions can be made from this test.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W Power Supply Temperature & Fan Speeds @ 110/230Vac
DC Loading(W)
Temp In (°C)
Temp Out (°C)
Δ Temp (°C)
Fan Speed (RPM)
0/0
N/A
N/A
N/A
622/620
214/214
20.6/20.9
26.7/26.6
6.1/5.7
1027/995
636/639
20.5/20.2
26.9/27.2
6.4/7.0
1730/1790
1177/1173
20.9/20.9
31.7/30.0
10.8/9.1
3190/3212

 

The temperatures of the Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W did remain quite low but the use of a 80mm cooling fan means one thing, noise. Loading at approximately 50% produced a fan speed of 1800RPM, a little noisy but bearable, but when fully loaded the fan speed ramped up to a very noisy 3200RPM. Very few people will use this power supply at or near full load but if you do, be warned, the cooling fan is probably one of the noisiest I've heard!

Conclusion:

 

Price Per the Watt:

Power Supply Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W at $237.63 = $0.20/Watt (04-2010)

 

I expected more from the Antec Truepower 1200W power supply. Maybe I got a rogue unit, but all I can do is report on the unit sent for review. The DC voltage load regulation was pretty good but it fell short of its claimed 80 Plus Silver certification by a long way on 115Vac, the mains input voltage at which the certification applies and even at 230Vac, which always improves efficiency, it still fell a little short at 20% loading. Noise/ripple levels came a little close on the 5V0 rail and exceeded the limit on the -12V rail by quite a margin.

I'm not too sure about the PowerCache feature either and those capacitor capsules at the end of each cable will make cable management very difficult in smaller enclosures. (While we're on the subject of smaller enclosures, the Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W is a little longer than the standard ATX unit so make sure you have the room). These capacitors are all present on high end power supplies anyway, the only difference is they are printed circuit board mounted and you don't see them so why didn't Antec put them on the board? The printed circuit board is very cluttered in the area where all the DC rails exit the board so perhaps there was no room, who knows, but with some of the noise/ripple levels borderline I suspect the 5V0 rail would have more noise than allowed should the PowerCache capacitors be removed.

The Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W must be suffering an identity crisis and asking itself if it's really modular. It's got modular cables but if you look closely at the captive cable set there are enough to power all but the most powerful systems. A valid argument could be that the Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W would only be useful for a very high end system with powerful dual, triple, even quad graphics cards. I still feel that more of the cables should be modular. If you have no devices that use the 4-pin peripheral connector, which is not uncommon, and finances dictate that the build starts with a single GTX480 for instance, then that's a possible three captive cables that aren't needed and need to be tucked away. This shouldn't happen on a power supply that is supposed to be modular.

There are also one or two potential problems with multi 12V rail high power supplies. Balancing the loads if high power graphics cards are used will have to be looked at carefully. It's not so apparent in the lower wattage units but I'm sure some of the available power will be locked away and unusable. Take the 12V1 rail for example, used for 4-pin peripheral and SATA power connections - there's no way it'll go anywhere near the potential 17A available on a typical PC (that's 100A spread evenly over all six rails), even with two optical drives, three HDD's, a couple of fans and a water pump - that will come to a maximum on 10A. The maximum load is 38A on each 12V rail so you could easily run two, perhaps, three GTX480 graphics cards on the TPQ-1200, but how many people would do that? Not too many I wager, so once you start coming down the graphic card performance ladder the use of Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W is hard to justify. Many enthusiasts like to fit over the top power supplies because they can. I have no problem with that, but we then go back to the modular capabilities and its over use of captive cables.

All in all, the performance of the Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W was satisfactory. The problems with the efficiency and ripple/noise on the -12V rail will make little or no difference when running an high-end dual/triple graphic card gaming rig, but if it is run at or near its full capacity, I feel sure that the fan noise will irritate most users so take this into consideration. Cable management could prove problematical especially if enclosure space is at a premium. No award I'm afraid, but it should prove a capable power supply that unfortunately didn't quite live up to some of its claims, as well as my expectations. Fit the Antec Truepower Quattro 1200W by all means - it will certainly do the job!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: