Topower Tiger 1200W Power Supply Review

paulktreg - 2009-09-01 14:49:24 in Power Supplies
Category: Power Supplies
Reviewed by: paulktreg   
Reviewed on: December 6, 2009
Topower
Price: $200.00

Introduction:

Topower Computer Industrial Co Ltd was founded in Taiwan in 1986 with the main aim of manufacturing switch mode power supplies. They have now expanded their operations into Europe, Canada and the USA. To support their international sales growth they have opened up new offices in California to help their push into the American PC market. Computer switched mode power supplies are still the backbone of the Topower business along with a range of computer cases, IPC chassis, server racks and cooling solutions.

The Topower Tiger series of power supplies is a limited range of high power units available with an output power of 1000W, 1200W and 2000W using XLR connectors for the modular cables. The XLR connector has been around for many years and people working in the audio and video fields should already be familiar with this type of connector because it is widely used for professional audio and video electronics cabling applications and especially for microphones. It is strange to find the XLR connector used for carrying DC power but a little research tells me each connector terminal is capable of carrying 7.5A making them more than suitable for this application. It makes the Topower Tiger XLR-Type slightly different from the mainstream ATX power supplies but will it give it the edge? Let's have a look at the Topower Tiger 1200W, what it as to offer and how it performs.

Closer Look:

It is immediately obvious that the packaging of the Topower Tiger 1200W is unlike any other power supply I've reviewed; you'll see what I mean in a moment. The top cover shows a color photograph of the Topower Tiger with modular cables connected along the bottom row and a few short quotes about the power supply from various Website. The bottom edge carries a special edition drawer box, SLID ready and 80 Plus logos along with a small note about the patented XLR modular cables.

 

 

The side panels are used to illustrate the box contents and features and include the specification table, cable types and connector quantities.

 

 

This is the special edition drawer box which is enclosed by the cardboard sleeve shown above which can easily be removed. You'd be forgiven for thinking this was some cheap gimmick because they are far from it! The drawer unit is really well made with a dark leather effect, stitched seams and metal drawer handles that should last for years. A small clue as to the origin of this power supply can be seen in the bottom left hand corner of the photograph on the right - Tagan.

 

 

Drawer units slightly withdrawn to give a sneak preview of the contents.

 

The lower larger drawer holds the bubble wrapped power supply and smaller top drawer contains the modular cables and accessories.

 

 

Power supply, user manual, modular cables and a power cord make up the main accessories in addition to the items shown below.

 

 

Cable management is made a little easier with the inclusion of five colored Velcro straps and a couple of small black cable ties along with power supply mounting screws. The four black adapters shown below are SATA to 4 pin peripheral adapters should the three included on the power supply not be enough.

 

The Topower Tiger 1200W XLR packaging is of the highest quality and the included drawer unit is a nice addition which not only removes the need for a modular cable bag but also provides somewhere to store all those important little pieces. The accessories bundle provides everything that is needed for a successful build including a well written and comprehensive user manual. Let's move on and take a closer look at the power supply.

Closer Look:

The high gloss metallic black finish of the Topower Tiger 1200W looks very well but finger prints show up very easily and care will need to be taken to avoid unsightly scratches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The back of the power supply showing the hexagonal holed exhaust grill, mains input IEC connector and mains on/off switch. The Topower Tiger 1200W has what is described as Turbo Power On Demand in the features list which is really just a switch, seen in the bottom right hand corner of the back of the power supply, which enables the user to select multi or single 12V rail. The front face of the power supply showing the XLR connectors for the modular cables, five pin for the peripheral/SATA and 6 pin for the PCI-E supplies. This photograph also illustrates how glossy this power supply is to the point where I had to cover the camera and miniature tripod with a white sheet to avoid them appearing in the photograph.

 

 

A comprehensive specification table is attached to one side of the power supply and the other side, apart from six small ventilation ports, is blank.

 

 

The Topower Tiger 1200W uses what is a relatively small 120mm cooling fan when compared with other power supplies in this class. The fan grill is the same color as the power supply and bears a Topower Dare to be Different logo at its center. The underside of the power supply carries a few production test labels.

 

 

The captive cables on the Topower Tiger 1200W include a 20/24 pin motherboard, 4+4 pin ATX12V, 8 pin EPS12V and 4 SATA connectors all fully sleeved right up to and inside the power supply. The modular cable set are all again fully sleeved, black connectors for the peripheral/SATA and blue connectors for PCI-E power. The PCI-E cables all have a ferrite core to reduce RFI interference or what Topower call PCI-Express REMI Technology.

 

 

The cooling fan is a San Ace 120, model number 9G212G401, rated at 12VDC/0.9A and manufactured by Sanyo Denki. The San Ace brand is widely regarded as one of the best cooling fans in its class so cooling shouldn't be a problem.

 

I can't pin the board down to any particular manufacturer and all I can say is the layout and build quality is acceptable although a little untidy in places.

 

The two primary capacitors are by Teapo and rated at 85°C, 105°C would have been better but at least they are quality capacitors from a reputable manufacturer. Quality heatsinks with tons of surface area should keep the temperatures down in combination with the San Ace cooling fan.

 

 

Topower have done an excellent job with the Tiger 1200W power supply. The packaging is of the highest quality, and different, the accessories bundle is good and the finish is excellent. It's a little untidy internally but Topower have managed to get 1200W of power inside a case that is only 7" long and suitable for most PC enclosures. Let's move on and see how it performs.

Specification:

Ratings Table:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topower Tiger 1200W Specification (Model No. EP-1200P10-T2)
AC Input
100-240VAC     15-10A     50-60Hz
DC Output
3V3
5V0
12V1
12V2
12V3
12V4
12V5
12V6
-12V
5VSB
Maximum Load
30A
30A
20A
20A
20A
20A
20A
20A
0.8A
6A
Maximum
Combined
Wattage
200W
1008W (84A Single Rail Mode)
9.6W
30W
1200W

 

System Protection:

The following information is taken directly, word for word, from the user manual. It is a little vague in places but it's all the information that's supplied.

Power Protection Functions

The power supply protection mode is automatically activated when over-current, over-voltage or shortcircuit is detected. In this event the power supply will automatically switch off. The power supply will return to normal operation only after the fault has been removed and PSU power switch is reset for a minimum of 1 second, or else by removing AC power chord and re-connecting it.

Over-Current Protection

The power supply DC outputs are protected from supply output current above the maximum ratings and when power is between 110% and 150%. With exception of the 5VSB output, all DC outputs are cutoff in the event of over-current on any of the DC outputs

 

Safety & Agency Approvals:

TUV, UL, CB, CE and FCC.

 

Power Supply Weight:

 

Power Supply Weight
Manufacturer/Model
Weight
Topower Tiger 1200W
3.0kg
6.6lbs

 

Power Supply Connectors:

 

Topower Tiger 1200W Connectors
20+4 Pin Motherboard
Captive
1
EPS12V 8 Pin
Captive
1
ATX12V 4+4 Pin
Captive
1
SATA Power
Captive
4
Peripheral 4 Pin
Modular
3
SATA Power
Modular
8
PCI-E 6 Pin
Modular
3
PCI-E 6+2 Pin
Modular
3
FDD
Modular
1
SATA to Peripheral 4 Pin
Adapter
4

 

Power Supply Cable Lengths:

 

Topower Tiger 1200W Connector Cable Lengths
Captive
PSU > 25" > 24 Pin Motherboard
1
Captive
PSU > 25" > 8 Pin EPS12V
1
Captive
PSU > 25" > 4+4 Pin ATX12V
1
Captive
PSU > 25" > SATA > 6" > SATA > 6" > SATA > 6" > SATA
1
Modular
PSU > 25"> Peripheral > 6" > Peripheral > 6" > Peripheral > 6" > FDD
1
Modular
PSU > 25" > SATA > 6" > SATA > 6" > SATA > 6" > SATA
2
Modular
PSU > 25" > PCI-E 6 Pin
2
Modular
PSU > 25" > PCI-E 6+2 Pin
2
Modular
PSU > 25" > PCI-E 6 Pin > 6" > PCI-E 6+2 Pin
1

 

Features:

Exactly as printed on the box.

EZ Plug Design (XLR-type)

6 rails of 12V

Turbo Power On-Demand

Power Supply Version

20+4 Main Connector

SATA to Molex 4 pin adapter

Safety & EMI

Cooling Fan

Silent Engine Technology

Full range AC input

Onboard PFC circuit

Circuit Protections

Testing:

Note: The Topower Tiger 1200W can be operated in single or multi 12V rail mode. Single rail should be the mode of choice in any high end gaming/overclocking rig and especially so if more than one high end graphics card is installed. Is there any other reason to install a power supply of 1200W rating? All testing performed in single rail mode only.

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
Topower Tiger 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:

 

Mains Input Voltage 110VAC

 

 

Topower Tiger 1200W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
Supply = 110Vac/50Hz
PSU DC Rail
Measured Voltage(V)
3V3
3.39
5V0
5.09
+12V
12.16
-12V
-11.15
5VSB
5.13
Total PSU Loading = 0W (0% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Topower Tiger 1200W
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
7.24
22.01
3.40
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
4.59
23.36
5.09
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
15.66
190.42
12.16
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
0.33
3.71
11.25
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
2.00
10.02
5.01
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total PSU Loading = 249.5W (21% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Topower Tiger 1200W
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
6.75
22.95
3.40
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
8.72
44.38
5.09
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
47.39
575.79
12.15
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
0.33
3.79
11.49
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
1.96
9.82
5.01
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total PSU Loading = 657W (55% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Topower Tiger 1200W
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
15.69
53.35
3.40
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
18.72
95.28
5.09
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
83.07
1008.47
12.14
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
0.34
3.98
11.72
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
1.95
9.71
4.98
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total PSU Loading = 1171W (98% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Mains Input Voltage 230VAC

 

 

Topower Tiger 1200W
DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
Supply = 230Vac/50Hz
PSU DC Rail
Measured Voltage(V)
3V3
3.39
5V0
5.09
+12V
12.16
-12V
11.15
5VSB
5.13
Total PSU Loading = 0W (0% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Topower Tiger 1200W
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
7.20
24.48
3.40
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
4.61
23.46
5.09
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
15.73
191.28
12.16
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
0.33
3.71
11.25
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
2.01
10.09
5.02
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total PSU Loading = 253W (21% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Topower Tiger 1200W
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
7.15
24.17
3.38
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
8.89
45.25
5.09
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
47.83
581.13
12.15
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
0.33
3.79
11.49
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
1.96
9.80
5.00
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total PSU Loading = 664W (55% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

Topower Tiger 1200W
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
15.45
52.53
3.40
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
19.00
96.71
5.09
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
82.77
1004.83
12.14
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
0.34
3.98
11.72
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
1.95
9.71
4.99
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total PSU Loading = 1167W (97% of Rated Maximum Output Power)

 

An excellent set of results. The rails hardly moved and the 12V rail supplying over 80A hardly batted an eyelid. Let's move on.

Testing (Continued):

Efficiency and Power Factor:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topower Tiger 1200W
Output & Efficiency @ 110Vac
DC Load (W)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
0
13
0.39
N/A
N/A
249.5
305
0.97
82
Pass
657
774
0.99
85
Pass
1171
1479
0.99
79
Pass

 

Topower Tiger 1200W
Output & Efficiency @ 230Vac
DC Load (W)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
0
14
0.42
N/A
N/A
253
300
0.87
84
Pass
664
759
0.94
87
Pass
1167
1417
0.97
82
Pass

 

Typical figures for many power supplies in this class; higher PF at 110Vac and higher efficiencies at 230Vac. No problems in terms of the ATX12V V2.2 specification but one or two minor problems with the claimed 80 Plus certification. I couldn't find any reference to the Topower Tiger 1200W (Model No. EP-1200P10-T2) on the 80 Plus power supply list at the time of writing this review so either the inclusion is pending or it's not certified. The efficiency at full load on 110Vac, following the OCC testing methodology, doesn't quite come up to the required standard of 80% but it's close at 79%. The results in this section are really very good and maximum efficiencies of 85% at 110Vac and 87% at 230Vac are up there with other high end power supplies in this class.

 

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 they differ in any way.

 

AC Ripple On 3V3 Rail at 230VAC

Oscilloscope settings: Amplitude = 20mv/div, Timebase = 5uS/div

 

AC Ripple On 5V0 Rail at 230VAC

Oscilloscope settings: Amplitude = 20mv/div, Timebase = 5uS/div

 

AC Ripple On the 12V Rail at 230VAC

Oscilloscope settings: Amplitude = 20mv/div, Timebase = 5uS/div

 

Topower Tiger 1200W
AC Ripple/Noise
DC Rail
+3V3
+5V0
+12V
-12V0
+5VSB
ATX12 Max (mV p-p)
50
50
120
120
50
Ripple (mV p-p)
45
40
40
100
150
Pass/Fail
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Fail

 

The noise/ripple levels on the rails of the Topower Tiger 1200W are fine up to what might be considered the minor rails. The level on the -12V rail is high but still within the ATX12V V2.2 specification but the same cannot be said for the +5VSB rail with a level of 150mV it is above the permitted 50mV maximum.

Testing(Continued):

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.

 

 

 

Topower Tiger 1200W
Temperature & Fan Speeds @ 110/230Vac
DC Loading(W)
Temp In (°C)
Temp Out (°C)
Δ Temp (°C)
Fan Speed (RPM)
0
N/A
N/A
N/A
1222/1217
249.5/253
20.6/21.1
26.0/25.7
5.4/4.6
1291/1294
657/664
21.6/21.5
31.3/30.0
9.7/8.5
1374/1369
1171/1167
21.6/21.7
33.8/32.9
12.2/11.2
2835/3038

 

The Topower Tiger 1200W maintained low temperatures throughout testing. Fan noise will not be a problem unless the power supply is really pushed; full power saw the fan speed ramp up to a rather noisy 3000 rpm.

Conclusion:

Environmental Factors:

The Topower Tiger 1000W with its high efficiency, good power factor levels and (questionable) 80 Plus status scores very well in this section. No foam packaging and a useful drawer unit mean very little will be thrown away.

 

Price Per the Watt:

Power Supply Topower Tiger 1200W at $200.00 = $0.17/Watt (11-2009)

 

The packaging is very well put together and the drawer unit should be useful for all those important little bits every PC enthusiast has lying about. The use of XLR connectors for the modular cables is also a nice touch which sets the Topower Tiger 1200W apart from other power supplies except the Tagan range from which I suspect, there's a clue on the drawer unit, this power supply is derived. If you need to select between a multi or single 12V rail power supply the option is made available on the Topower Tiger 1200W via a rear mounted slide switch.

A mixed bag in the electrical performance stakes. The DC regulation is exceptional with the 12V rail only dropping 20mV when taken from 0 to over 80 amps! Efficiency and power factor levels are very good but not quite up to the claimed 80 Plus certification following the OCC testing methodology. I will mention at this stage the claimed 80 Plus and Nvidia SLI Ready certification of which I can find no evidence, at the time of writing this review, on the 80 Plus Org or Nvidia websites. The ripple/noise levels on all rails except the +5VSB  were acceptable. Will the high level of 150mV peak to peak on the +5VSB cause any problems? Bare in mind this was measured with the power supply fully loaded at maximum stress and will be significantly lower at say 600W loading and shouldn't cause any high end motherboard any problems.

The Topower Tiger 1200W overall is a good but not great power supply that comes with a great set of accessories at a very attractive price. Don't let the high ripple on the +5VSB put you off too much because I feel it could still do a pretty good job powering any high end gaming or overclocking configuration with multiple graphics cards. The main 3V3, 5V0 and 12V rails are rock solid and the high ripple on the +5VSB will easily be handled by a good quality motherboard.

Pros:

 

Cons: