Thermaltake Litepower 450W Power Supply Review

paulktreg - 2009-04-09 15:31:10 in Power Supplies
Category: Power Supplies
Reviewed by: paulktreg   
Reviewed on: April 30, 2009
Price: $79.99

Introduction:

Carbon dioxide emissions and their effects, global warming in particular, make the news frequently these days, and more and more people are now considering the environmental impact of their purchases - from cars to light bulbs. The PC industry is no different, and the drive to produce more energy efficient devices, especially ATX power supplies, continues. Power supply output power continues to rise, but do we really need one kilowatt of electrical power to run our latest build? The answer, in most cases, is probably not - and in reality, a power supply of 400~500 watts will easily power the vast majority of computers in use today.

Not all power supplies are created equal, and for a successful and stable build, the user needs to be confident that a power supply can deliver its rated output. Generic, low cost, low quality units should be avoided, because in all likelihood they will not deliver their rated power; for this reason, a little time spent researching a future purchase will be time well spent. Spend a little while looking at power supply reviews on the internet, visit PC enthusiast forums like OCC, sign up and ask some questions and you will very quickly pick up the knowledge needed to make an informed decision on which power supply to invest your hard earned money.

This time around, I will be putting a 450W unit from Thermaltake to the test. Thermaltake was established in January 1999, and soon became arguably the number one choice for PC enthusiasts worldwide. Thermaltake now produces a wide range of high quality PC cases, cooling solutions, and power supplies for the PC DIY market. Thermaltake recently introduced the Litepower series of power supplies, available with 350W, 450W, and 500W outputs.

Closer Look:

The packaging of the Thermaltake Litepower 450W is basic - no glossy finish to the box, or high quality photographs to show the contents; it's a plain matte white box with a minimal use of colour. The top of the box shows the fan grill, in what I can only describe as a very poor photocopy-type style; simple, but effective. The underside of the box gives directions to the Thermaltake website in several different languages, for those that require detailed product information, technology features (dual 12V rails and silent 12cm fan), connector types with quantities, and icons showing all the agency approvals. The power supply wattage is clearly shown on the front panel's orange cardboard wrap, along with a 5 year warranty sticker, Tt Eco-Friendly, and 80 Plus Bronze logos, and a list of power supply features which is continued on the underside. Like other Thermaltake power supplies, this packaging is probably used throughout the Litepower range, with different cardboard wrap labels.

 

 

Pictures of the front and rear of the power supply adorn the box sides, along with a Thermaltake logo.

 

 

The orange wrap label is the only hint of colour on the box sides, and is used to give specific model number and serial number.

 

 

Lift the lid, and the box contents are pretty basic. The power supply is protected with bubble wrap and a sheet of thin foam, not visible in the photographs, covering the base of the box. The Thermaltake Litepower 450W is not modular, and all the cables are neatly stashed and held in place with a Velcro strap.

 

Bubble wrapped power supply and box contents, which include a comprehensive user manual in several different languages, Key 3 Spirit leaflet, case mounting screws and power chord.

 

 

A basic set of accessories, but really all that's needed for the vast majority of builds.

 

Closer Look (The Power Supply):

The Thermaltake Litepower 450W case in unpainted, so all you get is the basic bare metal finish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back panel with mains On/Off switch, IEC mains input connector, and exhaust grill. The front panel, with grommeted cable exit port, production test stickers, active PFC sticker, and model/serial number barcode sticker.

 

 

One side panel sports a comprehensive specification label, and the other is blank.

 

 

Large 120mm cooling fan with chrome grill, and the underside of the power supply.

 

 

The only cable that is braided on the Thermaltake Litepower 450W is the main motherboard connector, with the remainder held together by small white cable ties.

 

The 120mm cooling fan is a Thermaltake TT-1225A (DC Brushless 12V 0.3A), manufactured by Yate Loon.

 

 

The printed circuit board is tidy and well laid out. The main large smoothing capacitor is rated at only 85°C, while the remainder are of a more welcome 105°C rating by Teapo. The screen print on the circuit board, FSPXXX-60GHY, indicates the board is manufactured by the FSP Group.

 

 

Overall, the build quality of the Thermaltake Litepower 450W is basic, and corners have been cut - but not where it matters. The case is unpainted and cables unbraided, perhaps to cut costs, but the printed circuit board is good quality by a reputable manufacturer. Packaging and accessories are basic but adequate, but is the price low enough to reflect this? More about this later. Let's see how well it performs.

 

Specification:

 

Ratings Table:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electrical Specification
AC Input
100-240VAC     50-60Hz
DC Output
3V3
5V0
12V1
12V2
-12V
5VSB
Max Current
24A
24A
17A
17A
0.5A
2.5A
Min Current
0.1A
0.2A
0.1A
0.5A
0A
0.05A
Max O/P Power
123W
204W
204W
6W
12.5W
Total Power
450W

 

System Protection:

 

Over Voltage Protection
Voltage Source
Protection Point
+3V3
4.3V Max
+5V
7.0V Max
+12V
15.6V Max
Over Current Protection
Output Voltage
Protection Point
+3V3
60A
+5V
48A
12V1
25A
12V2
25A
Short Circuit Protection
Activated when any DC rails short circuited

 

Safety & Agency Approvals:

 

EMI
Regulatory
FCC 47 Part 15 Subpart J, Class B 115VAC
CISPR 22 Class B 230VAC
Safety
Standards
CUL (UL 60950-1)
TUV EN60950-1
BSMI
GOST-R
CE
CB

 

Power Supply Weight:

 

Power Supply Weight
Manufacturer/Model
Weight
Thermaltake Litepower 450W
1.7kg
3.7lbs

 

Power Supply Connectors:

 

Connectors
20+4 Pin Motherboard
Hard Wired
1
4 Pin ATX 12V
Hard Wired
1
Peripheral 4 Pin
Hard Wired
5
SATA Power
Hard Wired
4
FDD 4 Pin Power
Hard Wired
1
PCI-Express 6 Pin
Hard Wired
1

 

Power Supply Cable Lengths:

 

Cable Lengths
Type
Approximate Cable Lengths & Connector Spacings
Qty
Hard Wired
PSU > 16” > 20+4 Motherboard
1
Hard Wired
PSU > 16” > 4 Pin ATX 12V
1
Hard Wired
PSU > 16” > Peripheral > 4” > Peripheral > 4” > FDD
1
Hard Wired
PSU > 16” > Peripheral > 4” > Peripheral > 4” > Peripheral
1
Hard Wired
PSU > 16” > SATA > 4” > SATA > 4” > SATA > 4” > SATA
1
Hard Wired
PSU > 16” > PCI-Express 6 Pin
1

 

Features:

 

Exactly as printed on the box or user manual.

 

 

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
Thermaltake Litepower 450W
Pass

 

Short Circuit Protection:

I short circuited the 3V3, 5V0, and both 12V lines 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

 

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC Supply = 110V / DC Load = 0W
PSU DC Line
Measured Voltage(V)
+3V3
3.46
+5V0
5.06
+12V1
12.25
+12V2
12.26
-12V
12.04
+5VSB
5.10

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC Supply = 110V / DC Load = 112W (25% of Rated Maximum Output Power)
PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.40
3.19
10.85
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
5.11
4.76
24.32
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
12.12
2.56
31.03
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.11
2.56
31.00
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
11.90
0.36
4.28
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.99
2.08
10.38
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
TOTAL POWER SUPPLY DC LOAD =
112W
 

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC Supply = 110V / DC Load = 242W (54% of Rated Maximum Output Power)
PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.40
3.18
10.81
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
5.13
4.77
24.47
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
12.03
8.03
96.60
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.02
7.99
96.04
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
11.92
0.35
4.17
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.98
2.03
10.11
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
TOTAL POWER SUPPLY DC LOAD =
242W
 

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC Supply = 110V / DC Load = 448W (100% of Rated Maximum Output Power)
PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.39
10.33
35.02
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
5.05
13.81
69.74
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
12.13
13.60
164.97
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.11
13.55
164.09
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
12.05
0.36
4.34
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.97
2.03
10.09
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
TOTAL POWER SUPPLY DC LOAD =
448W
 

 

Mains Input Voltage 230VAC

 

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC Supply = 230V / DC Load = 0W
PSU DC Line
Measured Voltage(V)
+3V3
3.45
+5V0
5.06
+12V1
12.25
+12V2
12.25
-12V
12.05
+5VSB
5.10

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC Supply = 230V / DC Load = 113W (25% of Rated Maximum Output Power)
PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.40
3.19
10.85
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
5.11
4.77
24.37
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
12.11
2.56
30.98
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.10
2.56
30.97
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
11.90
0.36
4.28
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.98
2.08
10.36
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
TOTAL POWER SUPPLY DC LOAD =
113W
 

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC Supply = 230V / DC Load = 242W (54% of Rated Maximum Output Power)
PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.40
3.19
10.85
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
5.13
4.77
24.47
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
12.03
8.03
96.60
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.02
7.99
96.04
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
11.92
0.35
4.17
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.98
2.03
10.11
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
TOTAL POWER SUPPLY DC LOAD =
242W
 

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC Supply = 230V / DC Load = 448W (100% of Rated Maximum Output Power)
PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.39
10.35
35.09
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
5.05
13.94
70.40
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
12.14
13.57
164.74
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.12
13.51
163.74
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
12.06
0.36
4.34
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
4.97
2.03
10.09
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
TOTAL POWER SUPPLY DC LOAD =
448W
 

 

No problems here. All voltages well within the ATX12V V2.2 specification from zero to full load, giving excellent DC output load regulation.

 

Testing (Continued):

Efficiency and Power Factor:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Output & Efficiency @ 110VAC
DC Load (W)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
0
3
0.72
N/A
N/A
112
135
0.97
83
Pass
242
281
0.96
86
Pass
448
541
0.94
83
Pass

 

Output & Efficiency @ 230VAC
DC Load (W)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
0
5
0.30
N/A
N/A
113
135
0.81
84
Pass
242
276
0.96
88
Pass
448
530
0.97
85
Pass

 

The efficiency and power factor of the Thermaltake Litepower 450W are excellent, and my testing confirmed its 80 Plus Bronze certification at 110VAC and 230VAC. Power factor requirements for 80 Plus Bronze certification are 0.9 or better at 50% loading. A 0.81 level at 230VAC is unusual, but the power supply still meets all the requirements.

 

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 = 5mv/div, Timebase = 5uS/div

 

AC Ripple On 5V0 Rail at 230VAC

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

 

AC Ripple On 12V1 Rail at 230VAC

Oscilloscope settings: Amplitude = 10mv/div, Timebase = 5uS/div

 

AC Ripple/Noise @ 230VAC
DC Rail
+3V3
+5V0
+12V
-12V0
+5VSB
Ripple (mV p-p)
15
30
30
25
20

 

An excellent set of results for AC ripple/noise. The ripple/noise on the 12V rail is amongst the lowest I have seen, but then again, this is the lowest wattage power supply I have tested to date and it is to be expected.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Temperature Differentials & Fan Speeds @ 230VAC
DC Loading (W)
Temp In (°C)
Temp Out (°C)
Δ Temp (°C)
Fan Speed (RPM)
113
20.3
23.0
2.7
947
242
21.8
24.6
2.8
958
448
21.6
26.9
5.3
1600

 

The Thermaltake Litepower 450W remained cool and quiet at all times, even when fully loaded with the fan running at 1600 rpm. The excellent efficiency of the power supply, combined with a large 120mm cooling fan and a maximum power output of only 450W, means little wasted energy on heat - which goes a long way to explaining its ability to remain cool and quiet at all times.

 

Conclusion:

Environmental Factors:

The packaging of the Thermaltake Litepower 450W is basic but adequate, and with excellent efficiency and power factors levels, thoroughly deserves its Thermaltake Eco-Friendly logo.

 

Price Per the Watt:

Power Supply Thermaltake Litepower 450W at $79.99 = $0.18/Watt (April 2009)

 

The performance of the Thermaltake Litepower 450W is excellent, and in combination with its 80 Plus Bronze certification, it is one of the better performing power supplies I have tested. The DC quality is excellent, and efficiency is exceptional for a power supply in this class, probably with few equals.

The Thermaltake Litepower 450W has only one 6-pin PCI-E connector, which will limit the graphics cards that can be used with this power supply. The Thermaltake Litepower 450W will be more than capable of powering any high-end single graphics card configuration - and with an adapter cable, preferably on an unused 4-pin peripheral chain, a mid-range SLI or CrossFire system. The advice I would always give before purchasing any power supply is any time spent researching any configuration and associated power requirements is always time well spent.

The Thermaltake Litepower 450W's performance is excellent, but at $79.99 it is, in my humble opinion, a little too expensive for a power supply in this class. There are more power supplies to choose from in the 400~500W class than any other, and a multitude of similar high quality power supplies are available at significantly lower prices. If money is no object and you require the best in terms of electrical performance, then I would not hesitate to recommend the Thermaltake Litepower 450W. But, when good quality power supplies with fully sleeved cables and a nice paint job can be had for $60~$70, it is a difficult power supply to recommend. If the Thermaltake Litepower 450W was priced at around $69.00 and came with fully sleeved cables and a quality paint job, then I would not hesitate in giving an OCC Gold, perhaps even an Editor's Choice award, but the selling price and use of cable ties instead of sleeving, in my opinion, just let down what could otherwise be one of the best. Performance second to none, poorly finished and, in my opinion, a little too expensive.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: