Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W Power Supply Review

paulktreg - 2009-03-05 13:03:17 in Power Supplies
Category: Power Supplies
Reviewed by: paulktreg   
Reviewed on: March 20, 2009
Thermaltake
Thermaltake
Price: TBA

Introduction:

The power requirements of the latest processors and chipsets are on par with their predecessors and it looks like the graphics card and the +12V rail will continue to drive the power supply market. The power available on the 12V rails of current ATX power supplies can be a massive 60 amps and above, with the majority of it used to power high end, power hungry graphics cards in single or multiple configurations. Will the power requirements of mainstream graphic cards continue to rise as the computer enthusiasts demand higher and higher video quality from the latest PC games? Time will tell, but there has to come a time when either current ATX PC architecture cannot cater for the currents and temperatures involved or there is a major change of direction focusing on low power and more energy efficient technologies that pay some regard to green issues and the environment.

The Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W cable management (Model W0230 RE) is an example of the high current, single 12V rail power supply, so let's have a closer look and see how it performs.

"Toughpower XT, the most advanced and no-compromise power supply. Each power supply is individually tested to ensure utmost compatibility with all of today’s most advanced gaming processors such as Intel® Core™ i7 or AMD Phenom™ II series and power-hungry graphic cards from AMD or Nvidia®. Premium features such as FanDelayCool and S.P.T. Status Indicator give the users all-round control and visibility into the power supply’s performance and reliability. No matter what your critical application demands, Toughpower XT delivers an incredible breakthrough in gaming performance that is second-to-none."

Closer Look:

The Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W packaging is of the highest quality. The lid actually lifts like the cover of a book to reveal further information on the power supply and its features. The 850W label you can see in the photograph is a cardboard sleeve that fits neatly onto the lid and leads me to believe the same packaging is used throughout the range. On the top are power supply photographs along with an 80 Plus bronze, Thermaltake eco-friendly and five year warranty logo. The base of the box carries the specification table, connector types and quantities and a graph showing how the FanDelayCool feature continues to cool the power supply after shutdown.

 

 

That's the lid that's dropped back in the first photograph and not a weird shaped box. The photograph on the right is the side of the Toughpower XT 850W with the S.P.T. indicators and it's not showing my poor photography skills, it's meant to fade in.

 

 

The box side panels provide information on model number, serial number and agency approvals.

 

 

The lid, which when lifted, gives further information on features around a photograph of the Toughpower XT and on the box top there is a feature list against a close up photograph of the power supply exhaust grill and internal coil.

 

 

Open up the packaging and there's a box within a box. Nothing of note here, just a black box bearing several Toughpower XT logos.

 

Lift the lid and the contents are neatly arranged. The power supply is protected with bubble wrap and enclosed in a two part, black foam envelope. The warranty card, comprehensive user manual in several different languages and a Key 3 Spirit leaflet are all visible under the lid.

 

 

Next to the bubble wrapped power supply is the single hard wired 20+4 connector cable neatly held in place with a black wire tie. The complete accessories bundle showing the modular cable bag, user manual, Key 3 Spirit leaflet, "Thank you for buying the Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W" leaflet, warranty details, adapter cable bag and a plastic bag containing adapter cables and fixing components.

 

 

Quality packaging that fully protects the power supply and a good set of accessories. What more could you need?

 

Closer Look:

The Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W power supply is housed in a good quality standard ATX dark green painted case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The back panel sports the usual mains input IEC connector, mains on/off switch and honeycombed exhaust grill along with the FanDelayCool three position slide switch unique to Thermaltake, which I will cover later. The modular cable connector sockets are all neatly arranged on the back panel, red for PCI-E connectors and black for peripherals. The only hardwired cable on the Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W is the 20/24 pin motherboard connector cable, which explains the addition of a modular CPU power connector not seen on most modular power supplies.

 

 

One side of the power supply is covered with a printed aluminium label with power supply make and model and power supply wattage. This side of the power supply also includes the three S.P.T. indicator lights, which is covered later. This label, by the way, always causes problems on Thermaltake power supplies because it hides two of the case screws and once the corners have been lifted it never looks the same again. The other side of the power supply contains a production line test label.

 

 

 

The fan grill is pressed into the steel case so the usual screw fixed fan grill isn't needed. The top of the power supply is taken up with the specification label using a black and silver theme with a splash of color for the manufacturer, model, 80 Plus and five year warranty logos.

 

 

The Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W uses only one hardwired cable for the 20/24 pin motherboard connector. This cable leaves the power supply via a grommeted port to protect the wires from sharp edges and is fully sleeved almost, but not quite, all the way into the power supply. A comprehensive set of modular cables is supplied with color coded plugs and labels to help during installation.

 

 

The accessories also include two 8-pin PCI-E to 6-pin PCI-E adaptor cables for use in dual graphic card installations and a 4-pin to 4-pin extender cable should the original fall short. The kit also includes a noise damper gasket, mounting screws, case badge and four velcro straps bearing the Thermaltake logo to help tidy up the cables once installed.

 

The 140mm fan is the commonly used Thermaltake TT-1425B manufactured by Yate Loon. The printed circuit board looks a little untidy but everything is either sleeved, tied or fixed in place to help stop those annoying little noises. There is one extra connector here that wires up the S.P.T. indicator panel on the side of the power supply.

 

 

The use of three large heatsinks will help the Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W dissipate the heat generated during operation. I was unable to see any manufacturers' marks on the electrolytic capacitors so I cannot confirm Thermaltake's use of Japanese electrolytics.

 

 

The Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W power supply is well packaged with an excellent set of accessories. The overall build quality is very good, if a little untidy, but I'll forgive Thermaltake for that because 850W of power is a lot to squeeze into a standard ATX case. Let's see how it performs.

 

Specification:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ratings Table:

 

Electrical Specification
AC Input
100-240VAC     10/5A     47-63Hz
DC Output
3V3
5V0
+12V
-12V
+5VSB
Max Current
30A
30A
62A
0.8A
3A
Max O/P Power
180W
744W
9.6W
15W
Total Power
850W

 

System Protection:

 

Over Power Protection
110% Minimum – 150% Maximum
Over Voltage Protection
Voltage Source
Protection Point
+3V3
4.5V Max
+5V
7.0V Max
+12V
15.6V Max
Short Circuit Protection
Activated when any DC rails short circuit

 

Safety & Agency Approvals:

 

EMI
Regulatory
FCC 47 CFR Part 15 Subpart B, Class B
CISPR 22 Class B
BSMI CNS13438 Class B
Safety
Standards
CUL (UL 60950-1)
TUV EN60950-1
BSMI CNS14336
GOST-R
CE
Applicable Standard
Class/Limit
EN 55022:2006
Class B
EN 61000-3-2:2000+A2:2005
Class D
EN 61000-3-3:1995+A1:2001+A2:2005
Limit
EN 55024:1998+A1:2001+A2:2003, including
IEC 61000-4-2:1995+A1:1998+A2:2000
Criterion B
IEC 61000-4-3:2002+A1:2002
Criterion A
IEC 61000-4-4:2004
Criterion B
IEC 61000-4-5:1995+A1:2000
Criterion B
IEC 61000-4-6:1996+A1:2000
Criterion A
IEC 61000-4-8:1993+A1:2000
Criterion A
IEC 61000-4-11:2004
Criterion B/C/C

 

Power Supply Weight:

 

Power Supply Weight
Manufacturer/Model
Weight
Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W
2.2kg
4.8lbs

 

Power Supply Connectors:

 

Power Supply Connectors
20+4 Pin Motherboard
Hard Wired
1
8 Pin EPS 12V
Modular
1
4 Pin ATX 12V
Modular
1
4 Pin Peripheral
Modular
8
SATA Power
Modular
8
FDD 4 Pin
Modular
2
PCI-E 6 Pin
Modular
2
PCI-E 8 Pin
Modular
2
PCI-E 8 Pin to PCI-E 6 Pin
Adapter
2

 

Power Supply Cable Lengths:

 

Power Supply Cable Lengths
Hard Wired
PSU > 24” > 20+4 Pin Motherboard
1
Modular
PSU > 24” > 8 Pin EPS 12V
1
Modular
PSU > 24” > 4 Pin ATX 12V
1
Modular
PSU > 20” > SATA > 6” > SATA > 6” > SATA > 6” > SATA
2
Modular
PSU > 20” > Periph. > 6” > Periph. > 6” > Periph. > 6” > Periph. > 6” > FDD
2
Modular
PSU > 20” > PCI-E 6 Pin
2
Modular
PSU > 20” > PCI-E 8 Pin
2
Adapter
PCI-E 8 Pin > 6” > PCI-E 6 Pin
2

 

Features:

 

Exactly as printed on the box.

 

 

Further features that add to or expand on ones already mentioned that are explained on the packaging and are worthy of listing:

 

12Vin1

As the +12V rails deliver the major power to many of the components in a modern PC system, it is important to ensure each +12V rail provides adequate current for the relevant components. Inadequate current in any rail or poor distribution of current among the rails may lead to serious compatibilty problems. Thermaltake understands your worries of the compatibilty between PSU and your system, so we implement a pure and powerful single +12V rail to provide the best compatibility for your PC.

 

S.P.T. Indicator

Traditional power supplies tell you nothing about the status of your PSU, so users find no way to protect their power supply against failure. To help you monitor your power supply, Toughpower XT series utilises S.P.T. indicator to indicate the standby mode, the power good signal, and the temperature of your PSU, bringing you real time monitoring over the power supply.

 

FanDelayCool

Thermaltake Lab. after years of careful tests and experiments, has discovered many of the PSU failures are caused by the fans immediate stop after powering off. To better protect your power supply, FanDelayCool, derived from high end projectors cooling fan, enables users to control how long the 14cm fan should continue to operate (up to 30 secondS) after system shutdown. This is to assure all components inside the power supply to be thoroughly cooled off.

 

S.F.C. Quiet

Noise can be annoying and even harmful to human health. To bring the best comfortability to users, Thermaltake's designers minimise the noise generated by our products to the lowest level. All Toughpower power supply units' 14cm dual ball bearing cooling fan is equipped with S.F.C. Quiet technology so that the fan always operates at optimal speed (according to the temperature inside the power supply unit) for the quietest performance.

 

High Quality Japanese Capacitor

Capacitors play very important roles in a power supply unit. Poor capacitors may lead to shorter lifetime, system instability, voltages fluctuating, and even damage the power supply unit. Toughpower XT series, built to the highest standard of quality, has implemented the highest quality capacitors on the primary side and also the secondary side. All the high quality capacitors in the Toughpower XT power supply units are Japanese made and have the highest level of workmanship.

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 Toughpower XT 850W
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

 

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC SUPPLY = 110V / DC LOAD = 31W
PSU DC Line
Measured Voltage(V)
+3.3V
3.36
+5V0
5.12
+12V
12.11
-12V
11.80
+5VSB
5.06

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC SUPPLY = 110V / DC LOAD = 215W (25% of Rated Maximum Output Power)
PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3.3V
3.37
7.80
26.3
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
5.12
9.47
48.5
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
12.12
10.32
125.0
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
11.90
0.36
4.3
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.08
2.12
10.8
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
TOTAL POWER SUPPLY DC LOAD =
215W
 

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC SUPPLY = 110V / DC LOAD = 425W (50% of Rated Maximum Output Power)
PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3.3V
3.37
12.48
42.1
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
5.12
14.07
72.0
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
12.12
24.44
296.5
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
12.02
0.37
4.4
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.07
2.12
10.7
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
TOTAL POWER SUPPLY DC LOAD =
425W
 

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC SUPPLY = 110V / DC LOAD = 851W (100% of Rated Maximum Output Power)
PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3.3V
3.37
12.38
41.7
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
5.12
13.31
68.1
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
12.15
59.75
725.9
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
12.35
0.38
4.7
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.05
2.12
10.7
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
TOTAL POWER SUPPLY DC LOAD =
851W
 

 

Mains Input Voltage 230VAC

 

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC SUPPLY = 230V / DC LOAD = 31W
PSU DC Line
Measured Voltage(V)
+3.3V
3.37
+5V
5.12
+12V
12.11
-12V
11.80
+5VSB
5.06

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC SUPPLY = 230V / DC LOAD = 215W (25% of Rated Maximum Output Power)
PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3.3V
3.37
7.83
26.4
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
5.12
9.46
48.4
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
12.12
10.31
124.9
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
11.91
0.36
4.3
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.07
2.12
10.7
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
TOTAL POWER SUPPLY DC LOAD =
215W
 

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC SUPPLY = 230V / DC LOAD = 423W (50% of Rated Maximum Output Power)
PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3.3V
3.36
12.40
41.7
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
5.12
13.76
70.5
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
12.12
24.38
295.5
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
12.01
0.37
4.4
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.06
2.12
10.7
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
TOTAL POWER SUPPLY DC LOAD =
423W
 

 

DC Output Voltage Load Regulation
AC SUPPLY = 230V / DC LOAD = 855W (101% of Rated Maximum Output Power)
PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3.3V
3.36
12.22
41.1
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V
5.12
13.85
70.9
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V
12.15
59.88
727.5
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V
12.33
0.38
4.7
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.05
2.12
10.7
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
TOTAL POWER SUPPLY DC LOAD =
855W
 

 

The Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W I reviewed is a member of the small group of power supplies that cannot be "jump started" with no load present so I had to introduce a small 31W load to the 12V rail to get the power supply to run. I therefore could not get any no load rail voltage for the 12V rail and you will see that the graph starts at 31W; it's not zero load but it's near enough!

Perfect! The Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W gave near perfect results in this section. The 3.3V, 5V and 12V rails held solid from 31W to 850W loading as can be seen from the straight lines on the graphs.

 

Testing (Continued):

Efficiency and Power Factor:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Output & Efficiency @ 110VAC
DC Load (W)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
31
63
0.45
N/A
N/A
215
259
0.97
83
Pass
425
501
0.99
85
Pass
851
1026
0.99
83
Pass

 

Output & Efficiency @ 230VAC
DC Load (W)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
31
69
0.40
N/A
N/A
215
251
0.90
86
Pass
423
488
0.94
87
Pass
855
1012
0.97
84
Pass

 

I have to say I was more than a little sceptical of the 80 Plus Bronze certification claimed by the Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W power supply. The Bronze standard requires a power factor of 0.9 at 50% load and efficiencies of 82%, 85% and 82% at 20%, 50% and 100% loading respectively. Due to unforseen circumstances (a few of my wirewound resistors have given up the ghost and need replacing) the nearest I was able to get to 20% loading was 25%. It's not too far off the mark and I don't feel it will have too large an impact on the overall result of the Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W meeting the 80 Plus Bronze standard.

 

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 = 10mv/div, Timebase = 5uS/div

 

AC Ripple On 5V0 Rail at 230VAC

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

 

AC Ripple On 12V1 Rail at 230VAC

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

 

AC Ripple/Noise 230VAC@850W DC Load
DC Rail
+3V3
+5V0
+12V
-12V0
+5VSB
Ripple (mV p-p)
40
40
80
40
30

 

The DC quality of the Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W is not exceptional but it did meet all the requirements set down in ATX12V V2.2 standard. Acceptable levels of 50/50/120/120/50 millivolts peak to peak against measured levels of 40/40/80/40/30 millivolts peak to peak show that it falls under the requirements and is on par with other power supplies in its class. The measured levels and waveforms at 110VAC supply are virtually identical.

An excellent set of results in this section makes the Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W one of the most efficient power supplies I have tested.

 

 

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 @ 230VAC
DC Loading
Temp In (°C)
Temp Out (°C)
Δ Temp (°C)
Fan Speed (RPM)
215W
21.2
31.7
10.5
1002
423W
20.4
38.8
18.4
1094
855W
20.5
42.4
21.9
2127

 

Whilst temperatures are indicative only, they are on par with other power supplies in its class. Fan noise at up to 50% load is barely audible at or about 1000RPM but becomes noticeable at 100% load and 2000RPM, which is to be expected.

 

FanDelayCool Feature Explained

 

The Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W comes with a FanDelayCool feature. A three position slide switch on the back of the power supply, shown in the photograph, gives AUTO, D15 or D30 options that enables the user to manually set the duration of time the 140mm cooling fan will stay running after PC shutdown.

I tested this feature and the cooling fan ran at the top end of the stated timings giving 30s for D15 and 60s for D30. Claims that the implementation of this feature will result in a more reliable and longer lasting power supply are almost certainly true and any feature that removes heat from the power supply is welcome. It is true that lower temperatures will increase the lifetime of components and therefore the overall reliability of the power supply but any gains really have to be quite low over the lifetime of the unit. I can't help but feel that it would make more sense to have two options, fan switches off at PC shutdown or fan remains running at shutdown until a certain temperature is reached. It's a nice touch and a welcomed one nonetheless.

 

S.P.T. Indicator Explained

 

There isn't a section to include this topic but I thought it deserved a mention so I've tagged it on at the end. The Toughpower XT 850W power supply is equipped with Thermaltake's new S.P.T. Indicator function. The S.P.T. Indicator enables the user to check the status of the power supply via three LEDs on the side panel.

 

 

S.P.T. Indicator
PSU Status
LED
Information
Standby
Green Light
1. Power supply and system in normal operation.
2. Power supply off in standby mode. PSU output +5VSB only. System turned off without unplugging the power chord and the PSU power switch still set to “I” position.
OFF
+5VSB abnormal.
PG Signal
Green Light
Power supply works without problem.
Red Light
Faulty power supply unit.
Temperature
Green Light
Not over 100°C at the secondary side of power supply unit.
Red Light
Over 100°C at the secondary side of power supply unit.

 

The photograph shows all three LEDs green, indicating everything is well during testing. With mains connected, power supply mains switch on and the PC shut down, the green Standby LED lights are as expected. A full explanation of the different status LEDs is show above. These are pretty basic status indicators but they will help with first line fault finding should there be any problems.

Conclusion:

Environmental Factors:

The Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W box carries a small eco-friendly logo, green globe and leaf design with Tt symbol, on which I am unable to find any information. I can only pressume this logo has been designed by Thermaltake to promote its eco-friendly products. The Thermaltake packaging is not in my opinion very eco-friendly due to the amount of cardboard and foam used in the packaging, but if it refers to the electrical operation of the power supply then it is well deserved as the Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W is one of the most energy efficient units I have tested.

 

Price Per the Watt:

Power Supply Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W at $TBA = ?/Watt (March 2009)

The Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W performed flawlessly from start to finish. The DC voltage load regulation is excellent and the efficiency amongst the highest I have tested and fully deserving of the 80 Plus Bronze certification.

This Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W carries the AMD Game Ready and ATI Crossfire X Technology logos. The only information I can find on AMD Game Ready is a minimum PC specification (Athlon X2 5600, ATI Radeon HD3650, AMD 770 or Nvidia nForce 500 chipset & 2GB DDR2 memory) to meet before it can carry the logo but with the wide variety of different manufacturers producing these parts does this certification really mean anything? How does the Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W fit into the AMD Game Ready scheme? Perhaps Thermaltake is telling us that the Toughpower XT 850W is capable of running the AMD Game Ready computer? I cannot find this variant of the power supply, the W0230, on the ATI website list for Crossfire X certification although it is claimed. The non cable managment W0224 hardwired version is listed but not the W0230 cable management unit. A small point, I know, but if certification is claimed then it should be listed. The Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W will, I'm sure, easily power any dual graphics card installation and with the inclusion of adapter cables to give either 4 x 6 pin PCI-E connectors or 2 x 8 pin plus 2 x 6 pin PCI-E connectors, powering the cards will not be a problem.

I highly recommend the Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850W to anyone in the market for an 850W modular power supply. It is well packed for transit, includes an excellent set of accessories and the performance is excellent and for these reasons I have no hesitation in awarding this power supply the OCC Gold award.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: