Thermaltake Toughpower QFan 650W Review

paulktreg - 2008-10-06 12:14:22 in Power Supplies
Category: Power Supplies
Reviewed by: paulktreg   
Reviewed on: October 16, 2008
Price: $149.99

Introduction:

Do you need a new power supply and find yourself confused by the hundreds of models available out there? Why not think green and go for a high efficiency unit with active power factor correction? I think we are all familiar with efficiency (the ratio of DC Power Out/AC Power In) but how many of you are familiar with power factor? Not that many I'll wager.

Power factor is the ratio of real power (W) over apparent power (VA) and is usually expressed as a number between 0 and 1. Without getting too involved in AC theory, it all boils down to the relationship of the AC voltage and current of the supply to, for example, a computer power supply. If the power supply presented a purely resistive load to the AC supply then the power factor would be 1.0. Reactive loads like capacitors, inductors and transformers, the main ingredients of the switch mode power supply, can feed energy back into the AC mains supply and/or alter the current waveform shape and phase. This can, if no steps are taken to improve the situation, lead to very poor power factors of around 0.7. What does this mean for the average computer user? To be honest very little. Domestic electricity users are not usually penalised for low power factors and charged only for watts of real power and not apparent power useage. A typical value taken from a recently tested power supply of poor quality gave a real power consumption of 629W and apparent power of 879VA with a power factor of only 0.71. Quite a considerable difference in power consumption, depending on which value you take, for which only heavy and industrial users of electricity are surcharged should their power factor fall below a set level. The utility companies do after all have to generate and distribute their electricity based on the apparent and not real power consumption. The almost universal use of active power factor correction by computer power supply manufacturers is not so much to save you money but help conserve power and ever dwindling resources. Large corporations with hundreds, perhaps thousands of personal computers will I imagine specify the use of approved power supplies because they will have a significant influence on their electricity bills.

This time around we are going to take a look at the Toughpower QFan 650W from Thermaltake. Thermaltake, founded in 1999, produces a wide range of high quality accessories for the PC enthuiasts, cases, power supplies, coolers/fans, liquid cooling, etc. More recently Thermaltake has ventured into the industrial PC/server sector with rack mounts, server power supplies and cooling solutions.

"Thermaltake, the market’s most trusted brand name also produces the market’s most reliable Toughpower series power supply. Built with the latest technological advances in circuitry design with industrial-grade components, Toughpower offers industry’s leading 87%+ efficiency, power protection and performance that today’s cutting-edge PC components demand. Recognized for its highest level of performance, Toughpower power supply carries either Nvidia SLI Ready or AMD/ATI CrossFire certification that fully supports Nvidia 2-way and 3-way SLI configuration as well as AMD/ATI 2-way, 3-way and 4-way CrossFire configuration."

Closer Look:

The packaging for the Thermaltake Toughpower QFan 650W uses a basic white theme with power supply photograph on the fold up lid and a large Thermaltake logo on the base. The bottom left hand corner of the lid tells us that this power supply was a WCG (World Cyber Games) 2007 Official Power Supply. It's obvious then that this power supply has been on the market for some time now and I can only surmise, like the Corsair HX520W, that it has been submitted to OCC for testing because it is still current, quite popular and selling well.

 

 

One side of the box contains photographs of the special design non-frame cooling fan, external views of the power supply cooling fan, front and rear power supply views and cabling. Hard-wired and all modular cables are shown along with types and quantities of connectors included. A comprehensive features list is also included along with logos of the agencies for which the power supply is certified. The opposite side to this one contains no useful information at all apart from another WCG sticker and patent sticker, perhaps better use could of been made of this space? Both end panels give us a Toughpower Cable Management 650W with Q Fan logo.

 

 

On opening up the box everything is neatly packed in and the power supply is well protected in a foam envelope. The user manual sits on top along with a small Key 3 Spirit leaflet. What is Key 3 Spirit? Well the leaflet goes on to inform you that it is a new concept developed by Thermaltake that directly communicates to consumers and aims at emphasizing the "Performance", "Silent Operation" and "Thermal Conscious" design of Thermaltake products. It goes on to say that if a product carries the Key 3 Spirit label it is an assurance that the quality, performance and reliability of the components meets the highest standard. Remove the top foam cover and the power supply is wrapped in bubble wrap to further protect the unit.

 

 

The power supply with the hard-wired cables neatly bound and a photograph of all the included accessories. The power cord is tucked away in its own little black cardboard box and all modular cables are contained in a black canvas bag with velcro fastened lid. There is also a sealed clear plastic bag containing the PCI-E 8-pin to PCI-E 6-pin adapter cable, four power supply mounting screws and a soft silicon rubber gasket. I haven't come across this type of gasket before and after a bit of research it is an anti-vibration mount for the power supply.

 

 

The Thermaltake Toughpower QFan 650W is very well packaged and contains everything you are likely to need.

 

Closer Look:

The Thermaltake Toughpower QFan 650W is a solidly built unit with a dark grey metallic paint finish. Honeycombed grill along with IEC mains input connector and mains on/off switch at the rear and modular cable sockets along with only two hard-wired cables on the front. The inclusion of only two hard-wired cables, the main 24-pin motherboard and 8-pin PCI-E power (6-pin with adapter) is in my opinion a sensible approach as these are the only two that will be definately needed in the majority of builds. The modular cables are then selected as needed which reduces the quantity of cables in use and helps keep things tidy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side panel displaying a Toughpower/QFan 650W logo that may be visible depending on which case you use and on the other side a production test label.

 

 

A comprehensive specification label is attached to the top giving the user all the necessary information needed to correctly install the power supply. The large white 140mm cooling fan is protected with a black grill with a Thermaltake logo at its centre.

 

 

Photograph showing the two hard-wired cables with a total length of 500mm to the connector. The modular cables are of similar design with 500mm up to the first connector and then a spacing of 150mm between connectors. The type and quantity of cables and connectors included should cater for all mainstream users and ensure you don't come up short when installing the power supply.

 

 

The cooling fan is a Thermaltake 140mm TT-1435A of open frame design (similar to the stock fan on Intel Core 2 Duo heatsinks if you have ever unclipped one). It is of brushless design with a 12VDC 0.2A rating. If you look carefully you will see a clear plastic baffle installed to help deliver the air were it's needed. The printed circuit board layout does seem very cluttered but with such a large fan mounted directly above shouldn't prove to be a problem. Large aluminium heatsinks are used throughout for heat dissipation.

 

 

White plastic sheets are used to insulate live components from the case and all the coils are covered in heatshrink sleeving. I was dissapointed to note the use of 85°C Samxon capacitors. While the brand is satisfactory the use of 105°C rated capacitors would help to extend the life of the power supply.

 

 

Well built with no obvious problems to note.

 

Specifications:

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Specification Table:

 

Model
W0163
Power
650W
Dimensions
6.3”(160mm)L x 5.9”(150mm)W x 3.4”(86mm)H
Switches
ATX Logic On/Off additional power switch
PFC
Active power factor correction (PF>0.9)
Cooling System
3D Flow 140mm fan, 1900 RPM ± 10%
Noise
17.1 dBA at 20%~50% Load
P.G. Signal
100-500mS
Efficiency
Up to 85%
Hold-Up Time
16mS

 

Ratings Table:

 

AC Input

100-240V   8-4A   47-63Hz

DC Output
+3V3
+5V
+12V1
+12V2
+12V3
+12V4
-12V
+5VSB
Output Current
30A
28A
18A
18A
18A
18A
0.8A
3A
Min Current
0.5A
2.0A
1.0A
1.0A
1.0A
1.0A
0.0A
0.0A
Peak Current
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
3.5A
Combined Max
180W
624W
9.6W
15W
Total Power
650W
Peak Power
750W (60 seconds maximum)
Regulation
±3%
±3%
±3%
±3%
±3%
±3%
+9,-5%
+5,-3%
Ripple/Noise
50mV
50mV
120mV
120mV
120mV
120mV
120mV
50mV

 

Environment Table:

 

Operating Temp
10°c to 50°c
Storage Temp
-20°c to 70°c
Operating Humidity
20% to 90%, non-condensing
Storage Humidity
5% to 95%, non-condensing

 

System Protection:

 

Protection
DC Rail
Trigger Point/Range
Over Voltage Protection
+3V3
7.0V max
+5V0
4.5V max (?)
+12V0
15.6V max
Over Current Protection
+3V3
35A-45A
+5V0
33A-45A
All +12V0 rails
21A-29A
Short Circuit Protection
All output to ground

 

Spot the deliberate mistake? The user manual quotes the over voltage trigger point for the +5V0 rail at 4.5V, this can't be right.

 

Safety & Agency Approvals:

 

CE Requirements:

Conducted EMI
Meets FCC: Class B
Meets CISPR 2.2: Class B
Meets BSMI: Class B

Safety Standards
Meets CUL (UL60950)
Meets TUV (EN60950)
Meets CB (IEC950)
Meets CE

Harmonic
Meets IEC1000-3-2 Class D

 

Power Supply Weight:

 

Power Supply Weight
Manufacturer/Model
Weight
Thermaltake Toughpower QFan 650W
2.0kg
4.4lbs

 

Power Supply Connectors:

 

Thermaltake Toughpower QFan 650W Connectors
20+4 Pin Motherboard
Hard Wired
1
PCI-E 8 Pin
Hard Wired
1
P4-12V 4 Pin
Modular
1
EPS12V 8 Pin
Modular
1
Molex 4 Pin
Modular
7
SATA Power
Modular
6
FDD 4 Pin Power
Modular
2
PCI-E 6 Pin
Modular
2
PCI-E 8 Pin to PCI-E 6 Pin
Adaptor
1

 

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
Thermaltake Toughpower QFan 650W
Pass

 

Short Circuit Protection:

I short circuited the 3V3, 5V0 and all four 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:

 

Testing @ 110VAC

 

 

110VAC - Total Load at 174W which is 27% of Rated Maximum Output Power.

PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.34
3.12
10.42
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
5.08
4.74
24.08
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
12.08
2.55
30.80
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.10
2.56
30.98
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(3)
12.09
2.55
30.83
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(4)
12.07
2.58
31.14
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
12.06
0.36
4.34
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.03
2.22
11.17
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
174W
 

 

110VAC - Total Load at 342W which is 53% of Rated Maximum Output Power.

PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.30
7.84
25.87
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
5.08
9.34
47.45
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
11.95
7.93
94.76
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.02
8.00
96.16
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(3)
12.10
2.55
30.85
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(4)
12.06
2.57
30.99
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
12.16
0.37
4.50
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.02
2.22
11.14
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
342W
 

 

110VAC - Total Load at 622W which is 96% of Rated Maximum Output Power.

PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.24
12.06
39.07
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
5.01
13.90
69.64
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
11.88
11.17
132.70
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
11.99
11.23
134.65
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(3)
11.98
11.25
134.77
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(4)
11.95
7.94
94.88
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
12.34
0.38
4.96
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.01
2.22
11.12
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
622W
 

 

Testing @ 230VAC

 

 

230VAC - Total Load at 174W which is 27% of Rated Maximum Output Power.

PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.34
3.11
10.39
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
5.08
4.74
24.08
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
12.08
2.56
30.92
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.10
2.56
30.98
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(3)
12.09
2.55
30.83
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(4)
12.06
2.57
30.99
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
12.06
0.36
4.34
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.03
2.22
11.17
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
174W
 

 

230VAC - Total Load at 342W which is 53% of Rated Maximum Output Power.

PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.30
7.87
25.97
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
5.04
9.35
47.12
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
11.95
7.93
94.76
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.01
8.01
96.20
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(3)
12.10
2.55
30.85
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(4)
12.06
2.57
30.99
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
12.16
0.37
4.50
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.03
2.22
11.17
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
342W
 

 

230VAC - Total Load at 622W which is 96% of Rated Maximum Output Power.

PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.25
12.06
39.19
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
5.00
13.94
69.70
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
11.88
11.19
132.94
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
11.98
11.24
134.65
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(3)
11.99
11.27
135.13
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(4)
11.92
7.95
94.76
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
12.33
0.38
4.68
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.02
2.22
11.14
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
622W
 

 

DC output voltage load regulation testing shows the Thermaltake Toughpower QFan 650W is well able to keep the DC rails well within the ATX12V limits up to almost full load. No problems here so let's move on.

 

Testing:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Efficiency and Power Factor:

 

Output & Efficiency at 110VAC
DC Load (W)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
0
7
0.71
N/A
N/A
174
210
0.98
83
Pass
342
420
0.99
81
Pass
622
779
1.0
80
Pass

 

Output & Efficiency at 240VAC
DC Load (W)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
0
0.3
0.09
N/A
N/A
174
207
0.93
84
Pass
342
410
0.97
83
Pass
622
770
0.98
81
Pass

 

The Thermaltake Toughpower QFan 650W does not carry 80 Plus certification but it is evident from the above results that it meets the specification and would probably gain certification if submitted. The only claim made in the literature is an efficiency of up to 85% which it didn't quite attain during my tests.

Power factor is excellent at over 0.9 for all loading levels on 110VAC and 230VAC input.

These are excellent results for a power supply in this class.

 

AC Ripple On DC Outputs:

 

The AC ripple/noise levels, with either 110VAC or 230VAC input, were found to be virtually identical when measured on the oscilloscope. I have therefore included oscilloscope screenshots for 230VAC mains input only.

 

AC Ripple On 3V3 Rail at 230VAC

 

AC Ripple On 5V0 Rail at 230VAC

 

AC Ripple On 12V Rail at 230VAC

 

Thermaltake Toughpower QFan 650W AC Ripple/Noise Measurements

DC Output
+3V3
+5V0
+12V1
+12V2
+12V3
-12V
+5VSB
Ripple (mV p-p)
4
6
70
70
70
75
10
Pass/Fail
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass

 

The ripple/noise level on the 12V rails is higher than most power supplies I have tested recently but still remains well within the 120mV level imposed by the ATX12V specification. No problems here so let's move on.

 

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.

 

Thermaltake Toughpower QFan 650W @ 230VAC input

DC Loading
Temp In (°C)
Temp Out (°C)
Δ Temp (°C)
Fan Speed (RPM)
174W
20.7
29.7
9.0
606
342W
20.6
34.0
13.4
1055
622W
21.5
40.0
18.5
1775

 

The Thermaltake Toughpower QFan 650W incorporates "QFan Technology" which I feel warrants an explanation.

"Special non-frame QFan Technology: decreases 17% noise level compare with regular 140mm fan. Toughpower QFan 500/650W power supplies come with our latest special design 140mm ball-bearing fan. This fan has outstanding acoustic performance that will not drive you crazy with high noise."

If you take a closer look at the power supply side panel photographs you will probably notice extra air intake grills, approximately fan thickness, all around the power supply. This is part of what Thermaltake claims is the world's first five way air intake housing which assists in keeping the fan noise  to an absolute minimum.

The user manual gives us some figures to chew over. Comparing the noise level of the specially designed open frame fan against conventional designs we are given the following noise levels at various power supply loadings and fan supply voltages.  Load 20-50%[4.75V] 17.1dB(A) against 20.7dB(A), 60%[6V]20.7dB(A) against 25.6dB(A) and at 60%[12V] 34.1dB(A) against 40.1dB(A). I cannot test any of these claims at this time. What I can say is the noise from the fan was very low but did increase noticeably, but was by no means loud,  at full load which is to be expected. The maximum quoted speed for the fan is 1900 RPM ±10%, the actual measured maximum, at 1775 RPM is within the given range.

 

Conclusion:

Environmental Factors:

Little concern for the environment was given when designing the packaging for this unit with the use of foam, bubble wrap, unnecessary cardboard box for the power chord and bag for the modular cables. Why can't manufacturers base their packaging on recycled cardboard and paper? It is possible with very little effort. On the plus side though is the high efficiency and good power factor exhibited by the power supply.

 

Price Per the Watt:

Power Supply Thermaltake Toughpower QFan 650W at $149.99 = $0.23/Watt (October 2008)

 

The Thermaltake Toughpower QFan 650W power supply is as good as any in its class. The accessories are excellent and I would like to congratulate Thermaltake on a well written and comprehensive user manual. The manual is written with the novice in mind and gives all the information likely to be needed and more. There is even a step by step guide, with photographs, on the installation of the motherboard power cables, graphic card power supply cables (including entry level SLI or Crossfire), peripherals (FDD, HDD, Rom drive, etc.) and SATA devices. I know this is bread and butter stuff to most of you but for the beginner this will be a welcome addition. The unit carries no approvals for SLI or Crossfire on the packaging or in the user manual. The Nvidia website however, does list the Toughpower 650W (Model W0104RU), the one supplied to me is the Toughpower QFan 650W (Model W0163RU), so please do not confuse the two. The W0163RU is a relatively new addition to the power supply range according to the Thermaltake website and, at the time of writing this review, carried no certificates for SLI or 80 Plus. It would come as no surprise to see this power supply certified for both SLI and 80 Plus some time in the near future.

With excellent DC load voltage regulation, good DC quality and efficiency of over 80% I would highly recommend the Thermaltake Toughpower QFan 650W power supply. I have no doubt it will easily power most mid to high end systems with a single graphics card but if you are considering a dual card set-up do your research first and ensure compatability with your intended system. I don't like to give too many OCC Gold Awards but this one leaves me no choice.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: