Tuniq Ensemble 1200W Review

paulktreg - 2008-05-03 12:07:11 in Power Supplies
Category: Power Supplies
Reviewed by: paulktreg   
Reviewed on: June 30, 2008
Price: $289.99

Introduction:

Without thinking, you install your latest upgrade, an ultra super extreme graphics card, and fire up your gaming machine. Everything seems fine, the new drivers install like a dream and your new hardware is ready for use. You up the eye candy and prepare yourself for an evening of carnage on your favourite game. After thirty minutes the artifacts start, or worst still BSOD. What’s the problem? Did you consider the power requirements of your latest addition? Perhaps it’s time to upgrade your power supply.

The power requirements of today's high end gaming rigs are on the rise due mainly to the ever increasing needs of the latest graphics cards. The manufacturer of this hardware would have you believe you need a minature nuclear power station inside your PC, especially if you have a multi GPU setup with SLI or Crossfire. The actual power requirements of these systems are in my opinion debatable, but that’s not why we are here today. Let’s have a closer look at one of these minature nuclear power stations.

The Ensemble is one of the latest offerings from Tuniq, a division of Sunbeam Technology. Probably better known for its cooling solutions and cases, this power supply is available as a 1000 or 1200 watt version. We will be taking a closer look at the latter and putting it through its paces. I suspect it will prove more than capable of handling any high end gaming machine with plenty of room to spare, but let’s see how well it performs.

Closer Look:

The packaging uses a basic black and white theme with just a splash of color on the side panel photograph and rear panel graphs. Some would say boring and if you enjoy color, you won't enjoy this box. The first thing you see is a low resolution and slightly out of focus photograph of the Ensemble with a claim that the power supply is Super High Efficient (87%). We will test that later. The information on the packaging is kept to a minimum; photograph of the power supply on the front, features and small noise graphs on the rear, specification on one side panel and a photograph of the power supply with a list of the leads and connectors. I like the minimalist scheme, just enough information to get you interested and give you the impression that the power supply will speak for itself.

 

 

On opening the box, there isn't really too much to see. A box containing the accessories, another enclosing the leads, both bearing the Tuniq logo and a thick foam insert over the power supply.  Lift off the foam insert and the power supply is further protected by a thin sheet of foam, presumably to protect the unit against scratching. All in all, very well packaged.

 

 

Along with the Ensemble you get a power cord, instruction manual, cable ties and four power supply mounting screws. The manual is badly translated and of questionable layout, but the essential information is present. The Ensemble also includes a set of adapter leads, which I will talk about later.

 

Closer Look:

The first thing that grabs your attention is its size. This power supply is a monster at 8.66in (220mm) long, that's nearly 3.0in (75mm) longer than the ATX12V specification. Coupled with the fact that this power supply is non-modular and there are a lot of cables, I would strongly recommend that this unit is used in larger cases, not only because of its size but also problems with cable management. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The power supply is a fairly standard dark grey/gunmetal color with chrome metal grilles over both fans. Yes, this power supply has two fans, a large 140mm fan to draw the air in and an 80mm fan on the rear panel, along with the power inlet and mains on/off switch, to draw the warm air out. One of the side panels sports a fairly standard specification label, the top includes a label explaining the fan delay off feature, which I'll cover later, and that's it as far as logos and labelling. Because of all the cables leaving this power supply, the manufacturer designed it with two grommeted exit ports.

 

With a multitude of cables and connectors, you can probably appreciate why they leave the power supply via two ports. The photograph on the right shows the adapters supplied with the unit. These include two 8-pin PCI-E to 6-pin PCI-E adaptor cables, two 4-pin molex splitter cables and one 4-pin molex to SATA power adaptor cable. The plus side is, of course, a connector for everything and it's very unlikely you will find yourself short when you install the Ensemble.

 

 

Let's have a look inside the unit. The large 140mm fan is a 12VDC 0.33A model by Globe, and in conjunction with the 80mm rear panel mounted fan, should provide adequate cooling. The fan speed monitor signal is fed through with the cable loom so it can be plugged into the motherboard and monitored.

 

My first impression of the inside is of a tidy, well made unit. The main heatsink is multi-finned, which leads to a more efficient design with better heat dissipation. The electrolytic capacitors in this unit are made by Rubycon and Teapo and a quick look on the Internet tells me they are good quality and Japanese origin as stated.

 

 

Photograph below illustrating the multitude of cables exiting via the two grommeted ports, all held neatly together with cable ties.

 

Specifications:

Before we look at the specification table for this power supply, I would just like to discuss general PC power requirements. This power supply, when fully loaded, will pull approximately 13A at 117VAC and approximately 6.25A at 230VAC. This may not seem like much, and to be honest, who's going to fully load one of these monsters, but it all adds up. If like me you have your PC and all peripherals running off one or two extension leads on one wall socket, it could just trip you over the edge. Have a good look at how your PC is getting its power and see if improvements can be made. You'd be surprised how many volts are lost on long cable lengths, especially if the rating of the cable is not high enough. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AC Input
100 – 240V AC   47 – 63Hz
DC
Terminal
Current (A)
DC Terminal Current (A)
12V1
12V2
12V3
12V4
5V
3.3V
-12V
+5VSB
20
20
25
25
30
30
0.8
6
Max Combined
1080W
200W
9.6W
30W
Total Power

1200W

 

Over/Under Voltage Protection(OVP/UVP)

When the output voltage exceeds the specification below, the power supply shall be latched into the status of shutdown.

 

DC Output
UVP(Min)
OVP(Max)
+5V0
3.9V
7.0V
+3V3
2.8V
4.3V
+12V
8.0V
15.6V

 

Over Current Protection

Overload current applied to each tested output rail will cause output trip before they reach or exceed 110%-150% for testing purposes. Overload current shall be ramped at a minimum rate of 10A/s starting from full load.

Short Circuit Protestion

When any set of DC output is in short circuit, the power supply shall be latched into status of shutdown in order to protect the circuits and components from being damaged.

Overload Protection

When the total output exceeds 130%-150% of maximum load limit, the power supply shall be latched into the status of shutdown to prevent components from being damaged.

 

Power Supply Weight
Manufacturer/Model
Weight
Tuniq Ensemble 1200W
3.8kg
8.4lbs

 

Tuniq Ensemble 1200W Connectors
Qty
20 + 4 Pin ATX Motherboard Connector
1
4 Pin ATX12V Connector
1
8 Pin EPS12V Connector
1
6 Pin PCI-E Connector
2
8 Pin PCI-E Connector
2
SATA Power Connector
6
4 Pin Molex Connector
6
FDD Connector
2
4 Pin + 4 Pin Connector
1
3 Pin Fan
1
8 Pin PCI-E to 6 Pin PCI-E Adaptor Cable
1
4 Pin Molex Y Cable
2
4 Pin Molex to SATA Power Adapter Cable
1

 

Features:

Testing:

The old way of testing power supplies with a wing and a prayer is no longer sufficient in the tech savvy world we live in. People want to know just what kind of power a supply can actually deliver and still conform to the ATX specifications. With a new testing methodology, OCC will move into the future to provide a more current testing regime, to accurately show how a power supply performs. For more information on our testing methodology, please browse our testing methodology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electrical Safety

 

Electrical Safety Test Class 1
Manufacturer/Model
Pass/Fail
Tuniq Ensemble 1200W
Pass

 

Short Circuit Protection

Quote: "When any set of DC output is in short circuit, the power supply shall be latched into the status of shutdown in order to protect the circuits and component from being damaged."

In order to test this claim, 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

I had initially planned to list the results at three different load levels but by the time I had finished my testing, I had five sets of results at 17, 39, 53, 64 and 95% of specified full load. Here are all five:

 

Total Load at 173W which is 14% of Rated Maximum Output Power.

PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.33
3.06
10.19
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
5.09
4.70
23.92
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
12.17
2.55
31.03
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.21
2.54
31.01
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(3)
12.18
2.49
30.33
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(4)
12.17
2.55
31.03
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
11.82
0.35
4.14
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.08
2.23
11.33
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
173
 

 

Total Load at 463W which is 39% of Rated Maximum Output Power.

PSU
DC Line
Measured
Voltage(V)
Measured
Current (A)
Load Power
(W)
ATX12V V Limits
(V)
Pass/Fail
+3V3
3.26
7.58
24.71
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
5.04
9.18
46.27
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
12.03
7.90
95.04
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
12.02
7.81
93.88
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(3)
12.02
7.81
93.88
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(4)
12.01
7.79
93.56
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
11.92
0.35
4.17
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.07
2.23
11.31
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
463
 

 

Total Load at 637W 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
3.25
11.60
37.70
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
5.03
13.15
66.14
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
11.98
10.81
129.50
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
11.97
10.76
128.80
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(3)
12.02
10.83
130.18
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(4)
12.01
10.73
128.87
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
11.98
0.36
4.31
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.09
2.24
11.40
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
637
 

 

Total Load at 770W which is 64% 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
15.31
49.76
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
5.02
18.90
94.88
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
11.92
12.81
152.69
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
11.94
12.76
152.35
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(3)
11.94
12.76
152.35
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(4)
11.91
12.82
152.69
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
12.01
0.37
4.44
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.07
2.22
11.25
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
770
 

 

Total Load at 1138W which is 95% 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
15.30
49.57
3.135 – 3.465
Pass
+5V0
4.99
18.79
93.76
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
+12V0(1)
11.71
19.57
229.16
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(2)
11.70
19.32
226.04
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(3)
11.71
22.16
259.49
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
+12V0(4)
11.77
22.40
263.65
11.4 – 12.6
Pass
-12V0
12.13
0.37
4.48
10.8 – 13.2
Pass
+5VSB
5.12
2.25
11.52
4.75 – 5.25
Pass
Total Power Supply Loading
1138
 

 

All the DC outputs were held within the ATX12V specification at all load levels and I saw no voltage fluctuations during the load testing. The three main power lines, 3V3, 5V0 and 12V are of particular interest and ability of the power supply to maintain these at an optimum level is important for the reliable operation of your PC. If you are going to push your PC (overclock) they become even more critical. Ten out of ten so far.

Testing (Continued):

Efficiency and Power Factor

I was not too dissapointed with the failure of the Ensemble to meet the claim of Super High Efficiency (87%). The stated typical efficiency of 80% is nearer the mark at low and medium loads with high loads producing around 70% efficiency. I have, however, passed this power supply. It didn't meet its claimed efficiency or the ATX12V recommended minimum efficiency but it did meet the required minimum efficiency at all loadings. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Output And Efficiency

DC Load (W)
AC Load (VA)
AC Load (W)
PF
Efficiency (%)
Pass/Fail
173
256
216
0.84
80
Pass
463
621
574
0.92
81
Pass
637
872
825
0.94
77
Pass
770
1077
1060
0.95
72
Pass
1138
1643
1598
0.97
71
Pass

 

AC Ripple on DC Outputs

The noise levels at the AC mains frequency of 50Hz and after rectification at 100Hz are well within acceptable levels. The maximum noise level occurred at the switching frequency of the power supply, which is approximately 62.5kHz. Lets have a look....

 

 

Above: Screenshots of AC Noise on 3V3 and 5V0 rails.

 

 

 

Above: Screenshots of AC Noise on 12V1 and 12V2 rails.

 

 

 

Above: Screenshots of AC Noise on 12V3 and 12V4 rails.

 

 

 

Above: Screenshots of AC Noise on -12V and 5VSB rails.

 

Tuniq Ensemble 1200W AC Ripple/Noise Measurements

DC Output

+3V3
+5V0
+12V1
+12V2
+12V3
+12V4
-12V0
+5VSB

Ripple (mV )

48
45
35
43
28
24
70
60
Pass/Fail
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Fail

 

In an ideal world, what I would really like to see is zero noise but in reality, this is never going to happen on any ATX power supply. I measured the peak to peak AC signal, in millivolts, to see how each rail compared against the ATX12V standard. The above table records the maximum AC noise amplitude results during my 1138W load test. The six main voltage rails fall inside the ATX12V specification, with a minor hiccup on the +5VSB rail (60mV against the standard maximum of 50mV).

With the exception of the 5VSB rail, not a bad result!

Testing(Continued):

Temperature, Noise Levels and Fan Speeds

 

DC Loading(W)
Temp In (°C)
Temp Out (°C)
Δ Temp (°C)
In Fan (RPM)
Out Fan (RPM)
173
20
24
4
859
960
463
21
29
8
856
1627
637
21
31
10
844/1229
1631
770
21
34
13
1217
2540
1138
20
44
24
1206
2536

 

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.

Tuniq has paid particular attention to cooling on the Ensemble with some useful features. You will notice from the table above that both the large intake and smaller extraction fans are sensor controlled. There are two graphs on the outer packaging (repeated in the manual) illustrating fan speed against load. I haven't included these graphs but in brief, there are three possible speeds for each fan set by power supply loading. Below 300W speeds of 1000RPM for the 80mm and 850RPM for the 140mm fan, from 301W to 650W we have 1750RPM and 1200RPM and at 651W or above the fans spin at 2250RPM and 1400RPM. In the table above, the 140mm intake fan oscillated between 884RPM and 1229RPM at 637W as the unit heated up and cooled down, which will be the 651W changeover point for this particular unit. I at no time monitored the large 140mm fan running at its maximum quoted 1400RPM, the maximum being 1229RPM, but the small 80mm fan actually exceeded its quoted maximum of 2250RPM by running at 2540RPM.

One last thing I should mention about the fans is the Fan Delay Off Feature incorporated in the Ensemble. An internal temperature sensor inside the unit will keep the fans running until the internal temperature falls below 50 degrees C, even when you switch your PC off. I attempted to test this feature by warming up the Ensemble at 1138W for several minutes and signaling the power supply to switch off. Fans stopped. Warm up for one hour. Fans stopped. I suspect this feature, while seemingly useful, will hardly ever actually be called upon. It would be interesting to test this feature with the Ensemble installed in a very high end overclocked quad core/quad SLI system with poor case cooling, but who would do that? Even then, it may not be necessary as I believe the cooling on the Ensemble may never allow the internal temperature to get that high.

The maximum quoted noise level for this unit is 29dbA, which in my opinion is quiet. Noise levels from the fans did increase at 770W, but this is to be expected. The noise level from this unit, once installed in a case, will in my opinion be minimal, especially at what I would consider average PC loading of between 400 and 600W.

Conclusion:

Environmental Factors:

The efficency and power factor are good, thus reducing energy consumption. However, the use of any foam packaging these days is unnecessary as there are plenty of environmentally friendly alternatives available that would protect the unit almost as well, such as the egg carton type cardboard, recycled paper padding, etc. This power supply is also heavy, but this is an inevitable consequence of increased power and it all adds up when it comes to shipping and the increased fuel consumption.

Price Per Watt:

Power Supply Tuniq Ensemble 1200W at $289.99 = $0.24/Watt (June 2008)

The most dissapointing thing about the Ensemble is its failure to meet its quoted efficiency. Having said that, 80% is by no means poor and will in no way affect the performance of the Ensemble. The claimed maximum efficiency of 87% seems rather high to me and I suspect some exaggeration on behalf of Tuniq, which I feel we may see from other manufacturers. The minor hiccup on the high +5VSB noise should not cause too much concern, it's only 10mV  and most performance motherboards are built to deal with some power supply noise as long as it's not excessive. There are few "perfect" power supplies out there and motherboard designers have to take this into account at the design stage. I would like to point out one major problem with the Ensemble. The 12V1 cable on this power supply consists of three 4-pin molex with an FDD connector to finish off. Most of you will be aware that this consists of only one conductor for the 12V rail, but pull the rated 20A on this rail and you will have problems. The conductor gets hot, the insulation softens and hotspots form on the molex connector. This will probably never be an issue as hard disk drives, CD/DVD drives and floppy disk drives will only ever be powered on this cable, but the potential for failure is there. The gauge of this conductor should have been increased to safely carry the specified 20A current.

The Ensemble is considerably longer than the standard ATX power supply and combined with the quantity and length of the cables, I would strongly recommend this power supply be used in larger cases, not only because of its size but for cable management issues as well. If you are considering it as an upgrade, then please take time to do a few measurements to ensure you have sufficient headroom. I haven't included the cable lengths in this reveiw, but take it from me, you won't come up short in the vast majority of full tower cases available; the single connector 8-pin PCI-E cable, for example, is over 16 inches (500mm) long and multi connector cables over 28 inches (700mm) long.

There really aren't too many real life situations that need a power supply of 1200W. Having said that, if you like a power supply to have plenty in reserve and the knowledge that you will have it for a long time, you could do worse than the Ensemble. Running this power supply in the 400-600W range, for example, will give you around 80% efficiency and peace of mind that you are not stressing it. If it's for an overclocked quad core, multi GPU gaming rig, it will cope admirably with room to spare.

To finish off, I would not hesitate to recommend the Tuniq Ensemble 1200W. Granted, it's not perfect, but it's very close. The DC regulation is excellent and the efficiency, if not as specified, is still very good. A quality, highly stressable, efficient power supply is one of the wisest investments you can make for your PC. You know it will last, save you a few pennies on your electricity bill and give you power in reserve for future upgrades.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: