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PSU Shootout: Tagan Turbojet TG1100-U95 & Thermaltake Toughpower 750W
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Date: Nov 27, 2006
Section:Misc
Author: Jeff Bouton
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Introduction and Product Specifications



Power -- It's one of the most important factors for peak system performance and stability. Yet, the PSU is still an often overlooked PC component. While not as sexy as a high-end motherboard, video card or RAM, the power supplying these components is just as important as the components themselves.  With the heightened demands of the latest computing hardware, ample power is an increasingly important consideration for performance and stability. Dual GPU configurations are now commonplace and CPUs are sporting multiple cores, all of which place greater demand on the PSU.  Throw some overclocking into the mix and a common 550w PSU will crack under the stress, which can end up causing some stress of its own.

Today, we are going to take a look at two Power Supply Units that cater to the enthusiast community. First up is the Toughpower 750W Cable management from Thermaltake. Equipped with a 14cm fan for quiet cooling, this 750 watt PSU offers a clean, modular cabling solution, with support for SLI, Crossfire, and multi-core processors.

 
Toughpower 750W Cable management

 

The second PSU we'll be evaluating is the Tagan Turbojet TG1100-U95.  This behemoth of a PSU offers 1100 Watts (1.1 kilowatts) of peak power output, which should be more than enough power to drive the most demanding collection of computer components including quad-core CPUs and quad-SLI configurations.

 
Tagan Turbojet TG1100-U95

In the pages ahead we'll spotlight each PSU's feature set, then we'll perform some real world stress testing to see how these two PSUs compare when under heavy power demands.  We'll also throw in results from an UltraX2-Connect 550 Watt PSU to demonstrate how these two high power PSUs compare to a more mainstream PSU, as well as see which is the most efficient at doing its job.

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Close Up: Thermaltake Toughpower 750W PSU

Close Up: Thermaltake Toughpower 750W PSU
750W Powerhouse

The Thermaltake Toughpower 750W Cable Management PSU may not have the most elegant of names, but the unit itself is quite sleek. This 750 watt Power Supply has a clean, organized design by virtue of its modular cable configuration.  Rather than having a bouquet of cables stemming from its chassis, the Toughpower 750W offers the flexibility to connect only those cables deemed necessary with an embedded socket configuration. 

  

Thermaltake offers banks of ports, broken down by component, to ensure a balanced load on the PSU.  The first bank on the left powers an 8-Pin 12V power connector to supplement a motherboard's 24-Pin ATX power supply.  The 8-Pin head is modular as well and can be split in two halves to work with 4-Pin ATX power connections.  The second bank is designated for two PCI-E connections along with a third (primary) PCI-E supply which is wired directly to the unit.  The next grouping powers 4-Pin peripherals such as DVD drives and floppy drives.  Each of the two cables come with 4 Molex heads as well as a floppy drive power connector.  The last grouping provides SATA power, utilizing two cables with 3 SATA power connectors each.   The main 24-Pin ATX power connector is also convertible to a 20-Pin head by a quick lock system that permits the release of the extra 4 pins.

 

The Toughpower 750W boasts an oversized 14cm cooling fan that delivers 82 CFM to keep its inner workings cool while maintaining a low ambient noise factor by throttling through the use of an automatic temperature control.  Along with the necessary modular cables needed to marry up to their respective inputs, Thermaltake also provides a power cord, mounting screws and a rubber insulator designed to minimize vibration. 

Rated for 100VAC-240VAC, the Toughpower 750W PSU has a combined peak wattage rating of 750 watts total and is SLI, Crossfire and dual core processor ready.  Each of the four 12v rails is rated for a peak load of 18 amps per rail, while the +3.3v feed supports 30 amps and the +5V 28 amps. The unit is designed with an internal load regulator to help maintain steady voltage flow under the heaviest of loads, keeping tolerances within +/-3%.  The PSU also utilizes active power factor correction to maintain a steady .99 Power Factor, which we'll touch on further in our testing segment of this review.

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Close Up: Tagen Turbojet TG1100-U95 (1100W)

Close Up: Tagan Turbojet TG1100-U95 (1100W)
1.1 Kilowatts of Peak Power!

Other than being power supplies, the Tagan Turbojet TG1100-U95 and Thermaltake Toughpower 750W have very little in common. The Thermaltake Toughpower 750W is like the "beauty" to the Tagan Turbojet TG1100-U95's "Beast".  The TG100-U95 is an industrial strength PSU designed for extreme workloads of multi-core CPU and multi-GPU systems. This unit is geared toward quad-SLI and quad-core CPU set ups where power demands can be at their heaviest.  Aesthetically, there is nothing extraordinary about this PSU, leaving the presentation "wow factor" to the small brief case the TG100-U95 comes in, which keeps the PSU and its cabling in order during shipment. 

  

Rated for 100VAC-240VAC, the TG1100-U95 supports a peak draw of 1100 watts, which should satisfy even the most demanding of systems.  The PSU is not modular, providing power cabling in the traditional sense.  What is different is the heavy duty feel of the shielded cables, each with a heavy plastic exterior that makes them rather stiff and less flexible than typical PSUs.  The body of the TG1100-U95 is equipped with two 80mm fans for ample cooling which is controlled by Tagan Silence Control Technology, which throttles the fan speeds based on the PSU's internal temperature. 

  

The system comes with a slew of power connection options.  First is the 24-Pin ATX power that can break down to a 20-Pin solution as needed.  There are also individual 4 and 8-Pin 12V plugs as well as four 6-Pin PCI Express power connectors.  The unit comes with a total of three Molex 4-Pin connectors and 10 5-Pin SATA power connectors.  If more Molex heads are needed, Tagan provides 4 Combo-S2M connectors which plug onto the head of a SATA power plug to convert it two a Molex connect if needed.  A Y-Cable is provided for Molex to Floppy conversion as well as four mounting screw, two zip ties, and five velcro straps to help keep the cabling tidy.  

Both the +3.3V and +5V outputs are rated for 28 amps each while each of the four +12V rails support a load of 20 amps each.  -12V is rated for a .08 amp load and +5Vsb peaks at 3 amps.  To help manage the load on a PSU of this size, Tagan utilizes DTT which stands for Dual Transformer Technology, meaning this PSU has two AC to DC transformers to help deliver over a kilowatt of combined power.

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Test System and Performance Analysis

Test Configuration:  Testing a PSU at peak output can be difficult with units of this size.  Test equipment designed specifically for this task is available, but it doesn't come cheap.  Instead, we attempted to set up a power hungry test machine with a fair collection of components for adequate power demands, simulating real-world conditions.  We overclocked the CPU and Video Cards for increased power demands as well, and raised all voltages to their maximum via the system BIOS.  Once set, we launched a Torture Test in Prime95 to maximize CPU usage, then ran an X3: Reunion benchmark at 1600x1200 at 8xS Anti-Aliasing and 16X Anisotropic Filtering to add further demands to the system.  While this still could not cause a peak draw on either PSU, the load was enough to bring our 550 Watt comparison PSU down.  To start, all metrics were record at IDLE, where the system was left to sit for 20 minutes before recording the various statistics,  then the readings were recorded again under load.

The HotHardware Test Systems
AMD Athlon 64 FX Powered
Power Supply: 
Tagan Turbojet TG1100-U95
Thermaltake Toughpower 750 W Cable Management
Ultra X2-Connect - 550W

Processor
AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 (2.6GHz x 2)
Overclocked to 2.86GHz

Motherboard
Asus A8N32-SLI
nForce4 SLIX16 chipset

Video Cards
GeForce 7900 GT (x2)
Overclocked from 627/820 to 725/900

Physics Accelerator

Ageia PhysX 128MB


Memory
2048MB Corsair XMS PC3200 RAM
Audio
Integrated on board

Hard Drive
2 - 150GB Western Digital "Raptor" (RAID 0)
1 -
400GB Seagate Barracuda
1 - 250GB Maxtor 7Y250M0

CD/DVD-ROM

1 -
Sony DW-Q120A 16X DL DVD +/-R/RW
1 - Sony CRX320EE 52x32x52/16X Combo

Voltmeter
Electro-Tek Multimeter

Watt Meter
P4400 KILL A WATT Meter

Software

X3: Reunion Demo (Max Settings)
Prime95 (Torture Test)
Combined Performance Metrics
Just Add Power

In each test, we can see that the AC input had minor fluctuations, but essentially remained steady throughout testing.  At idle speeds, the Thermaltake Toughpower 750W drew the least amount of wattage of the three units, as well as when under load.  The Thermaltake Toughpower 750W delivered 11.84V idle, which is within +/-3% limits, while dropping slightly to 11.74V with peak wattage reaching 537 watts.  With the Tagan Turbojet TG1100-U95 drawing a peak 558 Watts, the 12V rails compensated for the demand, increasing slightly over output when idle.  We should also note that the Tagan Turbojet TG1100-U95 was the only unit of the three to actually provide 12V or higher during testing.  The UltraX2 Connect 550 took the biggest performance hit on the 12V rail, however, this was the only PSU where we were able to overshoot its peak wattage, triggering the overload circuit several times during testing.  When we look at the 5V and 3.3V outputs, all three PSUs tested were relatively steady across the board.  Once again, the Tagan Turbojet TG1100-U95 was the only one of the three to exceed rated output, delivering a minimum of 3.41V and 5.19V respectively.

The last reading we calculated was each PSU's Power Factor.  The Power Factor is calculated by dividing true power (Watts) by apparent power (VA).  This ultimately represents each PSU's efficiency at converting actual current to the load power with a Power Factor of 1 being most efficient and a Power Factor 0 being the least efficient.  So, for example, if a PSU has a Power Factor of 1, this means the PSU is applying 100% of the actual power to the load side.  A Power Factor of .50 indicates a PSU is able to take the actual current and apply 50% percent to the load.  So, when we look at all three PSUs above, we find that both the Tagan and Thermaltake models are very efficient, with a Power Factor of .99, whereas the UltraX2 is less efficient with a Power Factor of .65/.66.  Please note, this is an overly simplistic explanation to a complex technical term.  For a complete explanation of the Power Factor, we'd suggest reading this application note article from ST Microelectronics.

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Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: Both the Tagan and Thermaltake power supplies tested here performed well. The Tagan TG1100-U95 was the only PSU of the three to exceed voltage output across the board and also managed to ramp up the voltage slightly under load.  The Thermaltake Toughpower 750W drew the least amount of wattage during testing, although the 12V rails tended to ride on the lower side of the acceptable +/-3% variance.  Under load, voltage drops were minimal and remained steady with both the Tagan and Thermaltake models tested here.

The Tagan Turbojet TG1100-U95 and Thermaltake Toughpower 750W Cable Management PSU were both impressive.  Each certainly has its niche, with the Toughpower 750W targeting the enthusiast crowd with ample power and good looks, and the Tagan Turbojet TG1100-U95 going after the high end server and enthusiast crowd with extreme high-powered systems.  For those running quad-SLI configurations and multi-core CPUs, the clear choice between these two units is the Tagan Turbojet TG1100-U95, with its 1.1KW power rating.  For enthusiasts running multi-core CPUs, and SLI or Crossfire, both models fit the bill, but the Thermaltake Toughpower 750W Cable Management may appeal more to those looking for a neat cable environment and good looks.

Ultimately, we're not comfortable recommending either one of these power supplies over the other because each is targeted at a slightly different audience.  In the end, the better choice depends on the unit's intended use.  In most cases, the Thermaltake Toughpower 750W Cable Management should fit the more mainstream enthusiast's needs perfectly. However, if you intend to run a quad-core CPU and a quad-SLI or G80 SLI setup down the road, you may want to grab the powerful Tagan Turbojet TG1100-U95 as it will have plenty of room to grow with you.

The last factor to consider is price.  While scanning our PriceGrabber search tool, we see the Thermaltake Toughpower 750W Cable Management W0116 is available from $160-190.  The Tagan Turbojet TG1100-U95, on the other hand, costs a hefty $349.99.  When we break it down, the Tagan Turbojet TG1100-U95 costs about $.32 per watt while the Thermaltake Toughpower 750w Cable Management W0116 comes in around $.21-.26 per watt.


We give the Tagan Turbojet TG1100-U95 a Hot Hardware Heat Meter Rating of 8.5


  • Solid Performance
  • Quad SLI support
  • Massive Amounts of Power
  • Efficient
  • Stable Voltages
  • Not Modular
  • Stiff Cabling
  • Pricey
  • 3 Year Warranty

We give the Thermaltake Toughpower 750W Cable Management Power Supply a Hot Hardware Heat Meter Rating of 9

  • Competitive Pricing
  • Slick looks
  • SLI, Crossfire and multi-core CPU ready
  • Efficient
  • 5 Year Warranty
  • Voltages Slightly Lower on the 12V Rails


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