Need some seriously Toughpower for that Monster Gaming Rig, how about one of the few Triple SLI Approved power supplies out there, the Thermaltake Toughpower 1200?
Not everyone out there needs in excess of 1200 watts of thumping power to drive a massive gaming rig. Those that do need massive power and need it to be Triple SLI approved need some serious power. When your staring at 3 massively powerful GPU’s, and wondering how much power your going to need to drive them, and the system you have them in the answer is, a lot. Especially when your looking at 3 GTX-280’s.
The question you have to ask yourself, and that we had to ask ourselves is; do I want to chance running these beasts on a power supply that isn’t rated by Nvidia to drive those three beasts. Do I want to take a chance on destroying a beautiful rig, and tanking 3 uber expensive GPU’s in the process? The correct answer to that question would be, no you don’t.
We were recently faced with that same question, we have 3 GTX-280’s in house and currently driving them in dual SLI mode for lack of a suitable Triple SLI approved PSU. That’s a sad thing when your looking at 3 of the fastest GPU’s in existence and knowing that you won’t be able to drive them properly because you have a wimpy 1000 watt PSU, okay so 1000 Watt isn’t wimpy, but still to drive triple GTX-280’s Nvidia says we need 1200 watts of thumping raw power. Not only do we need 1200 watts of raw power, we need 1200 watts of Nvidia triple SLI approved power. You don’t need to look any farther than one of the most trusted names in the business to fix what ails you. The Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 watt PSU is rated by Nvidia to handle 3 GTX-280’s running in SLI. In preparation for running all 3 of those beasts we’re going to test the Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 running Dual GTX-280’s, then after it’s had some break in time you’ll be seeing it driving our Triple SLI GTX-280 rig. Yes it’s been a long time coming, but soon very soon, thanks to Thermaltake, Nvidia, and Bjorn3D you’ll be seeing some serious SLI/Crossfire action head to head on the hottest platform known.
We live in a world where most things seem to move at the speed of light. At Thermaltake, we feel the same way and that is exactly how Thermaltake conducts itself to deliver innovative, reliable and customer-centric solutions to the worldwide market.
Since the beginning of Thermaltake in 1999, it has been at the forefront of creating new and exciting products at a time where most computer users were provided little to no choices for components that may seem irrelevant, but in reality crucial to the performance of a PC.
Thermaltake Server Series solutions, with years of thermal experience and industry leadership, sets its goal on reforming total thermal management in server segment by formulating the perfect mixture of versatility, efficiency and thermal management with each respective server product category: Rackmount Chassis, Server Fixed & Redundant Power Supply and Server CPU Cooling Management Solutions.
With its comprehensive line of products available, it enables Thermaltake’s core customers to enjoy a one-stop-shop experience, reduce product design-in evaluation period and most important of all, flawless integration process. Each of Thermaltake’s strengths enables its customer to focus on their core business while taking advantage of the skills and efficiency of a single thermal management solution partner.
Values & Principles
– While still a relatively young company, established in 1999, Thermaltake is built on unwavering will and dedication to address issues and innovate at the same time for computer enthusiasts and corporate users worldwide .
– With strong support of Research & Development team standing behind the brand, Thermaltake is committed to never-follow but always-lead.
– In past decades, the industrial and technological advancements in different fields have shaped the world we live in today and have also made a big impact on the environment. Thermaltake takes great measures to ensure the product that we produce relieve these impacts by being first to act on 80 PLUS® specification for computer power supply that greatly reduces the amount of electricity that a computer consumes.
– Always striving to be the best, we continuously benchmark our performance against the very best internally and externally.
– Customers are our greatest asset and Thermaltake does not take that for granted. That is why Thermaltake is the industry leading in customer service and customer support with around-the-clock automated product return service.
- Stable 1200W continuous output, peak power at 1100W (at 50℃ operating environment)
- Four independent & dedicated +12V rails(12V1,12V2,12V3,12V4) provides superior performance for PC system
- NEW! Three 8-pin and three 6-pin PCI-E connectors design supports Multi-GPU Graphic card
- Supports Dual Core CPU / Quad Core CPU / Nvidia SLI & Quad SLI and all Multi-Core GPU technologies
- Modularized Cable Management to eliminate clutter and improve airflow inside the case
- Independent Voltage Circuit: offers unflappable current delivery under heavy load
- Strict voltage regulation (±3%): provides steady voltage for system
- Active Power Factor Correction (PF>0.99) and high efficiency (up to 87%)
- Industrial grade components (capacitor, transformer, etc)
- High reliability: MTBF>120,000 hours
- Quiet and reliable 14cm ball-bearing fan
- Protections: Over Current, Over Voltage, Under Voltage, Over Temperature, Over Power, and Short-Circuit protection
- Safety / EMI Approvals: CE, CB, TUV, FCC, UL, CUL, and BSMI certified
Quad 12v Rails, eight S-ATA connectors, vibration dampening Silicone gasket, hi-tech black coating, and a huge 140mm whisper quiet fan on this beast. Three 8 pin and three 6 pin connectors to drive that triple SLI rig you’ve always wanted to build. Thermaltake didn’t skimp out on this massive power pumping beast.
They’re plenty of connectors on the Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 Watt Modular PSU and I know a lot of you are wondering how many of those PCI-E Connectors can I actually use so let me jump the gun a little and show you.
The Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 Watt PSU is fully capable of driving triple SLI with with enough power and connectors to run any 3 dual connector GPU’s out there. It’ll also drive single connector Quad SLI GPU’s if that’s the route you want to go. When your packing this beauty your ready for anything the GPU market has to throw at you currently.
What’s that we hear? You need six 6 pin connectors? Thermaltake has you covered there.
They’ve included three 8 to 6 pin adapters for Triple GPU setups needing six 6 pin connectors. Like we told you your ready for just about anything the current GPU market has to throw at you. Packing this power plant your ready for some SLI or Crossfire goodness.
If you’re like us you’d like a little clearer breakdown of the voltages that’s a little easier to read, so we came up with this graphic for you.
Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 Watt PSU
|AC Input Rating||100 – 230VAC|
|Input Current||15 Amp|
|Frequency||47Hz – 63Hz|
|Output Voltage||Max Load||Max Output|
|+3.3V||30 Amps||Total 1200 Watts|
|Total Power||Total 1200 Watts|
|Efficiency||80 Plus (87% peak)|
|Dimensions||200mm(W) x 160mm(L) x 86mm(H)|
- Operating Temperature…………10-50C
- Storage Temperature………….-20-70C
- Operating Humidity………………20-90% (non-condensing)
- Storage Humidity………………....5-95% (non-condensing)
It’s ability to operate up to 50C or 122° Fahrenheit is an amazing top end operating temperature and makes the Toughpower an attractive option for those living in hotter environments or with out air conditioning. When they say Toughpower they mean Tough Power!
The 20-90% humidity non-condensing probably means it’s not a good idea to play with the Toughpower in the rain. Actually it means it’s not a good idea in high humidity situations to take it from a cool environment to a hot humid environment and use it before the temperature of the PSU and the environment equalize. Much like a glass of Ice Tea developing drops of water on the side of the glass; water can condense in that situation and if moving to a high humidity environment it’s a good idea to let the computer set overnight to prevent condensation.
- Over Voltage Protection
- +3.3v Trips @ 4.5v
- +5v Trips @ 7.0v
- +12v Trips @ 15.6v
- Over Current Protection
- +3.3v range @ 33-50A
- +5v range @ 33-50A
- +12v1 and +12v2 range @ 22-35A
- +12v3 and +12v4 range @ 39-55A
- Under Volt Protection
- +3.3v trip point @ 2.0v
- +5v trip point @ 3.3v
- Short Circuit Protection
- All Output to Ground
At this point you probably know more about the Thermaltake Toughpower than you ever thought you wanted to. Understanding a power supply also means understanding the finer points of Rails and Specifications, so I throw in a section I like to call “What about them Rails?”
WHAT ABOUT THEM RAILS?
We have all, no doubt, been told that when purchasing a power supply that the number to look for is the amps on the 12V rail. What are each of the different rails for though, and why is the 12V rail typically the most important? Why the heck are they called rails? Let’s take at look at each and see.
-12V – This rail is pretty much obsolete now and is only kept on to provide backward compatibility with older hardware. Some older types of serial port circuits required both -12V and +12V voltages, but since almost no one except industrial users use serial ports anymore you as a typical home user can pretty much disregard this rail.
-5V – Again this is another obsolete rail, the -5V was used for old school floppy controllers and some ISA bus cards. Again, no need for the typical home user to worry about this rail.
0V – Though not listed on any manufacturer spec sheet, every power supply has a 0V ground line. The ground signal is used to complete circuits with other voltages and provide a plane of reference against which other voltages are measured.
+3.3V – Finally we are starting to get into something useful! The +3.3V rail was introduced with the ATX form factor in order to power second generation Pentium chips. Previously the CPU was powered by the +5V rail (along with the system memory and everything else on the motherboard), but a reduced voltage was needed in order to reduce power consumption as the chips got faster. Until just recently, the +3.3V was used to exclusively power the CPU as well as some types of system memory, AGP video cards and other circuits.
+ 5V – As mentioned above, the +5V used to run the motherboard, CPU and the majority of other system components on older pre ATX based systems. On newer systems, many of the components have migrated to either the +3.3V or +12V rails, but the motherboard and many of its onboard components still use the +5V rail so it is of importance to the typical home user.
+5V SB – The +5V Standby or “Soft Power” signal carries the same output level as the +5V rail but is independent and is always on, even when the computer is turned off. This rail allows for two things. First, it allows the motherboard to control the power supply when it is off by enabling features such as wakeup from sleep mode, or wake on LAN technology to function. It also is what allows Windows to turn your computer off automatically on shutdown as opposed to previous AT supplies where you had to bend over and push the button. Every standard ATX power supply on the market will include this rail.
+ 12V – The +12V, also known as the mother of all rails, is now used to power the most demanding components in your system including the CPU, hard drives, cooling fans, and graphics cards. Historically the +12V rail was used only to power drives and cooling fans. With the introduction of the 4-pin CPU plug on P4 motherboards and then eventually AMD based motherboards, in order to supply newer power hungry CPUs, the +12V rail suddenly started to grow in importance. Today, dual core based motherboard require an 8-pin +12V connector to supply their power needs. High end GPU cards have also jumped on the +12V rail, which has required PSU makers to adapt. Where previously there was only a single +12V rail, there are now two or more, each designated to power specific devices in order to ensure that nothing is underpowered.
Now as to why they are called rails, the best explanation that I can find is that the term comes from the wacky world of electronics and it refers to a long metal bar or strip that is used to provide a particular voltage level. Perhaps someone with a deeper understanding of all things electrical could let me know whether or not that is true.
ATX 12V V2.2 Standard
2.20 is where we currently stand as of March 2005. It was released the same month as the short lived 2.1 revision which is why you won’t see any units bearing that standard. The 2.20 again increased the efficiency requirements which now stand at a minimum of 65% or greater and a recommended level of 75% or greater. The +5VSB rail has also been increased to 2.5A
In short any power supply post 2.0 will do the job for you. The biggest advantage of purchasing a latter standard model would seem to be the increase in efficiency rating.
The EPS12V specification is one of those standards that most people have heard about, but very few know what it actually does. The EPS spec itself is defined in the Intel Server System Infrastructure (SSI) spec and is currently at v2.1.
The EPS12V spec dictates that Power Supply units must have a 24pin 12V connector as well as one additional 8-pin 12V connector. If a PSU is noted as EPS12V compliant you can be assured that it will have all the connections you need to power your new dual core based system, however it should also be noted that units do not necessarily have to meet EPS12V spec to include an 8-pin 12V connector.
My “What About Them Rails?” section needs a little updating but it’ll provide enough current information that it’s still useful for the novice hunting for a viable PSU for that gaming monster their building.
Enough of the boring stuff lets get on to some Packaging and Bundled Accessories!
Pictures & Impressions
The Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 Watt Cable Management power supply is far from an ugly PSU. More than it’s looks though it extrudes power. Just looking at it you can tell that the TT TP 1200 isn’t your Dads power supply. It’s designed for today’s Multi-GPU power needs.
Looking at the side of the Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 you get a good look at the no nonsense sticker that Thermaltake chose for their signature line of power supplies. With a name like Toughpower you can just about expect a no nonsense minimalist look. This beast isn’t about flashing lights or overly decorative stickers, it’s about one thing and one thing only; good clean power and plenty of it.
Looking down on the top of the Toughpower 1200 you get a good look at the 120mm fan that is controlled by the PSU itself and will increase in speed as the heat rises, if you can ever find enough hardware to seriously stress this beast.
The connector panel of the Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 has the 3 – 8 pin PCI-E connectors, 3 – 6 pin PCI-E connectors and 4 peripheral connectors you’ll need to power that gaming shrine of yours.
The back of the Toughpower has the honeycomb design that manufacturers favor for superior cooling and combined with the massive 140mm fan on top is sure to keep your Toughpower 1200 cool in the most demanding of circumstances.
TESTING & METHODOLOGY
When it comes to power supplies, any power supply, what you’re really looking for is good clean voltage and plenty of it. Current standards are 5% variance on any rail maximum, which is a little more lax than my personal standard of 3% max everywhere but the +5vSB (+5v stand by) which is always on even when the power supply and computer are off. On the +5vSB it’s not unusual to see 5% and since it’s only for wake on Lan or by device feature it’s not a big deal.
Thermaltake out tells you that they hold to a higher standard than 5%, they hold to a 3% standard which is what we like to see in any power supply.
Like a lot of you enthusiasts out there, our PC’s are an ongoing work of art that we have a lot of cash invested in. If a PSU won’t hold to 2 or 3% load/idle no matter what we do to it, we won’t use it or recommend it.
|Thermaltake Toughpower 1K
|LCD Voltage Tester||Coolmax Digital LCD PSU Tester|
|Thermometer||Micro Temp Digital Infrared Thermometer|
|Connectors||24 Pin Motherboard Connector Splitter|
|Wall Voltage||Kill A Watt Voltage Measurement Device|
We do things a little different than a lot of testers with Power Supplies. We take readings with a Craftsman multimeter, then we use a 24 pin Motherboard Connector splitter to connect to the PSU and the Mobo leaving one connector open for a Digital LCD PSU tester to connect to during load and idle tests. This gives the advantage of measuring all the same voltages you can test with a multimeter plus we get the -12v which can’t be tested with a multimeter, and the +5vSB. Then I also use an IR thermometer to record the input air temperature and exhaust temperature because the input/output temps can tell you how hard the PSU is working to provide the voltage.
|Case Type||Top Deck Testing Station|
|CPU||Intel Core I7 965 Extreme (3.74 GHz 1.2975 Vcore)|
|Motherboard||Asus P6T Deluxe (SLI and CrossFire on Demand)|
|Ram||G.Skill DDR 3 1600 (9-9-9-24 1.5v) 6GB Kit|
|CPU Cooler||Thermalright Ultra 120 RT (Dual 120mm Fans)|
|Hard Drives||Intel 80 GB SSD X25-M
G.Skill 64GB SSD FM-25S25-64GB
2 WD VelociRaptors
|Optical||Sony DVD R/W|
|GPU||Two EVGA GTX-280’s in SLI Drivers 180.43|
|Case Fans||120mm Fan cooling the mosfet cpu area|
|Docking Stations||Tagan IB290 W/Deskstar 2 1/2 Inch 80 Gig Sata 2
Tagan IB390 W/Maxtor 160 Gig Sata 2
Thermaltake BlackX USB W/Seagate 80 Gig Sata 2
|Testing PSU||Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 Watt Modular
Seventeam Hurricane 1200 Watt
Thermaltake Toughpower 1000 Watt Modular
|Gaming Ear Buds
|Any Attempt Copy This System Configuration May Lead to Bankrupcy|
The Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 Watt pushes a lot of power and I really don’t even know anyone that has a beefy enough rig to drive it fully. I beefed up Quadzilla with some docking stations for a total of 6 hard drives. I’ll be spinning up all six drives with various tools, music, Hard Drive diagnostics, and benchmarks, the primary drive will be left running two instances of Orthos Driving all 4 cores to the max and stressing the memory. 3DMarks2006 will be driving the GPU, Lighted Keyboard and Mouse shining in all their glory. It’s not going to fully load the Testing Power Supplies but there’ll be enough voltage to get good readings at Idle and Load. In the mean time I’ve cloned the boot drive and I’ll be chanting “No BSOD No BSOD with all that running.”
I’ll be measuring the voltages coming off the Tagan and Thermaltake on every rail 2 different ways, Multimeter and Digital LCD PSU Tester. Each rail will be measured 3 times on both PSU using both methods. Then each set of results will be averaged into a conglomerate number (IE: The 6 readings will be averaged to give me a result for each rail). Then during every test I’ll be taking the Intake air Temperature and Exhaust temperature. That should yield some pretty accurate results.
Lets move on to some Testing Results.
The current ATX 2.2 specifications allow for the following variation in voltage outputs:
- 3.3 Volt Rail: 3.135V – 3.465V
- 5 Volt Rail: 4.75V – 5,25V
- 12 Volt Rail: 11.4V – 12.6V
Power Output Results(V)
|Power Rail||Thermaltake Toughpower
|Wattage Used||Idle Power: 265Watt(± 5%)
Load Power: 540Watt(± 5%)
Testing with as much load as we could throw at the Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 shows clearly that it’s rock solid stable with the heavest load we could throw at it. Voltages were off just a little, but no more than 1 1/2% in any case. That’s double what Thermaltake says it will do, which is stay within 3%. We wouldn’t have any problem with recommending this PSU for any enthusiast rig we could think of.
Power Factor Test Results
Power Factor Percentage
|Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 Watt||96%||97%|
|Seventeam Hurricane 1200 Watt||95%||95.7|
Power factors reading on the Thermaltake show that it marginally does better than the Seventeem PSU, but with percentages running this high on a lot of active PFC PSU’s we’ve come to expect this high a power factor.
Air Input/Output Temperature Results
Air Input/Output Temperature Results
|Power Supply||Input Temp.||Output Temp.|
|Thermaltake Toughpower 1000 Watt||24C||36C|
|Seventeam Hurricane 1200 Watt||23C||37C|
Ambient Measured Inside The Room By The Case
Even with Dual SLI running on the test rig temperatures remained reasonable with the exhaust temperatures on both the tested power supplies. The Seventeem seemed to be working a little harder and it got 1C hotter than the Thermaltake even though it idled 1C lower initially.
We drove the Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 Watt Modular as hard as we could drive it, running 2 GTX-280’s in SLI on our test rig. It’s held true to the Thermaltake Toughpower line of power supplies reputation. It provides rock solid stable power in a serious enthusiast rig running multiple GPU’s. We have no doubt that after just a short break in time we’ll be up and running GTX-280’s in triple SLI knowing that our prize rack of GPU’s is safe in the hands of a more than capable Nvidia Triple SLI certified power supply.
Settling for any thing less than this level of solid stable power in an enthusiast rig running three uber expensive GPU’s, with an Intel Core i7 965 Extreme CPU would be insane. Rigs like this can run into the thousands of dollars and you need to protect that investment, both in money and time, with seriously stable clean power. Power like you get from the Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 Watt Cable management power supply.
We are trying out a new addition to our scoring system to provide additional feedback beyond a flat score. Please note that the final score isn’t an aggregate average of the new rating system.
- Performance 9.5
- Value 8
- Quality 10
- Warranty 10
- Features 10
- Innovation 10
+ Nice Clean Power & Plenty Of It
+ Nvidia Triple SLI Approved For 3 GTX-280’s
+ Even Under Heavy Load Temperatures Stay Pretty Cool
+ Plenty of Connectors
+ Peace Of Mind Knowing That Your Dream Rig Is Safely Powered By A Certified SLI Power Supply
– Price Might Set Some People Back
– Not Getting One Sooner
With the rock solid voltages we saw on the Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 Watt Modular Power Supply driving Dual GTX-280’s in SLI it earns a:
Final Score: 9.5 out of 10 and the Bjorn3D Golden Bear Award.