It seems that the huge PSU craze has finally halted. It seems that the new PSUs over 1KW aren't getting bigger, they are getting more efficient. With the push on making CPUs and GPUs more energy efficient, the need for a power supply over 1200 watts is disappearing.
To me, the "sweet spot" of power supplies is the 750-850 watt range. I really don't feel that comfortable going under 750 watts, I've always felt that having 20-25% more power supply than the minimum is best. A power supply that is really being pushed to the limits runs hotter, has sharper voltage drops, and at the least, contributes no stability to a system. A quality 850 watt power supply should be sufficient to power most SLI or CrossFire systems, short of two or three GTX 280s anyway.
What is ESA, or Enthusiast System Architecture? We enthusiasts monitor nearly everything in our rigs, temperatures, voltages, clock rates, fan speeds, etc. Unfortunately, there is no single place to monitor it all...we use either CPU-Z or the motherboard's monitoring dashboard for clock speeds, the motherboard's monitoring utility dashboard or third-party software for CPU and NB temps. Usually, but not always, you can also use the dashboard for controlling CPU and chassis fan speeds (if you have connected the chassis fans to the motherboard fan connectors). Video card clock, temperature, and fan speed is usually monitored and controlled by the Catalyst Control Center on Radeon cards, or the nVidia Control Panel on geForce cards, or with a totally separate utility like Asus' Smart Doctor, or with a third-party utility like Rivatuner. PSU voltages are found in the BIOS, or with third-party utilities like SiSoft Sandra. To be honest, I'd have to think a minute to remember where you can find S.M.A.R.T. HDD information, I think you can find it on Sandra.
nVidia decided that all of this is pretty ridiculous, there has to be a better way for enthusiasts to get their system information. So they came up with ESA, a system of monitoring all system information from one dashboard. Working with their partners, they have developed a really creative and effective system for hardware monitoring.
Our friends at Thermaltake agree with this, and have partnered with nVidia to create ESA compliant cases, water cooling systems, and power supplies. Today, I will be looking at Thermaltake's modular and ESA compliant Toughpower Cable Management 850 Watt PSU. Will it have what it takes? Read on to see!
I won't be spending time with the ESA aspects of the power supply in this review. This is the third of three Thermaltake reviews of ESA compliant hardware, previously I looked at the Armor+ ESA case, and the Bigwater 780e Liquid Cooling System. After looking at the Toughpower 850, I will have a full-blown article on ESA, so I really see no need to bore you with repetitiveness.
Model: W0178RU Type: ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V V2.91 Maximum Power: 850W Fans: 1 x 140mm fan PFC: Active Main Connector: 24Pin +12V Rails: 4 PCI-E Connectors: 2 x 6Pin, 2 x 6+2Pin
- NVIDIA SLI Certified
- NVIDIA QUAD-SLI APPROVED
- Modular Power Good Signal: 100-500ms Hold-up Time: 16ms min Efficiency: 87% + Energy-Efficient: 80 PLUS Certified Over Voltage Protection: Yes Input Voltage: 115/ 230 V Input Frequency Range: 47 - 63 Hz Input Current: 10A @ 115V, 5A @ 230V Output: +3.3V@30A,+5V@30A,+12V1@18A,+12V2@18A,+12V3@30A, +12V4@30A,-12V@0.8A,+5VSB@3.0A MTBF: >120,000 hours Approvals: CE, CB, TUV, FCC, UL, CUL, and BSMI certified Features Connectors:
1 x Main connector (24Pin)
1 x 12V(P4)
1 x 12V(8Pin)
8 x peripheral
8 x SATA
2 x Floppy
4 x PCI-E
1 x USB 2.0 Cable
The PSU comes in a nice looking box with lots of graphics, specs, and features. I was a little surprised to find no notice of the 80+ certification on the box, but I suppose the certification came after the boxes were printed. The Toughpower Cable Management 850 isn't overly large and should fit easily in most midtowers.
Open the box, and you'll find the power supply well protected by thick foam, inside of a bubblewrap sleeve, with additional cushion by the cables. You're not going to damage this thing short of running over it with a truck.