For testing, first I pulled out my old trusty multimeter. The +5v was 5.01v and the +12v was running 11.86. A tad low, but well within the 5% PSU industry standard.
Next I launched OCCT. OCCT is a benchmark program that runs a timed test while maxxing the CPU. The cool thing about OCCT is while it is benchmarking, it makes charts of various measurements, including +12v, so you can have a visual history of what happens during the test. While running the test, I max the GPU by running an OpenGL benchmark by Guru3D called FurBench. FurBench runs a video of a moving furry doughnut, which happens to max out the GPU.
I ran a 30 minute test on OCCT, and launched FurBench at the 26 minute mark, the 18 minute mark, and the 10 minute mark, just to see if maxing the GPU affects the Toughpower's +12v voltage. If it does, we'll see a drop in the graph. Even on a larger PSU like this one, you usually see a tiny voltage drop. I would have liked to try two cards, but I didn't have a pair of geForce cards to use SLI on my test rig. For a control, I also watch my multimeter during the testing just to make sure any voltage drops are noted there.
We see that nothing phased the Toughpower 850, the chart shows a perfectly straight line. I reran the test with a geForce 9800GTX, which uses a little more juice than the Radeon card, with the exact same results. Also note that the motherboard sensors show the +12v at 11.98v rather than the 11.86v shown by my meter. I have to trust the latter.
If I'm not mistaken, the Toughpower Cable Management 850 is the first multi-railed PSU under 1200 watts that was unaffected by maxxing the GPU during my testing. Actually, every other 800-850 watt multi-railed PSU that I have tested showed a significant voltage drop. That says a lot for this power supply.
As I mentioned, I will save any ESA related tests for an ESA article coming in the near future. Watch for it.
The Thermaltake Toughpower Cable Management 850 is modular and ESA compliant. Surfing around the web, I have found only one other ESA compliant PSU under 1000 watts, an 860 watt PSU that isn't modular, and costs $80 more than this power supply. All other ESA power supplies I found were 1100 watts and over, and all cost between $350 and $560.
When you get into the over-800 watt realm, you find fewer modular power supplies. Thermaltake's Cable Management PSUs are all modular. The cables are fully covered with mesh, and finished well. There are plenty of connectors on the Molex and SATA cables. On several occasions I've had to add additional cables because there weren't enough connectors. There is also a good length between the first and last SATA power connectors, allowing the possibility of using the same cable for both optical and hard drives.
The power supply is 80+ certified, and runs with 87% efficiency. This means less energy usage, which is good for both your wallet and the planet.
The side plate is one of those like-it-or-not kind of things, on nearly all power supplies, you have either a painted surface, occasionally with a logo stamped into the surface, or the specs label staring at you from the exposed side. This is something a little different, and I personally like it.
The power supply performed well in my testing. It would have been nice to have added additional GPUs for further stress testing, but since the +12v didn't budge with one large GPU, it's pretty unlikely it would drop much more with two.
The only thing I found that I didn't really care for was the length of the PCI-E cables. But after giving it some thought, the extra 6" or so that I would have needed for my particular application would be unwelcome on most cases. Actually, the long PCI-E cables on the PSU I replaced with the Toughpower were a real pain in a midtower I had previously had the PSU in.
The Thermaltake Toughpower Cable Management ESA 850 runs $260 at my favorite online retailer. That puts it on the upper end of 850 watt power supplies, but considering it has additional circuitry for ESA, along with being modular and having such a high efficiency rating, and carrying Thermaltake's reputation and 5-year warranty, I'd have to consider it a value. ThinkComputers.org scores the Thermaltake Toughpower Cable Management ESA 850 watt PSU a 10 out of 10 score.
- One of the few ESA compliant power supplies on the market
- The lowest wattage and least expensive ESA power supply I found
- 5 year warranty
- Zero flutter during my testing
- Full tower owners may find the PCI-E cables too short, but mid tower owners will find them just right