The computer power supply unit, or PSU, is probably the most underrated integral component of a PC. Oftentimes, people would just buy a high-wattage PSU without considering its other features and capabilities. That’s understandable since keeping it simple makes the decision simple to make as well. However, it would really help to buy a good power supply for your PC, especially if you have high-performance parts. There are a lot of models, brands and types of power supplies, but one caught my attention, apart from it being on sale, and that’s Thermaltake’s Toughpower Gold 650 watts 80Plus Gold power supply.
Just looking at the model name, it sounds like a good power supply at a price point of just around $65, which is how much I actually paid for it. Thermaltake is one of the most reputable brands of PC components. However, does it really perform as a best-bang-for-the-buck power supply? Or is it really a low-profile power supply that’s just right for the price? Let me take you through its aesthetics and then move on to the tear sheet.
The PSU is standard size and will fit almost all PC cases. The cables are sleeved, which prevents them from getting tangled. It’s painted black and has the logo on the sides. There’s an on/off switch at the back as well. And of course, as a mid- to high-end power supply, it has safety features such as surge/short circuit, temperature and power overage protections. And before I forget, the PSU uses a 120mm fan for cooling. Don’t worry though, this fan is really quiet. On my old power supply, as soon as I turn the PC on, I can already hear the loud PSU fan, which is very annoying, especially if you’re in a quiet room.
Let’s move on to the specs. On paper, the PSU has a maximum output of 650 watts, with a peak output capacity of 780 watts. That’s more than enough to power a high-end system with a single video card. It has an adequate number of cables. There are four 6+2-pin graphics card power connectors if you wish to deploy a dual-graphics card setup. There are 6 SATA power connectors, 4 peripheral 4-pin connectors for fans and such, as well a floppy drive connector. And of course, it has the 12V ATX connector and the mainboard power connector. It runs on a single 12-volt rail, which eliminates the need to manage power allocation for the components between 2 or more rails.
Here’s the catch, the Toughpower Gold 650 watts is a nonmodular power supply. This means that all of the power cables are built into the power supply. Unlike modular power supplies, you can choose which cables you would use depending on your PC’s needs. I got the occasional shock when I opened the box. The cables are tightly and neatly packed. But as soon as I got it out of the box, I was stunned at the thickness cables and started to think, “How am I going to set this up on my PC chassis?” I do have a big mid-tower chassis that has a simple cable management system. It just took a bit of work to cram and hide those cables away. Well, that most likely contributed to its low price point.
Let’s now talk about cable length. The sufficiency really will depend on how big your PC chassis is. The length was more than enough for me to be able to tuck in the cables behind the drive bay to make it look much nicer and to prevent the cables from interfering with the air flow inside the case. And yes, I have a mid-tower case, which is fairly big, and I have a mid-range motherboard that has a few extra expansion slots. There’s no problem at all with the SATA and graphics card power connectors.
The only issue I had with the cables, aside from it being nonmodular, is the 12V power connector. It’s not long enough for me to hide it behind the motherboard and connect from the top side. I was left with four options: run the cable beside the motherboard, which is okay, but it will go over the RAM modules and below the huge heat sink; run the cable on top of the video card, which is really not nice to look at and could affect the air flow; I could run it by the back panel of the case, which is what I did; and finally, run the cable underneath the graphics card to reach the connector, which is what I’m planning to do.
Let’s talk about efficiency. This is most certainly the most important aspect of a computer’s power supply. Efficiency is the ratio between its output to the PC’s components and its input from the wall outlet. Let me give you an example. If your PC requires 500 watts and you have a power supply that is 80% efficient, it actually draws 625 watts from the wall. That was derived from this formula, 500w / 0.8 = 625w. This means that 125 watts is wasted and is just dissipated as heat. Therefore, the higher the efficiency, the less energy is wasted, which translates into savings on your electric bill. So even though you spent more on an efficient power supply, in the long run, you’ll most likely get your investment back.
Going back to the Toughpower Gold 650 watts, how efficient is this power supply? This PSU is 80Plus Gold certified, which means that it will be at least 87% efficient under different loads. So in our example, on average, the Toughpower Gold 650 watts will draw just around 574.71 watts. That’s derived from 500w / 0.87 = 574.71w. Compared to the previous 80%-efficient power supply, you saved 50.29 watts, which is taken from 625w minus 574.71w.
As for the actual voltage testing under different loads, unfortunately, I do not have the equipment to test those. I’m assuming that they are pretty expensive and impractical for a casual PC enthusiast just like me. I just depend on its certification and my understanding of power supplies.
At $65, this power supply seems like a steal for its performance. Compared to other PSUs, even with just 80Plus bronze certifications, this 80Plus Gold has the best price/performance ratio. Yes, it’s nonmodular, but all you need to do is take extra time in managing the cables into your PC chassis.
All in all, the Thermaltake Toughpower 650 watts 80Plus Gold power supply is a great contender. With its low price point, excellent features and efficiency, it’s more than enough to power your components and protect them. You just need to bear with the cables and how you would manage them. Nevertheless, I would really recommend this power supply for your computer.
Thermaltake Global Toughpower 650W GOLD TP-650P
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