Technology

After we published the review of the Turbo Cool 1200W, we talked about the topology a bit. Somehow, our opinions differ in regards to what the best approach is. Why do you think the design is fine the way it is now?

Doug Dodson (DD): In order to get the UL and TUV certificates we had to test and qualify all of the components in the power supply. Every component passed the temperature tests with plenty of margin, so we don't think the topology has any flaws as you stated in your review.

From the topology side of view the design is very sleek; I am just concerned about all those components that are blocking the airflow.

DD: We actually have several wind-tunnels going through the power supply that leave enough space for the air to go through. That is enough for cooling all of the components.

But the temperatures you showed were reached with one of the noisiest fans in the industry.

DD: Yes, but the Turbo Cool 1200W was designed for servers, workstations, and triple-SLI setups that dissipate a lot more heat than simple home PCs. The Turbo Cool 1200W is rated for full load operation at 50C ambient temperature. As an industrial-rated PSU, it obviously requires a higher capacity fan than a consumer PSU rated at 25C-35C ambient. In other words, it's not the topology that demands a high-capacity fan as much as it is the highly-reliable 50C rating.

Speaking of PSU Myths published on your website, what is your opinion about modular cables today since you found them unstable? The fact is that most of the users want modular cables just to be free to remove them when they're not needed.

DD: Just because users like them doesn't make them good. The fact is that with lower wattage consumer PSUs you can probably get away using cable management because the voltage losses are relatively minor and reliability isn't critical. With higher end power supplies above 800W, it would be careless to use such a design because the voltage drop through the connectors is significant and the applications tend to be mission critical.

What is your opinion on the constantly increasing wattages of power supplies? Why there are so many power supplies today offering more than 1000W? There is obviously no need for them at the moment.

DD: The need for high wattage PSUs was created by platforms with multiple CPUs and GPUs. When you see the market of power supplies in general, you will see lots of lower end manufacturers claiming high wattages. In some cases they can only reach half of the stated output, so consumers need to buy a PSU labeled as 1000W to get a continuous 500W. In the high-end sector, you can choose a quality PSU with a more moderate maximum output, because it can actually deliver that amount of power.

But I don't see many power supplies with lower outputs and more cables. I actually had to ask you to build me a custom power supply with all the connectors I wanted.

DD: You asked for connectors to support 3-way SLI (6 PCI-E) from an 860 watt power supply. According to NVIDIA, that setup requires an 1100W PSU. We built the custom Turbo Cool 860 anyway to show you how conservative our ratings are. The reason the 860 doesn't come with six PCI-E standard is because we can't market the product for 3-way SLI without NVIDIA certification and they won't certify a PSU under 1100W for 3-way SLI, no matter how well it works. For users running 3-way SLI, we have our NVIDIA certified Turbo Cool 1200.

Why are the high-end power supply manufacturers still pushing such high wattages?

DD: Systems with multiple CPUs and GPUs can actually draw around 1000W. In other cases, users want the advantages associated with operating at 40-70% capacity. These include wider input operating range, longer hold time, lower noise and ripple, cooler, quieter operation, and longer product life.

And this is good for the companies of course because they make higher margins from higher wattage models?

DD: That's not necessarily true. The margin on the Turbo Cool 1200 is below average because the unit uses expensive low-volume components. The real advantage of building high wattage power supplies, besides bragging rights, is that it moves our proprietary technology forward and that knowledge can then be used to improve the performance of the high volume midrange products.

That sounds reasonable. This is also for example how the single 12V rail got into place. Why exactly is one 12V rail better than separate rails, and why is this not a safety issue for the user?

DD: One 12V rail is better because all of the power supply's capacity is available to the system. With a multi-rail 12V design, as much as 30% of the PSU's capacity can be trapped on under-utilized rails. For example, if one 12V rail rated at 18A is for the CPU, and the CPU only draws 8A, the remaining 10A cannot be utilized by other components in the system.

That's true. I had an AnandTech reader writing me about a problem with his setup powering up 18 hard disks at the same time. I suggested he either gets two power supplies, using the second just for the HDDs, or that he use a power supply with a massive single 12V rail. Eventually he ended up with one of your Silencer 750W power supplies and that completely solved the problem.

DD: That is one of the problems you can solve with a single rail, yes.

So what about safety concerns with let's say 90A on one rail?

DD: The safety agencies wouldn't approve our units if there was a risk to consumers. I've done tests using my own body to prove it's not an issue.

(That's something we really would have liked to see ourselves!)

Index Markets and Work
POST A COMMENT

49 Comments

View All Comments

  • NicePants42 - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    Amidst your obvious statements, you appear to assume that I've used the TurboCool 1200, and that I want all PSUs to be watercooled.

    In fact, I've used the 'Silencer' 750W, found it to be obscenely loud, and replaced it with a Cooler Master Real Power Pro 1000W, which is inaudible as far as I can tell, and has fantastic efficiency from 290W to 700W according to Jonnyguru.

    In fact, I suggested that Mr. Katzer ask PCP&C about the possibility of adding hybrid water cooling to a PSU, seeing as OCZ has already experimented with this on RAM.
    Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    There is just no way to get a watercooled PSU certified that it can be sold as a retail product. No chance in Europe and in the US it won't be too much of a difference. Reply
  • NicePants42 - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    What certificaiton are you referring to? UL?

    I would like to clarify that I was not suggesting water-only cooling. As I said, OCZ has experimented with hybrid air/water with it's XLC RAM kits. If the water is optional, what is to stop certification?

    If UL certification is such a problem, how can we allow for the Koolance 1200W unit? Non-conductive fluid? Going to market without certification? What?
    Reply
  • BigTex - Monday, February 11, 2008 - link

    He also said the Turbo 1200 is designed for the server market which is not generally noise conscious. PCP&C is obviously a conservative company. A company that eschews multiple rails and modular cables is unlikely to embrace water cooling. Reply
  • Snooper - Monday, February 11, 2008 - link

    The whole multiple rail thing is a cop-out anyway. The ONLY way you could justify multiple rails is if you can't design a power supply that can source the needed current while maintaining regulation and ripple. That's not easy. It is MUCH easier to design a circuit that can source a fraction of what you need then put multiple ones in the power supply to get your "xx Amps @12V!!!" marketing quote.

    PCP&C does it the right way. And the capabilities of their supplies shows.

    And getting UL approval on any kind of water cooled power supply is going to be VERY interesting! I would LOVE to have a true 750w "Total Silence" WC power supply to plug into my computer and hook up to my WC system! I hate fan noise.
    Reply
  • tynopik - Monday, February 11, 2008 - link

    > The ONLY way you could justify multiple rails is if you can't design a power supply that can source the needed current while maintaining regulation and ripple.

    or that's what the ATX specification required (no more than 20A allowed per rail, something about safety reasons)

    for instance, that was the spec when Corsair was designing their supplies, but then the 'requirement' was changed to a 'suggestion' so they changed the design of their 620HX and 520HX to a single rail . . . but they had already spent a lot of money on documentation that said 3 rails, so that's how they sent it out

    the supplies are actually 1 rail, but the box and manual and spec page all say 3 rails
    Reply
  • lebe0024 - Monday, February 11, 2008 - link

    Click on the "Target $59.99" link in the artical header above. HAHAHA. It's for a product called the "Super Turbo Oven"! Reply
  • noxipoo - Monday, February 11, 2008 - link

    price went up to 69.99 from all your clicks!! how am i suppose to overclock my chickens now? Reply
  • tynopik - Monday, February 11, 2008 - link

    [quote]But I don't see many power supplies with lower outputs and more cables. I actually had to ask you to build me a custom power supply with all the connectors I wanted.[/quote]

    this is a question that has vexed me for years, but forget about PCIe connectors, how about regular old peripheral connectors?

    my system isn't powerful, but i have a lot of HDs. I had to get a 620W PS which is way overkill simply to get 10 peripheral connectors. 6 IDE HDs, 2 HD cage fans, 2 case fans, very easy to hit 10.

    would it kill somebody to offer a 400-500w supply with say 16 peripheral and 10 SATA connectors?

    (in case you're wondering i've had bad experiences with Y-splitters and prefer not to use them)
    Reply
  • mindless1 - Monday, February 11, 2008 - link

    You may have bad experiences with Y-splitters, but so might you have bad experiences with a poor PSU. IOW, if you don't pull so many watts as to need a higher wattage PSU, the wiring harness present should be sufficient if only you choose decent splitters. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now