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!)

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  • tynopik - Monday, February 11, 2008 - link

    well I had 1 y-splitter burn out (you can see the black marks) and it only had 2 devices (hd/fan/some combination thereof) attached to it

    a couple others had problems where if you jiggled the cables at all, they would lose connection and suddenly your HD would power down
    Reply
  • tynopik - Monday, February 11, 2008 - link

    but regardless, is it really that expensive to add a handful more connectors to these supplies?

    is there any reason you have to get a 620w supply just to get 10 connectors?
    Reply
  • mindless1 - Monday, February 11, 2008 - link

    Intermittent connections are why higher quality splitters are needed, and also why PC Power & Cooling doesn't like modular connectors.

    No it wouldn't be so expensive to add another lead but most systems don't need that many and someone is bound to come along and suggest it creates more clutter to have to tuck away the unused cable, or that it be modular which brings us back to the potential problem with adding connectors.

    Really I think you only need higher quality Y splitters, and to inspect the contacts in them before use to ensure they make a good tight fit. Also, if an unused connector on a PSU is contaminated by dust or other environmental agents, it may need cleaned off before plugged into anything, even directly to a drive not just if a y-splitter were used.

    If you really need 10 connectors then a 600W PSU may not be such a bad idea, as fans already have pass-through connectors in many cases so you're really talking mostly about hard drives and if you have anywhere near 10 that is a non-trivial spinup current requirement, suppose that's 20A did you really want to pick a PSU with a maximum current rating so close to the continual power on current requirement?

    If you have that much to power, it's only prudent to pay for a PSU that has enough connectors, look at it as a matter of % of total system cost instead of just trying to go cheap, as we all know trying to go cheap has an effect on most parts you buy, not just the PSU.
    Reply
  • tynopik - Monday, February 11, 2008 - link

    > Intermittent connections are why higher quality splitters are needed

    high quality splitter, now there's an oxymoron ;)

    > also why PC Power & Cooling doesn't like modular connectors

    well presumably, the modular connectors would be of higher quality than these $0.15 splitters

    > as fans already have pass-through connectors in many cases

    . . . which are basically 'cheap' splitters (which is saying something)
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    I would like to see more sata power cables. It is a royal pita to use these splitters and converters.

    If they don't need the extra cables ever, a pair of scissors would do the trick.
    Reply
  • HOOfan 1 - Monday, February 11, 2008 - link

    His Mtyhs answers are more like "this is the way we do it so naturally it is better" than "this is the best way, so that is what we use" Reply
  • poohbear - Monday, February 11, 2008 - link

    chris, u dont have the pencil neck geek look. i refuse to read your articles anymore dam it. i dont need no hip guy telling me about technology! for shizel! Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 11, 2008 - link

    Maybe we should post pictures of the rest of us to make you feel better? LOL Reply
  • b_wallach - Monday, May 09, 2011 - link

    I noted that one post mentioned the 80 cert issue. I started using PC P&C Power supplies back when cyrix made cpu's and still have that one working in my cousin's kids computer. I took note then while looking into power supplies that PCP&C's power supplies were the only ones out there that were industrial rated supplies. This meant that you bought one for a system that if it went down it cost your company a LOT of money. Even way back then they were the top of the line power supplies.
    Each one I bought is still working today and I don't have glitch issues when putting computers together because they have the cleanest power output. They keep their voltage and current stable under heavy fast loading where cheaper ones will dip and give owners fits trying to find out why their computers lock up every now and then. I also note this with people who buy new high wattage video cards. This is also a problem I don't have to tear my hair out trying to find out why because having a stable clean power supply is one of the most important parts of any computer and can cause the worst troubleshooting nightmares when they are the culprit.
    I've got a 750W in this computer, very low noise, can not hear it unless I put my ear up to it. The only time I've seen noise problems was because of the case design caused poor air flow and/or restricted air getting to and through the power supply cleanly. I am VERY worried about their takeover no matter what the new owners say. I've seen the results of top of the line products get raped by larger more money bottom line folks than I care to think about but one I will mention because it should be a well known company to any electronic minded person. The company was called Fluke ind... They were the last word in testing equipment and made the best hand held units for years. Then they got bought out by Danahure (I only know how that company called but not sure about the spelling).
    A good friend of mine was a electronic engineer there and watched them go from top class to radio shack quality in components installed and reliability. They are now junk for the most part. they make kind of good stuff but nothing like they used to. Most of their mfg. got moved to china and it's just a sad story. I hope hardware sites keep a eye on PC Power to make sure they stick to the high quality and overkill components that make them a almost bullet proof power supply and their noise output levels stay almost nill.
    But I do worry. But I still have not seen any reason to stop using them over the rest out there.
    Reply

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