Introduction

As PC systems are demanding more and more power, the power supply manufacturers are reacting by releasing units rated for higher power output. We can all thank NVIDIA and ATI, among others, for this trend, as we have seen an escalation in ridiculously high demands for power supplies with the latest graphics chips. That this power is in most cases unnecessary should be clear to everyone who owns such a card or wants to buy one.

One reason such requirements are overkill is that the resolution you are running is largely responsible for higher GPU requirements, which in turn leads to more power hungry systems. If you are running a top-end video card (or two) at just 1280x1024, much of the performance potential is going to waste. Still, multiple GPUs under load will still require a beefy PSU, generally starting at 400W and going up from there, depending on the rest of the system. If you're running a 30" LCD on the other hand - particularly with overclocking - we have seen power requirements break 600W in worst-case scenarios.

For those people who still believe the marketing hype - or for the extremely rare exceptions where you might actually run a system that needs 800W or more of power on a regular basis (feel free to let us know what you're doing that requires that much power!) - if you're thinking about buying this kind of power supply we are presenting today three of the highest rated power supplies on the market. In increasing overall wattage rankings, we start with the PC Power & Cooling Turbo Cool 1200W. Next is the Cooler Master Real Power Pro 1250W. Finally, we have the new ITZ 1300W PSU from Tagan.


As usual we are testing with our Chroma programmable loads to fully load each rail to a specific amount. This is important to get truly accurate results and not merely approximate values. The tests are conducted in two different temperature environments. One is normal room temperature of 25-26°C, while the second environment goes from room temperature and increases steadily up to 50°C. Especially during the higher temperatures we will see how good the power supplies are and what they're really made of. Components inside will perform much worse at higher temperatures, but we expect any good quality PSU to deal with such test conditions without failing.

On the DC output graphics we show the range of highest and lowest voltage. There is usually a bit of variance, particularly with multiple 12V rails, but with a PSU roundup we want to convey as much information as possible without simply bombarding our readers with graphs and charts. In essence, we will show the voltage range on each rail at various load points. This is especially easier to read and understand if you have more than four 12V rails since we will show them all in one graph together.

Note: If you would like to know more about our testing methodology, equipment, and environment, please read our PSU testing overview.

In a change from previous testing, we have added an additional 10% on the highest load to see how the units perform at overload levels. This test will be performed in all future reviews. The overload test will be performed at room temperature, but experience shows that many units can stand the overload in room temperature but will show problems at higher temperatures when overloaded. To verify this, we will also test in our stress 50°C environment. We don't want to be too cruel with the power supplies, so we will make sure we keep the ambient temperature at 50°C in the worst-case overload testing. Only the best PSUs will survive this sort of testing... but then anyone looking at 1200W+ PSUs is probably interested in exactly that sort of unit.


PCP&C 1200W
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  • redly1 - Monday, October 22, 2007 - link

    I'm just trying to imagine the flames that ensue when something goes bad on the motherboard.

    Anyone ever burn up a classic Athlon by forgetting to put the heatsink on? Imagine doing that with a 1.3kW supply? Yikes
    Reply
  • billa16 - Tuesday, October 23, 2007 - link

    I did that on a k7@950. I was trying to oc it(hardmod with a pencil). Nothing happend the first 2 times(just a few secs). After that it's stopped working. No sparks/flames and stuff like that. Don't belive anything U read/see on the internet.
    This type of power supply's have protections. If something is damaged so bad that would cause flames the protection kicks in. The worst fire scenario with this type of PSU will be a flash when the fuse burns out.
    Sorry for my poor english.
    Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Monday, October 22, 2007 - link

    Still amazes me how many people fall for the marketing hype... Reply
  • Traciatim - Monday, October 22, 2007 - link

    Instead of just giving specs and doing an overview of the efficiency, why not design a machine that actually needs these over say a 600-700Watt PSU and show watt you would need to do do actually use one of these.

    I have a pretty small machine, and it regularly pulls 120Watts out of the wall, 200Watts if I Get everything ramped up. I'm also using a P4, not a Core2Duo so it's not going to be as efficient.

    The ONLY point that I can see to have one of these is simply to waste money on uneeded equipment that could be better spent one something performance based and to say that 'My PSU is bigger than your PSU'.
    Reply
  • retrospooty - Monday, October 22, 2007 - link

    Ya, these 1000+ watt PSU's are marketed to enthusiests, and are supposed to be for heavily overclocked quad core CPU's (meaning cascade, dry ICE or liquid nitrogen cooling kind of overclocks) with overclocked high end SLI or crossfire rigs, and plenty of hard drives and other peripherals added as well. We are talking $3000 or higher systems - WAY overkill probably even for that purpose. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 22, 2007 - link

    You can see the most power-hungry system I've personally tested http://www.anandtech.com/systems/showdoc.aspx?i=30...">right here - which uses standard ATX components and a Topower PSU. That's a lot more system than most people run, obviously, but if maximum efficiency is achieved in the 40-80% load range, and if that particular PSU was around 80% efficient, it was outputting around 600W of power at maximum load.

    Toss in TriFire HD 2900 XT and you could add another 100W to that, maybe. If you were to get an overclocked Xeon platform with dual quad-core CPUs plus CrossFire/TriFire, you could actually reach the point where 1300W was "required". LOL

    ORB chasers and "professional benchmarkers" running at insane overclocks (i.e. 5000 MHz quad-core) deal with exponential power requirement increases as well. The solution is either to use multiple PSUs or else get one of these uber-powerful designs. So these appear to be for around 0.01% of the market, I guess?
    Reply
  • Michael91ah - Monday, October 22, 2007 - link

    Glad to see the statistics for these 3 units. I really like the Cooler Master's curve on the acoustics. That noise makes a big difference for me when choosing a power supply. Reply

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